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Procession brings home fallen Ariz. firefighters

Posted in News with tags on July 9, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Procession brings home fallen Ariz. firefighters

Associated Press    AMANDA LEE MYERS and JACQUES BILLEAUD 4 hours ago

http://news.yahoo.com/procession-brings-home-fallen-ariz-firefighters-080857515.html

Hundreds of people line Montezuma Street Sunday, July 7, 2013 in downtown Prescott, Ariz. to pay respects as 19 hearses slowly roll by carrying the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters killed a week ago by an out-of-control blaze near Yarnell, Ariz. The nearly five-hour-long procession began near the state Capitol in Phoenix, went through the town where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed and ended in the mountain community of Prescott, where they lived and will be laid to rest this week. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

 

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — Nineteen firefighters killed in a wildfire a week ago went home for the last time, their bodies traveling in individual white hearses in a somber caravan for 125 miles through Arizona cities and towns.

The nearly five-hour-long procession Sunday began near the state Capitol in Phoenix, went through the town where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed and ended in the mountain community of Prescott, where they lived and will be laid to rest this week.

Thousands of people from across the state and beyond stood patiently in triple-digit temperatures in Phoenix, lined highways and overpasses along the route, and flooded the roads of downtown Prescott to pay their respect to the 19, whose deaths are the greatest loss of life for firefighters since 9/11.

They included fellow firefighters, the men’s family members, complete strangers and residents of Yarnell, the small town they died trying to save.

Those along the procession cried, they saluted, they held their hands over their hearts.

.”Hundreds of people line Montezuma Street Sunday, July 7, 2013 in downtown Prescott, Ariz. to pay respects as 19 hearses slowly roll by carrying the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters killed a week ago by an out-of-control blaze near Yarnell, Ariz. The nearly five-hour-long procession began near the state Capitol in Phoenix, went through the town where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed and ended in the mountain community of Prescott, where they lived and will be laid to rest this week. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) 

Hundreds of people line Montezuma Street Sunday, July 7, 2013 in downtown Prescott, Ariz. to pay res …

“It’s overwhelming to watch this slow procession of 19 hearses,” said a tearful Bill Morse, a Flagstaff fire captain who has been stationed in Prescott for a week helping Prescott fire deal with the tragedy. “The ceremonious air of it all. It’s heartbreaking.”

In downtown Prescott, a buslting and sometimes-rowdy area filled with bars and other businesses known as Whiskey Row grew eerily quiet as the hearses drove by, essentially stopping all activity for several minutes.

“You’ve got this tragic event that happened, you’ve got 19 hearses driving by,” said 26-year-old Jay Averitt of Prescott. “It puts reality in check.

“It was an honor to be able to watch it,” Averitt said.

Many along the route carried American flags and signs that read, “Courageous, selfless, fearless, beloved,” ”Yarnell remembers” and simply, “Heroes.”

.”People hold their hands over their hearts to pay their respects as 19 hearses slowly roll by, Sunday, July 7, 2013 in downtown Prescott, Ariz., carrying the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters killed a week ago by an out-of-control blaze near Yarnell, Ariz. The nearly five-hour-long procession began near the state Capitol in Phoenix, went through the town where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed and ended in the mountain community of Prescott, where they lived and will be laid to rest this week.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) 

People hold their hands over their hearts to pay their respects as 19 hearses slowly roll by, Sunday …

Motorcycle escorts, honor guard members, and firefighting trucks accompanied the 19 hearses along the route.

In both Phoenix and Prescott, the procession drove under giant American flags hoisted above the street with the raised ladders of two firefighter trucks. Bagpipes played as crowds were hushed silent by the enormity of the loss.

A red and white DC-3 airplane used for wildland firefighting released 19 long purple and pink ribbons overhead with each firefighter’s name on them; the ribbons drifted slowly down to the earth just before the hearses came to a stop outside the Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Inside each hearse were the American flags that were draped over the men’s bodies at the site of their deaths in Yarnell. The flags have been with them since and will be until they’re buried. After that, the flags will be given to their families.

Family members of the firefighters watched the procession in private, away from the public and members of the media, as it passed by a massive makeshift memorial outside the fire station where the men were based in Prescott. The memorial includes hundreds of personal messages, pictures of the men, American flags, and variations on the number 19 — 19 water bottles, 19 shovels, 19 toy fire trucks surrounding a stuffed Teddy bear.

.”Two women react as as 19 hearses slowly roll by, Sunday, July 7, 2013 in downtown Prescott, Ariz., carrying the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters killed a week ago by an out-of-control blaze near Yarnell, Ariz. The nearly five-hour-long procession began near the state Capitol in Phoenix, went through the town where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed and ended in the mountain community of Prescott, where they lived and will be laid to rest this week.(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) 

Two women react as as 19 hearses slowly roll by, Sunday, July 7, 2013 in downtown Prescott, Ariz., c …

“When you think about their wives, their families and their kids, it just brings tears to your eyes,” said Lon Reiman of Scottsdale.

Reiman, who carried two small American flags in Phoenix as he waited for the procession to begin, said he has several relatives who are firefighters and thought of them once he heard the news of the deaths.

Since their fellow firefighters arrived at the scene where they were killed, the fallen firefighters have not been alone, a tradition among those in the profession in the U.S.

“Since they were discovered, they have never been out of the presence of a brother firefighter,” said Paul Bourgeois, a Phoenix-area fire chief who is acting as a spokesman in Prescott for the firefighters’ families. “From the time they were taken to the medical examiner in Phoenix, while they’re at the medical examiner’s office, when they are received in a funeral home — there will always be a brother firefighter on site with them until they are interred.

“That’s something people don’t realize. We never leave your side,” he said of the tradition. “It’s a comfort to the survivors, whether they’re families or fellow firefighters.”

.”A procession of 19 hearses drives through the desert, Sunday, July 7, 2013, Near Morristown, Ariz, The elite crew of firefighters were overtaken by the out-of-control blaze as they tried to protect themselves from the flames under fire-resistant shields last Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
A procession of 19 hearses drives through the desert, Sunday, July 7, 2013, Near Morristown, Ariz, T 

The firefighters were killed a week ago in the Yarnell Hill fire, sparked by lightning on June 28. Crews were closing in on full containment after the fire destroyed more than 100 homes in Yarnell and burned about 13 square miles. The town remained evacuated but residents were expected to be allowed to return home on Monday.

