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Archive for December, 2012

INDIAN MOURNERS PAY HOMAGE TO A PACK RAPE VICTIM

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was at Indira Gandhi International Airport for the arrival of the specially-chartered plane carrying the victim when it touched down at around 4.15am on Sunday (9.45am AEDT).

A procession carrying the gold-coloured coffin and the victim’s parents then drove towards the Janakpuri district of Delhi where she had been living while studying for a degree in medicine. The area was off limits to journalists.

The 23-year-old’s young woman’s body was repatriated barely three days after she was flown to a Singapore hospital in a desperate final bid to save her life.

Thousands of people took part in late night candlelit vigils for the medical student who has been the focus of a wave of protests ever since she was savagely attacked by a gang of men on a moving bus just two weeks ago.

As police said the six accused of murdering the unnamed woman could face the death penalty, Singh led appeals for calm to prevent a repeat of the sometimes violent protests that followed the December 16 assault.

indian rape victim candle vigil image www.crimefiles.net

Thousands took part in fresh demonstrations on Saturday but they passed off peacefully as mourners vowed the student’s killing would serve as a tipping point for how the nation deals with violence against women.

Doctors who had been treating her at Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital after she was airlifted there on Thursday were unable to prevent multiple organ failure and she died before dawn on Saturday.

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Details of her funeral are not available

Protesters who gathered in the Jantar Mantar thoroughfare in central Delhi, scene of the largest protest, said the death was a wake-up call for a country in denial about the levels of violence that women face every day.

The numbers swelled into the evening, with some 5000 taking part in a candlelit vigil after nightfall despite near freezing temperatures.

Similar protests and vigils were held in other cities including Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad.

Bela Rana, who was among the protesters in Delhi, said women were no longer prepared to suffer in silence.

“We are aware that this is not the first case, nor will it be the last case of pack-rape in India, but it is clear that we will not tolerate sex crimes any more,” said Rana, a Delhi-based lawyer.

Some of the protesters carried placards that read “Hang the Rapist” against the backdrop of a noose.

While six men who had already been arrested have yet to be formally charged, they are now accused of murder.

“It is a non-bailable offence which carries the death sentence,” police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.

Gang-rapes are a daily occurrence in India and many go unreported by victims who have little faith in an often painfully slow justice system and are deterred by the response they can receive from male police officers.

But the particularly savage nature of the attack in Delhi has brought simmering anger to a boiling point and prompted the government to promise better security for women and harsher sentences for sex crimes.

After being lured onto a bus, the student was attacked by the men who took turns raping her and assaulted her with an iron bar before throwing her and her male companion off the moving vehicle.

“We have already seen the emotions and energies this incident has generated,” said Singh.

“These are perfectly understandable reactions from a young India and an India that genuinely desires change.”

As crowds mourned the student’s death, the Press Trust of India reported a new series of sex attacks, including the gang-rape of a 14-year-old girl who then tried to commit suicide by swallowing poison in Gujarat state.

And an 18-year-old rape victim committed suicide in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh after police allegedly failed to take action against the accused

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Large numbers of police are on duty around the site of the ceremony which is being held less than four hours after the 23-year-old’s body was flown back from Singapore where she had died of her injuries.

The family of a murdered Indian gang-rape victim have said their final prayers for the 23-year-old student at the start of a cremation ceremony at a funeral ground in New Delhi.

Her body is to be cremated on a funeral pyre at the end of the ceremony in the southwestern Dwarka district of the Indian capital.

Police say several senior politicians were present at the cremation ground ‘‘to express their grief to the family’’.
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CORRUPT CUSTOMS OFFICIALS ARRESTED OVER INVOLVEMENT IN DRUGS

AN ENTRENCHED network of allegedly corrupt customs officers at Sydney Airport has been importing drugs with organised crime figures for several years in one of Australia’s most serious corruption scandals.

At least 15 officials in Sydney Airport border security posts are suspected of involvement in serious misconduct or corruption, ranging from criminal association and leaking information to drug trafficking, drug manufacturing, money laundering and bribery. The number may be as high as 20.

