Category: Uncategorized

City Council in Portland, Oregon, approves $2.6M for police body cameras

From the Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The City Council in Portland, Oregon, approved $2.6 million for permanent police body cameras in a unanimous vote, a crucial step toward the city no longer being among the last major U.S. police agencies without the technology.

All of the city’s roughly 800 uniformed officers who interact with the public will have body-worn cameras by the summer, after training and further negotiations with the police union, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Wednesday.

But only around 300 patrol officers will be required to wear them routinely on their shifts, the news outlet reported.

Roughly 500 other sworn members, including detectives and sergeants, will put on their cameras when they interact with the public, said police spokesperson Mike Benne

FBI agent carjacked in Washington, latest in string of high-profile carjackings

BY LINDSAY WHITEHURST from the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — An FBI agent was carjacked Wednesday in Washington, D.C., a theft that comes amid a sharp increase in the number of carjackings in the nation’s capital.

FILE – The FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover headquarters building in Washington on Nov. 2, 2016. Police say two people carjacked an FBI agent in Washington, D.C., a theft that comes amid a sharp increase in the number of carjackings in the nation’s capital. Police say the theft was carried out mid-afternoon on Wednesday. The FBI says it’s under investigation by the bureau’s Washington field office and the Metropolitan Police Department. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

Two people carried out the midafternoon armed carjacking, police said. The car was found about 30 minutes later about a mile away, Metropolitan Police said. The FBI’s Washington field office and the Metropolitan Police Department’s carjacking task force are investigating, the FBI said in a statement.

Carjackings in the nation’s capital have more than doubled this year, up 104%. Recent victims include a diplomat from the United Arab Emirates and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas. He was carjacked near the Capitol in October by three armed assailants, who stole his car but didn’t physically harm him.

Earlier this month, Secret Service agents protecting President Joe Biden’s granddaughter opened fire after three people tried to break into an unmarked Secret Service vehicle. No one was struck.

Violent crime in Washington has also been on the rise this year, up more than 40% compared with last year.

Louisiana’s tough-on-crime governor-elect announces new leaders of state police, national guard

BY SARA CLINE from the Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Throughout his election campaign, Republican Gov.-elect Jeff Landry promised to prioritize fighting crime in Louisiana, a state that in recent years has had one of the highest homicide rates in the country.

FILE – Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry talks to reporters outside the Supreme Court, Jan. 7, 2022, in Washington. For the entirety of his campaign trail, Louisiana Gov.-elect Landry vowed to prioritize the issue of crime in Louisiana and on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, he took a step toward those plans, naming a new leadership tasked with the state’s safety and security including a new State Police chief. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

On Wednesday, he took steps that he said would help fulfill that promise, appointing a new state police chief and other statewide safety and security leadership positions. Landry said he also plans to call the legislature into a special session to address crime once he’s in the governor’s office.

Currently the state’s attorney general, Landry said an integral part of his plan as Louisiana’s chief executive is to improve safety in New Orleans, which has often been in the national spotlight for violent crime.

The governor-elect remarked during a news conference that he will bring “as much of a law enforcement presence” as necessary to keep New Orleans safe.

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But when pressed for specifics on tackling crime in the state’s tourist-friendly and most-populous city, he was not forthcoming.

“We just announced the new adjutant general (leader of the Louisiana National Guard) and he’d tell you that you would never lay your plans out to the enemy,” he said. “And in the battle to fight crime, I would not come here and give you all specifics.”

Landry held the news conference on the field of the Caesars Superdome, site of the 2025 Super Bowl.

“The past statistics that have plagued the city cannot be in place when kickoff time comes, and so everything is on the table,” Landry said.

As in numerous other parts of the country, violence surged in Louisiana following the onset of COVID-19. And while data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows that crime has steadily decreased in Louisiana over the past decade, New Orleans has continued to struggle with a surge of killings.

Landry, who was backed by former President Donald Trump in this year’s gubernatorial election, has employed a lot of tough-on-crime rhetoric, and has repeatedly slammed Louisiana’s 2017 criminal justice overhaul.

In a surprise collaboration on Wednesday, Landry was joined by Jason Williams, an Orleans Parish district attorney who is a progressive Democrat and has butted heads with the governor-elect. Standing side-by- side, Landry announced that GOP Attorney General-elect Liz Murrill will lead the prosecution of defendants arrested as a result of state police investigations in the parish.

