A manhunt is under way in western Germany for a convicted drug dealer who escaped by mailing himself out of jail.
The 42-year-old Turkish citizen - who was serving a seven-year sentence - had been making stationery with other prisoners destined for the shops. At the end of his shift, the inmate climbed into a cardboard box and was taken out of prison by express courier. His whereabouts are still unknown. The chief warden of the jail told the BBC this was an embarrassing incident.
The prison authorities in Willich, near Duesseldorf, said the man, who was tall and broad-shouldered, had hidden in a box that was about 150cm by 120cm. When the weekly express courier arrived to pick up several boxes of merchandise, the one containing the prisoner was also loaded into the back of the lorry.
Shortly after it had passed through the prison gates, the inmate made his dash for freedom by cutting a big hole in the tarpaulin of the lorry and jumped off.
The driver alerted the police after he noticed the tarpaulin flapping in the breeze. The jail's chief warden, Beate Peters, said the man must have had accomplices outside the prison.
"As soon as the prisoner jumped off the back of the lorry his friends would have picked him up," she told the BBC. "We have no idea where the fugitive is hiding. We assume that he is still in the county and is lying low before making his move." Ms Peters said fellow convicts must also have known of his plan but that they would not talk because of a "code of honour" and because it is a criminal offence in Germany to help somebody escape from jail.
She said the incident showed that security needed to be beefed up urgently, something she had been lobbying for in the last few years. "I was not surprised that an escape happened on my watch. For years I had been asking for more security guards from the government. But now they'll have to listen."
President George W Bush's personal pet is facing the prospect of leaving the Oval Office in disgrace after biting not one, but two people during the administration's final weeks.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a canine whose boss has not always enjoyed the most sympathetic media profile, the black-haired Scottish terrier's victims have been a television journalist and a PR woman.
Heather Walker, the public relations director for the Boston Celtics basketball team, has revealed how America's First Dog bit her wrist and drew blood after she tried to pat him during a White House ceremony honouring the team's 17th NBA championship back in September.
"I walked into the White House and in the first area you walk into, there are Miss Beazley (Mr Bush's wife Laura's Scottish terrier) and Barney," Ms Walker said. "They were sitting on this Oriental rug, and I just reached down to pat Barney and he attacked me."
Ms Walker, who had her wrist wrapped with a bandage by a Boston Celtics trainer, spoke out about her ordeal on Friday, just days after Barney bit Reuters television reporter John Decker's finger when he reached down to pat the seemingly docile hound. Sally McDonough, a spokeswoman for Laura Bush, remarked afterwards: "I think it was his way of saying he was done with the paparazzi."
Barney, whose has starred in several White House Christmas videos and has his own official website www.Barney.gov, has long been a controversial figure within the within the corridors of power. Karl Rove, Mr Bush's political strategist, once described him unflatteringly as "a lump," while former Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who owns a black labrador called Koni, is said to have remarked that such a small dog was unfitting for a world leader.
White House commentators have not been slow to analyse the significance of Barney's new belligerence, attributing it perhaps to his reluctance to vacate his Washington home and relocate to the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas. The White House's incoming occupant, Barack Obama, has promised to get his children a rescue dog in return for helping him during his election campaign.
The choice for America's new First Pet is being complicated by the fact that Malia, 10, Obamas' oldest daughter, is allergic to most breeds of dog - in much the same way as Barney now seems to be to some breeds of White House visitor.
It's Barney's nature! Scotties are bred to hunt rodents and will dig them out of their holes, just like the President pledged to do to AQ rats! I think Scottish terriers are an excellent choice for a world leader like Bush. Biden needs a Besengii!
Posted by: Bill Angains8020 ||
"President George W Bush's personal pet is facing the prospect of leaving the Oval Office in disgrace honor and glory after biting not one, but two people media beasts during the administration's final weeks."
A wind-blasted wildfire tore through the city's northern foothills Saturday, devastating a large mobile home park, forcing a hospital to evacuate some patients and sending thousands of residents fleeing for safety.
The fire broke out late Friday in the foothill community of Sylmar on the edge of the Angeles National Forest and quickly spread across 2,600 acres--more than 4 square miles--as it was driven by Santa Ana wind gusting as high as 76 mph.
Dozens of homes were destroyed, officials said, and aerial footage from television helicopters showed rows of houses gutted in just in one subdivision. Fire crews had to abandon a mobile home park that was burning out of control.