The crew of Hotshots was working to build a fire line between the blaze and Yarnell when erratic winds suddenly shifted the fire’s direction, causing it to hook around the firefighters and cut off access to a ranch that was to be their safety zone.

Three of a procession of 19 hearses drives through the desert, Sunday, July 7, 2013, near Morristown, Ariz. The elite crew of firefighters were overtaken by the out-of-control blaze as they tried to protect themselves from the flames under fire-resistant shields last Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The highly trained men were in the prime of their lives, and many left behind wives — some pregnant — and small children.

An investigation into the tragedy has found only that winds took the firefighters by surprise; more thorough findings will come much later.

A memorial service is set for Tuesday in Prescott, and then the men will be laid to rest at funerals throughout the rest of the week.

 

A procession of 19 hearses drives by, Sunday, July 7, 2013, in Yarnell, Ariz, The elite crew of firefighters were overtaken by the out-of-control blaze as they tried to protect themselves from the flames under fire-resistant shields last Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

 

 

Someone Bombed One Of The Holiest And Most Peaceful Places On Earth

Posted in News with tags on July 9, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Someone Bombed One Of The Holiest And Most Peaceful Places On Earth

Business InsiderBy Michael Kelley | Business Insider – 15 hours ago

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/someone-bombed-one-holiest-most-224123067.html

AFP

An injured Buddhist monk receives medical treatment at a hospital in Gaya, following eight low-intensity serial blasts at the Bodh Gaya Buddhist temple complex, on July 7, 2013.

What Mecca is to Muslims and The Temple Mount is to Jews, the Bodhi tree is to Buddhists.

Located in Bodh Gaya, India, it is epicenter of the Buddhist universe – the place where Gautama Buddha (i.e. “The Awakened One”) is believed to have realized the nature of the mind  in 531 BCE .

On Sunday nine explosions, occurring both inside and outside of the Mahabodhi temple complex, rocked the pilgrimage town in the northeastern province of Bihar. Two people were injured.

“There was some damage to the staircases near the Bodhi Tree, and some windowpanes were broken,” Bhikshu Chalinda, the senior monk at the temple, told The New York Times.

Witnesses said some of the bombs exploded close to the Bodhi tree, but it did not sustain any damage .

Authorities defused several other bombs, which were made  at the UNESCO World Heritage site. Investigators said the bombs were detonated with remote timers.

“It’s very unfortunate, actually there should be no need for security in a religious place,” a Dalai Lama aide  told  the Times Now.

The Hindustan Times reports that for years Pakistan-based, al-Qaeda-linked militants have considered Bodh Gaya as a potential target of suicide bombings.

The report noted that Sunday’s attack is believed to be a retribution for the atrocities committed by militant Buddhist monks Myanmar on Rohingya Muslims.

The Mahabodhi temple, particularly around the Bodhi tree, is one of the most peaceful places imaginable (this author has been there).

Buddhists from all over the world meditate at the site where the Buddha is said to have ”attained the unattained supreme security from bondage” (i.e. enlightenment, Nirvana).

aum

Michael Bentley

The Mahabodhi temple was built in the 5th or 6th century AD.

bodhi tree

Michael Kelley

The Bodhi tree is thought to be a descendant of the one that the Buddha sat under when he achieved Awakening.

Bartoli reports having genius-level IQ

Posted in News with tags on July 7, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Bartoli reports having genius-level IQ

FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011 /BY TENNIS.COM
Marion Bartoli claims that she has a 175 IQ. That IQ is higher the other published numbers of famous people, including Plato (170), Beethoven (165), Albert Einstein, Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking (160), the same as philosopher Immanuel Kant, but below that of chess players Gary Kasparov (190) and Bobby Fisher (187). Interestingly, Bartoli’s father, Walter, is a chess buff.”I hope to be that good in tennis one day,” she said with a laugh. “I did a test when I was younger, but I’m not really someone that is really telling everyone, ‘Oh, I’m so smart.’ I’m kind of hiding it. But that’s how I am, you know. It just comes naturally. That’s how I was born with.” 

Bartoli added that as much as she likes math and art, she’s glad she took up tennis.

“When I was really younger and watching the TV and saw Pete Sampras and lifting his trophy year after year at Wimbledon, even if I was good at school, that was really what was exciting me,” said Bartoli, who also said she approaches tennis mathematically. “It was not coming up with 20 out of 20 on math. Even when I was 6 or 7 years old, what was exciting me when I was waking up every morning, it was what I was doing after school: playing tennis against a wall.”—Matthew Cronin

 

Firefighter’s widow describes text messages before husband died

Posted in News with tags on July 4, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Firefighter’s widow describes text messages before husband died

 

Fallen Arizona firefighter Andrew Ashcraft and his family (NBC/"Today" show/Ashcraft family)

 

Juliann Ashcraft, widow of Andrew Ashcraft, who was one of the 19 firefighters who died while battling the Arizona wildfire on Sunday, spoke to “Today” about the final text messages she exchanged with her husband.

Juliann said she sent her husband a photo of their four children, all under 6, swimming. Juliann told “Today” that Andrew replied that he missed and loved them. He also asked his wife to tell their oldest son that he was proud of him for speaking at their church and that he was sorry he had missed it.

“He sent a photo of where he was sitting and what the fire looked like for them, at their lunch spot,” Juliann told “Today.” “It still did not look as catastrophic as it turned out to be, but it was interesting to have that perspective, to know what life was like for him on the fire lines and know what he risked day in and day out.”

Juliann said her husband was “the most amazing man, the best person I know.” She said Andrew had a “contagious smile and a heart of gold.”

She also praised the other firefighters who gave their lives.

“They were heroes in our home, they were heroes in our community,” she told “Today.” “They were heroes to the people that they helped there. Our kids will remember them as heroes as well.”

Juliann said working on the front lines and protecting people “was everything to him. Outside of the love he shared for his family members, hotshot firefighting was his life. He had his priorities in line, but when he was there, he would tell me, ‘They say jump and I’d say, how high.’ Their main goal was to save lives.”