A six-month Fairfax Media investigation – done with the ABC’s 7.30 program – can reveal that the cell has been exploiting major gaps in airport and customs security to regularly smuggle millions of dollars worth of narcotics and drug money past border controls and on to Australian streets.

Customs.

Corrupt airport baggage handlers are also allegedly involved. The allegedly corrupt cell has been operating since at least 2009 from the international passenger terminal and freight section and is suspected to have imported pseudoephedrine, cocaine, steroids and possibly weapons.

Property, court and business records, social media sites and multiple well-placed sources link members of the allegedly corrupt customs cell to Sydney-based crime figures, including underworld boss Alex “Little Al” Taouil, drug traffickers Joseph Harb and Diego Refojos and members of the Comanchero outlaw bikie gang and Middle Eastern crime groups.

The scandal is regarded as so serious because of the scale of the alleged corruption and the failure of the Customs Service – which was led until August by career public servant Michael Carmody – to read multiple warning signs that the organisation was badly exposed to corruption.

Diego Refojos ... recently pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court to serious drug offences.
Diego Refojos … recently pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court to serious drug offences.

The customs agency has employed officers with criminal associations and allowed relatively junior officers to wield significant influence over other staff by having the power to manage rosters.

Leaked customs documents dating back to 2007 detail multiple internal warnings that customs lacked the power, resources and ability to detect corruption and that its anti-corruption framework was “outdated and requires revision”.

In response to questions sent to customs on Monday, acting customs CEO Mike Pezzullo stressed that the agency had already made major improvements to its corruption-busting system.

Airport customs officer  ... Adrian Paul Lamella.
Airport customs officer … Adrian Paul Lamella.

But Mr Pezzullo conceded ”more needs to be done” and revealed he would ”take all necessary action”, including the launching of an agency-wide review of ”workplace culture, management and leadership … to ensure the integrity of our workplace”.

He also said that while customs’ ”internal oversight systems” had helped to identify corruption risks at Sydney Airport in 2011, ”clearly more can be done”.

Fairfax and the ABC have traced drugs seized last March by the NSW police drug squad in an apartment in the Sydney suburb of Woolooware to one of several drug consignments allegedly smuggled past border controls by customs officials at Sydney Airport.
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Diego Refojos, 24, recently pleaded guilty in the NSW District Court to serious drug offences connected to the Woolooware raid. It is believed Refojos was linked to several earlier drug importations that have never been recovered by authorities.

It is understood that two allegedly corrupt customs officials were at the Woolooware apartment before the raid, but left before the drug squad arrived.

A small number of customs officers are also suspected to have helped make drugs out of the pre-cursor chemicals they allegedly smuggled into the country.

One of the alleged key players in the cell is airport customs officer Adrian Paul Lamella.

Lamella retained his job at customs despite NSW police alleging in 2008 that they discovered him in a car with two other men and five small bags stamped with Playboy bunny logos and filled with cocaine.

Also, Lamella’s customs position and security clearance were not affected when Lamella later admitted using a small amount of cocaine.

Property records also show that in 2010 Joseph Harb transferred his share in a Sydney apartment to Lamella. Harb was arrested in August by federal police and charged with smuggling drugs through Sydney Airport.

For several months Fairfax and the ABC have delayed releasing details of the ”customs in crisis” inquiry at the request of a joint anti-corruption taskforce, codenamed Marca, run by the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) and the Australian Federal Police.

ACLEI and the federal police have refused to provide any detailed comments about Marca because it is an ongoing inquiry, although ACLEI confirmed it was investigating ”corrupt conduct in border environments”.

Court records reveal that taskforce Marca arrested Lamella in Sydney earlier this week and charged him with drug trafficking and bribery.

In August, another customs officer, Paul Katralis, was arrested and charged by Taskforce Marca with drug trafficking and bribery.
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But several other allegedly corrupt customs agents at Sydney Airport, including officers with strong links to drug traffickers, are still working for the agency. Broader ethical and integrity failings in customs are not being investigated by Marca.

