Tulsa – VIJAY SHAH via STEPHEN SORACE, Associated Press and Fox News
An American woman who shot dead her own son and tried to kill her two daughters claimed that she did it to free them from their abusive father, according to a report published in Fox News today.
Amy Leann Hall, from Tulsa, the capital of Oklahoma state, gunned down her son Kayson Toliver, aged 18. He was hit with a bullet to the head while he was sleeping at his mother’s home early on the morning of Thursday, 1st November, according to police statements. Hall also shot at her daughters in the same fashion, but they survived their injuries, with one managing to escape. Police came to the property thirty-five miles outside Tulsa, and found Toliver deceased. The mother was arrested, and claimed she carried out the shootings to protect her children from their violent father, according to an affidavit issued by the Okmulgee County Sheriff’s Office.
One of the two daughters, aged 16, is still in hospital in a critical condition, Fox News stated. The other daughter, aged 14, managed to escape her mother and hid crying in a bathroom, she later told her mother she was ‘okay’ before somehow managing to get the murder weapon, a pistol, from Hall, the article stated. Hall fled the scene and sped down local roads at 100 mph before police pulled her over, according to FOX 23 Tulsa, a local media outlet. She was arrested on the scene, and police are currently piecing together a motive for the killings.
Police stated that they had received callouts in the past to the family home over ‘domestic incidents’. Hall and the children’s father had separated two years ago and were engaged in a fierce custody battle over the children. She had applied to obtain sole custody of her family, but the father had attempted to overturn that application, stating that Hall was ‘mentally unstable’ and was ‘psychologically abusive’ to her offspring.
The deceased son was remembered as an excellent student and top level American football player for his school team at Beggs High School in Tulsa. “He was a very likeable young man,” head football coach David Tenison told the World. “He had a good heart, good spirit. His smile was infectious. It just infected everyone around him. He made you want to smile.”
Hall is now charged with a single count of first-degree murder, and two counts of shooting with an intention to kill and is currently on bail. She told police that after killing her children, she had intended to take her own life. The case continues.
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…”
Bathinda – VIJAY SHAH via LUCIA SUAREZ SANG, Fox News and India sources
A go-kart fan in India has died after getting her hair caught in the wheel of the vehicle she was racing in, according to a news report published in the US’s Fox News website yesterday.
Puneet Kaur, aged 28 years, was visiting the Aqua Village amusement park, a popular destination for families near her home in Rampura Phul, a locality of the Punjab city of Bathinda, when the incident occurred. She had been visiting the park with her husband, Amardeep Singh and their 2-year-old son and their family when they decided to try out the go-kart racing course.
According to police sources mentioned in the Indian national newspaper the Hindustan Times, Kaur and her husband Amardeep Singh got in one cart, while their child and his grandmother rode in another one. As the vehicles began racing, Kaur’s hair was suddenly trapped in the wheel of her cart, causing catastrophic injuries to her scalp.
“My wife and I were enjoying the ride on the go-kart. Suddenly, my wife’s hair got loose and I heard her scream. I raised an alarm and when the kart stopped, her scalp was peeled off. I do not know the quality of the rubber band and the helmet given to my wife,” Kaur’s husband told police, according to the Indian Express, another national newspaper.
After the accident, Puneet Kaur was immediately rushed to hospital, but tragically, she failed to make it. The incident is now under investigation by the Punjab police and the amusement park has closed the race track to visitors, pending the investigation’s outcome.
“The exact cause of death is unclear, but we will know after we receive details of the post mortem report,” a police officer told the British public service broadcaster BBC.
The manager for the amusement park told the Hindustan Times that the incident has “left everyone shocked.”
“Usually, all safety measures are followed,” Yadavindra Gardens manager Neeraj Gupta told the newspaper. “One person has been tasked with ensuring that all people wear proper head gear and follow other rules before using a go-kart. It is shocking this incident happened.”
