Monthly Archives: November 2011

Gaddafi’s Son Captured in Libya

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Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam has been captured by Libyan fighters.

He was taken by them near the southern town of Obari and was flown to the city of Zintan.  Saif al-Islam, 39, said that he is doing well.

He is the final key member of the Gaddafi family to be captured or killed.  Libya’s new prime minister says that Said al-Islam will be given a fair trial.

He is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.  Fighters captured him along with several aides as they tried to smuggle him out to Niger.  Saif al-Islam was taken without a shot being fired.

His capture leaves only one Libyan ICC suspect at large, Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief, Abdallah Senoussi.

Saif al-Islam has been on the run for six months.  Celebrations happened on the streets of Tripoli after the news of his arrest was revealed.

His father was killed on Oct. 20 after being captured during the final battle for his hometown, Sirte.

Casino Con Man Ends Up in Jail

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For six years, Phuong Quoc Truong won big at casinos due to a con scheme.

Truong, also known as Pai Gow Jon, began as an inside man for his team.  In 2002, while working as a blackjack dealer, he began conspiring with players to help them win.  He lost his job though at San Diego’s Syucuan Indian Reservation.

After getting fired from Syucuan, he and his associates took their scam to other locations.  They hit up more than 27 casinos in the United States and Canada.  The team perfected their technique and moved up from winning $525 to over $868,000 in one night.

Truong’s scam was to perform false shuffles.  He would discard cards in a pile while an outside viewer kept track.  He would than pretend to shuffle them, but actually kept the cards in order.  For the next couple hands Truong’s team would know what cards were coming next.

The hardest part of the scam was recruiting the inside men, aka dealers who would help Truong’s team cheat their casinos.  It’s believed that one dealer, who they attempted to recruit, contacted the FBI, which led to their downfall.  So far, over 37 people have been indicted in connection with the scam.

Truong has pleaded guilty to “unlawfully obtaining up to $7million during card cheats” and has since been sentenced to 70 months in jail and fines of more than $8.5 million.  Some experts believe that Truong has millions hidden away, that awaits him after is released from prison.

First Ever Successful Liver Cell Transplant to Cure Liver Disease

South London’s renowned King’s College Hospital was the site of the world’s first ever liver cell transplant.  The fortunate patient who was in need of it: Iyaad Syed.  He underwent the procedure six months ago for liver damage caused by “a herpes-simplex virus” as reported by BBC.

Now eight months old, Iyaad is being called the ‘miracle boy’ as he has made almost a complete recovery and is the picture of health.  Iyaad started making his recovery within 48 hours of receiving the treatment.  Now professionals are wondering if the procedure would be successful for more patients in need of a liver transplant.

There are about a hundred people dying daily waiting for a donor for a liver transplant.  Being too close to death, doctors decided to inject Iyaad Syed with donated liver cells.  Within days results occurred, the liver cells processing toxins the way the boy’s own natural liver should.

The cells were also coated with a chemical found naturally in algae.  This protected the donor cells from being attacked by the immune system.

Two weeks after the transplant Iyaad’s liver began to recover and grow stronger.  The possibility of the full use of his liver soon looks good.

What the process allows for the patient is skipping out on the need for immunosuppressant drugs.  These medications affect the activity of the immune system and can have serious and dangerous side effects.  A normal organ transplant would require the use of these drugs, and such patients are less able to resist infections caused by such medication.

Although researchers are eager to find out if the procedure would benefit other patients with such severe liver damage, the team at King’s College advises caution.  A large clinical trial still needs to be done to know the full extent of the technique’s effectiveness.

American Airlines in Financial Trouble

When it comes to air travel almost everyone is familiar with the name American Airlines.  The parent company—Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP—encompasses American Airlines, American Eagle, and the AmericanConnection.  The company serves 50 countries and more than 3,000 flights a day with over 250 airports around the world.

