Tragedy Thursday, an as of now unidentified individual, shot at and killed 16 year old student, Ryan McDonald. The shooting occurred at just after 8:00am (UTC-5), at Central High School, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

According to Deputy Chief of Police of the Knoxville police department, William C. Roehl stated that the shooting was not “random” and that “they had contact with one another”. The shooting which occurred 8:11am (UTC-5), followed a confrontation in the cafeteria. Police arrived on the scene at 8:13am, and the suspect was taken into custody at 8:17am. McDonald was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where he died at 8:57am, according to the police.

Kevin Perry, a pastor at pastor of Word of Life Ministries, and also a witness to the shooting said that “[He] saw them when they were arguing and pushing and shoving.” [He] didn’t see the guy shoot him. What [he] did see was the guy fall”.

The school was preparing to release students, and bring them to a local church were they could be picked up by their guardians. Central High School has around 1,400 students.


Refugees from the conflict take shelter in Tbilisi. Tensions look likely to escalate in Georgia and Russia, with Russian-backed separatists asking Moscow to recognise their independence.

There is still no sign that Russia is withdrawing the bulk of its force from Georgia, despite western demands for an immediate pull-out.

The self-styled leaders of Abkhazia in Georgia’s north-west have issued a fresh call asking Moscow to recognise their independence.

While Russia has backed the separatists in Abkhazia and in Georgia’s other breakaway province of South Ossetia, it has previously held back from formally recognising them as independent.

In the wake of the fighting that flared in South Ossetia two weeks ago, Russia has said Georgia can forget about ever regaining control of the region.

But Russia has also agreed to an international mechanism to sort out the future status of each province.

Georgia remains adamant they must not be allowed to break away, but it has few options.

United States President George W Bush has criticised the violence in the region and has offered more support for Georgia, saying the US will help ensure its territorial integrity.

Mr Bush has again criticised Russia for what he says was a disproportionate military action in Georgia.

He says the US will continue to support Georgia’s democracy.

“South Ossetia and Abkhazia are part of Georgia and the United States will work with our allies to ensure Georgia’s independence and territorial integrity,” he said.

Civilian deaths

Both countries have now issued revised death tolls from the fighting in South Ossetia that sparked their conflict.

In the first few days of fighting, both sides claimed thousands of civilians had been killed.

Russia now says it has the names of 133 civilians and 64 soldiers who died in South Ossetia.

Georgia says 215 of its people lost their lives, including around 70 civilians. It also says 300 Georgian soldiers are still missing.

The toll on both sides may rise again because officials still do not know how many people have been buried in unmarked graves.

Media show

A White House spokesman says Russian forces are not withdrawing quickly enough from Georgia and should step up the pace.

The soldiers are still dug-in in central Georgia, cutting the country in two.

ABC correspondent Scott Bevan is on a Russian Government media tour which has crossed into Georgia, where the Russian military has made a show of pulling back a unit of troops from Georgia.

Just 55 kilometres from the capital Tblisi, about 50 members from the unit from the Russian 58th Army stood to attention by the road.

Then, when the order was given and the cameras were rolling, the men ran over to nine armoured personnel carriers and drove off.

Military spokesman Colonel Igor Tikachenko has defended the time taken to pull back the troops from Georgia, saying a lot of logistics are involved.

The Colonel says the 58th unit should be back on Russian soil in a day or so.

Source :

Levy Mwanawasa

Levy Mwanawasa, the President of Zambia died yesterday at age 59. He died in a Paris hospital in France. His death was intially announced by an anonymous family member. It was later confirmed on television by vice president Rupiah Banda.

Mwanawase suffered a stroke while in Egypt in June of this year for an African Union summit, whereafter he was flown to France. His condition suddenly deteriorated on Monday.

“I also wish to inform the nation that national mourning starts today and will be for seven days,” said Banda.

United States President George W. Bush expressed condolences and referred to Mwanawasa as “a champion of democracy in his own country and throughout Africa.”

Mwanawase whose political career started in 1985 when he was appointed Solicitor General in the Zambian government. He was appointed Vice President of Zambia in 1991. He left office in 1994 announcing gross abuse of office and corruption as his reason. He retired in 1996 but later ran for president in 2001.

