Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Kazakh Airplane Crash Kills 27

Twenty-seven people were killed when their airplane crashed in Kazakhstan, on Tuesday.

The Antonov An-72 went down near Shymkent, around 19:00 local time.

All of the passengers were security officials, including the head of the border service, Turganbek Stambekov.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash, but have no leads at this time.

2 Nigerian Churches Attacked

The burnt foundation of Church of Christ in Nations
Two Nigerian churches were attacked during midnight Christmas services.

Gunmen killed  six people at the Church of Christ in Nations in Postikum, and then lit the building on fire.

Another six people were killed at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri.

While Boko Haram has not claimed the attacks, they are being blamed on the terrorist group.

Boko Haram regularly attacks Christian churches as well as Muslims that it deems not Islamic enough.

The Islamist terrorist group seeks to establish a new government that would be based in sharia law.

Guatemalan Prosecutor Among 7 Killed by Cartels

Seven people were found dead, in two vehicles, along a highway near La Mesilla, Guatemala, on Sunday.

All seven had been killed, and then their vehicles had been lit on fire.

On Tuesday, it was confirmed that one of the dead was federal prosecutor Irma Yolanda Olivares.

That confirmation only solidifies accusations that drug cartels were responsible.

Olivares had bee known for investigating and challenging the growing cartel influence, along the border with Mexico.

Two Killed in Airline Crash in Myanmar

Two people were killed an eleven injured when a plane went down near Rangoon, Myanmar.

The Air Bagan plane had been carrying at least sixty passengers.

It went down shortly before landing, after flying from Heho.

One of the dead was a person on the ground, who was hit when the plane made went down in a rice field.

When the plane hit the ground, it broke in half.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, but witnesses say that one of the engines caught on fire, just before the crash.

Japanese Fighters Scarmble After Chinese Plane Enters Airspace

Japan scrambled jets, on Tuesday, after a Chinese plane violated their airspace.

A Chinese Y12 surveillance plane flew into disputed territory, over the East China Sea.

As soon as it crossed into, international recognized, Japanese territory, Japan sent F15s to intercept it.

Once the F15s were in the air, the Y12 turned around and left.

China claims their plane never entered Japanese air space and has set it's armed forces on high alert, in response.

Missing From Texas: Madison Kelleigh Morris, 16

Sixteen year old Madison Kelleigh Morris is missing from Killeen, Texas.

She was last seen Monday around noon, when she was left alone at home.

The family's security system shows that the backdoor opened at 13:55.

Madison is described as five foot seven, one hundred and sixty pounds, with hazel eyes, and dirty blonde hair that she likes to wear in a bun.

Her family is not sure what she was wearing, but she normally wears skinny jeans, a tank top, and a hoodie.

While police consider her a run away, they are worried for her safety as she takes psychotropic medications for paranoia, aggressive behavior, delusions, and to keep her from self harm.

Anyone with information should call the Killeen Police Department at 254-200-7904.

Update: Police announced she had been found safe, on Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighter Shooter Left Note

Chiapperini, left, Kaczowka, right
Police Lieutenant Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were the two volunteer fire fighters who lost their lives, Monday morning. Their crew responded to a house and car fire, in Webster, New York, only to be ambushed by a gunman.

Joseph Hofstetter and Theodore Scardino, two other members of the crew, are recovering from wounds they received. An unidentified police officer, was also wounded, but no further information was released on his condition, yet. 

The shooter, William Spangler, lit his own house and car on fire, to set the trap, and eventually shot himself when police were closing in on his location. A total of eight houses and one car were destroyed or damaged during the fire, which had to be left unfought while SWAT searched for the shooter. His sister is missing and investigators are searching for her.

Spengler had previously served seventeen years in prison, for murdering his grandmother, with a hammer. As a felon he could not legally posses firearms, and it is not yet clear how he obtained a pistol, shotgun, and an AR-15. Neighbors say that he had been one of the nicest people they had known, from the time he was released from prison, until his mother died, in October, when they stopped seeing him at all. With his body, police found a note in which he said he wanted to burn down the neighborhood and would, "do what I like doing best, killing people."