The revelations will put intense pressure on the federal government to explain why suspected corrupt officers are still working and why there are still gaping holes in airport border security, despite multiple warnings from police and official inquiries, including the 2005 Wheeler report into security problems at Sydney Airport.

While up to 20 customs officers are suspected to have engaged in a range of serious misbehaviour, it’s understood a core group of up to 10 customs officers are believed to be responsible for drug trafficking.

A range of well placed sources, including figures at the airport, told Fairfax that their activities include:

Allowing drug-filled backpacks and luggage to pass freely through customs controls;

Allowing drug money to be smuggled through the airport and out of Australia to fund the resupply of drugs to be smuggled back through the airport;

Manipulating staff rosters and using CCTV black spots to allow corrupt activity, including drug trafficking, to go undetected.
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A high-level internal customs memo from November 2007 warned that customs’ internal affairs unit had ”insufficient case management resources and capability” and despite calls for anti-corruption reforms ”no action has been taken at this time”.

In 2007, 2008 and 2009, internal memos called for better anti-corruption intelligence gathering, drug and alcohol testing and ”the mandatory reporting of fraud, corruption, serious misconduct and administrative breaches”.

Customs only began introducing many of these reforms this year – and some won’t be in place until next year – although in 2011, the agency fell under the jurisdiction of the anti-corruption agency ACLEI.

Mr Carmody resigned from customs in August, after the arrest of Paul Katralis.

The customs anti-corruption reform process has been expedited by the Home Affairs Minister, Jason Clare, who is believed to have been briefed on Taskforce Marca’s work this year and raised concerns at customs’ failure to have adequate anti-corruption measures in place.

Even the simplest of the changes called for in late 2007 – the renaming of the Internal Affairs Unit – took more than two years to implement.

ROMANIAN CRIMINAL KILLS AUSTRALIAN IN $1M DIAMOND SCAM

A coroner in Western Australia has said he is satisfied that missing diamond dealer Wayne Drewett is dead following his involvement in a black market transaction with a Romanian counter-party.

The West Australian reports that coroner Peter Collins believes Drewett, 57, was a victim of foul play following his sudden disappearance nine years ago. Drewett was last seen by his wife Joyce on April 14, 2003, less than a week after raising up to AUD$1 million in funds for a black market diamond deal.

According to News.com Collins has pointed an accusing finger at the man responsible for facilitating the illicit transaction, Romanian-born Niculae Stoian, who also goes by the Anglicized name of Nick Stuart. Collins said that “all roads” pointed to Stuart’s involvement in Drewett’s death.

“There is [a] substantial body of circumstantial evidence pointing to the fact that Nick Stuart had contributed to Mr. Drewett’s disappearance and death.”

Stuart departed Australia soon following Drewett’s appearance in April 2003, and has never returned to the country.

Police believe that the diamonds for which Drewett raised $1 million to import to Australia never existed.

Evidence submitted to the coroner’s inquest indicates that Stuart left Australia with thousands of dollars in cash in his possession. Stuart transferred $12,700 just prior to his departure, and declared a further $60,000 upon leaving Australia.

Police in Western Australia plan to contact the Romanian authorities, and the coroner’s report will be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration.

INTERNET CRIMINAL GANG BUSTED WITH $850 MILLION STOLEN

FBI Investigators and aided by Facebook, have busted an international criminal ring that infected 11 million computers  worldwide and caused more than $US850 million ($A806m) in total losses in one of the largest cyber crime hauls in history.
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The FBI, working in concert with the world’s largest social network and several international law enforcement agencies, arrested 10 people it says infected computers with “Yahos” malicious software, then stole credit card, bank and other personal information.

Facebook’s security team assisted the FBI after “Yahos” targeted its users from 2010 to October 2012, the US federal agency said in a statement on its website. The social network helped identify the criminals and spot affected accounts, it said.