“They loved what they did. These men worked together,” she said. “They lived together, they fought fires together, and they died together doing what they loved.”

Officials believe the combination of dry thunderstorms, strong winds and high temperatures led to the firefighters becoming trapped by the fire.

Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement, “This is as dark a day as I can remember. It may be days or longer before an investigation reveals how this tragedy occurred, but the essence we already know in our hearts: Fighting fires is dangerous work.”

Arizona town reeling over loss of firefighters in blaze

Reuters  Tim Gaynor 7 hours ago

 

USA-FIRES/ARIZONA

 

The Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew included full-time and seasonal firefighters who worked on the front lines of blazes around the U.S. (Handout via Reuters)

 

People attend a memorial service at Prescott High School for 19 firefighters who perished battling a fast-moving wildfire in Prescott

 

 

PRESCOTT, Arizona (Reuters) – Outside a fire station in Prescott stand 19 long-handled shovels propped up against a chain-link fence adorned with flowers, flags, ribbons and memorabilia – a makeshift memorial to the 19 fallen firemen who called the Arizona town their home.

The fast-growing shrine has become a center for the outpouring of grief over the loss of the young members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, an elite firefighting team, who died battling a wildfire outside the town of Yarnell on Sunday.

Their deaths turned an otherwise rather ordinary wildfire, one of dozens burning across the western United States, into the most deadly U.S. wildlands blaze in 80 years and left Prescott, the home base of the Hotshots crew, reeling.

But the shrine outside the firehouse has offered residents a place to express their emotions.

“It helps a lot. I had to get down here because I couldn’t stop crying at home,” Missy Acknuff said on Tuesday as she brushed away a tear.

“I want to let their mothers know how proud they should be of them,” said Acknuff, who has three sons serving in the military.

On Tuesday evening more than 2,000 people gathered at Prescott High School to pray for the firefighters, their families and the entire community.

Nineteen purple balloons – a color traditionally representing fallen firefighters – were released and gently drifted south, toward the fire. The crowd held glow sticks, cell phones and other lights at times during the vigil.

.”

People attend a memorial service at Prescott High School for 19 firefighters who perished battling a fast-moving wildfire in Prescott

 

People attend a memorial service at Prescott High School for 19 firefighters who perished battling a …

FIRE STILL BURNING

John Dickerson, lead pastor from Cornerstone Church in Prescott, opened the 90-minute vigil with a prayer. God was with the fallen firefighters when no one else could be, Dickerson said.

“We couldn’t put our arms around them, so he put his arms around them. We couldn’t whisper ‘Everything is going to be OK,’ so he whispered ‘Everything is going to be OK,” he told the firefighters’ families, who were gathered in front of the stage.

As offerings outside the firehouse piled up, some 500 firefighters labored on the outskirts of Yarnell, about 30 miles southwest of Prescott, where scores of homes were destroyed in a fierce fire flare-up on Sunday.

The blaze, ignited on Friday by lightning and stoked by strong, erratic winds, has blackened at least 8,400 acres of thick, tinder-dry chaparral, oak scrub and grasslands northwest of Phoenix, authorities said. About 200 structures, most of them homes, were destroyed.

Yarnell and the adjacent town of Peeples Valley, which together are home to roughly 1,000 people, remained evacuated.

Clay Templin, a fire incident commander, told residents at a community meeting that evacuees would probably not be allowed to return to the homes before Saturday.

‘HOPE AND COMMUNITY’

The memorial grew by the hour on Tuesday with new contributions – T-shirts and caps from distant fire departments, condolence cards, photos, U.S. and Arizona state flags.

.”

People pray during a memorial service at Prescott High School for 19 firefighters who perished battling a fast-moving wildfire in Prescott
People pray during a memorial service at Prescott High School for 19 firefighters who perished battl …

A woman reading “The Firemen’s Prayer” doubled over, sobbing uncontrollably.

“And if according to your will, I have to lose my life, please bless with your protecting hand my children and my wife,” went one verse of the prayer.

An overwhelming sense of gratitude for the fallen men, and firefighters everywhere, was manifest in many of the mementos left at the shrine. Spontaneous cheering and applause burst from bystanders whenever a fire truck passed through the streets.

Prescott, a quintessential western town with an historic past, was once the capital of the Arizona territory in the 1860s, perched in the state’s rugged north-central highlands.

Its downtown is dotted with cowboy clothing stores, restaurants and shops but the city’s motto, “Welcome to everybody’s hometown,” seemed at odds with the somber mood of many, as friends and family recalled the idiosyncrasies and tragic ironies of their loved ones who perished in the blaze.

One of them, John Percin, 24, who joined the Hotshots six months ago, had been out of work for some time with a leg injury until rejoining the team last week to fight the Yarnell Hills fire, friends said.

“He was always so energetic about wanting to get in and fight a fire,” buddy Levi Weinberger told Reuters. “Right before they all went out that morning, he put up a Facebook post which said, ‘Pray for me and my brothers while we go and fight this battle.’ That was the last thing we heard.”

Fire officials say the 19 men were out carving a fire break with hand tools on one flank of the fire Sunday afternoon when strong winds from a thunderstorm abruptly turned the flames back in their direction. They apparently were overtaken by flames in a matter of seconds before they had a chance to seek shelter.

The precise circumstances of the tragedy remained under investigation.

(Additional reporting by Brad Poole and David Schwartz; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou, Paul Simao and Lisa Shumaker)

First Pictures of 19 Firefighters Killed in Arizona Wildfire

Posted in News with tags on July 3, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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First Pictures of 19 Firefighters Killed in Arizona Wildfire

http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/14905927/image/99143775-first-pictures-of-19-firefighters-killed-in-arizona-wildfire

 

First Pictures of 19 Firefighters Killed in Arizona Wildfire

 

19 Firefighters Killed in Arizona Wildfire ( Facebook page Photo)

Photos: 19 firefighters killed in Arizona wildfire

Posted Jun 30, 2013

http://photos.denverpost.com/2013/06/30/photos-19-firefighters-killed-in-arizona-wildfire-2/#1

PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) – An Arizona Forestry spokesman says 19 firefighters died while battling the fast-moving Yarnell Hill Fire in a central Arizona community, on Sunday, June 30, 2013. An information officer says that 20 firefighters were involved in a “serious incident.” Earlier Sunday, the fire prompted evacuations of 50 homes in the Buckhorn, Model Creek and Double A Bar Ranch areas about 85 miles northwest of Phoenix. Roxie Glover, spokeswoman at Wickenburg Community Hospital, told The Associated Press that the hospital has been told to expect residents with injuries and firefighters.

