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Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 12:01 am

Stand-your-ground state

Curses, foiled again
• Police thought Luis Moreno Jr., 26, was driving solo in a carpool lane in Fort Lee, N.J., but when they stopped him, he showed he was legal by pointing out two men in the back of the SUV. The men said they were kidnap victims. Moreno tried to flee, but rush-hour traffic stalled his getaway, and he was arrested. (New York Daily News)

• Two thieves broke into a closed casino in Calgary, Alberta, and made off with an ATM. Security footage shows the two masked crooks loading the machine onto a dolly and wheeling it to their vehicle. On the way, it toppled onto one of the thieves, but they loaded it and made their escape. “There’s no money in the machine,” Staff Sgt. Travis Baker said, explaining that ATMs are unloaded several times daily and at the end of the business day. Noting that stealing ATMs requires heavy lifting and then “tools like grinders, axes and chisels” to break through to the cash box, Baker called it “a very ineffective way to make a living.” (Canada’s National Post)

Stand-your-ground state
• When Joseph Carannante, 21, built a gun range in his yard in a St. Petersburg, Fla., community, neighbors complained that he was putting everyone, especially children, in danger. Police said it’s legal. “I don’t want to hurt anybody,” Carannante explained. “I just want to use this as my enjoyment. I don’t want to have to go to a gun range, when I can just go outside my door.” He promised to alert neighbors whenever he intends firing his 9 mm pistol. (Tampa’s WFLA-TV)

Look out below
• Investigators concluded that the crash of a single-engine aircraft near Watkins, Colo., was caused by the pilot photographing himself and his passenger and becoming disoriented by the camera flash. “It is likely that cellphone use during the flight distracted the pilot and contributed to the development of spatial disorientation and subsequent loss of control,” the National Transportation Safety Board report said. Explaining the NTSB is seeing “more and more” distractions from personal devices in all forms of transportation, board official Keith Holloway said, “But the self-photograph in an airplane, that’s something new for us.” (The New York Times)

• Moving beyond social media, people are taking grievances to the skies by hiring airplanes to tow banners announcing their stance. Recent targets in New York City have been the mayor, including one calling for his resignation, and the general manager of the New York Jets (“Jets: Rebuilding Since 1969”). A banner costs $1,000 for a 2-1/2-hour ride over the Hudson River. Ashley Chalmers, whose company, Jersey Shore Aerial Advertising, flew the anti-mayor and anti-Jets banners, said he never takes sides: “I’m just the messenger.” (The New York Times)

• When a small plane’s engine failed over Lake Taupo on New Zealand’s North Island, all 13 people on board were able to escape before the aircraft crashed into the lake because they were skydivers intending a tandem jump. Six crew members jumped with the six passengers strapped to them as planned, followed by the pilot. All landed safely. (BBC News)

• Air traffic control officials received reports of 193 incidents of “drone misbehavior” in 2014, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Several were close calls involving aircraft with people on board, including one pilot who had to take evasive action above Oklahoma City when a 2-foot-wide drone came within 10 feet of his plane at 4,800 feet. Some incidents involved drones flying as high as 15,000 feet. (Mother Jones)

Holy cow
• Cleaning crews at Indian government buildings in New Delhi are switching to a new cleaning liquid derived from cow urine, which is in abundant supply and whose antimicrobial and antifungal properties make it possible to avoid using synthetic products. The product, named Gaunyle, also contains neem and pine scent and costs about the same as conventional cleaners. “It is a win-win situation for us,” said Minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, who came up with the idea. “No harm to janitors by way of daily exposure to chemicals, and cows will be valued more.” Buoyed by the product’s acceptance, Anuradha Modi, who heads the Holy Cow Foundation which supplies Gaunyle, said her organization is looking for other ways to market the “piles of cow dung and cow urine” that go to waste in India. (India’s The Economic Times)

Thwarted determination
• Dwayne Jackson, 48, forced his way into a home in Ewing, N.J., found a spatula in a kitchen drawer and tried to slit his throat with it. When that failed, police Capt. Rocco Maruca said, Jackson used a butcher’s knife to stab himself in the stomach. At that point, the 76-year-old homeowner appeared with a loaded .357 handgun, which Jackson wrestled away from him and shot himself in the face. Jackson survived and was hospitalized in stable condition. (The Times of Trenton)

National insecurity
• The British government proposed a supplement to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill that would require nursery school staffers and registered daycare providers to report youngsters at risk of becoming terrorists. “Senior management and governors should make sure that staff have training that gives them the knowledge and confidence to identify children at risk of being drawn into terrorism and challenge extremist ideas which can be used to legitimize terrorism and are shared by terrorist groups,” the document states. A Home Office official said teachers and nursery workers should take action when they notice “behavior of concern,” adding, “It is important that children are taught fundamental British values in an age-appropriate way.” (Britain’s The Express)

• Ottawa firefighters responding to an alarm at the construction site of one of the Canadian government’s most secret installations discovered an “extreme vulnerability” that allowed them to enter the $800 million building: a back gate secured only by a simple padlock. The small fire, caused by cans of tar and a heater left by construction workers, was quickly extinguished. Afterwards, the Toronto Star requested documents pertaining to the incident, only to be told by Communications Security Establishment Canada officials that the information would make the spy agency vulnerable to “attack from a hostile entity” if it were revealed “that there is nothing but a padlock protecting our gates.” The agency then mistakenly provided all the information to the paper, including security patrol schedules, names of CSEC employees, the number of broken surveillance cameras and other top-secret details. (The Toronto Star)

Compiled from mainstream news sources by Roland Sweet. Authentication on demand.


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