27 dead’ in Connecticut primary school shooting

27 dead’ in Connecticut primary school shooting

BBC

 COMING UP: News briefing on US school shooting

 

As many as 27 people have been killed, including many children, in a shooting attack at a primary school in the US state of Connecticut, US media say.

At least 18 children are among the dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier, the gunman was reported to have been killed and at least three people were taken to hospital.

A news conference is imminent and the state Governor Dannell Malloy is on his way.

Police arrived at the school soon after 09:40 local time (14:40 GMT), answering reports that a gunman was in the school’s main office and one person had “numerous gunshot wounds”.

Scores of officers at the scene carried out a full search of the site.

Schools across the district were immediately on lock-down as a preventive measure, officials said.

With the death toll rising, it emerged that one entire classroom of students may remain unaccounted for, local sources reported.

Meanwhile, the three people who have been taken to hospital are in “very serious condition”, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton told CNN.

‘Collecting facts’

One witness speaking to CNN said that shots were heard coming from the hall. There “must have been 100 rounds” fired, she told the channel.

Local media have reported that firefighters instructed children to close their eyes and run past the school’s office as they exited the building.

Other sources suggest that some of the shots were fired in a school classroom.

According to CNN, the shooter’s body was in one of the school’s classrooms.

There were unconfirmed reports of two shooters, according to a report in the local Hartford Courant newspaper.

Map

With the children now evacuated, aerial images of the school show several emergency vehicles still at the scene and scores of cars surrounding the area.

Teams of officers are on the scene, some with dogs, as a thorough search of the school continues.

A local NBC news channel said that a hospital in nearby Danbury had reported receiving three injured patients.

Several parents are reportedly at the school, standing by and waiting for more information. Officials say they are trying to unite children with their parents.

Sandy Hook School – described by correspondents as a highly rated school – has cancelled its kindergarten class on Friday and will not operate midday bus runs, the school’s website says.

The public school has more than 600 students in classes from Kindergarten to 4th Grade – including students aged from five to 10.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that US President Barack Obama had been informed of the incident and was receiving regular updates.

On its website, Danbury Hospital said it was aware of a “situation” at the school.

“Please know we’re collecting facts now and will be back to you as soon as possible with the most accurate information,” the hospital said in a statement.

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US, UK and other countries won’t sign telecom treaty

US, UK and other countries won’t sign telecom treaty

COMPUTERWORLD

An agreement among the majority of countries includes provisions about Internet governance and content

By Grant Gross, Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service – The U.S., U.K. and Canadian delegations to a worldwide telecom treaty-writing meeting will not ratify a resolution approved by the majority of countries because regulations will include provisions on Internet governance and content.

Negotiations at the International Telecommunication Union’s World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT) in Dubai ended Thursday with disagreements about ITU regulation of the Internet and censorship of the Web. Negotiations were still ongoing late at night Dubai time, and a final version of the resolution was expected Friday.

Several other countries, including Kenya, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands and New Zealand, indicated late Thursday they would not sign the document or take partial reservations, said Terry Kramer, the head of the U.S. delegation to WCIT.

The resolution, to be signed Friday, will likely include language that would allow governments to get involved in Internet governance, a provision on fighting spam and a provision on fighting cybersecurity, among other issues, Kramer said during a press conference. The U.S. delegation objected to all three of those provisions, saying the spam and security provisions will open the door to new censorship of the Web.

ITU regulations should not address cybersecurity with “vague commitments that would have significant implications but few practical improvements on security,” Kramer said.

The Internet governance proposals would take power away from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and multistakeholder groups, Kramer added. “It was clear that some administrations were seeking to insert government control over Internet governance,” he said.

The resolution won’t include a controversial provision requiring the sender of an Internet communication to pay the transport costs, but there were still “too many issues” that the U.S. objected to, Kramer said.

The resolution is not binding, and Kramer predicted few short-term effects of the WCIT agreement. But moving forward, the U.S. and its allies will have to work hard to push their view of using multistakeholder groups to resolve Internet governance issues, he said. “We are going to need to continue to do this global outreach so we don’t inadvertently allow a Balkanization of the Internet,” he said.

Some WCIT observers have also raised concerns that many countries could use the resolution as a model for regulation of the Internet.