 

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The Yarnell Hill Fire burns through the town of Yarnell, Ariz. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Story)

 

02_ws_AZFire_063013.JPG

 

Tanker 910 makes a retardant drop Yarnell Hill Fire to help protect the Double Bar A Ranch near Peeples Valley, Arizona, Sunday, June 30, 2013. The lightning caused blaze began on Yarnell Hill on Sunday. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Story)

 

03_ws_AZFire_063013.JPG

 

Dean Smith watches as the Yarnell Hill Fire encroaches on his home in Glenn Ilah on Sunday, June 30, 2013 near Yarnell, Ariz. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

 

04_ws_AZFire_063013.JPG

 

Homes burn as the Yarnell Hill Fire burns in Glenn Ilah on Sunday, June 30, 2013 near Yarnell, Ariz. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

 

05_ws_AZFire_063013.JPG

 

Firefighters monitor a restaurant as the Yarnell Hill Fire burns on Sunday, June 30, 2013 near Yarnell, Ariz. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

 

06_ws_AZFire_063013.JPG

 

A home burns amidst the Yarnell Hill Fire in Yarnell, Ariz. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Story)

 

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Flames top a ridge as the Yarnell Hill Fire moves towards Peeples Valley, Arizona on Sunday, June 30, 2013. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Story)

 

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Residents evacuate along Hays Road in Peeples Valley, Ariz. as the Yarnell Hill Fire advances on Sunday, June 30, 2013. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Story)

 

09_ws_AZFire_063013.JPG

 

Homes burn as the Yarnell Hill Fire approaches Glenn Ilah on Sunday, June 30, 2013 near Yarnell, Ariz. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

 

10_ws_AZFire_063013.JPG

 

Homes burn as the Yarnell Hill Fire approaches in Glenn Ilah on Sunday, June 30, 2013 near Yarnell, Ariz. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

 

11_ws_AZFire_063013.JPG

 

Homes burn as the Yarnell Hill Fire approaches Glenn Ilah on Sunday, June 30, 2013 near Yarnell, Ariz. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

 

12_ws_AZFire_063013.JPG

 

Tanker 910 makes a retardant drop on the Yarnell Hill Fire to help protect the Double Bar A Ranch near Peeples Valley, Ariz., Sunday, June 30, 2013. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Story)

 

13_ws_AZFire_063013.JPG

 

A fire engine moves along Hays Ranch Road as the Yarnell Hill Fire advances on Peeples Valley, Ariz. on Sunday, June 30, 2013. The fire started Friday and picked up momentum as the area experienced high temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. It has forced the evacuation of residents in the Peeples Valley area and in the town of Yarnell. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Story)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=l3ioBVJxV4s

By ANTHONY CASTELLANO
July 1, 2013

http://abcnews.go.com/US/19-firefighters-killed-arizona-wildfire/story?id=19540133#.UdGtPTvwka4

An elite team of 19 firefighters died Sunday while trying to protect themselves under fire-resistant shields from a fast-moving wildfire in Yarnell, Ariz., according to officials.

Authorities believe the wildfire began in Yarnell, about 90 miles northwest of Phoenix, Friday with a lightning strike and spread to at least 2,000 acres Sunday amid triple-digit temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions. As of 3 a.m. this morning, the Yarnell fire had tripled in size and is now 6,000 acres, according to Arizona incident commander Mike Reichling.

Eighteen of the victims were from the Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots, fire officials said. It’s unclear where the other victim was based.

“We grieve for the family. We grieve for the department. We grieve for the city,” Prescott Fire Chief Dan Fraijo said at a Sunday night news conference. “We’re devastated. We just lost 19 of some of the finest people you’ll ever meet.”

The 19 deaths is the greatest loss of life for firefighters in a wildfire since 1933, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

It is also the deadliest day for U.S. firefighters since 9/11, when 340 died.

The team was known as a “hotshot” crew and was deployed to attack the fire line with tools.

“Hotshot” crews are elite firefighters who often hike for miles into the wilderness with chain saws and backpacks filled with heavy gear to build lines of protection between people and fires. They remove brush, trees and anything that might burn in the direction of homes and cities.

“They’re not the people that have engine companies and large trucks. These are the core of firefighting where they’re right there in the middle of the incident,” Fraijo said.

Fraijo said the crew killed in the Yarnell fire worked other wildfires in recent weeks in New Mexico and Arizona.

He added that the firefighters had to deploy the tent-like structures when “something drastic” occurred.

“One of the last fail-safe methods that a firefighter can do under those conditions is literally to dig as much as they can down and cover themselves with a protective — kind of looks like a foil type, fire-resistant material — with the desire, the hope, at least, is that the fire will burn over the top of them and they can survive it,” Fraijo said.

The Prescott-based crew never had to use shelters during a wildfire, according to a 2012 profile in a Cronkite News Service report.

Reichling, the incident commander, said half of the 500 structures in Yarnell have been destroyed by the “radical weather.” Most of Yarnell’s 700 residents have been forced to evacuate.

“We have fires throughout the state right now. We have the winds that change. That’s what happened today and caused this tragedy,” he said.

Evacuee Don Mason said, “I don’t know if my home’s standing or not, but from what I’ve heard, most of Yarnell has burned to the ground. So it’s been tough.”

About 200 firefighters are fighting the wildfire, which has also forced the closure of parts of state Route 89. None of the fire is contained.

President Obama, who is traveling in Africa, released a statement early this morning, calling the 19 firefighters “heroes” for putting “themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of fellow citizens they would never meet.”

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords expressed her shock on Twitter, calling the death of the firefighters “absolutely devastating news.”

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said in a statement, “This is as dark a day as I can remember. It may be days or longer before an investigation reveals how this tragedy occurred, but the essence we already know in our hearts: fighting fires is dangerous work.”

