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Archive for the ‘WATER AQUA SEA OCEAN’ Category

Copenhagen: The mystery surrounding the fate of Swedish journalist Kim Wall has deepened with the discovery of a headless body in the Baltic Sea near where she is believed to have died on a homemade submarine.

The female torso without legs, arms or a head was found by a member of the public, said the head of the Danish police investigation, Jens Moller Jensen.

“We have recovered the body … It is the torso of a woman,” Jensen told media. “An inquest will be conducted.”

He said it was “too early” to say if the body was that of 30-year-old Swedish reporter Wall, who went missing more than a week ago after a trip on the submarine owned by 46-year-old Peter Madsen, a Danish inventor.

Jensen said the body was discovered hours after Madsen told authorities that Wall had died on board in an accident, and that he buried her at sea at an unspecified location.

Madsen was arrested in connection with Wall’s disappearance after his submarine sank off Denmark’s eastern coast, an incident police believe was deliberate.

He denied any wrongdoing and initially told authorities he had dropped the reporter off on a island in Copenhagen’s harbour on August 10.

Madsen will continue to be held on preliminary manslaughter charges, police said.

Madsen was known for financing his submarine project through crowdfunding. The first launch of his 40-tonne, nearly 18-metre-long UC3 Nautilus in 2008 made international headlines.

Wall’s family earlier told The Associated Press that she had worked in many dangerous places as a journalist and it was unimaginable “something could happen … just a few miles from the childhood home”.

Before his arrest, Madsen appeared on Danish television to discuss the submarine’s sinking and his rescue. The submarine was found 22 feet below sea level and was brought ashore shortly after it sank.

It was the journalist’s boyfriend who alerted authorities that the sub had not returned from a test run, police said.

Wall’s disappearance has riveted Scandinavia with the latest development raising more questions than it answers.

Madsen is due again in court next month. His lawyer, Betina Hald Engmark, told the Danish television network TV2 that her client was cooperating with police investigators and that he maintained that he was not guilty.

Madsen is known in Denmark as “Rocket Madsen,” an uncompromising builder of submarines and space rockets who was hoping to become the world’s first amateur space traveller riding in a homemade rocket.

For years he was able to build a community that offered helping hands and raised funds for his projects. But his temper caused conflicts with many of them, Thomas Djursing, a biographer, told BT, a Danish newspaper.

“He argues with every Tom, Dick and Harry,” Djursing said. “I’ve argued with him as well. But that’s what it’s like with people driven by deep passion.”

Wall’s friend and fellow journalist Victoria Greve, writing in the Swedish daily Expressen, commented on how improbable it was that a short day trip to Denmark would end up being the last reporting trip of her friend’s career.

“There’s a dark irony in Kim, who travelled to North Korea and reported from Haiti, should disappear in Denmark,” she wrote. “Perhaps it speaks to the vulnerability of female freelance journalists. To work alone and do everything.”

AP and the New York Times

Henry Sapiecha


A customs officer with some of the packaged cocaine, seized as part of Operation Basco which commenced in July

An international law enforcement operation has seized 750 kilograms of cocaine bound for Australia


The drugs were found on a yacht in a Vanuatu port, hidden underneath concrete that required a chisel to cut through. The  cocaine is estimated to be worth about $370 million.

Australian Federal Police agents joined Australian customs concealment experts and US officials in Port Vila on Monday to examine the massive drug bust, one of the largest involving Australian law agencies.

The boat, known to authorities as the Raj but renamed Scope, was docked and no one was on board when the seizure was made.

TO-art729 yacht raided in a Vanuatu port which had about 750 kilograms of cocaine onboard

No one has been arrested.  Authorities said the boat was for sale when it was raided.

The drug bust is the largest made under Project Cringle, an operation set up in 2010 by the AFP, Australian Customs and Border Production and the US Drug Enforcement Administration to target criminal organisations using the South Pacific as a transit point and staging area.

Customs Compliance and Enforcement national director Karen Harfield said there was a sophisticated concealment of the drugs in the lower engine compartments and around the keel area of the hull.“Certainly the coverage made it particularly difficult – the actual ability to access the gaps where the drugs could be concealed meant you had to use a chisel, rather than being able to open compartments or pull compartments apart,” Ms Harfield said.

The AFP Serious and Organised Crime national manager, Assistant Commissioner Ramzi Jabbour, said the bust would hinder the drug trade in Australia.

“We’ve been exceedingly successful – on this occasion we’ve taken the legs out from underneath them, but we’re not resting on their laurels.

“With respect to the price of the commodity [cocaine] on our streets, this is an indication that it is readily available, but efforts like this will certainly make an impact.”

Assistant Commissioner Jabbour said the bust had potentially stopped more than 750,000 deals taking place on Australian streets.

Project Cringle has resulted in 10 arrests and the seizure of almost two tonnes of cocaine destined for Australia from five vessels.





OBLIVIOT OF THE WEEK #896: "I guess he thought it was a big joke," said
  attorney Daniel L. Castillo about his client, Rick Ehlert, 45. Ehlert
  is "not denying he did it," Castillo says, but what he did shouldn't be
  considered a crime. He says Ehlert was drunk on a cruise ship headed
  for Tampa, Fla., when he broke into the control room and dropped the
  moving ship's anchor, and then tossed a life buoy overboard -- at 5:25
  a.m. The captain stopped the ship and assembled all passengers and crew
  on deck for a head count. No one was missing. "Everybody was mad at
  him," Castillo said, but "where's the crime?" The crime, federal
  prosecutors say, is attempting to damage the ship -- a statute that was
  strengthened after transportation-related terrorist attacks. Dropping
  anchor on a moving ship could damage it enough to cause it to sink. The
  719-foot MS Ryndam holds 1,260 passengers and 580 crew, and all were
  put in grave danger. Prosecutors are only calling for probation, but
  Castillo is trying to get him off in any case, noting "an alcohol-induced
  reckless act does not necessarily equate to a violation of federal
  criminal statutes." Also, Castillo added, "He's got a lot of money."
  (RC/Tampa Tribune) ...Oh, well, if he's got money, then by all means:
  let him commit "alcohol-induced reckless acts" with impunity.

Overwhelmed and so alone: LaShanda’s lethal choice
April 14, 2011 – 4:20PM

LaShanda Armstrong deliberately drove a van carrying all four of her children into the Hudson River. Only one child survived.

LaShanda Armstrong faced mounting struggles long before she herded her four children into her car and barrelled through the streets of Newburgh into the fast-moving Hudson River.

She had her first child at 15. Three more followed, and by the age of 25, Armstrong found herself locked into life on a dodgy street in a dismal city, and in a troubled relationship.

On Tuesday night, Armstrong’s seemingly senseless drive left her and her three youngest children – aged 11 months to five years – dead in their minivan in less than three metres of water and her oldest child, La’Shaun, 10, staggering from the river in search of help.

The ramp Lashanda Armstrong drove her minivan off.

The ramp Lashanda Armstrong drove her minivan off. Photo: AP

Soaking, shivering and barely able to speak, he reached a nearby fire station and blurted out a story that has confounded Newburgh, a hardscrabble city of 28,000 a little over 100 kilometres north of Manhattan.

“We’re talking about a tragedy in this city … probably second to none,” Newburgh mayor Nicholas Valentine said.

It was 7.50pm on Tuesday when La’Shaun Armstrong arrived at a fire station up the hill from where his family had just drowned.
Christine Santos, a family friend of LaShanda Armstrong, takes a moment in front of the family’s home in Newburgh.

Christine Santos, a family friend of LaShanda Armstrong, takes a moment in front of the family’s home in Newburgh. Photo: AP

“He was obviously very shaken up, having a very difficult time trying to explain what happened,” Fire Chief Michael Vatter said.

“He was soaking wet … probably suffering a little hypothermia at that point.”

La’Shaun had apparently managed to lower the power window next to his mother and clamber over her and out of the vehicle before it sank into the frigid water and drifted some 20 metres from shore, where investigators recovered it about an hour later.
Christine Santos can’t believe what’s happened.

Christine Santos can’t believe what’s happened. Photo: AP

Everyone inside was dead, in a case that revived memories of Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman who in 1994 strapped her two sons into her car and rolled it into a lake.

Last month, a one-year-old girl was killed in a fire that gutted the house across the narrow, cobblestoned street from Armstrong’s home.

Candles and stuffed animals left in front of that home were still visible on Wednesday even as a new shrine formed for the children and their mother.
Angela Gilliam (L), aunt of Lashanda Armstrong, holds a vigil.

Angela Gilliam (L), aunt of Lashanda Armstrong, holds a vigil. Photo: AP

“Strange things happen,” said Sam Simpson, a Newburgh native who spent the morning at the dockside watching a growing mound of stuffed animals, flowers and candles.

Residents lamented the circumstances that permitted a large vehicle to go unnoticed into the water at the relatively early hour of about 7.45pm.

A popular dockside bar and restaurant, Gully’s, was closed for renovations, leaving the area deserted.

“If that place were open, somebody would have dived right into the water,” Simpson said.

The first call to police came about 7.43pm from a relative who had been on the phone with Armstrong and reported hearing “tussling” in the background.

But the house, located just blocks from the police station, was empty when officers arrived.

In less than 10 minutes, Armstrong had put the children in the car and driven less than a mile down a hill, past a school and a graveyard, over railroad tracks and into the river.

In addition to Armstrong, the dead were Landen, 5; Lance, 2; and Lainaina, 11 months.

“You don’t know what was on that lady’s mind, what she went through,” said Andrea Burks, who lives up the street from Armstrong.

She and other neighbours said the slender and carefully coiffed Armstrong had moved to the area about a year ago to be with Jean Pierre, the father of the three youngest children.

But the relationship was difficult, they said, and Pierre did not live with Armstrong.

Police said they had questioned Pierre but gave no details about his whereabouts.

Neighbours said Armstrong took community college classes while holding down a job and caring for her family.

Christine Santos, who said she knew the couple well, described Armstrong as overwhelmed by having to raise four children alone, and fed up with her predicament.

“She was depressed,” Santos said angrily as locals gathered outside the two-storey building, on a block of small rowhouses, empty lots and churches.

The Associated Press reported that a supervisor at the day-care centre where Armstrong’s children spent time had described her as under immense stress when she arrived to pick them up on Tuesday.

“The only thing she’d say was that she was so alone,” Shaniesha Strange said.

“She’s a single parent. She takes great care of her kids, goes to school and works. She really needed a helping hand.”

At the Pathway to Salvation Mission of God church, Carmen Davila said La’Shaun and his five-year-old brother were regulars and that each morning, Armstrong would leave for work or school after dropping them off and usually not return until about 10 pm.

“Sometimes she’d be holding the baby on her hip, and one child in each hand and trying to walk with her groceries … and she’d drop the diapers or something on the ground,” Davila said.

“She couldn’t handle everything at once.”

Armstrong had moved from New Jersey to Newburgh, whose location in the bucolic Hudson River Valley belies its grim reputation.

Last year, hundreds of FBI agents swarmed Newburgh in raids aimed at quelling gang activity that has sent the crime rate soaring.

Two years ago, federal agents arrested four Newburgh men who were charged with plotting to blow up Jewish centres in New York City.

“The older you get, the worse it seems to get,” said Yvonne Smith, a Newburgh native who lives near the Armstrong home. “I feel sorry for Newburgh.”

Los Angeles Times

* Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

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