Recently in National News Category

Authorities burn down "bomb" house

Authorities in California burned down a house, Thursday, filled with explosives.

According to Reuters, demolition teams burned down a house packed with explosives Thursday in the San Diego area. Authorities say that the home had been turned into a bomb-making factory by man who is now in jail on charges of bank robbery. The New York Post added that the home was set on fire in "what was determined to be the safest way of dispoising of the volatile materials."

Reuters reported that the burning began a little before 11 a.m. The home was fully engulfed in flames within minutes when authorities heard two bangs which were then follwed by loud popping noises. The New York Post said the blaze was supposed to last for at least two hours

Reuters said that firefighters had cut holes into the roof to help improve ventilation before the house was set on fire. They also sprayed fire-retardent gel on homes that were close to the burn zone. Firefighters evacuated at least 60 homes that were close to the bomb house and the California Highway Patrol shut down a part of the intersate highway, I-15.

The New York Post said the home had been rented out by a former software consultant George Djura Jakubec. It contained, "the largest quantity of homemade explosives found in one location in the history of the United States." Reutuers added that Jakubec, 54, had lived there for four years and he is now in federal custody.

The New York Post reported that the home was filled with PETN, a powerful explosive that has been linked to terror cases such as the shoe bomb and the underwear bomb. Reuters added that the home had high explosives, bomb-making materials, handmade grenades and guns that were mixed in with piles of paper and other debris.

According to the New York Post, Jakubec is charge dwith 28 counts of possession and manufacturing destructive devides, on top of his already two counts of bank robbery.

First homicide in Disney built town

Police are looking into a first-ever homicide Monday in a town built by Disney in Florida.

According to CNN, police arrived in Celebration, Florida after an emergency call was made at an apartment building in the town. A neighbor said she had found Matteo Giovanditto, 58, dead in his home. TIME reported that Celebration, Fla., was built in 1994 by The Walt Disney Company. It was designed to be the perfect town. It has manicured lawns, "Small Town USA" structures, and a population of 9,000.

CNN said police have classified the death as a homicide. Giovanditto's car was found Tuesday 10 miles east of Celebration in Kissimmee, Florida. TIME reported that Giovanditto was found over Thanksgiving after neighbors had filed a missing persons report.

Emergency landing at JFK airport

A plane made an emergency landing at the JFK airport on Sunday.

According to the New York Times, the plane made the emergency landing after it was experiencing engine trouble shorty after takeoff. CBS News adds that intial reports said flames were emitting from one of the wings on the plane.

New York Times reported the pilot had reported "unspecified engine problem" and it need to return immediately to the airport. Over 100 firefighters and other rescue personnel arrived at the airport when they received the reports.

CBS News said that there was no sign of fire and no injuries.

Missing girl found, 3 others still missing

A missing teenager was found Sunday in the basement of a man's home that was 10 miles from her house.

According to Fox News, 13-year-old, Sarah Maynard, was found bound and gagged in 30-year-old, Matthew Hoffman's, basement. Her mother, Tina Herrmann, and 10-year-old brother, Kody, as well as her mother's friend, Stephanie Sprang are still missing. CNN added that Maynard had been missing since Wednesday.

CNN reported that Maynard was taken to a hospital for treatment for non-life threatening injuries. Fox News said Hoffman was arrested on one count of kidnapping, but that other charges may follow.

CNN said that Maynard was found after a raid on Hoffman's home early Sunday morning and authorities are still investigating to see if Hoffman knew any of the four people. Fox News added that Hoffman was neither an ex-boyfriend of Herrmann or Sprang.

CNN reported that after Herrmann didn't show up for work, the police got involved and went to check her home. Her pickup was in the driveway, lights were on in the home, but police said no one answered the door. Her manager, went into Herrmann's home Thursday to find blood inside. Authorities are hoping Hoffman will lead them to the other missing victims.

Cop gets sentenced after killing unarmed man

A police officer was sentenced two years in prison Friday night after he was convicted of killing an unarmed man in Oakland, Calif.

According to the New York Daily News, 150 people were arrested in Oakland over protests from hearing the conviction of police officer, Johannes Mehserle, 28, after he killed a black, unarmed man, Oscar Grant, 22. The San Francisco Chronicle said that judges convicted Mehserle to two years in prision for fatally shooting Grant, who was a train rider, when he mistaked his pistol for his taser.

The New York Daily News reported that the crowd of protestors broke fences and were smashing windows after hearing Mehserle's conviction.The San Francisco Chronicle added that Mehserle did face up to 14 years in prison after he had been convicted in July for involuntary manslaughter. He was also convicted of intentionally firing a gun at Grant who was in the Fruitvale Station in Oakland. However, the judge threw out the firearm conviction because there was no evidence to support it.

The New York Daily News said that the attorney for Grant's family was disgusted with the minimal conviction that Mehserle got. He said, "What you take away from that is that Oscar Grant's life was not worth very much." The San Francisco Chronicle added that Mehserle's lawyers made a case that the shooting was a very tragic accident made under great stress. Members of Grant's family were outraged and left the courtroom before the judge finished speaking. They also said that the outcome showed that the justice system was stacked against African Americans.

Rhode Island Democrat tells Obama to "shove it"

Democrat Frank Caprio told various news organizations that President Barack Obama could "shove it."

According to the New York Times news blog, The Caucus, Caprio, the Democratic candidate for governor of Rhode Island, said, "He [President Obama] could take his endorsement and really shove it, as far as I'm concerned." FOX News reported that President Obama is not campaigning or endorsing Caprio out of respect for his friendship with another candidate for governor, Lincoln Chafee.

