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Thursday
Nov182010

Twins' Double-Shooting at Colo. Shooting Range Was Result of a Suicide Pact

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (DENVER) -- The double-shooting of Australian twins at a Colorado shooting range was the result of a suicide pact made between the sisters, investigators said Thursday.

"Based on the physical evidence collected, the surviving sister's statements, and video surveillance footage from the shooting center (which will not be released) the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office believes that this incident was indeed a suicide and attempted suicide," said a statement released by the sheriff's office.

The two women, 29, had been living in Colorado for five weeks. Their relatives began traveling to the U.S. Wednesday to determine which of the women is dead. Police have been unable to determine which of the identical twins was killed.

Both of them were shot in the head. One died instantly and the other was rushed to a hospital in critical condition where she has been unable to talk to investigators since the shooting Monday.

The women, whose names won't be released until it's clear which one was killed, were simultaneously shot Monday after renting pistols at the Family Shooting Center in Cherry Creek State Park, south of Denver.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov182010

Texas' New Approach Tames Animal House Frats

Photo Courtesy -- University of Texas(AUSTIN, Texas) – After the deaths of two students, the University of Texas has turned to prevention education to tackle hazing.

Four years ago this month, Tyler Cross, a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity pledge at the University of Texas, fell five stories from a dorm room window, dying upon impact. He was 18 years old and had a blood-alcohol content twice the legal limit.
 
The previous year, a Lambda Phi Epsilon pledge, Phanta "Jack" Phoummarath, was found dead with a blood-alcohol level of 0.41.

Law enforcement and university officials labeled both tragedies, while accidental, a result of hazing.

The umbrella of hazing includes not only drinking in excess, but many things students may not normally consider - personal servitude, partial nudity, calisthenics, eating contests and uncomfortable clothes, to name a few.

At UT, administrators and student organizations are working together to educate groups on how to run and develop their clubs and groups in a safe way.

This fall is the second full year for the "mutual agreement program," which begins after a fraternity, sorority or other university organization has violated the state's anti-hazing law. The program establishes a process, a sort of probationary period, during which the organization is re-evaluated, its members educated and is brought back into compliance without suffering severe penalties.
 
So far, 19 organizations have entered into this program, which was developed under the instruction of university president Bill Powers, who took office in 2006, the year Cross died.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov182010

Americans Continue to Perceive Crime Increases

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(PRINCETON, NJ) – As both the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics report drops in crime from 2008 to 2009, the American people continue to think that crime is on the rise, according to Gallup’s annual crime survey. Two-thirds of Americans say they believe crime has increased in the U.S. since last year, according to the survey.

Americans are less quick to say, however, that crime levels have increased in their neighborhoods this year as only 49 percent believe there has been a rise locally.

As for the level of crime in the U.S.,  60% of Americans believe the crime problem in the U.S. is "extremely" or "very serious," up from 55% in 2009. That is the highest level Gallup has measured since 2000. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov182010

Teen's Death Again Spotlights Four Loko Danger

Phusian Products(DALLAS) -- Texas authorities have arrested a convenience store clerk for selling the controversial alcoholic energy drink Four Loko to a group of teenagers involved in a car wreck that left a teenage girl dead.

The girl's death came the same week that the federal government called for an investigation of similar drinks that blend alcohol and caffeine, calling them "unsafe."

Satish Phuyal, 22, a clerk at the 6 Pack XPress in Arlington, was charged Wednesday night with selling alcoholic beverages to a minor.

Phuyal is the second person charged in relation to the death of Valeria Rodriguez, 14, who was killed early Sunday morning when the SUV her 14-year-old boyfriend was driving crashed into a guardrail, causing the car to roll over and Rodriguez to be thrown from the vehicle.

Phuyal has not yet obtained an attorney, authorities said.

The boyfriend, whose name has not been released by police, has been charged with intoxication manslaughter.

A third teenager in the car, a 16-year-old boy who also has not been identified, told investigators the group bought five cans of Four Loko, a malt liquor beverage sold in 23.5-ounce cans that contains roughly the same amount of alcohol as four beers and the caffeine equivalent of two to three cups of coffee.

"Any retailer that's selling alcohol to minors is too many," Capt. Capt. Robert Charlie Cloud of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission told ABC News affiliate WFAA-TV. "We're going to do what we can to ensure that that doesn't happen."

