sábado, 9 de janeiro de 2010
Slovakia, Bratislava - Ireland, Dublin - A quantity of danger explosives was brought into Ireland as result of failed security test in Slovakia.
During the live security tests on Saturday, Slovak authorities planted eight special items, including theplastic explosives, in the luggage of unsuspecting passengers as they prepared to board international flights at Bratislava and Poprad airports. Seven items were detected by airport security, but the eighth one - 90g of research development explosive (RDX) - was lost and unwittingly transported to Dublin by 49-year-old Slovakian man in his luggage.
The Slovakia's police alerted Ireland's Garda about danger security failure on Tuesday morning, three days after it happened. During the security operation followed the call from Bratislava, the roads around the Dorset Street apartment complex, close to Dublin’s main thoroughfare O’Connell Street, were sealed off. All the adjoining homes and businesses were evacuated and a security cordon was maintained. The Ireland's Army bomb disposal team found the explosives still concealed in men's luggage. The explosives was described as in a “stable state”.
The Slovakian man was arrested at the scene, but Garda are now satisfied that he is innocent and he was released from custody. He should not face charges.
One security source said: “It is an unbelievable mistake. If that much explosive was detonated, it would cause serious damage, it would kill if it went off in a plane".
The Embassy of Slovak Republic in Dublin declined to comment, but Slovakia's Interior Minister Robert Kalinak has conveyed his profound regret to Ireland's Justice Minister Dermot Ahern.
(Compiled from press reports / Illustration photo)
David McKittrick reports on the far-reaching consequences of Iris Robinson’s infidelity
The mesmerising saga of the toyboy, the Northern Ireland First Minister and his straying wife threatened to engulf Belfast’s frail political settlement last night.
Following a day closeted with advisers Peter Robinson, head of the Northern Ireland government, broke his silence to insist defiantly that he would not step down after a day of turmoil. His move is unlikely to stem the clamour for an inquiry into an affair which has fused the political and the sexual. First indications are that members of his party, the Democratic Unionists (DUP), are reacting to the disclosures with strong disapproval.
The party is highly religious and lays heavy emphasis on Christian family values. It is also currently highly nervous that the revelations could cost it seats in the coming Westminster election. If the DUP were to fracture as a result of the scandal it could lead the way to Sinn Fein becoming the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly – allowing them to nominate their own first minister and putting the peace process in jeopardy.
Disclosures in a BBC television programme on the activities of his wife Iris, who has already exited from public life, led to a day long flurry of political calls for inquiries into the Robinson family. Mr Robinson stands accused of failing to notify the authorities that his wife had been involved in financial transactions without declaring an interest. She helped a 19-year-old “toyboy” lover to set up a business.
Mr Robinson said he had asked for the appointment of a senior counsel “to ask me any questions he or she wishes to ask, and to give an opinion as to what I should have disclosed or whether I have breached an obligation”.
Mr Robinson accused the BBC of broadcasting “smears and innuendo”. Saying that he did not rule out a defamation action, he declared: “I am being tried in the court of public opinion”.
Mr Robinson insisted: “I don’t believe that I have done anything wrong. I have acted properly at all times. I have subjected myself to investigation. I am prepared publicly to allow the outcome of that investigation to be known.
“I think Iris does have questions to answer, but we must not breach her right to be able to do that. If it turns out there was no requirement to disclose I hope those people who’ve been smearing will stand up and be man enough to say, ‘We were wrong. He was right’”.
Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, who is Deputy First Minister, said he was shocked at the BBC revelations and is seeking talks with both Mr Robinson and Gordon Brown. Mr McGuinness was originally publicly sympathetic when news of the scandal broke, but his veering towards a tougher line is taken as indicating a calculation that Mr Robinson may not survive the current storm. Mr Robinson, who has been First Minister for a year and a half, is regarded as a pivotal figure in the peace process since he was prepared to follow the Rev Ian Paisley into government with Sinn Fein.
But the state of the political settlement has appeared increasingly rocky as Mr Robinson has resisted pressure from almost all points of the political compass to complete devolution by accepting a transfer of responsibility for policing from London to Belfast.
His reluctance to move on the policing issue was attributed to nervousness about challenges from hardline opponents in the Westminster general election. Now opponents are speculating that it might instead have at least partly been due to the family scandalwhich has just become public but which he knew of for months. In recent days Mrs Robinson dramatically announced she was leaving politics. She is currently Westminster MP for east Belfast, a councillor and a member of the Belfast Assembly.