Brewer said she would travel to the area later today.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Militants kill 9 foreign tourists, 1 Pakistani

Posted in News with tags , on June 24, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Militants kill 9 foreign tourists, 1 Pakistani

Associated PressBy ZARAR KHAN and SEBASTIAN ABBOT | Associated Press – 13 hrs ago

 

Pakistani rescue workers unload the casket of a foreign tourist who was killed by Islamic militants from an ambulance to shift in a morgue of local hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, June 23, 2013. Islamic militants wearing police uniforms shot to death foreign tourists and at least one Pakistani before dawn as they were visiting one of the world’s highest mountains in a remote area of northern Pakistan that has been largely peaceful, officials said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Associated Press/Anjum Naveed – Pakistani rescue workers unload the casket of a foreign tourist who was killed by Islamic militants from an ambulance to shift in a morgue of local hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, June 23, 2013. Islamic militants wearing police uniforms shot to death foreign tourists and at least one Pakistani before dawn as they were visiting one of the world’s highest mountains in a remote area of northern Pakistan that has been largely peaceful, officials said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed) 

ISLAMABAD (AP) — At least a dozen Islamic militants wearing police uniforms shot to death nine foreign tourists and one Pakistani before dawn Sunday as they were visiting one of the world’s highest mountains in a remote area of northern Pakistanthat has been largely peaceful, officials said.

The foreigners who were killed included five Ukrainians, three Chinese and one Russian, said Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. One Chinese tourist was wounded in the attack and was rescued, he said.

The local branch of the Taliban took responsibility for the killings, saying it was to avenge the death of a leader killed in a recent U.S. drone strike.

The shooting was one of the worst attacks on foreigners in Pakistanin recent years and is likely to damage the country’s already struggling tourism industry. Pakistan’s mountainous north — considered until now relatively safe — is one of the main attractions in a country beset with insurgency and other political instability.

Pakistani rescue workers unload the casket of a foreign tourist, who was killed by Islamic militants, from an ambulance to shift in a morgue of local hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sunday, June 23, 2013. Islamic militants wearing police uniforms shot to death nine foreign tourists and one Pakistani before dawn as they were visiting one of the world’s highest mountains in a remote area of northern Pakistan that has been largely peaceful, officials said. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

The attack took place at the base camp of Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest mountain in the world at 8,126 meters (26,660 feet). Nanga Parbat is notoriously difficult to climb and is known as the “killer mountain” because of numerous mountaineering deaths in the past. It’s unclear if the tourists were planning to climb the mountain or were just visiting the base camp, which is located in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan.

The gunmen were wearing uniforms used by the Gilgit Scouts, a paramilitary police force that patrols the area, said the interior minister. The attackers abducted two local guides to find their way to the remote base camp. One of the guides was killed in the shooting, and the other has been detained and is being questioned, said Khan.

“The purpose of this attack was to give a message to the world that Pakistan is unsafe for travel,” said the interior minister in a speech in the National Assembly, which passed a resolution condemning the incident. “The government will take all measures to ensure the safety of foreign tourists.”

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan claimed responsibility for the attack, saying their Jundul Hafsa group carried out the shooting as retaliation for the death of the Taliban’s deputy leader, Waliur Rehman, in a U.S. drone attack on May 29.

“By killing foreigners, we wanted to give a message to the world to play their role in bringing an end to the drone attacks,” Ahsan told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.

At least a dozen gunmen were involved in the attack, local police officer Jahangir Khan said.

The attackers beat up the Pakistanis who were accompanying the tourists, took their money and tied them up, said a senior local government official. They checked the identities of the Pakistanis and shot to death one of them, possibly because he was a minority Shiite Muslim, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

Gunmen kill 9 tourists at Pakistan mountain camp1:03

Nine foreign tourists and a Pakistani guide are killed by gunmen in a remote trekking community in Gilgil-Baltistan. Jessica Gray reports.

Although Gilgit-Baltistan is a relatively peaceful area, it has experienced attacks by radical Sunni Muslims on Shiites in recent years.

The attackers took the money and passports from the foreigners and then gunned them down, said the official. It’s unclear how the Chinese tourist who was rescued managed to avoid being killed. The base camp has basic wooden huts, but most tourists choose to sleep in their own tents.

Local police chief Barkat Ali said they first learned of the attack when one of the local guides called the police station around 1 a.m. on Sunday. The military airlifted the bodies to Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, Sunday afternoon.

“We hope Pakistani authorities will do their best to find the culprits of this crime,” the Ukrainian ambassador to Pakistan, Volodymyr Lakomov, told reporters outside the hospital where the bodies were taken.

The Pakistani government condemned the “brutal act of terrorism” in a statement sent to reporters.

“Those who have committed this heinous crime seem to be attempting to disrupt the growing relations of Pakistan with China and other friendly countries,” said a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.

Pakistan has very close ties with neighboring China and is sensitive to any issue that could harm the relationship. Pakistani officials have reached out to representatives from China and Ukraine to convey their sympathies, the Foreign Ministry said.

Soldiers sit in a vehicle as they escort ambulances carrying the bodies of foreign tourists killed by unidentified gunmen near the Nanga Parbat peak, after the bodies were brought to a military base in Rawalpindi June 23, 2013. Gunmen stormed a mountaineering base camp in northern Pakistan on Sunday and shot dead nine foreign trekkers and a Pakistani guide as they rested during an arduous climb up one of the world’s tallest peaks, police said. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed (PAKISTAN – Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW TRAVEL MILITARY)

Many foreign tourists stay away from Pakistan because of the perceived danger of visiting a country that is home to a large number of Islamic militant groups, such as the Taliban and al-Qaida, which mostly reside in the northwest near the Afghan border. A relatively small number of intrepid foreigners visit Gilgit-Baltistan during the summer to marvel at the peaks of the Himalayan and Karakoram ranges, including K2, the second highest mountain in the world.

Syed Mehdi Shah, the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, condemned the attack and expressed fear that it would seriously damage the region’s tourism industry.

“A lot of tourists come to this area in the summer, and our local people work to earn money from these people,” said Shah. “This will not only affect our area, but will adversely affect all of Pakistan.”

The area has been cordoned off by police and paramilitary soldiers, and a military helicopter was searching the area, said Shah.

“God willing we will find the perpetrators of this tragic incident,” said Shah.

The government suspended the chief secretary and top police chief in Gilgit-Baltistan following the attack and ordered an inquiry into the incident, said Khan, the interior minister.

___

Associated Press writer Rasool Dawar contributed to this report from Peshawar, Pakistan.

Where tourist crime happens the most

Posted in News on June 19, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Where tourist crime happens the most

By  | Compass – 18 hours ago

 

When Connecticut resident Sally Murphy spent a week in Paris in March, she saw “groups of pickpockets lurking around the Louvre and other tourist sites. Paris is a great city. But like any other city you have to be aware of your surroundings.”

After Paris, Rome ranks high as a pickpocket capital, says Arno. In addition to the Sistine Chapel, where guards say tourists are often hit while staring up at Michelangelo’s frescoed walls and ceiling, danger zones include the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain.

Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Cyro A. Silva / Flickr)Rio de Janeiro. (Photo: Cyro A. Silva / Flickr)

The U.S. State Department also advises caution “at the Termini train station. The large crowds and chaotic atmosphere provide an ideal environment for criminals.” And savvy tourists avoid the number 64 bus, sometimes called “the pickpocket special,” which runs between St. Peter’s Square and Termini, Rome’s main station. The bus is often packed with tourists.

Rounding out the list in Europe are these:

• London: The British Transport Police admits it directs “a lot of our resources towards combating pickpocketing and theft, including deploying specialist covert officers.”
• Amsterdam: The number of complaints about pickpockets increased by 30 percent last year, according to Amsterdam police.
• Naples: The U.S. State Department cautions against well-organized pickpocket rings. “Purses are either outright grabbed or straps are slashed by a person on foot or on a motor scooter. In some cases, the intended victim is hit with an unsavory liquid, and during the confusion that follows, the purse, luggage, or other valuables are taken.”

In South America, says Arno, the most dangerous spots are these:

• Rio de Janeiro: In May, the State Department noted that Rio has been rated “critical” for crime for the past 25 years, adding that statistics “reflect continued critically high and rising levels of crimes in the categories of robbery, rape, fraud, and residential thefts.” The report went on to say that street robberies continue at a high rate even in affluent neighborhoods, with cell phones and electronic items specifically targeted.
• Lima, Peru: The U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs suggests travelers should “be especially careful when visiting tourist areas in Lima such as the Plaza de Armas (Government Square), the Plaza San Martin, Acho Bullring, Pachacamac, and any location in downtown Lima.”

In South Africa, travelers must be wary here:

• Cape Town: The official visitor’s website here is honest about the city’s crime problems. “While Cape Town’s dark reputation as one of the world’s most dangerous cities is almost entirely a result of the number of murders that happen there each year, the vast majority of these murders happen in areas far removed from the main tourist destinations. Unfortunately, while your life may not be in much danger as a visitor, your possessions most certainly are!”

Las Vegas. (Photo: Baishampayan Ghose / Flickr)Las Vegas. (Photo: Baishampayan Ghose / Flickr)

Finally, in the United States, classic pickpocketing has decreased, experts say. But purse-snatching and thefts of electronics, such as Apple picking, are rampant. According to University of Texas professor Felson, pickpockets still operate at places where people carry a lot of cash, such as race tracks and in crowds, like at Mardi Gras inNew Orleans.

Arno’s pick for the top pickpocket locale in the U.S. is:

• Las Vegas: “There’s so much cash,” Arno says. “People are drinking, there are crowds. Tourists are an easy target.”

(Photo: Francisco Antunes / Flickr)

You’re eating tapas at an outdoor restaurant in Barcelona, your iPhone on the table a few inches from your right hand, when a woman bumps your left arm and spills a drink on you. She apologizes profusely and walks away. A few minutes later, you realize your iPhone has disappeared.

Unfortunately, you’ve just become a statistic, one of thousands of daily victims of “Apple picking,” a crime trend aimed at the owners of iPhones and iPads.

Barcelona. (Photo: Thomas Quine / Flickr)Barcelona. (Photo: Thomas Quine / Flickr)

In this example, the crime was in Barcelona, known for its petty thievery and pickpockets. But it could have happened almost anywhere in the world. While Apple picking is a crime that’s soaring statistically, it’s only the tip of the iceberg for travelers, who are prime targets for pickpockets and street criminals.

Pickpockets have become so aggressive in some parts of Europe that guards at the Louvre Museum in Paris – the most famous museum in the world – went on strike earlier this year to protest the audacious behavior of street criminals at the facility, and a similar strike was threatened in Rome by guards at the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.

“There have always been pickpockets at the Louvre and in tourist locations in Paris, but for the last year and a half the gangs have become increasingly violent,” Sophie Aquirre, a supervisor at the museum, told the BBC.

Statistically, tourists are victimized at much higher rates than local residents, says Marcus Felson, a Texas State University professor and expert in crime analysis. “Tourist crime is quite high,” he says.

Louvre Museum in Paris. (Photo: Vankfire / Flickr)Louvre Museum in Paris. (Photo: Vankfire / Flickr)

Because of the inconsistent way crime statistics are reported in various countries, street crime is difficult to chart. And while groups such as the United Nations track crime trends internationally, they usually don’t distinguish between violent and nonviolent crime.

Nonetheless, some cities are known for street crime, says Bob Arno, co-author of Travel Advisory: How to Avoid ‘Thefts, Cons, and Street Crime While Traveling.

Barcelona is at the top of the list.

“For 10 years, there’s been a concerted effort to cut down on street crime in Barcelona, and it’s slowly getting better,” says Arno. “But it has a long way to go.”

He says statistics show seven to 10 percent of all visitors to Spain will be accosted by a street criminal, and about one-third of these attacks will be successful.

Arno, recognized as an expert on pickpockets, is a frequent guest on CNN and has made documentaries for The Travel Channel, Discovery and National Geographic. After Barcelona, he lists Paris as a top spot for pickpockets.

Paul Roll, director of the city’s tourism office, tried to deflect some of the bad publicity Paris received after the Louvre strike by telling the press that he hoped tourists would visit the city anyway. But he added that “it is a subject that we shouldn’t hide and must take seriously.”