Egyptian Constitution Takes 63.8% of Votes

Egypt's election commission has finished tallying the votes.

With 63.8% of voters voting yes, the controversial Constitution has passed.

Only 32.9% of registered voters took part in the referendum.

The opposition is planning to challenge the results, challenging it on several factors.

Drawn up by the Muslim Brotherhood, the constitution is seen as trying to establish sharia law.

150 Rescued From Breaking Ski Lift

About one hundred and fifty people had to be rescued from the ski lift at Mary Jane Ski Resort, in Winter Park, Colorado.

One of the lift workers noticed part of the Sunnyside lift coming apart, and shut the whole thing down.

That employee is being called a hero for taking the initiative to shut it down, otherwise the whole lift could have fallen apart.

It took workers about two hours to get everyone off the lift, via ropes, but there were no injuries.

The resort is not sure how long the lift will be down for.

US Airways Jet Catches Fire

A US Airways jet caught fire while it was sitting at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Monday night.

The plane's auxiliary power unit, located under the tail, burst into flames.

It was quickly extinguished, and no injuries were reported.

An investigation is under way as to what caused the fire.

No passengers were on board at the time, but one hundred and one people had to be rebooked onto different flights.

 The plane had arrived from California and was supposed to head to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Winter Weather Hitting The US on Christmas

Winter is showing it's presence across the US for Christmas. Much of the country is in some sort of alert, with most being various forms of winter weather. From California to Maine snow is or has fallen, leaving freezing temperatures.

Parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio are under a blizzard warning. It was the first time that the National Weather Service had ever issued a blizzard warning for Little Rock.

In parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida tornado watches and warnings are taking place. The Houston area has had several sightings, and there are reports of buildings destroyed. One death has been reported due to a falling tree.

Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas Message

Queen Elizabeth II shared her annual Christmas message.

If you were lucky enough to have the equipment for it, she also filmed it in 3D.

This past year has been one of great celebration for many. The enthusiasm which greeted the Diamond Jubilee was, of course, especially memorable for me and my family. It was humbling that so many chose to mark the anniversary of a duty which passed to me sixty years ago. People of all ages took the trouble to take part in various ways and in many nations. But perhaps most striking of all was to witness the strength of fellowship and friendship among those who had gathered together on these occasions.

Prince Philip and I were joined by our family on the River Thames as we paid tribute to those who have shaped the United Kingdom's past and future as a maritime nation, and welcomed a wonderful array of craft, large and small, from across the Commonwealth. On the barges and the bridges and the banks of the river there were people who had taken their places to cheer through the mist, undaunted by the rain. That day there was a tremendous sense of common determination to celebrate, triumphing over the elements.

That same spirit was also in evidence from the moment the Olympic flame arrived on these shores. The flame itself drew hundreds and thousands of people on its journey around the British Isles, and was carried by every kind of deserving individual, many nominated for their own extraordinary service.

As London hosted a splendid summer of sport, all those who saw the achievement and courage at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were further inspired by the skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes. In pursuing their own sporting goals, they gave the rest of us the opportunity to share something of the excitement and drama.

We were reminded, too, that the success of these great festivals depended to an enormous degree upon the dedication and effort of an army of volunteers. Those public-spirited people came forward in the great tradition of all those who devote themselves to keeping others safe, supported and comforted.

For many, Christmas is also a time for coming together. But for others, service will come first. Those serving in our Armed Forces, in our Emergency Services and in our hospitals, whose sense of duty takes them away from family and friends, will be missing those they love. And those who have lost loved ones may find this day especially full of memories. That's why it's important at this time of year to reach out beyond our familiar relationships to think of those who are on their own.

At Christmas I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story. A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child. From that day on he has inspired people to commit themselves to the best interests of others.

This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son 'to serve, not to be served'. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer this Christmas Day that his example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others.

The carol, 'In the Bleak Midwinter', ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service: 'What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a wise man, I would do my part'. The carol gives the answer, 'Yet what I can I give him – give my heart'.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas.