Details emerging from the theft of nearly $5 million in gold bars on an interstate highway indicate the heist was carefully planned and raise questions about who was involved other than the three armed robbers.
The robbers pulled up almost immediately after the drivers made an unscheduled stop on a dark stretch of highway in North Carolina, according to a warrant. When the crew got out of the truck, they left their firearms behind in violation of their employer’s security rules, the sheriff said. And while the workers told authorities they had to pull over because strong gasoline fumes were making at least one of them sick, a mechanic found no problems with the truck.
The circumstances led one detective to write that the heist on Sunday “could be an inside job,” though the sheriff declined to commit to that theory during a news conference Wednesday. One thing was clear, though: The heist was targeted and planned, down to the orange traffic cones the robbers put out while they unloaded 275 pounds of gold worth $4.8 million.
Ferguson Police Official Fired Over Racist Emails, 2 Others on Leave
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said Wednesday that one police official had been fired and two others were on administrative leave over racist emails that were cited in the Justice Department’s scathing new report on the city’s police department.
The emails, one of which compared President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee, were released by the Justice Department in a report that found patterns of racism by law enforcement officials in the St. Louis suburb. It was one of two reports that followed the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson.
Concern mounted Wednesday over the fate of civilians in Tikrit where Iraqi forces were trying to trap Islamic State group militants on the third day of a huge offensive to retake the city.
Around 30,000 security forces and allied fighters launched Monday the biggest anti-IS ground operation yet in Iraq, closing in on Tikrit from at least three directions.
A senior commander said operations were focused on cutting supply lines of weapons and reinforcements to the militants, who seized the city since June.
The next step will be to “surround the towns completely, suffocate them and then pounce on them,” Lieutenant General Abdel Amir al-Zaidi told AFP
How Ferguson raised revenue with their Pigment tax.
In March 2010, for instance, the City Finance Director wrote to Chief [Thomas] Jackson that ‘unless ticket writing ramps up significantly before the end of the year, it will be hard to significantly raise collections next year… . Given that we are looking at a substantial sales tax shortfall, it’s not an insignificant issue.’ Similarly, in March 2013, the Finance Director wrote to the City Manager: ‘Court fees are anticipated to rise about 7.5%. I did ask the Chief if he thought the PD could deliver 10% increase. He indicated they could try.’”
Furthermore, the report made clear that “officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on ‘productivity,’ meaning the number of citations issued.”
The report reads like one about a shakedown gang rather than about city officials.
More: The Feds vs. Ferguson
The Justice Department on Wednesday called on Ferguson, Mo., to overhaul its criminal justice system, declaring that the city had engaged in so many constitutional violations that they could be corrected only by abandoning its entire approach to policing, retraining its employees and establishing new oversight.
In one example after another, the report described a city that used its police and courts as moneymaking ventures, a place where officers stopped and handcuffed people without probable cause, hurled racial slurs, used stun guns without provocation, and treated anyone as suspicious merely for questioning police tactics.
The report gave credence to many of the grievances aired last year by African-Americans in angry, sometimes violent protests after the deadly police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. Though the Justice Department separately concluded that the officer, Darren Wilson, who is white, violated no federal laws in that shooting, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said investigations revealed the root of the rage that brought people into the streets.
North Korean state media called the knifing of the American ambassador to South Korea “punishment” as the U.S. Embassy in Seoul beefed up security following the attack on Mark Lippert.
Lippert underwent a three-hour surgery after suffering wounds to his face and arm. A four-inch-long gash down the right side of his face required 80 stitches, hospital officials said.
The diplomat said he was “doing well and in great spirits” following the attack, writing in a Twitter post that he “will be back ASAP.”
My public high school wasn’t the best, but we did have an amazing history teacher. Mr. L, as we called him, brought our country’s story to life. So when he taught us about the Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears, Andrew Jackson’s campaigns to force at least 46,000 Cherokees, Choctaws, Muscogee-Creeks, Chickasaws, and Seminoles off their ancestral lands, my classmates and I were stricken.
It was unfathomable that thousands of Native American men, women, and children were forced to march West, sometimes freezing to death or starving because U.S. soldiers wouldn’t let them bring extra food or blankets. It was hard to hear that the Choctaw Nation lost up to a third of its population on the death march. It was disorienting to learn that what amounted to ethnic cleansing had come at the insistence of an American president.
But then it was lunchtime, and we pulled out our wallets in the cafeteria. Andrew Jackson was there, staring out from every $20 bill. We had been carrying around portraits of a mass murderer all along, and had no idea.
It may have hidden in the ocean for millions of years, but life today poses numerous challenges for the West Indian Ocean coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae), the “living fossil” fish that was famously rediscovered off the coast of South Africa in 1938. The few areas in which the fish still swim face destruction from new port construction while the coelacanths themselves risk being caught up in fishing nets intended for sharks. Even climate change poses a new risk for the species.
The coelacanth already has a few protections in place—trade is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, for example—but now one more safeguard may soon be available. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed this week that coelacanths be listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The proposal wouldn’t cover all coelacanths. Instead it would only add protection for the fish that live off the coast of Tanzania, where a genetically distinct population faces the greatest threats. The populations that live near the Comoro Islands and South Africa would not gain additional protection, nor would the separate coelacanth species that lives in Indonesian waters.
Governor Matt Mead signed House Bill 23 into law on March 2, 2015, according to the Associated Press (March 2, 2015), so Wyoming is now free to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards.
The bill repeals a footnote in the state budget for 2014-2016 that precluded the use of state funds for “any review or adoption” of the NGSS. The treatment of climate change was cited as the reason for the footnote.
The blockage of the NGSS was widely condemned by the state’s scientists, educators, and newspapers, and the state board of education declined to develop a new set of science standards independent of the NGSS.
Whether the NGSS will in fact be adopted by Wyoming is up to the state board of education, since the bill directs the board to “independently examine and scrutinize any science standards proposed or reviewed as a template.”
So far the NGSS have been adopted in thirteen states — California, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia — plus the District of Columbia.
Violent collisions between the growing Earth and other objects in the solar system generated significant amounts of iron vapor, according to a new study by LLNL scientist Richard Kraus and colleagues.
The results show that iron vaporizes easily during impact events, which forces planetary scientists to change how they think about the growth of planets and evolution of our solar system.
For planetary scientists, one of the most important and complex research areas is predicting how planets form and evolve to their current state. Generally speaking, planets form by a series of impacts, with the speed of the impacts being slow at first, a few miles per hour, but then faster as the planets grow larger, up to 100,000 miles per hour.
At the end stages of formation, when the impact speeds are high and the material conditions are extreme (high temperatures and pressures), planetary scientists don’t have great models for how to describe what happens to the colliding bodies.