Its “security systems were able to detect infected accounts and provide tools to remove these threats”, the FBI said.

According to the agency, which worked also with the US Department of Justice, the accused hackers employed the “Butterfly Botnet”. Botnets are networks of compromised series of computers that can be used in a variety of cyber attacks on personal computers.

The FBI said it nabbed 10 people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, New Zealand, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States, executed numerous search warrants and conducted a raft of interviews.

It estimated the total losses from their activities at more than $US850 million, without going into details.

Hard data is tough to come by, but experts say & we see it everywhere that cyber crime is on the rise around the world as PC and mobile computing become more prevalent and as more and more financial transactions shift online, leaving law enforcement, cyber security professionals and targeted corporations increasingly hard-pressed to recognize  and ward off attacks.

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HORRENDOUS CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY BY NEWTOWN GUNMAN

THE COWARDLY DERANGED RETARD WHO WAS ADAM LANZA

IF AND WHEN IT HAPPENS AGAIN & THE KILLER SURVIVES PLEASE PUT HIM/HER TO DEATH IN THE MOST SLOWEST & CRUELEST OF WAYS POSSIBLE

1…HERE>>http://crimefiles.net/2011/09/20/eight-more-very-brutal-exection-methods-over-the-years/

2…& HERE >>http://crimefiles.net/2011/09/18/ten-of-the-most-brutal-execution-methods-over-time/

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Their lives ended yesterday when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Theirs were among 26 bodies, including 20 children, identified by authorities today in the nation’s second-deadliest mass shooting. All of the dead students were 6 or 7, and included children such as Charlotte Bacon, Noah Pozner and Chase Kowalski. Among the dead adults was the school’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung.

Police haven’t explained the motive for the attack in the 28,000-person town about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northeast of New York City. Authorities have identified the gunman as Adam Lanza, 20, who turned a gun on himself. His mother, Nancy, was also found dead in her home. Lanza was described by those who knew him as an intelligent and socially awkward youth, distanced from his peers.

The shooting has drawn international attention to the town, with President Barack Obama and Pope Benedict XVI expressing their condolences.

Innocent murdered ... this 2012 photo provided by the family shows Emilie Alice Parker.
Innocent murdered … this 2012 photo provided by the family shows Emilie Alice Parker.

Teaching dance

Emilie Parker’s father, Robert Parker, 30, a physician’s assistant, held back tears as he described a lively, loving, and kind girl.

She was a best friend to her younger sisters, and was teaching them to read and dance, Parker told reporters. His last conversation with Emilie yesterday was in Portuguese, a language her father was teaching her. He kissed her for the last time, and went to work.

Emilie Parker, shown with her father Robbie Parker, was one of the 20 children killed.
Emilie Parker, shown with her father Robbie Parker, was one of the 20 children killed. Photo: Reuters

“She was the type of person that could just light up the room,” he said. “Emilie’s laughter was infectious, and all those who had the pleasure to meet her would agree that this world is a better place because she has been in it.”

Soto, the first-grade teacher, often stayed at school until 8 p.m., her sister Carlee said, and was almost done with her master’s degree in teaching from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.

Protecting kids

“She strived for being her best,” she said.

Her sister Jillian, 24, described Soto as a hero.

“She died protecting the kids that she loved,” Jillian said. “We’re very proud to say she’s out sister.”

Soto’s neighbor in Stratford, Connecticut, George Henderson, 55, remembered the help she gave him. Henderson has back trouble and said she shoveled his front walkway when it snowed.

“She was an angel,” he said. “And God comes and takes his angels.”

Hochsprung, 47, the principal, lived with her husband, George, outside the Woodlake Condominiums in Woodbury, Connecticut, where an American flag stood at half staff. Neighbors remembered her planting shrubs in the courtyard, and invitations to dinner.

“She connected with my kids and always went out of her way to speak to all kids,” said Bernardo DeCastro, 39, a teacher at Roger Spring Middle School in Danbury. “She had a light in her. She was also a kind and caring grandmother.”