Oh, this is bad... this is the sort of thing that I grew up with. I posted a bit about California and fires ages ago, after my parents house burned in the Valley Center fire in 2004, and re-posted here. (I am doing stealth outreach and collecting fans of my writing.
There will be more of this -- eucalyptus trees spread by fire if I recall correctly. But the Red Greens refuse to allow the invasive eucalyptus to be removed because in their little minds every tree is sacred... regardless how exquisitely flammable. I'd bet lots of money that the boom was the eucalyptus trees exploding.
not so much north of SD county, TW. The Eucs were planted here as materials to use for Rail ties, before finding out they don't work. They don't spread by fire IIUC, but many pines do. Eucs are like matchsticks, with all the oil in them, they do "pop" as they ignite. Prayers to the evacuees and those who have losses...
Posted by: Frank G ||
It's just fire season, Frank. Next it's the Mud Season, (unless earthquake weather is in the forecast first), then it's Pelosi/Waxman/Waters/Stark/Harmon/Filner/Sanchez/Lee/Miller action for the emergency US bailout money for Arnold's 'stituants.
I was surprised someone would go to the effort, way back when, to:
a) think that Eucalyptus, which grow great in San Diego, which is alike Australia in climate, moisture, etc., then plant tens of thousands of them to use as railroad ties, only to
b) find out they don't work as RR ties.
Shouldn't "b" have preceded "a"? Something tells me it was a rich man's kid earning his "entrepreneurship" wings without the intelligence to sequence properly. Instead, San Diego has a tinder box of Eucs. Nice. At least, it ain't kudzu
Posted by: Frank G ||
Police officers with convictions for gun crimes, benefit fraud and violent attacks are still serving, it emerged last night.
The offences include discharging a firearm, possession of a cannabis plant, being drunk and disorderly, assault and theft. Many of the crimes took place while the officers were in post, supposedly protecting the public.
Last night experts said the public would be alarmed by the revelations, which point to a fall in standards. MPs said they raised 'serious questions' over whether courts can trust the evidence given by police convicted of dishonesty.
Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Chris Huhne said: 'The public will be rightly concerned that there are serving police officers who have committed crimes as serious as assault and firearms offences. Serious questions arise over whether the criminal courts can trust the evidence given by police officers who have committed benefit fraud.'
David Green, director of the Civitas think-tank, said: 'Why are people convicted of crimes against civilians being allowed to remain in the police service? t is also surely inappropriate that people who have been convicted of serious crimes such as theft and dishonesty should be permitted to hold such a job.'
I kn ow, I know, you got Bobama but you should still take a couple minutes to tank George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and other actors of Independence without forgetting those who died in the war.
(SomaliNet) Russian MPs have passed a bill to extend the president's term in office from four years to six. President Dmitry Medvedev initiated the bill last week on the premise that a four-year term is too short to introduce the reforms needed in a huge country like Russia.
The move is fuelling speculation that Vladimir Putin may return to the presidency in the near future. Russia's constitution forced Mr Putin to stand down as president after two terms in office. He is currently serving as prime minister. Officially, the bill has to pass another two readings in the Duma but, given the majority held by Mr Putin's United Russia party, it is sure to be approved.
There was a tasty race for Colorado senate when voters got to choose between Bacon and Fries.
In the end, Bacon won. Democrat incumbent Bob Bacon defeated Republican challenger Matt Fries on Tuesday 63 percent to 37 percent to represent the district that encompasses most of Larimer County in northern Colorado.
"I am so pleased that the voters appreciate the work that I have done," Bacon said. Bacon originally was elected to the seat in 2004 after serving three terms in the state House of Representatives. Fries is a long time education advocate. I have to admit I would take Bacon over Fries, too.
Muslim scholars in Morocco have raised objections to an international fair for wine producers in the city of Casablanca. The fair, hosted by the Elbertec group, began Thursday with more than 40 wineries from around the world participating, al-Arabiya reported Friday.
Mohamed Zahl, a founding member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, said the fair is "a provocation for Muslims and an affront to their religion."
"Morocco is an Islamic fortress targeted by those who want to tamper with the taboos of Muslims," he said.
Sheikh Abdul-Bari al-Zamzami, a member of the Moroccan Scholars Association, faulted government officials for allowing alcohol production in the country. "We cannot blame those who bring alcohol to Morocco. Official religious establishments and the Ministry of Endowments should be held accountable. They have to oppose this fair, but they haven't taken any action," Zamzami said.