SCOOTER HATERS: Electric scooters attacked by angry Californians

Santa Monica – VIJAY SHAH via FOX News and other sources

The U.S. state of California is well known for being at the vanguard of revolutionary new technologies, especially if they are environmentally friendly. Its also the birthplace of many a technological trend that has spread across the world. According to Fox News, however, there is one new eco-transport trend that has not only irritated some locals in the Golden State, it’s pushed them to commit vandalism against the objects fuelling that same trend.

Electric two-wheeled scooters, usually popular with youngsters, have become the latest must-have kind to the environment mode of transport. A firm called Bird even has public banks of scooters you can pay to borrow for the day, just like the bicycle docks found in many world cities. But some Californians in the south of the state, sick to death of the new vehicles appearing in random locations and getting in their way, have taken to setting them on fire or throwing them into the Pacific Ocean, Fox News reports.


Another report from local paper the Los Angeles Times claims that city hygiene workers in Santa Monica have found several scooters left for dead amidst the spray of the sea and abandoned in public bins. A policeman in the city of Venice even claimed to have seen dumped scooters stacked up high in piles of ten, but the dumping has not been reported to authorities.

Most of the scooters found dumped are branded ones issued by Bird. Marked with the company logo in simple black and white livery, the company rents out the scooters to the public for as little as US $1 a day and the firm currently operates across the United States and in Paris, France. The problem of scooters being dumped and vandalised has become so commonplace that one wit opened up a Instagram account, Birdgraveyard (@birdgraveyard), that chronicles and celebrates the various unfortunate final resting places of the two-wheelers across California.

A spokesperson with the scooter firm told Fox: “We do not support the vandalism or destruction of any property and are disappointed when it takes place,’

‘Nor do we support the encouragement, celebration or normalization of this behavior.”

Bird appealed for people who spot damaged vehicles to report the sightings to the company directly.

Opponents of scooter rental schemes like Bird’s say the vehicles are often carelessly left in public places and they are an eyesore. Some cities in the US originally opposed Bird expanding into their streets but relented and allowed them in, due to their enviro-credentials. The Californian town of Beverly Hills, however voted to ban scooters for six months, citing safety concerns. The town’s council member, Lili Bosse, said last month: “If you imagine just walking on the sidewalk and somebody on a scooter at 15 miles an hour hits you, it can be fatal…”


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“Southern Californians are tossing electric scooters into ocean, burning them: report” – Fox News, Greg Norman and Associated Press, Fox News channel/FOX News Network, LLC. (13 August 2018)

“Bird” – Bird


“File:Bird scooters on the sidewalk in San Jose.jpg” – Grendelkhan, Wikimedia Commons (30 May 2018)


SOCAL PLANE CRASH: Five reported killed


Five people have been reported killed after a small plane crashed into a car park in southern California state, USA yesterday according to a report published by news network CNN.

The Orange County Fire Authority told CNN that a Cessna 414 twin-engine craft en route to the John Wayne Airport in the same county lost control and crashed into the car park in the city of Santa Ana, according to the Fire Authority’s report source, Capt. Tony Bommarito, a public information officer.


The five who perished were all believed to have been on the Cessna, which came down around 12.30 pm local time. The plane was reported to have struck a parked and unoccupied car in the park, whose owner was out buying groceries. The crash occurred just a block from the South Coast Plaza, a popular local shopping centre. No deaths and injuries were reported among people on the ground, according to Bommarito.

The plane put out a mayday message before crashing, CNN said. The victims have not yet been identified. The American Federal Aviation Administration is to run an investigation into yesterday’s crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board.


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“#Breaking144 – A small plane crashed into a parking lot, killing five people in Southern California, authorities say – @AceBreakingNews” – #Breaking144 @Breaking144/Ace Worldwide News Group/Sterling Publishing & Media News/WordPress (6 August 2018)

“Small plane crashes into parking lot, killing 5 in Southern California” – Artemis Moshtaghian, Amanda Jackson and Madison Park, Cable News Network (CNN)/Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (6 August 2018)


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CAR CRASH IN CHULA VISTA: Illegal U-turn injures four

Chula Vista – VIJAY SHAH via KAREN KUCHER and San Diego Union-Tribune


Four people are now recovering in hospital after a three-car pile-up in the U.S. city of Chula Vista began when a driver executed an illegal U-turn on a highway there, The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper reported yesterday.

The accident occurred on Friday morning when the driver of a white Honda vehicle was going westbound on Telegraph Canyon Road in the Californian city. The male driver then made a prohibited turn at the junction with Apache Drive, causing a fellow road user in a Camaro to crash into him, according to local police lieutenant Christopher Kelley. The Camaro was found to have been unlicensed and surprisingly, was been driven by a fifteen-year-old boy.