Train talk

Mandy Ives, 49, said Hochsprung was an advocate for her son, Henry, 9, taking the time to chat with him about trains and puzzles when he attended the school this year. He transferred before the shooting.

“This is the last place you’d ever expect this to happen,” she said.

This year, Hochsprung began pursuing a doctorate in educational leadership at the Esteves School of Education at the Sage Colleges in Albany, New York, two hours away, where she attended weekend classes.

She showed up at a recent class with two dozen donuts for fellow students, said Janice White, one of her professors. She wrote a paper on exhibiting courage in the face of fear, she said.

“She had the courage to put other people’s needs in front of her own,” she said.

During the attack, she confronted the gunman after he shot through glass to enter the building, said Maryann Jacob, an assistant librarian. The gunman then shot Hochsprung, she said.
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THE LATEST ON THE SLAUGHTER GUNMAN THAT WAS NEWTOWN USA

HE CARRIED a black briefcase to his 10th-grade honours English class and sat near the door, so he could readily slip in and out. When called upon, he was intelligent, but nervous and fidgety, spitting his words out, as if having to speak up were painful.

Pale, tall and scrawny, Adam Lanza walked through high school in Newtown, Connecticut, with his hands glued to his sides, the pens in the pocket of his short-sleeve, button-down shirts among the few things classmates recalled about him.

He did all he could to avoid attention, it seemed.

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Until Friday. The authorities said Lanza, 20, wearing combat gear, carried out one of the deadliest shootings in the nation’s history.

He killed 20 children and six adults at the elementary school where his mother worked, they said. He then apparently turned his gun on himself. Earlier, the police said, he also killed his mother.

In his brief life, Lanza left few footprints, electronic or otherwise. He apparently had no Facebook page, unlike his older brother, Ryan, a Hoboken, New Jersey, resident who for several hours was misidentified in news reports as perpetrator of the massacre.

Undated photo confirmed by government officials to be Adam Lanza, who apparently killed himself after killing more than two dozen others, including 20 school children. Image:usnews.nbcnnews.com</p> <p>Connecticut allows possession of assault rifles, except those with certain features, such as a fixed bayonet type lug, or a collapsible stock, according to attorney David Clough of Southbury, Conn.</p> <p>Otherwise they are allowed, and like other rifles, easier to acquire than handguns.</p> <p>Under Connecticut law, anyone 21 or older can purchase ammunition, Clough said.</p> <p>The Associated Press, citing an unnamed official, reported that state police records show that Nancy Lanza had legally purchased five firearms, all registered in Connecticut, though the reported was not independently confirmed by NBC News. The AP later reported that authorities also recovered three other guns ? a Henry repeating rifle, an Enfield rifle and a shotgun. It was not clear where those weapons were found.
Adam Lanza in 2005: Classmates recall his distress in social situations.
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Adam Lanza did not even appear in his high school yearbook. His spot on the page said ”camera shy”. Others who graduated in 2010 did not believe he had finished school.

Matt Baier, now a student at the University of Connecticut, and other high school classmates, recalled how deeply uncomfortable Lanza was in social situations. Several believed he had a developmental disorder. They said they had been told the disorder was Asperger’s syndrome, considered a high-functioning form of autism.

”It’s not like people picked on him for it,” Mr Baier said. ”From what I saw, people just let him be.”

Law enforcement officials said on Friday they were closely examining whether Lanza had such a disorder.

One former classmate who said he was familiar with the disorder said: ”If you looked at him, you couldn’t see any emotions going through his head.”

Others said Lanza’s evident discomfort prompted giggles from those who did not understand him.