Early on Tuesday reports said the parent company of American Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  It is the last U.S. carrier to file for bankruptcy protection in its history.  The company plans on keeping their main employees, like CEO Thomas Horton, but there will be a cut in jobs for the sake of saving money.

Back in 2001, after the terrorist attacks in New York City, several airlines filed for bankruptcy protection due to drastic drops in air travel.  American Airlines was the only major company that did not file for bankruptcy protection at this time.

Horton states there are several factors that caused the need to file for bankruptcy protection.  Alongside a weakening company the cost of jet fuel has skyrocketed.  There is also speculation that talks with pilots and employees about cost-saving labor contracts fell through and forced the company into this decision.

Once the world’s largest airline, American has now fallen behind United and Delta after the two companies bought other airlines.  Horton still maintains hope for the company’s future, believing American Airlines will make its way through the tough times.

Six Dead in North Carolina Shooting

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Mary Ann Holder, 36, shot six people before killing herself on Nov. 20.

Holder’s victims included her two sons, niece, nephew, the girlfriend of her oldest son, and her former boyfriend.  She most likely went on a shooting rampage over being distraught over her ended love affair.

All but one of her victims have died.  Holder’s oldest son, Robert Smith, 17, died from his injuries on Nov. 20, while his girlfriend, Makayla Woods, 15, died on Nov. 23.  Zachary Smith, 14, Holder’s youngest son, died on Nov. 22, while niece Hannaleigh Suttles, 8, died on Nov. 2, and nephew Richard Suttles, 17, died on Nov. 25.  The Suttles siblings were living with their aunt after their mother died.  All were shot in the head.

Robert Smith, the Suttles siblings, and Woods were shot in Holder’s home, while Holder and Zachary Smith were shot in her SUV.

The lone survivor is Randal Lamb, 40, the ex-boyfriend of Holder.  He is expected to recover from being shot in the shoulder.

Sheriff BJ Barnes stated in a news conference held on Nov. 21, that Lamb and Holder had had an affair, but the relationship had ended.  Holder apparently had filed restraining orders, which have since expired, against Lamb and his wife.  An alienation of affection suit was filed against Holder.

Two handguns were recovered at Holder’s home, as well as two notes in which she apologizes for the shooting, takes responsibility for it, and implies that she was wrong.

Former Fiance Named Suspect in Missing Person’s Case

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The former fiance of 33-year-old missing mother Michelle Parker is currently the only suspect in her disappearance.

Dale Smith II, 40, the father of her 3-year-old twins, is the last known person to have seen her.  The former couple have a violent past, which includes domestic-violence injunctions, and recently appeared on “The People’s Court.”

Parker was last seen on Nov. 17 dropping off her twins at Smith’s town house.  Her Hummer was found on Nov. 18 on the west side of Orlando.

Parker is also the mother of an 11-year-old, who’s currently in the custody of his father.  Her twins are being cared for by Smith’s parents.

Smith, who has a previous arrest record, is currently being represented by Orlando lawyers Mark NeJame and Rajan Joshi.

Prior to his arrest, Parker’s family did not believe Smith had anything to do with her death.  They believed she was carjacked.  Her mother, Yvonne Stewart, is still encouraging volunteers to continue to help search for her daughter.

Colombian Army Find FARC Captive Alive

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After the report of four captives being shot by the Colombian Rebel Group, also known as FARC, Saturday, army troops found a National Police Officer alive being held by the guerrilla group, according to Fox News Latino.

The non-commissioned officer, Luis Alberto Erazo Maya, heard the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia begin shooting the other captives and decided to “take off running.”

“He ran and hid in the jungle. He was pursued, according to what was reported, by three terrorists from the FARC organization who even threw grenades at him, “according to the country’s defense minister, Juan Carlos Pinzon, according to Fox News Latino.

It is believe that FARC is holding a little over a dozen captives, according to Fox News Latino.

The rebel group has told authorities in the past that captives would be shot if the group came under attack by from security forces.