The U.S. Embassy takes it seriously enough to have published a tips guide: “Pickpockets in Paris: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Connecticut Wins Miss USA Contest in Vegas

Posted in News with tags on June 17, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Miss Connecticut Wins Miss USA Contest in Vegas

Associated PressBy HANNAH DREIER | Associated Press – 1 hour 11 minutes ago

Miss Connecticut Erin Brady reacts as she is crowned by Miss USA 2012 Nana Meriwether during the Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

Reuters/REUTERS – Miss Connecticut Erin Brady reacts as she is crowned by Miss USA 2012 Nana Meriwether during the Miss USA pageant at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES – Tags: ENTERTAINMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A 25-year-old accountant from Connecticut with a secret glamorous side is the new Miss USA.

Erin Brady of South Glastonbury, Conn., won the beauty pageant Sunday night after strutting in a white sparkly gown and answering a question about the U.S. Supreme Court‘s decision upholding widespread DNA tests.

She beat out 51 other beauty queens every U.S. state and Washington D.C.at the Planet Hollywood casino on the Las Vegas Strip to take the title from outgoing champion Miss Maryland Nana Meriwether.

Asked if she agreed with the decision to swab the cheeks of arrestees, Brady said she did, since they had committed crimes after all.

As Brady was crowned, she could be seen mouthing “Oh my God, oh my God” with tears in her eyes.

As the stage emptied, the blonde woman spoke about her commitment to fighting drug and alcohol abuse, which have marked those close to her.

“I grew up in a family influenced by that and I think it’s really important to help the children of families that are suffering from those problems,” she told The Associated Press.

Miss Connecticut, Erin Brady, de 26 años, ganó la competición de belleza Miss USA 2013 en Las Vegas, el domingo 16 de junio. En la foto, Brady durante su presentación en el concurso. (AP Foto/Jeff Bottari)

(AP Foto/Jeff Bottari)

As Miss USA, Brady gets the crown and a New York apartment for one year. She is expected to spend her title reign on a nationwide speaking tour and raising breast and ovarian cancer awareness, the organization’s official cause.

The Central Connecticut State University fiance major could not contain her excitement at the prospect of telling her bosses at Prudential Financial she wasn’t coming in tomorrow. Or ever again.

Asked what she was looking forward to now that the competition is over, she described a routine that sounded not very different from her training regime: getting in her beauty sleep and hitting the gym.

Her father Francis said he always knew his math-oriented daughter was a glamour girl. She and her sisters used to strut around and pretend they were beauty queens.

“They would model around the pool,” he said.

Her sister Audrey, 20, said with tears in her eyes that her grandmother would orchestrate the shows.

“She’d be like, ‘prance around the pool like Miss America.’”

The family was taken by surprise when Brady announced that she would be entering the Miss Connecticut competition two years ago, but cheered her on.

“She just went up there on a whim, man. But it was like, ‘Just go for it. There should be more people like you who are competing, where it’s not all about the hair and the makeup, but personality too,’” Audrey said.

Fiancee Tony Capasso said it was her winning personality that propelled her to the crown. He said he advised her to compete without makeup.

Brady told The Associated Press she hopes that her background will help dispel the image held by some of the bimbo beauty queen.

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Connecticut USA 2013, Erin Brady, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.

(Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

“I think that now more than ever, they’re accepting that we’re all intelligent individuals and that it’s really not a stereotype anymore,” she said.

Unlike the rival Miss America pageant, Miss USA doesn’t ask its queens to perform a talent or choose a charity mission.

Brady will represent the United States at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow this winter.

Last year’s Miss USA, Olivia Culpo, won that international crown, becoming the first Miss USA to ascend to Miss Universe in 16 years.

Brady said she is determined to pull of that feat for the U.S. again.

In the moments before she won, Brady held hands with first runner up Mary Margaret McCord, of Alabama. McCord could be seen saying, “I love you” in the moments before the winner was announced. Miss Illinois Stacie Juris was second runner up.

Two of the six judges’ questions on Sunday touched on the controversial data-collection programs run by the National Security Agency brought to light earlier this month.

In both cases, the queens took an unconcerned attitude. Miss South Carolina said the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden who leaked the information should not be charged with treason. Miss Alabama said the programs did not bother her.

Brady also took a sanguine attitude in her answer about check swabs.

“If someone is being prosecuted and committed a crime, its should happen. There are so many crimes that if that’s one step closer to stopping them, than we should be able to do so,” she said.

___

Yvette Cruz contributed to this report.

Hannah Dreier can be reached at http://twitter.com/hannahdreier

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Alabama USA 2013, Mary Margaret McCord, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.

  1. Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Univer

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Arizona USA 2013, Rachel Massie, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.( Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Arkansas USA 2013, Hannah Billingsley, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss California USA 2013, Mabelynn Capeluj, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.  (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Colorado USA 2013, Amanda Wiley, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.  (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Delaware USA 2013, Rachel Baiocco, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.  (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss District Of Columbia USA 2013, Jessica Frith, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Florida USA 2013, Michelle Aguirre, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Georgia USA 2013, Brittany Sharp, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Hawaii USA 2013, Brianna Acosta, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.  (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Idaho USA 2013, Marissa Wickland, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Illinois USA 2013, Stacie Juris, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.  (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Indiana USA 2013, Emily Hart, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.   (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Iowa USA 2013, Richelle Orr, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Kansas USA 2013, Staci Klinginsmith, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Kentucky USA 2013, Allie Leggett, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Louisiana USA 2013, Kristen Girault, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Maine USA 2013, Ali Clair, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Maryland USA 2013, Kasey Staniszewski, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Massachusetts USA 2013, Sarah Kidd, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.  (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Wyoming USA 2013, Courtney Gifford, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Alaska USA 2013, Melissa McKinney, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Mississippi USA 2013, Paromita Mitra, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.  (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Missouri USA 2013, Ellie Holtman, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.  (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Montana USA 2013, Kacie West, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.  (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Nebraska USA 2013, Ellie Lorenzen, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live.  (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Nevada USA 2013, Chelsea Caswell, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss New Hampshire USA 2013, Amber Faucher, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss New Jersey USA 2013, Libell Duran, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss New Mexico USA 2013, Kathleen Danzer, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

