iNPLACENEWS Blog Has MOVED

September 14, 2008

Hey everyone!  From all the staff to all the readers of our blog and the watchers of our live news programming broadcasted live over the internet directly to your desktop, we want to thank you for all your support and participatiion.  We have relocated our blog to iNPLACENEWS.COM.  There you will find all our blogs, including the old posts, your comments you made, the place to download our free desktop player and all of the current news from around the world.  Stay up-to-date on all the current events by watching our broadcasts, reading our blogs, and watching videos-on-demand.  Again, go to iNPLACENEWS.COM for all the newest blogs and the older posts you love to go back to read.  Thank you again for your time, support, and participation.

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Blackwater Subject of Justice Department Probe

August 17, 2008

Half a dozen Blackwater Worldwide security guards have gotten target letters from the Justice Department in a probe of shootings in Baghdad that killed 17 Iraqis, The Washington Post reported.

The Blackwater guards are caught up in the investigation of shootings that took place last September when a Blackwater team arrived in several vehicles at an intersection in Baghdad where shooting erupted, leaving numerous Iraqis dead and wounded.

The Post described the six guards as former U.S. military personnel, but did not identify them by name.

Attributing its information to three sources close to the case, the Post said that any charges would be brought against the guards under a federal law used to prosecute cases referred to the Justice Department by the Pentagon for crimes committed by military personnel and contractors overseas.

Target letters often are a prelude to indictment.

The Post story appeared on the newspaper’s Website Saturday night.

The shootings began when a Blackwater convoy, which was responding to a Baghdad car bombing, entered the Nisoor Square traffic circle.

Blackwater says the convoy was ambushed by insurgents, touching off a firefight. Iraqi witnesses, however, described an unprovoked attack in which security guards fired indiscriminately, killing motorists, bystanders and children in the square.

Article by Associated Press

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1900 Year Old Chariot Discovered In Bulgaria

August 7, 2008


Archaeologists have unearthed a 1,900-year-old well-preserved chariot at an ancient Thracian tomb in southeastern Bulgaria, the head of the excavation said Thursday.

Daniela Agre said her team found the four-wheel chariot during excavations near the village of Borisovo, around 180 miles east of the capital, Sofia.

“This is the first time that we have found a completely preserved chariot in Bulgaria,” said Agre, a senior archaeologist at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

She said previous excavations had only unearthed single parts of chariots — often because ancients sites had been looted.

At the funerary mound, the team also discovered table pottery, glass vessels and other gifts for the funeral of a wealthy Thracian aristocrat.

In a separate pit, they unearthed skeletons of two riding horses apparently sacrificed during the funeral of the nobleman, along with well preserved bronze and leather objects, some believed to horse harnesses.

The Culture Ministry confirmed the find and announced $3,900 in financial assistance for Agre’s excavation.

Agre said an additional amount of $7,800 will be allocated by the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for an initial restoration and conservation of the chariot and the other Thracian finds.

The Thracians were an ancient people that inhabited the lands of present day Bulgaria and parts of modern Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and Romania between 4,000 B.C. and the 6th century, when they were assimilated by the invading Slavs.

Some 10,000 Thracian mounds — some of them covering monumental stone tombs — are scattered across Bulgaria.

Article by VESELIN TOSHKOV

Andre Jetmir for iNPLACENEWS

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.


IOC Strips Gold Medals After Admissions of Doping on US Relay Team

August 2, 2008

The International Olympic Committee stripped gold medals Saturday from the U.S. men’s 1,600-meter relay team that competed at the 2000 Olympics in the aftermath of Antonio Pettigrew’s admission that he was doping at the time.

The IOC executive board disqualified the entire team, the fourth gold and sixth overall medal stripped from that U.S. track contingent in the past eight months for doping.

Three gold and two bronze were previously removed after Marion Jones confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs.

Saturday’s decision was almost a formality after Pettigrew gave up his gold medal in June. During a trial involving former track coach Trevor Graham, he admitted in May that he used EPO and human growth hormone from 1997 to 2003.

Five of Pettigrew’s teammates also lose their medals: Michael Johnson and twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison ran in the final; Jerome Young and Angelo Taylor ran in the preliminaries.

It was Johnson’s fifth gold medal of his stellar career. He has already said he was giving it back because he felt “cheated, betrayed and let down” by Pettigrew’s testimony. Johnson still holds world records in the 200 and 400 meters.

Three of the four runners from the relay final have been tainted by drugs.

Alvin Harrison accepted a four-year ban in 2004 after admitting he used performance-enhancers. Calvin Harrison tested positive for a banned stimulant in 2003 and was suspended for two years. Young was banned for life for doping violations.

“We support the action taken today by the IOC,” USOC spokesman Darryl Seibel said. “Athletes who make the unacceptable choice to cheat should recognize that there will be consequences. Those consequences can be severe including the loss of medals and results. We’re in full support of this action. In other matters like this in the past we’ve worked with the IOC to make certain medals will be returned, and we’ll do so again.”