”You could tell that he felt so uncomfortable about being put on the spot,” said Olivia DeVivo, also now at the University of Connecticut. ”Maybe he wasn’t given the right kind of attention or help. I think he went so unnoticed that people didn’t even stop to realise maybe there’s actually something else going on here – that maybe he needs to be talking or getting some kind of mental help. In high school, no one really takes the time to look and think, ‘Why is he acting this way?’ ”

Out of view of his classmates, Lanza’s adolescence seemed to have been turbulent. In 2006, his older brother graduated from high school and went to Quinnipiac University, in Connecticut, leaving him alone with their parents, whose marriage was apparently coming apart.
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In 2008, they divorced, after 17 years, court records show. His father, Peter Lanza, a tax executive for General Electric, moved to Stamford, and last year remarried.

His mother, Nancy Lanza, kept their home in Newtown, in a prosperous, hilly enclave of spacious, newer homes about eight kilometres from the elementary school where she taught kindergarten. Adam Lanza is thought to have been living in the house, too.

Friends remembered Nancy Lanza as being very involved in her sons’ lives.

”Their mother was very protective, very hands-on,” said Gina McDade, whose son was a playmate of Ryan Lanza’s and spent much time at his home, which she described as a two-storey colonial with a pool.

”It was a beautiful home,” Ms McDade said. ”She was a good housekeeper, better than me. You could tell her kids really came first.”

On Friday, police officers and agents from the FBI swarmed through the Lanzas’ neighbourhood, blocking off streets and asking residents to leave their homes.

Throughout the afternoon, Nancy Lanza’s surviving son, Ryan, was named by some news outlets as the killer.

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Ryan Lanza’s identification had been found on the body of his brother, leading to the mistaken reports.

Brett Wilshe, a neighbour of Ryan Lanza in Hoboken, said he communicated with him by instant message at 1.15pm.

”He said he thought his mom was dead, and he was heading back up to Connecticut,” Mr Wilshe said. ”He said, ‘It was my brother.’

Carnage in America as gunman  opens fire at a primary school in Newtown, a small town in rural Connecticut, USA. Twenty children were shot dead.

At the end of a tragic news day, the question remains: how could this happen? and why? As with other mass murders  having stained US history, the answer could lie in a mentally unstable shooter with few friends to pick up warning signs, and access to high-powered guns.

The loner suspected of killing more than two dozen people at a school in the US state of Connecticut was an honours student who lived in a prosperous neighbourhood with his mother, a grade school teacher who liked to host dice games and decorate the house for the holidays, AP reports.

Personal details about Adam Lanza are dribbling out, but he left few footprints. Described by his brother as having a personality disorder, the suspected shooter had no Facebook page and did not even appear in his high school yearbook; his spot on the page said “Camera shy”, The New York Times reported.

Described by former classmates as intelligent but socially inept, authorities are reportedly examining whether Lanza’s disorder was Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. Police are still searching for a motive.

Hundreds of grief-stricken Newtown residents gathered for a vigil on Friday night in memory of the children and staff killed in the shooting rampage.

Twenty-six candles – one for each of the victims at the school – flickered on the altar at the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic church, which was filled to capacity. Scores spilled outside holding hands in circles in the cold night air, saying prayers and singing “Silent Night”, AP reports.

Monsignor Robert Weiss said: “These 20 children lit up this community better than all these Christmas lights we have. … There are a lot brighter stars up there tonight because of these kids.

Fairfax correspondent Nick O’Malley arrived in Newtown a short time ago, and described the scene: “People are gathering in restaurants and coffee shops; basically they don’t want to be alone,” he said.O’Malley described Newtown as a “beautiful town” and said it was festooned with Christmas lights and the lights from all the TV networks doing their outside broadcasts.It has just gone 10:45pm in Newtown and things are starting to quieten down, with police scheduled to hold their next briefing at 8am local time.Sandy Hook Elementary School, which is about a five-minute drive from the centre of town, remains cordoned off by police. It is not known whether remains of some of the victims are still inside.

The White House continues to be vague about whether tighter gun laws are in the offing following President Barack Obama’s claim that “meaingful action to prevent more tragedies like this” was on the way. White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration did not want to politicise a tragedy when asked for more detail of any new initiatives.