“You look around the country, you don’t often see Republicans and Democrats sitting down to solve the toughest problems,” Williams said. “And that’s what we’ve been doing, focusing on crime in the city of New Orleans.”

Landry announced that Major Robert Hodges will be the head of Louisiana State Police. Hodges, a 28-year veteran of the agency, will oversee the beleaguered department, which has faced a slew of controversies — including the deadly arrest of Black motorist Ronald Greene in 2019 and a federal probe by the U.S. Justice Department.

Landry named Gen. Thomas Friloux to lead the Louisiana National Guard and former state Rep. Bryan Adams to lead the state fire marshal’s office.

The appointees will assume their new roles when Landry is inaugurated on Jan. 8.

Somali maritime police intensify patrols as fears grow of resurgence of piracy in the Gulf of Aden


BOSASO, Puntland (AP) — Somalia’s maritime police force on Thursday intensified patrols in the Gulf of Aden following a failed pirate hijacking of a ship earlier this week.

The commander of the maritime force in the semiautonomous region of Puntland, Abdullahi Mohamed Ahmed, told The Associated Press that patrols in the waters had doubled and were on a 24-hour rotation to deter pirates.

“Here now we have many challenges. We had initially dealt with the pirates and stopped their activities, but recently on top of al-Shabab and IS we have had to look out for them again,”

On Sunday, the U.S. military said it had captured five men who had attempted to hijack an Israeli-linked tanker off the coast of Yemen.

U.S. and British militaries said the armed attackers seized the Liberian-flagged Central Park, managed by Zodiac Maritime, in the Gulf of Aden. The pirates had attempted to escape using speedboats but surrendered after being pursued by American destroyer the USS Mason, a statement from the U.S. Military’s central command said.

Yemeni Houthi rebels have conducted recent attacks on commercial vessels on the Gulf of Eden, seen as part of a rise in violence in the region due to the Israel-Hamas war. But the Pentagon said this latest attempt was carried out by Somali nationals.

That is the first in many years and has led the Somali government to appeal for International support to deter a resurgence of piracy in the Horn of Africa.

“Puntland State is all alone in this security effort. No assistance from the African Union Mission in Somalia, the European Union or any international assistance. But we are doing our best,” Mohamed said.

Somalia had for years been blighted by piracy, with the peak being 2011, when the U.N. says more than 160 attacks were recorded off the Somali coast.

The incidents have declined drastically since then, however, largely due to the presence of American and allied navies in international waters.

Igunza reported from Nairobi, Kenya.

127 Malaysians, suspected to be victims of job scams, rescued from Myanmar fighting

BY EILEEN NG from the Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — More than 120 suspected victims of job scams have been rescued after being stranded by fighting in northern Myanmar between the military and armed ethnic groups, Malaysia’s government said.

FILE – Malaysian Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir attends the Retreat Session at the 56th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. Malaysia’s government says more than 120 suspected victims of job scams have been rescued after being stranded by fighting in northern Myanmar between the military and armed ethnic groups. Foreign Minister Zambry said they are in a safe location and the government hoped to fly them home by Thursday, Nov. 30. (Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Pool Photo via AP, File)

The number of Malaysians rescued surged from an initial 26 to 127 in the past few days, Foreign Minister Zambry Abd Kadir told local media late Monday before flying to New York.

He said they are in a safe location and the government hoped to fly them home by Thursday. The foreign ministry earlier said the group were stranded in Laukkaing, a town known as a notorious hub for online scams, gambling and other major organized crimes.

Fighting has continued in northern Myanmar after an alliance of armed ethnic minority groups launched a surprise offensive last month. They have seized control of several border crossings to China, in a major disruption to trade.

Zambry said the ministry was asked to help evacuate an Indonesian and a Hong Kong citizen from the area. He said the duo will be flown out with the Malaysians. He thanked China and Myanmar authorities for their help in the operation but didn’t give further details.

A government official who declined to be named as he isn’t authorized to speak to the media said Tuesday that based on initial information, the 127 Malaysians were lured to the area by fraud job offers. He said details of the rescue operation and their evacuation couldn’t be released yet due to the sensitivity of the case and the various parties involved.