The captives escaped brought light to a dark day with the deaths of the other four captives, according to Fox News Latino.

Second U.S. Student Detained in Cairo Returns Home

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Luke Gates, 21, was one of the three students that were detained in Cairo after being accused of throwing Molotov Cocktails during protests, has returned home, according to CBS News.

Gates arrived in the U.S. late Saturday and is expected to return home to Indiana soon.

Mark Land, spokesman of Indiana University where Gates attends school, said Gate’s parents decline to talk with the media, according to CBS News.

The protests in Cairo have grown to 100,000 people in anticipation of the landmark parliamentary elections that are due to start on Monday.

“He said he was doing very well and he was very excited to be on his way home,” said Land, according to CBS News.

This story contains information from CBS News.

School Vaccine Opt Out Rises

When time comes for kids to start school, there are certain requirements that need to be met.  One of those requirements is for the newly enrolled student to be properly vaccinated.  Of course, there is an opt out option for those with certain religious views, medical conditions, and even philosophical reasons in some states.

These days more and more parents are opting to exempt their kids from vaccines prior to enrollment in a school.  The statistics show more than 1 in 20 kindergarteners attending public school are going in only partially vaccinated.  That’s not to say the 90 percent rate of those going in vaccinated isn’t high enough, but some officials worry about schools pushing the 5 percent threshold of students without vaccinations.

Parents’ reasons for skipping school shots are scattered across the board.  Some don’t believe all the shots are necessary.  Many others feel the vaccines carry higher risk than the contraction of the diseases themselves.  Still others just find it a hassle to get all the paperwork done for getting vaccines and just opt out for the sake of ease.

One of the most concerning aspects is the amount of shots kids need before they turn 6.  The number of vaccines needed is rising every year and this makes many parents uneasy.  Mothers and fathers across the country don’t feel safe giving their kids that many shots in such a short period of time because they do not know the extensive effects yet of what could happen.

Health officials do not believe the fall in vaccination will cause an epidemic or outbreak of some sort, but they do caution it is not impossible.  It is unlikely diseases like polio will run rampant in the United States again, but with China’s recent outbreak after two decades without the illness, doctors are not shutting the notion down.

Three Children Die at Hands of Parents

Over the past few years there have been three cases of children dying while in the care of their parents.  All cases have taken place in different states—North Carolina, California, and Washington.  Sean Paddock suffered suffocation from being wrapped too tightly in his blankets, Lydia Schatz was spanked to death, and the most recent, Hana Williams, died of hypothermia after being left out naked in the cold.  All parents have been charged with some degree of murder.

The common factors in all these cases is that the children were all adopted, home-schooled, and disciplined with a plastic tube like the ones found in hardware stores.  All parents also used the book To Train Up a Child by evangelist Michael Pearl and wife Debi, first published in 1994.  The book’s basic philosophy is spare the rod and spoil the child.

Michael Pearl says the book has sold over 670,000 copies and been translated into several languages.  The book is quite popular with a few Christians who home-school their children.   Apparently the spanking method has become a prevalent use in child rearing these days.

What boils the blood of several parents who disapprove of this publication is the fact that it compares raising a child to training a dog.  Parents are outraged by this way of thinking, as they feel children are living, breathing, and thinking human beings and can’t be trained like an animal.

The Pearls use Bible scripture to support their stance in their book.  What they do not condone however is hitting a child out of anger.  Pearl calls the methods of child rearing in his book traditional methods that have been around for countless years but have gone out of practice.  Although spanking is a good thing, it should not be abused.  “If you can’t control your emotions it’s not for you,” Michael Pearl says of his method.

There are many who believe the Pearls’ book is barbaric, but the truth is what the parents of Lydia, Hana, and Sean did are not methods described in their book.  Regardless of what caused these parents to treat their children this way, they have been charged with murder.  Child abuse is child abuse and must be addressed.

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