Liberal Democrats are already pushing for tighter laws but despite a long history of school shootings Republicans have yet to be swayed that further gun control is necessary.

“‘That’s one thing I hope doesn’t happen,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, a senior Michigan Republican who is a former FBI agent, according to The New York Times. ”That’s certainly the lowest common denominator. What is the more realistic discussion is, how do we target people with mental illness who use firearms?”

A law enforcement official said guns legally purchased by shooter Adam Lanza’s mother matched the models of guns used in Friday’s rampage. Police found Lanza dead in a classroom along with two guns, a Glock and Sig Sauer; another gun, a Bushmaster, was found in his car.

Lieutenant Paul Vance of Connecticut State Police described the scene at the school as “horrific”. “Between our mutual experience we’ve never seen anything like this – it’s as heart-wrenching for us as it is for the families,” he told reporters.

He said the murdered children would be identified on the weekend after families had been properly notified and “positive IDs” were confirmed.

Another hero teacher story has emerged from the second deadliest school shooting massacre in US history.

The Daily Mail reports that music teacher Maryrose Kristopik saved 15 children during the shooting by barricading them into a closet, as gunman Adam Lanza was outside the door screaming “Let me in! Let me in!”.

The paper quoted an unnamed mother, in her 40s, whose nine-year-old son was among the children, saying: “I want to thank her. She saved their lives.”

Another parent, Brenda Lebinski, said her eight-year-old daughter was safe thanks to the “hero” teacher.

More reports are coming in from children who witnessed the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung

Bloomberg reports that C.J. Hoekenga, a Sandy Hook fourth-grader, was in music class watching The Nutcracker when he heard bangs, heavy breathing and then gunshots. His teacher told them to get into a closet, the youngster said.

”At first I thought it was practice,” C.J. said. ”Then we realised it wasn’t.”

He and classmates said prayers until a police officer arrived. They then exited single-file and ran to a nearby fire station, he said.”I’m relieved that most of the children got out and the man behind this is dead,” C.J. said.

The New York Times quoted a nine-year-old boy who said he was in the gymnasium when the shooting erupted.

”We were in the gym, and I heard really loud bangs,” said the boy, as he stood shivering and weeping outside the school with his father’s arms draped around him.

”We thought that someone was knocking something over. And we heard yelling and we heard gunshots. We heard lots of gunshots. We heard someone say, ‘Put your hands up.’ I heard, ‘Don’t shoot.’ We had to go into the closet in the gym. Then someone came and told us to run down the hallway. There were police at every door, there were lots of people crying and screaming.”

:49am: Year 1 teacher Kaitlin Roig has told US television reporter Diane Sawyerhow she hid her class in a bathroom to protect them from the gunfire.”I just knew we had to get in there, I just kept telling them it’s going to be OK,” Ms Roig said as she fought back tears.

She recounted how she pulled a bookshelf in front of the door before closing herself and the children inside.

“I was so afraid that if he did come in and he would hear us he would just start shooting the door.”

She said the children were extremely brave and she told them: “There are bad guys out there now; we have to wait for the good guys.”

When the children became distressed she told them to “show me your smile”. She told each of the children that she loved them “because I thought that was the last thing they were ever going to hear”.

“I don’t know if that’s ok .. [for] teachers [to say that] .. but I wanted that to be one of the last things they heard, not the gunfire in the hallway.”

Ryan-Lanza-is-taken-in-for-questioning

ABC News has spoken to a relative of 20-year-old suspected shooter Adam Lanza who said he was “obviously not well”. A family friend said he was “not connected with the other kids”.

Police said Adam Lanza shot his mother in the family home before taking her car and several weapons and going on his deadly rampage at the elementary school, killing 20 children and six adults.

Ryan Lanza, the 24-year-old brother of suspected shooter Adam Lanza, told authorities that his brother was believed to have suffered from a personality disorder and was “somewhat autistic”, a law enforcement official told AP.