The IOC also disqualified Pettigrew from his seventh-place finish in the individual 400 meters in Sydney. And the committee banned him from attending the upcoming Beijing Games “in any capacity,” including as a competitor, coach or technical official. Pettigrew has retired from competition, and the U.S. Olympic Committee said there were no plans for him to be in Beijing.

The IOC had previously tried to strip the relay team after it became known that Young tested positive before the Sydney Games. But a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport said the entire team should not be disqualified, and Pettigrew and the others were allowed to keep their medals.

Saturday’s move came four months after the IOC stripped the gold from the U.S. women’s 1,600-meter relay team and bronze from the women’s 400-meter relay squad because of doping by Jones. She admitted last year that she used drugs at the time and returned her five medals, including gold in the 100 meters and 200 meters and bronze in the long jump.

The IOC has put off any decision on reallocating the U.S. medals until later this year when it takes into account all the files from the BALCO investigation in the United States.

No time frame for a decision on medal redistribution has been set, although an eight-year statute of limitations expires on Oct. 1.

Nigeria finished second in the men’s 1,600-meter relay, with Jamaica third and the Bahamas fourth.

“That’s such a shame, especially for the ones who were clean, and it’s most important for the athletes who were second,” Sanya Richards, who won gold on the 1,600-meter women’s relay in 2004, said from training camp in Dalian. “You lose that opportunity to stand on top of the podium and feel the joy of winning the race. Those are the people who hurt the worst when there are cheaters ahead of them. Giving back the medals is just a technicality because you can’t repair the hurt feelings and the hard work that went into it.”

The IOC is reluctant to hand Jones’ 100 gold to silver medalist Katerina Thanou, a Greek sprinter at the center of a doping scandal at the 2004 Athens Games. She and fellow Greek runner Kostas Kenteris missed drug tests on the eve of the opening ceremony and claimed they were injured in a motorcycle accident. They were forced to pull out of the games and were later suspended for two years.

An IOC disciplinary panel will meet next Thursday to consider whether Thanou can run at the Beijing Games. The 33-year-old sprinter qualified for the Greek team in the 100, but the IOC is reviewing her eligibility.

Thanou’s lawyer has threatened legal action if she is barred from the games.

Article by Stephen Wilson

Andre Jetmir for iNPLACENEWS

© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.


Five South Koreans Kidnapped in Mexico For Ransom

July 22, 2008

Five South Koreans, one woman and four men, were kidnapped while driving in Reynosa, a Mexican border city across the border from McAllen, Texas, police and embassy officials said Tuesday, and their captors reportedly are demanding a $30,000 ransom.

According to the South Korean Yonhap news agency, the captors falsely identified themselves as police, a common practice among criminals in Mexico. Mexican officials are investigating but had no leads in the case yet. In a statement made by a South Korean Embassy spokesman, the ransom had not been paid. He added that the kidnapped group had been looking into working in Mexico but did not elaborate. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the five were alive, but Kim said officials were still trying to confirm that. Mexico has one of the highest rates of kidnappings for ransom in the world.

Many abductions are never reported to police, in part for fear officials themselves might be involved or that they would bungle a possible rescue.

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Are US and North Korean Relations Improving?

July 22, 2008


The United States has proposed a mechanism for verifying North Korea’s claims about its nuclear past, Washington’s top envoy to the nuclear talks said Monday.

The proposal was made in Beijing last week, and the U.S. is waiting for a response from Pyongyang, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told reporters.

After giving North Korea the proposal “we … asked them to come back with specific comments,” said Hill, who will assist U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in talks between the foreign ministers of the six nations involved in the nuclear negotiations – China, Japan, the two Koreas, Russia and the U.S.

On Tuesday, South Korea’s main nuclear envoy confirmed the proposal was made to the North.

“The ball is actually in the North Korean court because they already received the draft of verification protocol,” Kim Sook told reporters after talks with Hill. Details of the proposal were not known.

Hill said the six-party talks, to be held Wednesday on the sidelines of a regional security conference in Singapore, are likely to discuss the verification issue.

North Korea submitted a long-delayed list of its nuclear programs last month, though it omitted details about nuclear weapons, alleged uranium enrichment program and possible nuclear proliferation.

In return, Washington announced it would remove the North from its terrorism blacklist and relaxed some economic sanctions on the communist nation. That led Pyongyang to blow up the cooling tower at its main nuclear reactor, to demonstrate its commitment to abandoning nuclear weapons.

Six-nation nuclear negotiations were then held in Beijing less than two weeks ago – for the first time in nine months – and produced an agreement on principles for proceeding with verification of North Korea’s claims. One of the principles says the procedure should involve interviews with North Korean nuclear experts.

Hill has said earlier that the U.S. wants to reach agreement with the North on a specific verification protocol by early September. Last week’s proposal offered to the North is believed to be the first draft of the envisioned protocol.

“We’ve always maintained that verification is essential,” Hill said Monday. “We hope to make some progress on that very soon.”