Herat – VIJAY SHAH via Associated Press and Fox News
Two people are confirmed dead after a number of bombs exploded in roads in the Herat province of Afghanistan, according to statements by an Afghan official and reported in Fox News via the Associated Press agency today. Another bomb was also detonated at a market several miles from Kabul, the capital, as well today.
One of the victims is believed to have been a local police officer, killed by the blasts in the western part of Herat. Gelani Farhad, a spokesperson for the provincial government, said that one bomb triggered by a moving police vehicle in the Adraskan district, also injured another police officer. Farhad also stated that a second device in Shindand district blew up a motorcycle, killing one ordinary citizen and injuring another.
In Kapisa province, close to the Afghan capital Kabul and the US military encampment in Bagram, a bomb attached to a bicycle exploded at a bazaar, injuring nine shoppers, all civilians. Two young children were among the casualties, one of them critically, according to Qais Qaderi, a spokesperson for that province’s governor.
No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the blasts in Herat and Kapisa provinces. However the Taliban, who governed Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, when they were overthrown by an US allied invasion after the September 11 attacks in the United States, have long maintained a lethal campaign of stationary and suicide bomb attacks against both US/NATO and Afghan forces as well as civilians. Al Qaeda, Daesh and various warlords and militant groups are also highly active in Afghanistan.
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.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the Ebola virus crisis in West Africa could be dangerously underestimated as families hide members afflicted by the highly fatal contagion for fear of quarantine and persecution, according to a report by America‘s Fox News. The warning also claims the existence of ‘shadow zones’ where medics have no presence, means that many people are carrying or perishing from the virus without medical agencies realising, making an effective response to the outbreak more challenging.
Since the middle of this year, more than a thousand people have died in the West African states of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, with possibly several thousand more infected or likely to be exposed to Ebola. The virus, first discovered in the 1970s, causes excessive sweating, fever and internal bleeding and kills between fifty and seventy per cent of the infected. It was believed to have originally spread to humans via the consumption of ‘bushmeat’ from apes which had themselves carried a different version of the virus. Ebola can easily be spread by coming into contact with an infected person’s body fluids, including sweat and blood and is extremely contagious. There is no known definite cure, although an experimental drug, ZMapp, which has not yet passed official human trials, has proved promising when it was used to treat infected Western medical staff in Sierra Leone. A state of emergency has already been declared in Liberia, with crematoriums struggling to cope with the influx of victims and relatives of Ebola carriers being forcibly quarantined in their homes. A curfew has recently been put in place in two lesser-economically developed areas of the Liberian capital, Monrovia.
The agency, a part of the United Nations, reports that many families, distressed by the likelihood of quarantine and the stigma the disease carries, are hiding infected loved ones from the attention of local medics and hospitals. The WHO also is concerned over the presence of ‘shadow zones’, in remote areas, which medics are unable to enter to treat patients and to report infection rates, the agency reported yesterday (Friday 22 November). The report also gave reasons why the Ebola outbreak has been underestimated, after the WHO was criticised recently for reportedly failing to respond quickly enough to contain the killer virus, which is increasingly spiralling out of control as poorly-funded and equipped hospitals in the region struggle to treat rising numbers of victims.
Experts operating separately from the WHO have also claimed that the outbreak figures are underestimated as suspicious locals in West Africa have reportedly chased away medics who attempted to treat their infected relatives and where also many Ebola sufferers are refusing treatment altogether. It is believed that more than 1,300 people have already died in the epidemic and experts have stated that there is very little chance the rampage of Ebola will be brought to a standstill by the end of this year.
The underreporting of infections is reported to be especially acute in the countries of Liberia and neighbouring Sierra Leone. The WHO has said it will tackle this issue by working closely with the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the United States governmental agency, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to produce what they hoped would be ”more realistic estimates”.
MSF’s head has implored the WHO to do more to help victims and communities harmed by the lethal virus. In an interview with the Reuters news agency, the MSF’s head said that the fight against Ebola was being hampered by a lack of co-ordinated international leadership and the provision of emergency management skills abroad and on the ground in West Africa.