On the heels of several states' banning the alcoholic energy drinks from store shelves, the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday sent letters to four manufactures, including Phusion Projects, the maker of Four Loko, telling them that the combination of alcohol and caffeine is dangerous.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov182010

Steven Slater Raps in Endorsement Deal

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Former JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater became an overnight hero to working people when he quit his job by grabbing a beer and deploying his plane's emergency chute.

These days, though, he's rapping about an iPhone application.

Forget those lucrative endorsements that other overnight celebrities get. It seems Slater could only secure a gig as the spokesman for a service that lets passengers use an airplane's Wi-Fi network to send text messages.

Specfically, he raps about a "Mile High Text Club" contest by Toktumi, the company behind the Line2 app. Travelers are to submit their craziest flight stories, and Slater will be one of the judges. The prizes range from a shopping trip to New York to free use of the Line2 service.

"After talking with Steven, I realized that despite his dramatic approach -- which he regrets -- he was making a statement about the need to return civility and common courtesy to flying," Toktumi CEO Peter Sisson said in a statement. "He's a perfect judge for a contest concerning the current state of air travel." He was a flight attendant for 20 years, and both his parents had long careers in the airline business."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

 

Thursday
Nov182010

Kids Say Their Principal Came to See If They Were Really Sick

Photo Courtesy - WABC-TV(CHESTER, N.Y.) -- Students who had called in sick to school last month say they got the surprise of their life when their principal barged into their bedrooms in an attempt to catch them lying about being too ill to go to class.

Michael DiQuattro, the father of the two boys, Vincenzo, 12, and Robert, 16, say his sons are now "terrified" to go to school following the alleged incident.

According to DiQuattro, Ernest Jackson, the principal at Chester Academy in Chester, New York, arrived and entered the home where his kids were living without permission on Oct. 23. DiQuattro only filed the police complaint this week because he said his sons were "too scared to tell even him" about what happened.

"The principal took it upon himself to arrive at my children's home at about 9:30 in the morning along with the guidance counselor," DiQuattro told ABCNews.com. "They bascially let themselves in, walked up the stairs and into my children's rooms."

DiQuattro said that his older son, Robert, had stayed home to watch the younger son who had flu-like symptoms because their mother could not take a day off work. Both were dressed only in their underwear when DiQuattro allegedly entered the home.

"They were not yelling or letting it be known they were in the home and my son saw Jackson out of the corner of his eye when he was in the bathroom throwing up," said DiQuattro.

"Jackson put his hand on Vincenzo's head to check his temperature and told him, 'You don't have a temperature, you're coming with me,'" the father said.

Calls and e-mails sent to Jackson were not immediately returned, but Jackson's wife told ABC News' New York affiliate WABC that "there was more to the story that hasn't come out yet."

DiQuattro claims that Jackson then went to find his other son, Robert, who called his mother to tell her what was happening.

"At that point the principal ran out of the house and said, 'See you at school,'" said DiQuattro.

DiQuattro says he wants Jackson removed from his post as principal.

"I want him out of the school. He shouldn't be around kids. He's sick in the head," DiQuattro said. "Nobody gave him permission to enter my kids' house. He violated their rights."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov182010

Two of Bernie Madoff's Aides Arrested, in FBI Custody

Photo Courtesy - Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two longtime aides to Bernard Madoff were arrested by federal prosecutors Thursday morning as part of an ongoing investigation.

Joanne Crupi was arrested at her home in Westfield, New Jersey, while Annette Bongiorno was arrested at her home in Florida.  Crupi and Bongiorno are being held in FBI custody in New York and Florida, respectively.  They are charged in a federal indictment that's expected to be unsealed in New York on Thursday.

Bongiorno, 61, worked for Madoff for more than 40 years as a secretary and back office staff supervisor.  Federal prosecutors have already moved to seize her $1.2 million mansion in Boca Raton.

Crupi was also a longtime Madoff employee.  Federal prosecutors have already seized her $2.25 million house in Mantoloking, on the Jersey shore.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

Cops Baffled by Twins' Double-Shooting at Colo. Shooting Range

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(DENVER) -- Family members of two Australian twins shot at a Colorado gun range are traveling to the U.S. to determine which of the women is dead after a mysterious double-shooting that has baffled investigators.