Earlier this month, 266 Thai victims of human traffickers, several Filipinos and a Singaporean were also rescued from Laukkaing and taken to China’s Kunming city, where they boarded chartered flights to Bangkok. Another group of 41 Thais were also reportedly repatriated across the land border.

Unrest in Myanmar’s border region has been a constant irritant to China, despite its support for the country’s military rulers who took power in a takeover in 2021.

Beijing earlier this week called for a cease-fire in Myanmar but said it will continue live-firing drills on its side of the frontier to prepare for any emergency. Chinese police have reportedly fired tear gas to drive away people who were sheltering close to the border fence.

China is highly wary of conflicts spilling over the border that is already rife with drug trafficking and people smuggling. Cybercrime targeting Chinese victims has become a major concern, and China has pushed hard to eliminate the groups based in Myanmar and other countries and to send the perpetrators back to China for prosecution.

US military Osprey aircraft with 8 aboard crashes into the sea off southern Japan

BY MARI YAMAGUCHI from the Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s coast guard has found a person and debris in the ocean where a U.S. military Osprey aircraft carrying eight people crashed Wednesday off southern Japan, officials said.

A U.S. military CV-22 Osprey takes off from Iwakuni base, Yamaguchi prefecture, western Japan, on July 4, 2018. A U.S. military Osprey aircraft carrying eight people crashed Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 into the sea off southern Japan, and the Japanese coast guard is heading to the site for search and rescue operations, officials said. (Kyodo News via AP)

The cause of the crash and the status of the person and the others on the aircraft were not immediately known, coast guard spokesperson Kazuo Ogawa said.

The coast guard received an emergency call from a fishing boat near the crash site off Yakushima, an island south of Kagoshima on the southern main island of Kyushu, he said.

Coast guard aircraft and patrol boats found one person, whose condition was not immediately known, and gray-colored debris believed to be from the aircraft, Ogawa said. They were found at sea about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) off the eastern coast of Yakushima.

“The government will confirm information about the damage and place the highest priority on saving lives,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

The Osprey is a hybrid aircraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but during flight can rotate its propellers forward and cruise much faster like an airplane. Versions of the aircraft are flown by the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force.

Ogawa said the aircraft had departed from the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture and crashed on its way to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa. The Osprey apparently attempted to make an emergency landing at the Yakushima airport before crashing, he said.

Kyodo News agency, quoting Kagoshima prefectural officials, said witnesses reported seeing fire coming from the Osprey’s left engine.

U.S. and Japanese officials said the aircraft belonged to Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo. U.S. Air Force officials at Yokota said they were still confirming information and had no immediate comment.

A U.S. Marine Corps Osprey aircraft with 23 Marines aboard crashed on a north Australian island in August, killing at least three and critically injuring at least five during a multinational training exercise.

There have been at least five fatal crashes of Marine Ospreys since 2012, causing a total of at least 19 deaths.

With Santa’s elves on board to deliver gifts, Alaska’s National Guard dealt with a medical emergency

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska (AP) — Santa Claus’ sleigh took on new responsibilities in rural Alaska this week when delivering gifts to an Alaska Native village.

Santa’s ride, an Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, was shuttling Santa, Mrs. Claus, volunteer elves and gifts in shifts Wednesday to provide the children of Tuluksak some Christmas cheer. The flights originated about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest, from the hub community of Bethel, the guard said in a release.

However, after the first trip to Tuluksak, the helicopter crew got an urgent call seeking help for a medical evacuation in the nearby village of Napaskiak, located about 5 miles (8 kilometers) south of Bethel on the other side of the Kuskokwim River.

The river in the winter serves as an ice road, but there was only enough ice at this time of the year to prevent boats from operating. The ice wasn’t thick enough to support vehicles, and bad weather prevented small planes from landing at the village air strip.

Helicopter pilots Colton Bell and David Berg, both chief warrant officers, shifted focus, adding two paramedics and medical equipment to the flight and the remaining gifts for children.

They flew the five minutes to Napaskiak and dropped off the paramedics, who said they would need about 40 minutes to stabilize the patient. That gave the pilots time to take the 15-minute flight to Tuluksak to drop off the gifts and volunteers.

They then returned to the other village to pick up the patient and paramedics and flew them to an awaiting ambulance in Bethel. The patient was in stable condition Thursday and awaiting transport to an Anchorage hospital.