Yesterday there were calls for her to depart immediately and stop drawing her salaries. These reflected the fact that, while her husband might have some faint chance of political survival, her behaviour is seen as inexcusable.
The BBC programme, Spotlight, revealed that her relationship with Kirk McCambley had developed into a sexual one. It said she suggested to him that he go into a business venture which was partly organised by Castlereagh council, where she is an alderman. She is said to have obtained £50,000 from two property developers, to be used to set up the business. She is also said to have helped approve the McCambley proposal without declaring a financial interest. The council said yesterday it was investigating.
The young man was interviewed for the BBC programme. So too was Mrs Robinson’s one-time political adviser Selwyn Black, a former Methodist minister, who allowed the BBC access to more than 150 text messages allegedly sent to him by Mrs Robinson.
Among those calling for a public inquiry were Jim Allister of Traditional Unionist Voice, a hardline critic of Mr Robinson. He said the issues in the programme must be addressed “with utter transparency and candour”. Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said: “It is clear that Iris Robinson’s position as an MP, Assembly member and councillor is utterly untenable. She should resign with immediate effect.” He added: “It is also unfortunately the case that the office of the First Minister is now embroiled in these matters”.
* Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward refused to speculate about Mr Robinson's future.
But he said: "It is a responsibility on everyone in the Assembly to understand that the consequences of allowing the political process to slide would undoubtedly have an impact on the broader canvas".
"And that if anybody were to be selfish enough to think this is a moment when that can be allowed to be put in the deep freeze, even some may wish to unpick, they would be extremely irresponsible, foolish and would be playing very, very dangerous games".
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Woodward said that the First Minister had to be allowed the opportunity to clear his name.
But he went on: "I'm very conscious of the fact that while all that is happening, he is First Minister and the business of devolution, the business of the Executive must go on.
"I hope he will be able to resume the responsibilities as First Minister to ensure that the work of the Executive continues and that includes the talks on policing and justice devolution".
Romania has registered 82 fatalities from, and 6,061 confirmed cases of, swine flu as nine more deaths and 120 new cases have been reported over the past 24 hours.
Most new cases were registered in capital city Bucharest (46), followed by Mures (11) and Timis (nine).
Romania's Health Ministry said yesterday (Thurs) that 210,000 people had been vaccinated by 3 January, and after that date requests for vaccination had increased by a factor of at least ten.
Cost to taxpayers for Ford Crown Victoria and hybrid Ford Escape: At least $1,800 a month, not including driver's salary
By Azam Ahmed and Todd LightyTribune reporters
In mid-October, Chicago Public Schools chief Ron Huberman made a special trip to Springfield to implore legislators to restore funding cuts that were aggravating an already painful budget season.
What he didn't mention to legislators was how he got there, in the literal sense. The school chief drove himself in a 2009 Ford Escape hybrid that costs taxpayers more than $800 a month. That vehicle is in addition to the Crown Victoria that Huberman rides around in while in Chicago; the school district leases it for about $1,000 a month, not including the driver's pay. Huberman, who was appointed in January of last year, makes $230,000 a year.
While previous school chiefs Paul Vallas and Arne Duncanboth had a car and driver, neither had an additional vehicle leased for them by the nation's third-largest school system. For that matter, the leaders of the nation's two largest school districts don't have that perquisite either.
In a tough year for the city's schools, with nearly a thousand layoffs expected and millions of dollars in program cuts, some are questioning the necessity of two cars for a CEO who has made his name by trimming inefficiencies.
"I would say that's hypocritical," said Jackson Potter, a teacher at Social Justice High School and co-chairman of the teacher's advocacy group Caucus of Rank and File Educators. "[Teachers] are expected to get to work on their own. The CEO should lead by example".
District officials disagree.
Huberman's car and driver can be used by his senior staff, spokeswoman Monique Bond said. His personal car is to get to and from work, weekend events and school-related trips to Springfield, she added. Bond said Huberman worked at least 36 weekend days in 2009 , and has taken a handful of trips to Springfield.
"The decision to lease a vehicle for the purpose of driving to early morning and late evening meetings and work-related functions as well as weekend events was based on efficiency," Huberman said in a prepared statement. "The job of the CEO involves a significant time commitment outside of standard business hours".