Negotiations during the two-week conference began to sour late Wednesday, when countries began backing away from text they had already agreed to and WCIT Chairman Mohamed Nasser Al-Ghanim called for a show of hands to “take the temperature” of the room. He then declared that a majority was in favor of a resolution including the Internet in the WCIT regulations, in addition to traditional telecom services, a position the U.S. and its allies had opposed.

Several organizations, including the Internet Society and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), also raised objections, saying the Internet provisions were included contrary to assurances from ITU Secretary General Hamadoun TourA(c)A A’hat the treaty was not about the Internet.

Amendments made to the text of the document were not published before an agreement was reached, the Internet Society said.

The group had hoped WCIT “would focus on competition, liberalization, free flow of information, and independent regulation– things that have clearly worked in the field of telecommunications,” Internet Society President and CEO Lynn St. Amour said in a statement. “Instead, these concepts seem to have been largely struck from the treaty text.”

TourA(c)A A$?isputed the characterization by Kramer and others that the regulations address governing the Internet. The conference did not include provisions on the Internet in the treaty text, but a nonbinding resolution annexed to the main document aims at fostering the development and growth of the Internet, he said in a statement.

Fostering the growth of the Internet is a “task that ITU has contributed significantly to since the beginning of the Internet era, and a task that is central to the ITU’s mandate to connect the world, a world that today still has two thirds of its population without Internet access,” he said.

The treaty to will promote greater connectivity for people with disabilities, and the conference served to highlight important differences that countries have about telecommunications, he said. WCIT “has succeeded in bringing unprecedented public attention to the different and important perspectives that govern global communications,” he added. “There is not one single world view but several, and these views need to be accommodated and engaged.”

The international telecommunication regulations have not been updated since 1988.

jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Malta Murder Again

[SEE:  Latest Malta Murder Again At St Paul’s Bay–Hungarian Woman Stabbed 40 Times]

police are investigating the apparent execution of Josef Grech, 41 of Balzan, whose corpse was found early this morning in the area known as Qalet Marku, along the Coast Road in Bahar ic-Caghaq. Grech’s body was discovered at around 3:30am by a hunter. He was said to have been covered in blood.

The victim, Josef Grech, was awaiting trial for complicity in the murder in 2004 of mini-van driver Patricia Attard. She was found dead in Ta’ Qali.

Grech was found murdered at the same spot where attorney Margaret Mifsud’s (another murder victim) body was found.  He was awaiting trial for 2004 murder of Patricia Attard.

A 46-year-old man from Marsascala was shot dead in Mosta this morning in the second murder today.
He was identified as Joseph Cutajar, known as Il-Lion, who was undergoing court proceedings after having been accused of the murder of Kevin Gatt, 32 of Ghaxaq and Stephen Zammit 32 of Fgura” on March 15.

He was found dead in Mosta, while awaiting trial for two murders at Valletta Harbor, very near Maritime HQ.

Arab League Continues To Let-Down Palestinians, Failing To Deliver On $100 Million Promise

Palestinian Authority still waiting on emergency funds promised by Arab states

Arab League official says no date has been set for transfer of $100 million to Ramallah

Arab League headquarters in Cairo (photo credit: Ijanderson977/Wikimedia Commons)

Arab League headquarters in Cairo (photo credit: Ijanderson977/Wikimedia Commons)

The Palestinian Authority is still waiting on promised emergency funds from Arab states to cover the government’s shortfall, which has been caused partially by Israel’s withholding of Palestinian tax revenues.

The Arab League pledged in early December to provide the PA with $100 million to cover salaries and expenses. However, the League’s undersecretary for Palestinian affairs told the Ma’an News Agency on Friday that none of that money had been transferred to the PA, and that no date had been set for any such transfers from Arab states.

Officials in Ramallah claim that the Palestinian economy is on the verge of collapse, following Israel’s refusal to release NIS 450 million in tax revenues (some $120 million), a measure taken by the Israeli government on the heels of last month’s UN vote to recognize “Palestine” as a non-member observer state.

Israel says that it will use the Palestinian tax revenues to offset the PA’s existing debt, in the amount of NIS 700 million to the Israel Electric Corporation.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the Israeli government would decide in four months’ time what to do with the collected funds. “The Palestinians can forget about getting even one cent in the coming four months,” he said.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to take action against the Israeli government at the International Criminal Court if the tax revenues are not released.

Russia: 3 arrested over the killing of Sufi leader

Russia: 3 arrested over the killing of Sufi leader

kyiv post

Muslim Suif leader Said Afandi addresses an assembly in Makhachkala, the capital of the volatile Russian province of Dagestan, December 2010. Afandi was killed by a female suicide bomber in August 2012. On Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, police reported the arrest of three suspected Islamic militants who aided her.
© Associated Press

MAKHACHKALA, Russia — Russian police says it has arrested three suspected Islamic militants who aided a female suicide bomber that killed an influential Muslim leader in Russia’s violence-plagued province of Dagestan

Said Afandi, the powerful leader of Dagestan’s Sufi Muslim brotherhood, was killed in August along with six other people by the bomber, who approached his house disguised as a pilgrim.

Provincial police spokesman, Vyacheslav Gasanov, said the three suspects were arrested Wednesday. He said they had escorted the bomber, an ethnic Russian woman who converted to Islam after marrying an Islamist.

Afandi’s killing followed a string of attacks on moderate Muslim leaders in the southern Caucasus region who have publicly denounced the spread of radical Islamic groups known as Salafis.

Dagestan lies between Chechnya and the oil-rich Caspian.

Pak Supreme Court Finds Arrogant Little London Expatriate In Contempt, Orders Him To Appear In January

[SEE: Altaf Defends “Democracy” But Threatens “Erasure” of Court Judges for Ordering Redistricting of Karachi ]

Supreme Court issues contempt notice to MQM chief

dawn

MQM chief Altaf Hussain. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a contempt of court notice to Altaf Hussain, chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), DawnNews reported.

Hussain and the deputy convener of the party’s Rabita Committee Dr Farooq Sattar, who is also a Member of National Assembly (MNA), have been summoned by the court on Jan 7.

The bench also directed the foreign ministry to ensure that the notice was implemented upon. 

The notice to Hussain was issued during the hearing of the case pertaining to the implementation of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Karachi law and order case.

The case was being heard by a three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

During the hearing, the chief justice said the court had been sent a note from the registrar’s office which had mentioned excerpts from a speech by the MQM chief.

The excerpts were derogatory towards the judges, Chief Justice Iftikhar said, adding that, the note stated that Hussain had targeted certain judges in his speech and the Pemra had been directed to submit the text of the speech.

The chief justice said he had read the text of the speech and found it to be offensive and threatening. The language used in the speech was tantamount to an attempt to obstruct justice, he said.

On Dec 2, the MQM chief had termed the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding fresh delimitation of constituencies in Karachi before a census an attempt to ‘snatch his party’s mandate’.

Speaking from London to a big public meeting held at the Jinnah Ground in Azizabad, the MQM chief had also stated that people of the city would never allow any such ‘conspiracy’ to succeed.

Hussain had said the MQM had great respect for the judiciary and it would have no objection if a census was held before the delimitation in accordance with the law.

Order Signed To Transfer 6 Batteries of Patriot ABMs and 400 Technicians To Turkish/Syrian Border

[Obama is intent on pushing this confrontation to its deadly conclusion, intended to cow Russians into acquiescence, now that the elections are behind him.  WWIII is the logical conclusion in this scenario, if Putin will not back down like a whipped dog.]

US’ Panetta signs order to send Patriot missiles to Turkey: reports

panetta-afp.jpg-670

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta. -AFP Photo

WASHINGTON: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has signed orders to send Patriot missiles and 400 military personnel to Turkey to defend against rocket attacks from Syria, news media reported early Friday.

A total of six Patriot missile batteries will be sent to Turkey — two from the United States, two from Germany and two from the Netherlands, the New York Times reported.

All six batteries will be under Nato’s command, the newspaper said, and all six are scheduled to be operational by the end of January.

The 20-month-old uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has turned increasingly bloody and heavy fighting has often erupted along Syria’s northern border with Turkey, which is supporting the Syrian opposition.

The Patriot system is designed to intercept aircraft or missiles. Turkey has asked Nato to deploy Patriot missiles to shore up its 900-km (560-mile) border, where it fears security may crumble as the Syrian army fights harder to contain the rebels – who have enjoyed sanctuary in Turkey.