“This mission specifically showcases our abilities to adapt to multiple, rapidly changing missions while operating in adverse weather while still completing them efficiently and safely,” Bell said in a statement.

The Alaska National Guard for decades has delivered gifts, supplies and sometimes Christmas itself to tiny rural communities dotting the nation’s largest and largely roadless state. The program began in 1956 when residents of St. Mary’s village had to choose between buying gifts for children or food to make it through winter after flooding, followed by drought, wiped out hunting and fishing opportunities that year.

The guard stepped up, taking donated gifts and supplies to the village. Now they attempt every year to visit two or three villages that have experienced hardships.

Long-distance and extreme rescues by guard personnel are common in Alaska because most communities don’t have the infrastructure that exists in the Lower 48.

New Jersey blaze leaves 8 firefighters injured and a dozen residents displaced on Thanksgiving

From the Associated Press

WEST NEW YORK, New Jersey (AP) — Eight firefighters were injured battling a Thanksgiving night fire that displaced more than a dozen residents in West New York, New Jersey, officials said.

WABC-TV reports that the fire was in an apartment above a pharmacy on Bergenline Avenue at 53rd Street. Video showed flames billowing from the building.

Neighbors had to evacuate their homes when the building two doors down on Bergenline Avenue collapsed.

An explosion caused the roof to cave with firefighters on top of it, sending eight of them to the hospital with injuries ranging from smoke inhalation to broken bones, North Hudson fire officials said.

“I got a call that we had three members missing, we had a mayday and your heart just drops,” West New York Fire Chief David Donnarumma said. It was not immediately clear if the three missing were accounted for.

Donnarumma said the explosion happened as firefighters were battling flames shooting out the windows of the three-story corner building. The blast turned the building next to it into rubble.

“It’s a sad day for the township of West New York. They with their residents, cause people are displaced, they lost their residences and lost their belongings,” he said. “It’s a difficult day for the firefighters, not because we had to work but because of the injuries. Now their families will be suffering as well.”

Firefighters were able to get everyone out, rescuing several residents. Others were able to escape on their own.

The fire was contained but 20 people were displaced. The Red Cross said they were assisting at least 10 families.

The cause of the fire and explosion is under investigation.

Michigan police chase 12-year-old boy operating stolen forklift

From the Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Police in Michigan have arrested a 12-year-old boy who they said led them on a chase in a stolen forklift.

Police were called to Forsyth Middle School at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday on a report of a stolen forklift, reported. Officers found the forklift heading south through the city and gave chase at speeds between 15 and 20 mph (24 and 32 kph).

The driver, later identified as a 12-year-old Ann Arbor boy, finally stopped the forklift and was taken into custody at about 8 p.m.

Police later discovered the forklift had been left unlocked with a key hidden in the cab.

No one was hurt in the incident.

A crane operator has rescued a man from a burning high-rise in England

LONDON (AP) — A crane operator played down tributes paid to him on Thursday after he lifted a man to safety from a burning high-rise building in England.

The scene at the Station Hill development site in Reading where a fire broke out trapping a workman on the roof in Reading, England, Thursday Nov. 23, 2023. A crane operator played down tributes paid to him on Thursday after he lifted a man to safety from a burning high-rise building in England. (Lucy North/PA via AP)

Video from the scene in the town of Reading in southern England showed a man being rescued by a crane cage from the roof of a building under construction as thick plumes of dark smoke and flames billowed around him.

A crowd that had gathered near the building broke out in applause as the man was lifted in the air and then lowered to the ground.

Crane operator Glen Edwards, 65, described the situation as a “close call” because of windy conditions.

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“I was no more than 20 meters up in the air and I looked out my left-hand window and saw a guy standing on the corner of the building,” said Edwards, who had been working at the site before the blaze broke out.

“I’d only just seen him and someone said ‘can you get the cage on,’ so that was it, I got the cage on and got it over to him the best I could,” he added.

He said he tried to position the cage between the man and the flames but he was “hampered by the wind swirling around there.”

“But I got the cage down and I managed to get him in there,” he said.

More than 50 firefighters arrived at the scene to tackle the blaze, officials said, and another man was also lifted from the building by crane. Both men were taken to a hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation. The fire was extinguished later Thursday.