Police said the Honda was then pushed back by the impact into an oncoming car, also said to be a Honda vehicle, grey in colour. That crashed into the first car, causing serious injuries to the driver of the second Honda. The U-turn driver, who was travelling with his two children, also suffered injuries, though much less severe, and all three, plus the second Honda driver were taken to local hospitals, the Union-Tribune said.

Chula Vista lies just south of the San Diego metropolitan area in southern California and is popular with tourists and families.


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“Illegal U-turn causes 3-car crash in Chula Vista that sends 4 to hospital” – OverNewser

“Illegal U-turn causes 3-car crash in Chula Vista that sends 4 to hospital” – Karen Kucher, The San Diego Union-Tribune (4 May 2018)


“File:Chula Vista, CA, USA – panoramio (1).jpg” – Roman Eugeniusz, Panoramio via Wikimedia Commons (5 September 2015),_CA,_USA_-_panoramio_(1).jpg

CHARLES MANSON: California state governor rejects parole bid by killer’s follower

VIJAY SHAH via Fox News and Ace Breaking News

The leader of the California state government has rejected a bid for parole by a jailed follower of the Seventies cult leader and murderer Charles Manson, the U.S.’s Fox News service reports today.

The state’s governor, Jerry Brown, threw out the parole application for the follower more than forty-six years after Manson and his cult wrecked havoc in southern California, bringing terror to its well-heeled neighbourhoods, a crime spree that still is recounted today.

The bid applicant, a Bruce Davis, was originally jailed for the murders of musician Gary Hinman and stuntman Donald “Shorty” Shea, which occurred in 1969. Manson’s cultists were most notorious for the bloody murder of actress Sharon Tate and six others, before they were apprehended and jailed by local police.

The governor ruled that Davis, now aged 73, still poses a threat to society and a danger to public safety and will remain behind bars. Gov. Brown has already blocked two previous parole applications by Davis, and an earlier bid for jail release was annulled by previous state governor and former film star Arnold Schwarzenegger. The killer is currently detained at California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, in California’s south, where he is serving a life sentence for the slayings of Hinman and Shea. In addition to the murders, he was also sentenced for ‘conspiracy to commit murder and robbery’, according to Fox.

Since he was put behind bars, Davis has become a devout Christian and studied at the jail’s school, earning himself a doctorate in religious philosophy and is now a prison minister carrying out devotional service to his fellow inmates at the Colony.

His attorney, Michael Beckman, said that California’s Board of Parole Hearings has fulfilled all legal processes in recommending that his client be made eligible for parole. However, Los Angeles County prosecutors opposed the parole bid on the grounds of the sadistic nature of the murders of the two entertainers, alongside the intention of Charles Manson, Davis’ one time leader, to spark a race war between white and black Americans which would benefit his cult.

Bruce Davis was born in Monroe, Louisiana state in October 1942, the youngest of two children. He was a school dropout who moved west to California after becoming interested in the new hippy subculture that was taking shape in the 1960s. He met Charles Manson and his band of followers in 1967, where he made a niche for himself handling stolen credit cards and churning out fake identification for the Manson ‘family’. In 1970, after the murders of Hinman and Shea, Davis was ordered by Manson to turn himself in and was then duly sentenced for the two murders and as a criminal accessory.

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“California gov rejects Manson follower’s parole bid” – Associated Press via Fox News – U.S. Home – California/FOX News Network, LLC. (23 January 2016)
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PHOTO MOMENT: Building bridges – a quote by Rick Pitino


“When you build bridges, you can keep crossing them.” ~Rick Pitino


The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, which spans the San Francisco Bay in California, as seen at nighttime.

Richard Andrew “Rick” Pitino is an American basketball coach. Since 2001, he has been the head coach at the University of Louisville, and coached the Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship. He has also been head of the Puerto Rico national basketball team.

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“CITY” –



SCARFACE: Tony Montana’s mansion on sale for £23 million

The luxurious mansion which doubled as the residence of feared gangster and Cuban refugee Tony Montana in the 1983 blockbuster Scarface, starring Al Pacino, is now on sale for £23 million (USD $33.9 million), reports the British tabloid Metro today.

The El Fureidis mansion, in Montecito, California, was the domain of the feared and fast-talking cocaine smuggler in the hit film, where it was set in Coral Gables, an upmarket town near Miami in Florida. As Tony Montana’s home in the movie, it was where he married the glamorous Elvira, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and went down in a blaze of bloody glory facing off against hordes of South American gunmen in the climactic ending of Scarface.

English: Looking back at El Frueidis from the ...
English: Looking back at El Frueidis from the southern gardens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The mansion, which is said to boast nine bathrooms, also has played host to visits by numerous politicians and film stars. It was built in 1906 using a mixed architectural style combining Greek, Persian, Spanish and Arab styles. Originally known as the James Waldron Gillespie Estate or Gillespie Palace for its original owner, the mansion was renamed ‘El Fureidis‘ (Spanish for ‘Paradise Gardens’) in the 1950s.