The Caucus also added that Caprio thought of this friendship (President Obama's and Chafee's) as "Washington insider politics at its worst." Caprio also said that President Obama was treating Rhode Island "like an ATM machine." Caprio said, "What I said to the president is that this process about endorsements is not something I'm concerned about right now and he can take the endorsement and shove it," FOX News reported.

Currently Caprio and Chafee are in a tight race, reported The Caucus. Caprio also added, "I will wear as a badge of honor and a badge of courage that he doesn't want to endorse me as a Democrat because I am a different kind of Democrat."

FOX News added that the White House did not react to Caprio's comments, but Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton said, "I know that it's -- we're entering the final week of the election season, and emotions are running pretty high. So I don't think anybody is surprised to see people feeling particularly strongly about these races."

Shots fired at Pentagon

Gunshots were heard outside the Pentagon Tuesday, however no injuries occured.

The New York Times reported that a security guard at the Pentagon heard five gunshots around 5 a.m. The shots had damaged the outside wall of the building and shattered several windows. Reuters reported that the gunman fired seven shots using, what investigators believe, a high-velocity rifle.

Currently, investigators are trying to link or see if there is a connection between the Pentagon shootings and the shootings at the National Museum of Marine Corps this past weekend, reported the New York Times. However, Reuters said that Director of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, Steven Calvery, said he considered the shootings a random event.

The New York Times stated that the agency had closed down access to the Pentagon for an hour to conduct sweeps of the area, although eventually nothing was found. Reuters reported that the agency may believe there were other bullet strikes on the building.

Supreme Court hears Texas death row inmate DNA case

The Supreme Court heard a case Wednesday of a Texas death row inmate who claims the state has DNA evidence to prove his innocence.

The Washington Times reported that Hank Skinner, who was convicted in 1995 of killing his girlfriend and her two sons, was an hour from death before the Supreme Court decided to to hear his case. Skinner claims the state of Texas had violated his civil rights by "refusing to test the evidence." USA Today added that the Supreme Court is considering whether condemned prisoners can make a civil rights claim for DNA evidence.

By taking the case, the Supreme Court is working to shape how convictions can be called into question involving how new scientific evidence is handled reported the Washington Times. USA Today said that Skinner is trying to obtain DNA evidence that would exonerate him.

Currently, over 250 people have been exonerated throught DNA testing, the Innonence Project, reported to USA Today, and that most states allow DNA testing after an inmates's conviction.

The Washington Times said that Skinner's case was ver tricky because his lawyer did have access to the DNA evidence but chose to not have it tested. The state argued this was an informed and strategic decision and the failure to test the evidence made for a faulty case. USA Today adds that DNA testing from Skinner's clothes reveled blood from the victim's at the crime scene.

However, Skinner has maintained he is innocent because he was not "physically able" to due a hand injury and he was too drunk and high on codeine at the time of the murder and that Skinner's girlfriends uncle is the actual killer, the Washington Times reported.

Woman does not blame firefighters who home burn to ground

A family in Tennessee watched Wednesday watched as firefighters let their home burn to the ground.

According the NPR, the firefighters did not put out the fire because the family failed to pay a $75 annual protection fee. The New York Daily News said "firefighters stood by and refused to help."

Paulette Cranic told NPR the firefighters were just following orders and the family had paid the fee in the past but "simply" forgot to this time. The New York Daily News reported that Gene Cranick, the homeowner, told ABC News, "I lost everything in the house." including "three puppies that belonged to my grandkids."

NPR reported that Lance Cranic, 21, started the fire after burning trash in a barrel. He then went inside and took a shower and when he returned, the shed next to his house was in flame.

NPR reported Lance Cranic had called the fire department but they refused to come. The New York Daily News said a neighbor, who had paid the fee, finally made the call to the fire department and they immediately came to the scene. The policy, to not put out a fire, prevents firefighters from intervening when residents haven't paid up.

Pauline Cranick, however, does not blame the firefighters for following the city's orders stating, "It's not their fault," accorinding to the New York Daily News.

(I just wanted to point out that the last name of the homeowners had different spellings in each one, so I just wrote it as it appeared in each story.)

Gunman opens fire in library, then commits suicide

A gunman opened fire Tuesday at the University of Texas, then committed suicide.

According to the Los Angeles Times, a student, disguised in a ski mask, armed himself with an AK-47 assault rifle at the University of Texas-Austin Tuesday morning. He fired five shots before killing himself in the campus library. The New York Daily News reported the gunman killed himself with a gun shot wound and no one on campus has been reported injured.

The police searched for a second gunman, because witnesses had been giving different descriptions of the shooter, reports the Los Angeles Times. After police searched the campus for hours, officials declared the gunman acted alone. The New York Daily News adds police are still looking for a second gunman and SWAT teams and explosive-sniffing dogs were seen all over university's campus. However, the New York Daily News recently updated their story stating that the campus was given the all-clear and students were allowed to leave campus.

The Los Angeles Times reported the shooter was found on the sixth floor of the Perry-Castaneda Library with self inflicted gun wounds. Police have not released the name of the alleged shooter, but he was a University of Texas student.

The New York Daily News said this was not the first time a shooting had been seen on University of Texas's campus. In 1966, Charles Whitman shot and killed 14 people and injured 32 during a shooting rampage on the top of the university's observation deck. The Los Angeles Times adds Whitman's shooting was one of the most notorious American school shootings in history.

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