He won the 2001 presidential election beating ten other candidates. He sucessfully ran for a second term in 2006. He was one of the first African leaders to critisise Robert Mugabe.

He also criticised the West for its position on doing business with China. “You people in the West redeem yourself before you begin attacking China,” Mwanawasa said.

Mwanawasa suffered a mild stroke in 2006. On July 3, 2008 it was reported that Mwanawasa had died, these reports later turnt out to be false. He had been in the French hospital since early July. Rupiah Banda is now the current acting president of Zambia. A presidential by-election will have to be called within 90 days.

Source : wikinews

Hua Guofeng, the successor of Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, died this afternoon in Beijing at age 87 from an undisclosed disease.

Born Su Zhu in China’s Shanxi province in 1921, Guofeng became a Communist Party member at age 15. Soon after, he became known to Mao Zedong in 1954, and as a result rose quickly through the party ranks.

After he succeeded Zhou Enlai as China’s Premier, Guofeng was chosen by the dying Mao to be his successor. After becoming Premier and Chinese Communist Party Chairman, he ended the Cultural Revolution and had the Gang of Four (including Mao’s last wife, Jiang Qing) arrested.

A vain leader, Hua had the National People’s Congress, the CPC Party Congress, and all schools hang portraits of Mao side-by-side with himself in prominent positions. Hua also attempted to change the Chinese national anthem’s lyrics to incorporate Mao Zedong, however these revisions were rejected.

He was effectively ousted in 1978 as a result of Deng Xiaoping‘s increasingly strong grip on the Communist Party. Guofeng was replaced as Premier in 1980 ending four years of service.

20 Minutos.

A passenger plane leaving from Madrid – Barajas Airport has crashed during take-off. 153 fatalities and 19 injuries have been reported amongst those who were on the aircraft. Flight JK5022, operated by Spanair, was destined for Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, when it skidded off the end of the runway in good weather at 14:45 local time. An engine of the aircraft is reported to have caught fire during the attempted takeoff.

A spokesman for S.A.M.U.R., stated that there were only 26 survivors. The plane at the time was carrying 173 people. 7 survivors later died en route to hospital.

The cause is unknown, but reports indicate that the left engine of the MD-82 was on fire during take-off. The United States agency National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to help with the investigation and reported that “the aircraft broke apart and a post-crash fire ensued.”

“Helicopters are continually heading to the scene, dropping lots of water… The smoke has really died down now, things seem to be more under control,” said Stephanie McGovern from the BBC, commenting on the incident. Manuel Moleno, who witnessed the crash, said that “I’ve seen around 50 ambulances. They’re still coming and going, so there may still be more casualties.”

“SAS is doing everything possible to help passengers and next-of-kin and to assist Spanish authorities at this difficult time,” read a statement from SAS Group, the Stockholm-based company that owns Spainair. “SAS will provide further information as soon as it becomes available.”

“Boeing sends its deep condolences to the families and friends of those lost in the crash of Spanair flight 5022, and its wishes for the quick recovery of the injured,” said manufacturer Boeing which merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. “We stand ready to provide technical assistance.”

Source : wikinews


A New York City resident is dead after she was run over by a bus.

33-year-old Donnette Sanz, a traffic agent for the city police department was crossing a Bronx intersection at East 188th Street and Webster Avenue when a van pushed her into the path of an oncoming school bus that then pinned the seven-month pregnant woman.

“We was riding along, coming down the hill,” John Dargan, a passenger in the van, told the Daily News. “He said, ‘Oh, my Lord, I don’t have no brakes.’ It happened so quick.”

Approximately 30 people helped lift the bus off of the woman. “I ran out of my house to join 10 people trying to lift up the bus,” said Cheryl Brown, 47. “At first, we couldn’t get it up, so then another 10 people ran over to help, and we got the bus up and the lady out.” After being freed from beneath the bus, Sanz was then transported to St. Barnabas Hospital where her baby was delivered by caesarean section.

Sanz survived the birth, but died an hour later. The 1.5 kg boy, named Sean Michael, was initially classified as being in critical condition, but later showed signs of improvement.

The van’s driver, 72-year-old Walter Walker, was arrested on charges of criminally negligent homicide and driving without a license. He pleaded not guilty.