The house is currently owned by a Mark Cuban, ironically, and the new owners will also get the free use of four bedrooms and can stroll around the picturesque 10-acre gardens in return for the £23 million asking price. You can live in the lap of luxury and eat like a don in the grandiose living room which has a ceiling adorned with 24-carat gold leaf. The rooms have underfloor heating and modern expensive appliances. The rooftop is said to guarantee 360 degree views of the Californian coast, the Pacific Ocean and the nearby Channel Islands national park.

A spokesperson for, which gives a detailed description of the mansion, called El Fureidis “one of Montecito’s most celebrated estates steeped in rich and colourful history“. The spokesperson also mentioned that El Fureidis is a “place of legendary provenance and played host to many memorable visitors, including Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Charlie Chaplin and John F. Kennedy“.

The estate is one of only three residences in Montecito designed by renowned architect Bertram Goodhue, and is a true piece of art history” the spokesperson added.

The movie was directed by Brian Palma and charts the story of Tony Montana, a refugee from the Castro regime who settles in Florida among the Cuban expatriate community there. Beginning life as a humble dishwasher in a roadside restaurant, Al Pacino’s character soon climbs up the crime ladder, before he becomes a gangster overlord in his own right. He knows unbridled wealth and prosperity, but a deepening addiction to cocaine and a run-in with a Colombian crime boss soon bring the world of Montana crashing down in a hail of bullets.

The film which still maintains a uniquely cult status and revolutionised Pacino’s career cost $25 million to make. It took in $4.5 million in its first week at the cinemas and became the 16th best grossing film of 1983.

(contains severe violence and some strong language)


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“The mansion from Scarface has nine bathrooms and it could be yours for a mere £23 million” – Sarah Deen, Metro/Associated Newspapers Limited (14 March 2015)
“El Fureidis” – Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
“File:El Fureidis.jpg” –  Tai Kerbs, Wikimedia Commons (28 October 2010)
“Say Hello to My Little Friend – Scarface (8/8) Movie CLIP (1983) HD” – MOVIECLIPS, YouTube GB (16 June 2011)



CHITTY CHITTY KER-CHING: Ferrari bought for £5,000 fetches £18 million

A Ferrari that was purchased by an American businessman for only £5,000 has been sold at auction for an astonishing £18 million at an auction in Monterey, California.

The classic 1960’s sportscar, a Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder and one of only ten made, belonged to the estate of late businessman, former city mayor and philanthropist Eddie Smith. Smith passed away in 2007.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The red two-seater, which is still in mint condition, was bought for £5,000 by the businessman in 1967. Despite its age, the car’s condition and scarcity meant that experts at RM Auctions estimated that the car would go under the hammer at a price of £10 million. Against expectations, the Ferrari Spyder sold for the princely sum of £18 million, nearly double the original bid price. Eddie Smith’s family, who managed the sale, plan to donate the proceeds in their entirety to charity.

The car, which achieved global attention before its auction yesterday (Saturday 17 August) was a limited-edition special from Ferrari’s Spyder series, small convertibles designed for the global jet-set who became wealthy in the post-war boom years of the 1960s. One of the ten cars produced under this design was owned by actor Steve McQueen. He requested that a second Ferrari 275 be reserved for use in the shooting of his film The Thomas Crown Affair.

Bidding started at US$16 million before rising in $1 million increments until the gavel finally went down on the final price of US$25 million. The final bill including extras came in at $27.5 million (GBP £17.6 mill.). The buyer of the vehicle chose to remain anonymous, but auctioneers have stated to British newspaper the Daily Mail that the car will be prepared for transit to Switzerland, a popular residence among well-off marque fans. The owner plans to include the Ferrari as a showpiece in their private collection.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S NART Spyder was conceived by Luigi Chinetti, a US-based Italian car dealer employed by Ferrari SpA. Chinetti had felt the car should be a highly sought after alternative to the luxurious 330 GTS.  He initially picked up the idea for the Ferrari 275 after seeing a 275 GTB/4 on display at the Paris Motor Show. Ferrari were not keen on Chinetti’s grand plans for an exclusive Spyder at first, but were soon won over. Chinetti named the car after his personal North American Racing Team, or NART, a regular at American and international rallies.

They were issued in aluminium bodies and with a retractable soft top with power drawn from a 330bhp V12 engine. The sleek and nifty car could reach a top speed of 160 mph, an extraordinary figure for a convertible at that time. Even with this car’s revolutionary potential, Ferrari found selling the cars a difficult procedure and Chinetti was forced to sell several of the models at a loss. Despite this, journalists at the Road and Track magazine described Chinetti’s racing pride-and-joy as “the most satisfying sports car in the world“.

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“Businessman’s Ferrari sells for £18m 45 years after he bought it for just £5,000… and all the money is going to charity” – Jennifer Smith, Mail Online – News/Associated Newspapers Ltd. (18 August 2013) LINK
“1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder” – Richard Owen, Publishing LINK