Wednesday’s session would mark the highest-level meeting in the six-country negotiations, which began in 2003 with the aim of convincing North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program.

It would also be the first time Rice has met North Korea’s top diplomat.

China, host of the nuclear talks, praised the planned meeting as a good chance to progress on denuclearization.

“This is the first time that the high-level delegations to the six-party talks have held an informal meeting,” said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi after talks with his Japanese counterpart. “I think it will be very good for advancing the agenda of the talks.”

Still, Hill played down the meeting’s significance.

“I would not exaggerate its importance,” he said. “I think it’s an opportunity for people to get together and exchange some thoughts informally.”

Article by Jae-Soon Chang
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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Video of Gitmo Interrogation of Teen Released

July 15, 2008

A 16-year-old captured in Afghanistan and held at Guantanamo Bay sobs during his questioning, holding up his wounded arms and begging for help in a video released Tuesday that provided the first glimpse of interrogations at the U.S. military prison.

“Help me,” he cries repeatedly in despair.

The 10 minutes of video – selected by Omar Khadr’s Canadian lawyers from more than seven hours of footage recorded by a camera hidden in a vent – shows Khadr weeping, his face buried in his hands, as he is questioned by Canadian intelligence agents over four days in 2003.

The video, created by U.S. government agents at the prison in Cuba and originally marked as secret, provides insight into the effects of prolonged interrogation and detention on the Guantanamo prisoner.

A Canadian Security Intelligence Services agent in the video grills Khadr about events leading up to his capture as an enemy combatant when he was 15. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, is accused of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier during a 2002 firefight in Afghanistan. He was arrested after he was found in the rubble of a bombed-out compound – badly wounded and near death.

At one point in the interrogation, Khadr pulls off his orange prisoner shirt and shows the wounds he sustained in the firefight. He complains he cannot move his arms and says he had not received proper medical attention, despite requests.

“They look like they’re healing well to me,” the agent says of the injuries.

“No, I’m not. You’re not here (at Guantanamo),” says Khadr, the son of an alleged al-Qaida financier.

The agent later accuses Khadr of using his injuries and emotional state to avoid the interrogation.

“No, you don’t care about me,” Khadr says.

Khadr also tells his interrogator that he was tortured while at the U.S. military detention center at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, where he was first detained after his arrest in 2002.

Later on in the tape, a distraught Khadr is seen rocking, his face in his hands.

On the final day, the agent tells Khadr that he was “very disappointed” in how Khadr had behaved, and tries to impress upon him that he should cooperate.

Khadr says he wants to go back to Canada.

“There’s not anything I can do about that,” the agent says.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, denied that Khadr was mistreated while in U.S. custody. “Our policy is to treat detainees humanely and Khadr has been treated humanely,” Gordon said.

The video is believed to be the first footage shown of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in action during its 24-year history, offering an unprecedented glimpse into its interrogation strategies. The video was made by U.S. authorities and turned over to Khadr’s defense team, Gordon said. The tapes are U.S. property.

The Supreme Court of Canada in May ordered the Canadian government to hand over key evidence against Khadr to his legal team to allow a full defense of the charges against him, which include accusations by the U.S. that he spied for and provided material support to terrorists.

In June, a Canadian Federal Court judge ordered the Canadian government to release the video to the defense team after the court ruled the U.S. military’s treatment of Khadr broke human rights laws, including the Geneva Conventions.

The video was released by Alberta-based lawyers Nathan Whitling and Dennis Edney a week after intelligence reports made public last week showed Khadr was abused in detention at the U.S. naval base-turned-prison on the tip of Cuba.

A Department of Foreign Affairs report said Canadian official Jim Gould visited Khadr in 2004 and was told by the American military that the detainee was moved every three hours to different cells. That technique, dubbed, “frequent flyer,” was one of at least two sleep deprivation programs the U.S. military used against Guantanamo prisoners. Detainees were moved from cell to cell throughout the night to keep them awake and weaken their resistance to interrogation. The report also says Khadr was placed in isolation for up to three weeks and then interviewed again.

Whitling and Edney released the video with hopes that public reaction to the footage will prompt Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to lobby for his repatriation. Thus far Harper has maintained he will not seek Khadr’s return to Canada.

“We hope that the Canadian government will finally come to recognize that the so-called legal process that has been put in place to deal with Omar Khadr’s situation is grossly unfair and abusive,” Whitling said. “It’s not appropriate to simply allow this process to run its course.”

Khadr’s sister, Zaynab Khadr, who lives in Toronto, said she was pessimistic his situation would improve soon.

She noted that another brother, Abdullah Khadr, now in prison on terror charges in Canada awaiting extradition to the United States, was interrogated by Canadian agents despite having been abused in detention in Pakistan.

“He was tortured for their benefit and he still continues to be in jail and it hasn’t changed much, so I can’t expect it to be any different in Guantanamo,” Zaynab Khadr said.

Story by Charmaine Noronha

Video provided by Al Jazeera

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Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.