Both of them were shot in the head. One died instantly and the other was rushed to a hospital in critical condition, where she has been unable to talk to investigators since the shooting Monday. Police have been unable to determine which of the identical twins, 29, was killed or how the shootings occurred.

Police are unsure of who shot the gun or guns, whether the women each shot themselves, shot each other, or if one shot her sister and then herself.

"We don't know what happened. Each new piece of information creates a new possibility," said Capt. Louie Perea, spokesman for the Arapahoe County Sheriff.

"The unfortunate thing is there is video, but it doesn't show the shooting, just the women falling in the stall. The shooting was not captured," he said.

The women, whose names won't be released until it's clear which one was killed, were simultaneously shot Monday after renting pistols at the Family Shooting Center in Cherry Creek State Park, south of Denver. Both women rented small-caliber pistols and were inside the same shooting stall at the range.

"There is no one else nearby," Perea said. "No one appears to be walking towards the stall or away from it. They were the only two individuals in the stall."

"The crime lab is processing all the evidence and it could take weeks," Perea said. "The coroner has yet to finish his report. There could be additional ballistics tests, if need be."

Perea said it was unclear whether they had both been killed by the same bullet, adding that there was no evidence that a single bullet had ricocheted in the stall.

"According to the owner, they seemed jovial and happy," Perea said.

The two women had arrived in Colorado in late summer on cultural exchange visas. They were slated to return to Australia the next day, Tuesday, Nov. 16.

The shooting range has seen its share of suicides in the past. A man killed himself there in 2009 and another person in 2003.

Doug Hamilton, the range owner, told ABC affiliate KMGH-TV that the requisites for renting a gun are similar to those for purchasing a handgun.

The Australian Consulate in California has made arrangements for the family to travel to the United States to identify the deceased sister.

Police are not optimistic that the surviving sister, still in critical condition, will ever recover enough to explain what happened.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

Head of TSA Defends Advanced Pat-downs

Full Body Scans via Advanced Imaging Technology. Photo Courtesy - www dot TSA dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- The head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was back on Capitol Hill Wednesday to answer more questions about subjecting airline passengers to enhanced pat-downs and Advanced Imaging Technology.

TSA Administrator John Pistole defended the enhanced pat-down policy and revealed that prior to signing off on the new procedures that allow screeners to use the front of their hands on sensitive areas of the body, he went through the screening himself.

Senator Byron Dorgan D-N.D. asked Pistole if the pat-down made him uncomfortable. "Yes," said Pistole, "it was clearly more invasive than I was used to."

As for why these pat-downs were put in place, Pistole said that a combination of intelligence and covert testing lead him to conclude that the TSA needed to be more thorough in their efforts. Regarding covert testing, Pistole told the Senate Commerce Committee, "one of the things they found as a common denominator was when…the covert testing was able to get through security, it was largely because we were not being thorough enough in our pat-downs."

The new TSA policy of screening passengers has come under fire on the Internet and in conservative media outlets. A California man's fuzzy cell phone video of his combative patdown by a TSA agent, and his exhortation to the screener not to touch "my junk" went viral.

Relatives of some of the Americans killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks defended the scanners Tuesday.

"The biggest insult to those murdered on September 11, 2001 is to ignore the lessons we have learned to prevent future attacks," said Carie LeMack, a co-founder of the Global Survivor's network.

"I feel obligated to implore all those opposing aviation security measures to instead propose alternatives to ensure the safety and security of the flying public," said LeMack. "Simply complaining about current aviation security tactics is not enough -- to deny the evolving threat we face is foolish."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov172010

Fifteen to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – The White House Wednesday released the names of 15 people who will be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom early next year. The Medal of Freedom is considered to be the nation’s highest civilian honor.

“These outstanding honorees come from a broad range of backgrounds and they’ve excelled in a broad range of fields, but all of them have lived extraordinary lives that have inspired us, enriched our culture, and made our country and our world a better place,” Obama said in a statement.
 
The award will be presented at a White House ceremony early next year to the following individuals: 

President George H. W. Bush
Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Republic of Germany
Congressman John Lewis
John H. Adams
Maya Angelou
Warren Buffett 
Jasper Johns 
Gerda Weissmann Klein
Dr. Tom Little (posthumous)
Yo-Yo Ma
Sylvia Mendez
Stan Musial
Bill Russell
Jean Kennedy Smith
John J. Sweeney

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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