“The light turned red, and I couldn’t stop. I tried to miss her.” said Walker to the New York Post. Police said the brakes on Walter’s van were in such poor condition that the vehicle was unsafe. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that Walker already had 20 suspensions on his driver’s license.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered condolences to Sanz’s husband, Rafael. “It’s a terrible poignancy that Donnette’s son’s birthday will now coincide with the day his mother died,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

Sanz’s colleagues have set up a memorial at the intersection where she was killed.

Source : wikinews

Scientology Volunteer ministers delivers assists

Colombo, Scientologists are refuting the ‘Red Alert, report recently posted in the Asian Tribune, warning the general public that they are creeping back in Sri Lanka on a proselytization mission.

The article ‘Red Alert: Scientologists creeping back in Sri Lanka’ which appeared in Asian Tribune has been described as “pretty unbecoming of Tribune.” John Daniels from Australia, who claims to be an author, researcher, human rights activists, a scientologist for 45 years, wrote “Accusations against Scientologist are just that accusations. They have no basis in fact.”

John Daniel in a letter to the Editor, further wrote, “Sinhalese and Tamil alike have found that Scientologists are good people. Our respect for other religions (especially Buddhism) and people of faith is genuine and evidenced by our actions.”

However John Daniels have failed to provide substantiating facts about how he came to the conclusion that ‘Sinhalese and Tamil alike have found that Scientologists are good people.’

Goven below the full text of the letter written by Scientologist John Daniels from Australia:

Scientologists Selflessly Give Assistance

Dear Editor

The article mentioning Scientologists last week was pretty unbecoming of the Tribune. Indeed your website writes in its ABOUT page: “Unfortunately, Asia is still divided according to the lines of religions, languages and according to so many other idiotic factors.”

Having that unfortunate article is just another example of such division, and although there are earlier answers to some of the things said in the article:

Scientology: “Respect the religious beliefs of others.”

Scientologist Church replies to Christian Eckert’s report on unethical conversions in Sri Lanka

I’d like to give this in response to the rest.

First, the writer seems to have forgotten the entire history of the Island. 2254 years ago, Mahinda converted the King to Buddhism. Prior to this, the Island was Hindu. Through trade Islam came to the Island over 1000 years ago. The Portuguese brought missionaries 6 centuries ago and in came Roman Catholicism. Yet through war and more colonialization in came the Dutch in the 17th century, with them, Protestantism. The British then ruled and brought Anglicanism. In more recent times we have the revival of Buddhism and its state as the prominent religion on the Island. One website puts it at 70% Buddhist, 15% Hindu, 7.5% Christian, and 7.5% Muslim. Yet in truth, no country in the world is 100% religious. Certainly some of the strife on the Island is likely at the hands of very ungodly and impious individuals.

Second, Scientologists have proven their selflessness in disaster relief scenarios around the world, and the writer makes no effort to check his facts or claims by one particular person. Scientologists not only helped Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and Indonesia after the Tsunami, but help in almost ever major disaster around the world. And they are very effective–the commendations and awards from governments for their relief work would be a very long list. Moreover, if they proselytized (or had any other disreputable motive) as the article accuses, these acknowledgements would not have happened.

Third, Dianetics, the word, means “through mind”. It is of Greek origin, not Sanskrit. The title says it all, Dianetics – the Modern Science of Mental Health. It is very effective and is used by people of any religion, because it is about the mind, not religion.

Fourth, Sinhalese and Tamil alike have found that Scientologists are good people. Our respect for other religions (especially Buddhism) and people of faith is genuine and evidenced by our actions. Accusations are just that, accusations. They have no basis in fact.

Fifth, the utter irony here is my best recommendation to the writer, and those like him, “Be vigilant; guard your mind against negative thoughts.” Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C.

Sixth and finally, there are real problems that all people can work together to fix. Scientologists are well known for fighting mental health abuses. They exist, even in Sri Lanka. Only 4 months ago a man was released from a mental asylum after being confined for 55 years. Conditions can be bad, such as across the strait in Tamil Nadu in 2001 a mental asylum had a fire which would have been an emergency, yet it ended in tragedy because 27 people chained to their beds could not escape. Scientologists make it part of their code to clean up the field of mental health, which is rife with abuse. See
Human Rights and psychiatry (Part 2 of 2): Who speaks for the chained and incarcerated?
for example.


John Daniels

Source : Asian Tribune

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