The school district spends more than $800,000 a year for leased vehicles, including gas and maintenance, according to data obtained by the Tribune through a Freedom of Information Act request. The majority of that spending is on vehicles for the warehouse distribution, food service and operations departments.
When Education Secretary Arne Duncan was the head of Chicago Public Schools, he did not have a second car from the district. Instead, he relied on a car and driver to take him to and from official business on weekends.
Paul Vallas, who led the school district before Duncan, also relied solely on the car and driver. If he needed a vehicle over the weekend when the driver wasn't working, Vallas said, he would take the car home with him. And if he was starting early, he'd drive his own car to and from the office.
Ramon Cortines, the head of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation's second-largest, gets a driver and a 2006 Ford Taurus but no additional leased vehicle. When his driver can't take him places due to overtime restrictions, Cortines drives himself around in the Taurus, said spokesman Robert Alaniz.
In the country's largest school district, the New York City public schools, Chancellor Joel Klein has a Chevy Malibu and driver available to him for school-related functions at all hours, but no separate vehicle to get around, said spokesman Danny Kanner.
Bond said Huberman typically begins his day around 7 a.m. and doesn't end until 8 p.m. on average. She says it doesn't make sense to have a driver make trips to his home, and that it's more cost-effective to have a separate car.
According to a review of district employees' use of taxpayer-financed cars, Huberman's is the most expensive. Eighteen officials at the school district have leased vehicles. Though he drives the same vehicle as two other district officials, Huberman's Escape costs about $900 more a year. That's because it is a hybrid version, Bond said.
Uri Geller is preparing to sue an American television news channel after it broadcast an allegation that he had betrayed his friend Michael Jackson for £100,000.
The legal action is the latest controversy to emerge from the claims and counter-claims arising out of the events that followed Jackson's death last year.
In his case for defamation, the psychic entertainer says he was the victim of a vicious email campaign after Michael Jackson's dermatologist publicly accused him on CNN of profiting from the controversial documentary of the pop star's life fronted by Martin Bashir. Geller, a British citizen, is bringing a High Court action in the UK after failing to win an adequate apology from CNN for what he says are totally false and unfounded allegations. The case concerns a broadcast in July when Arnold Klein, the star's former dermatologist, told veteran TV presenter Larry King that Geller had "sold Michael Jackson" to ITV for $200,000.
Mr Klein said: "In that interview, Michael was sort of assured that he'd paint him as a normal person. And they painted him as an absolute strange person."
Geller, who categorically denies personally benefiting from the exclusive interview with Mr Bashir shown in 2003, claims the CNN broadcast triggered an online hate campaign.
Paul Tweed, Geller's solicitor, has written to CNN in Atlanta demanding an apology and substantial damages.
The letter says: "During the course of the interview Dr Klein made a number of false and grossly defamatory allegations about our client ... that he cynically exploited his friendship with Michael Jackson for personal financial gain."
He adds: "For the avoidance of doubt, we would make it clear our client was not enriched in any way as a result of the Michael Jackson/Martin Bashir interview. Any monetary consideration our client received as a result of the introduction that he made in good faith between Martin Bashir and Michael Jackson was donated to charity in its entirety. The arrangement for all proceeds to go to charity had been firmly made prior to the programme being aired".
The case is seen as a test of America's battle with Britain over UK libel laws which allow claims to be brought in this country against US media.
A number of US states, including California and New York, have brought in laws that block claimants from enforcing libel judgments won in UK courts against American defendants. The legal backlash against what has become known as "libel tourism" follows a series of high-profile cases in which US magazines and broadcasters, with limited circulation and coverage in the UK, have been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds of damages to non-British citizens by the UK courts.
But lawyers argue that the US attempt to protect free speech by closing the door on UK libel claims is denying justice to British citizens who have a right to defend their reputation.
CNN has "widespread" coverage in the UK which is facilitated by Sky and Virgin, who will also be joined in these proceedings.
ITV has confirmed it will repeat the 2003 Bashir documentary Living with Michael Jackson but without the controversial segment in which a 12-year-old boy talked about the singer.
The broadcaster has said it will cut the 90-minute documentary, which was fronted by Bashir and screened around the world, to 60 minutes to fit a 9pm hour slot on 16 July, on ITV1.
*Michael Jackson's doctor, who is alleged to have injected the singer in the hours before his death, is expected to be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Los Angeles police will present their case against Dr Conrad Murray to the District Attorney's office within weeks, accusing him of negligence in the singer's overdose.