Ryan, who lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, was initially mistakenly identified by a law enforcement official as the shooter. Officials now say Ryan was extremely cooperative with police during questioning and while he is not believed to have had any involvement in the shooting, investigators are still searching his computers and phone records.

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A second victim killed at the school has been identified as 56-year-old Mary Sherlach, who worked at Sandy Hook Elementary School for 20 years since 1994.

According to her biography on the school’s website she was married to financial consultant Bill Sherlach and was a mother of two daughters, who are in their 20s.

“We enjoy traveling and spending time at our lake home in the Finger Lakes in upstate New York,” the bio, quoted by New York Daily News, stated. “My hobbies include gardening, reading, and the theater.”

Mayors Against Illegal Guns has started a petitionto pressure President Barack Obama to change US gun laws.New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statementthat Obama should send a bill to Congress to fix the problem as “not even kindergarteners learning their ABC’s are safe”.“We heard after Columbine that it was too soon to talk about gun laws. We heard it after Virginia Tech. After Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek. And now we are hearing it again,” he said. “For every day we wait, 34 more people are murdered with guns.”Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said: “Now is the time for a national policy on guns that takes the loopholes out of the laws, the automatic weapons out of our neighborhoods and the tragedies like today out of our future.”

Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, killed in the shooting at her Connecticut elementary school, recently installed a new security system to ensure student safety, CNN reports.

She wrote in a letter to parents that every visitor to the Sandy Hook Elementary School would be required to ring the doorbell at the front entrance after the doors locked at 9:30am, and a staff member would use a visual monitoring system to determine entry.

Visitors would then have to report directly to the main office and sign in, showing photo identification if staff didn’t recognise them.

Early reports suggested shooter Adam Lanza killed his father at home before heading to the school and beginning his rampage. Police have confirmed a body was found at a home believed to be owned by his mother Nancy Lanza, but it doesn’t appear to be that of the father Peter Lanza.

Connecticut Post is now reporting Peter Lanza, a vice president of taxes for GE Energy Financial Services, arrived home minutes after police left and politely asked a Hearst Connecticut Media Group reporter: “Is there something I can do for you?” after rolling down the window of his blue Mini Cooper. He reportedly did not know his address had been linked to the shooting.

AP has just reported that mother Nancy Lanza was killed at the home, not at the school as earlier reported.
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The story is dominating social media and many are using the hashtag #prayfornewtown to express their grief, condolences and revulsion. Both that hashtag and “Connecticut” are trending on Twitter.

Sourced from local paper in  WA & published by Henry Sapiecha

Organized criminal groups have stolen millions of dollars in heavy equipment from mines in the Australian state of Queensland during just the past twelve months according to a new report released by the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

The report by CMC notes that the theft of mining equipment has become an increasingly acute problem for the mineral-rich tropical state following the growth of its resources sector.
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The report notes that criminal groups consider mining companies to be “soft targets” due to poor security measures, with evidence of efforts by criminals to infiltrate the industry in order to obtain information on access to sites.

Queensland is also a special area of focus for heavy equipment thefts due to the perception that it is easier to transport stolen equipment from the state to either overseas markets or other states in Australia.

Heavy equipment thefts rose from 132 in 2007 to 231 in 2011, representing an increase of around 75%, with major hotspots being regional centres such as Toowoomba, Dalby, Mackay and Rockhampton.


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USA Today reports of a daring heist on the Caribbean island of Curacao over the weekend when masked men dressed in police jackets boarded a fishing boat and stole 70 gold bars – worth almost $13 million at today’s prices:

The boat’s captain was struck in the head in the early-morning assault before the thieves made off with the gold in three cars, police spokesman Reggie Huggins said. Authorities believe there were at least six men involved in the heist. No suspects were in custody.
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Huggins declined to say who owned the approximately 476 pounds of gold but he said it was a legal shipment that was being trans-shipped through Curacao and officials in the island had been advised in advance that it was coming as part of normal security protocols. He declined to disclose the eventual destination of the metal.

Like many of the smaller islands in the Caribbean, Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles is used as an offshore financial centre and tax haven
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