The stigma surrounding Ebola and other dangerous diseases such as HIV/AIDS, in traditional West African communities also poses a challenge to fighting the epidemic and calibrating the figures for patient numbers that the WHO needs to formulate an action plan. The outbreak, which has also being reported further afield in Nigeria, is said to be the worst in terms of fatalities since the virus’ discovery in central Africa four decades ago.
“As Ebola has no cure, some believe infected loved ones will be more comfortable dying at home,” the WHO statement said.
“Others deny that a patient has Ebola and believe that care in an isolation ward – viewed as an incubator of the disease – will lead to infection and certain death. Most fear the stigma and social rejection that come to patients and families when a diagnosis of Ebola is confirmed.“
Fearful of the widespread stigma surrounding infectious diseases like Ebola, and distrusting of local medical facilities, put off by rumours of hospitals euthanising Ebola patients, many families have taken to burying corpses of loved ones secretly without the official authorities finding out. In addition, there exists an uncalculated number of ‘shadow zones’ with little penetration by international health NGOs or local medical workers. Most of these shadow zones exist around rural villages and remote settlements where medical care locally may be non-existent, and a visit to the nearest general hospital or Ebola treatment unit may take hours or even days. There have been rumours that many people in such villages have been infected and killed by Ebola, but their cases cannot be investigated due to community opposition or a lack of available transport services.
In other cases, where treatment has been made available, clinics are struggling to cope with the numbers of infected and possible carriers of the disease coming through their doors. This suggests there is an invisible caseload of patients that is not on the radar of the official surveillance systems, as they cannot get access to a doctor for proper infection diagnosis.
The WHO has announced that it will draw up a ‘strategy plan’ to tackle West African Ebola in the coming months as it collects more data on infection rates in the three countries that have borne the brunt of the epidemic. The drafting and realisation of the plan is expected to take between six and nine months which means that it will still be several months before there is a cohesive mission to fight back against Ebola and stop its onslaught. The disease is still relatively poorly understood and should the virus appear outside of Africa, may mean it could spread rapidly as doctors with no experience of treating Ebola victims are poorly placed to recognise symptoms and access suitable quarantine centres and drugs.
A map outlining previous Ebola viral outbreaks in the African continent.
“WHO is working on an Ebola road map document; it’s really an operational document [on] how to fight Ebola,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said at a news briefing. “It details the strategy for WHO and health partners for six to nine months to come.“
When asked whether the timeline of the strategy plan will mean Ebola in West Africa being curtailed before the beginning of 2015, Chaib responded: “Frankly, no one knows when this outbreak of Ebola will end.“
The virus will only be considered truly confined if no new cases are reported within the time frame of two ‘incubation periods’ which works out as forty-two consecutive days. However, as the virus seems to be picking up new cases with every passing week, this seems a long way off under current conditions.
“So with the evolving situation, with more cases reported, including in the three hot places – Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia – the situation is not yet over,” Chaib added.
“So this is a planning document for six to nine months that we will certainly revisit when we have new developments.“
Further preliminary details of the WHO action plan are expected to be announced by the beginning of next week, Chaib told the news briefing.
The panic of Ebola has already spread out far beyond the disease itself. Border officials in the United Kingdom have been warned to be alert to signs of infection in people arriving into the country from affected nations. A Nigerian man in Spain was placed under quarantine at a local hospital in the Costa del Sol after allegedly reporting a feverish high temperature but was later given the all-clear. South Africa has been stated in international media that it has banned anyone from the three states originally affected by the outbreak from entering its territory. One worrying recent development occurred in Senegal, regarded as West Africa’s ‘humanitarian hub’. Government officials there blocked a United Nations plane carrying aid from landing in the country to offload goods intended for Ebola sufferers, while the country’s airports agency has terminated all flights originating in or destined for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. The blockade has been put in place as Senegal seeks to prevent Ebola from reaching its people. Aid agencies have cautioned against the Senegalese embargo, saying that it could harm aid efforts and the emergency response against Ebola.