Miss USA 2013 Swimsuits

Miss Michigan USA 2013, Jaclyn Schultz, poses in swimwear by ViX Paula Hermanny upon arriving to Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. She will spend the next 2 weeks touring, filming, rehearsing, and making new friends while preparing to compete for the coveted MISS USA Diamond Nexus Crown. Tune in to the crowning moment LIVE on NBC starting at 9:00 PM ET on June 16, 2013 from PH Live. (Photo By Darren Decker/Miss Universe)

See More on http://tv.yahoo.com/photos/miss-usa-2013-swimsuits-slideshow/miss-usa-2013-swimsuits-photo-

 

 

 

 

For Belfast, keeping peace means a city of walls

Posted in News with tags , on June 16, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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For Belfast, keeping peace means a city of walls

Associated PressBy SHAWN POGATCHNIK | Associated Press – 5 hrs ago

In this photo dated June 10 2013 a massive wall and fence separates the Protestant Cluan Place from the Catholic Short Strand area. When President Obama comes to Belfast, he’s expected to praise a country at peace and call for walls that separate Irish Catholics and British Protestants to come tumbling down. Barely a 10-minute walk from where the U.S. leader is speaking Monday, June 17, 2013, those walls have kept growing in size and number throughout two decades of slow-blooming peace. Residents on both sides of the battlements today insist they must stay to keep violence at bay. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Associated Press/Peter Morrison – In this photo dated June 10 2013 a massive wall and fence separates the Protestant Cluan Place from the Catholic Short Strand area. When President Obama comes to Belfast, he’s expected to praise a country at peace and call for walls that separate Irish Catholics and British Protestants to come tumbling down. Barely a 10-minute walk from where the U.S. leader is speaking Monday, June 17, 2013, those walls have kept growing in size and number throughout two decades of slow-blooming peace. Residents on both sides of the battlements today insist they must stay to keep violence at bay. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) — When President Obama comes to Belfast, he’s expected to praise a country at peace and call for walls that separate Irish Catholics and British Protestants to come tumbling down.

Barely a 10-minute walk from where the U.S. leader is speaking Monday, those walls have kept growing in size and number throughout two decades of slow-blooming peace. Residents today on both sides of so-called “peace lines” — barricades of brick, steel and barbed wire that divide neighborhoods, roads and even one Belfast playground — insist the physical divisions must stay to keep violence at bay.

Belfast’s first peace lines took shape in the opening salvos of Northern Ireland’s conflict in 1969, when impoverished parts of the city suffered an explosion of sectarian mayhem and most Catholics living in chiefly Protestant areas were forced to flee. The British Army, deployed as peacekeepers, erected the first makeshift barricades and naively predicted the barriers would be taken down in months.

In this photo taken on June 10, 2013, James McDowell is dwarfed by a peace wall as he stands in his garden in the Catholic Short Strand area of East Belfast, Northern Ireland. The peace wall divides the Short Strand from the Protestant Cluan Place. When President Obama comes to Belfast, he’s expected to praise a country at peace and call for walls that separate Irish Catholics and British Protestants to come tumbling down. Barely a 10-minute walk from where the U.S. leader is speaking Monday, June 17, 2013, those walls have kept growing in size and number throughout two decades of slow-blooming peace. Residents on both sides of the battlements today insist they must stay to keep violence at bay. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Instead, the soldiers’ role supporting the mostly Protestant police soon inspired the rise of a ruthless new outlawed group, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, committed to forcing Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom and into the Republic of Ireland.

For all the unlikely triumphs of Northern Ireland diplomacy since the U.S.-brokered 1998 Good Friday peace deal — a Catholic-Protestant government, troop withdrawals, police reform, and disarmament of the IRA and outlawed Protestant groups responsible for most of the 3,700 death toll — tearing down Belfast’s nearly 100 “peace lines” still seems too dangerous a step to take.

“I’d love to see that wall taken down and I could say hi to my neighbors, but it isn’t going to happen. There’d be cold-blooded murder and I’d have to move out,” said Donna Turley, 48, smoking a cigarette at her patio table in the Short Strand, the sole Irish Catholic enclave in otherwise Protestant east Belfast.

Right behind Turley’s backyard refuge towers a 50-foot (15-meter) wall. It starts as brick, transitions into fences of corrugated iron, and is topped by more steel mesh fence. Each layer marks the history of communal riots like the growth rings of a tree. Higher still, two batteries of rotating police surveillance cameras monitor Turley and her Catholic neighbors, as well as the Protestant strangers living, audibly but invisibly, on the far side.

In this photo taken on June 10, 2013, a loyalist mural adorns a wall beside a peace wall that divides the Protestant Cluan Place from the Catholic Short Strand area, in the Protestant Cluan Place area of East Belfast, Northern Ireland. When President Obama comes to Belfast, he’s expected to praise a country at peace and call for walls that separate Irish Catholics and British Protestants to come tumbling down. Barely a 10-minute walk from where the U.S. leader is speaking Monday, June 17, 2013, those walls have kept growing in size and number throughout two decades of slow-blooming peace. Residents on both sides of the battlements today insist they must stay to keep violence at bay. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

“It’s terrible looking. But I wouldn’t feel safe if it wasn’t there. I couldn’t imagine that wall being torn down. Nobody here can,” said Tammy Currie, 21, who is Turley’s nearest Protestant neighbor, standing in her own small cement patio backed by the wall. Her 3-year-old son jumps on a trampoline that a few months ago had to be cleared of shattered beer bottles thrown from the other side.

Both families rent state-subsidized homes provided by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, which is responsible for making their homes as safe as possible from the risk of further rioting. That means both have triple-layered Perspex windows that are foggy-looking and unbreakable, and metal-tiled roofs that can’t be set on fire.

It was a lesson hard learned. The Protestants of Cluan Place and the Catholics of Clandeboye Drive used to be able to look, from upper floors, into each other’s back yards until 2002, when militants on both sides sought to drive each other out with homemade grenades, Molotov cocktails and even acid-filled bottles. An IRA gunman shot five Protestants, none fatally, while standing atop what was then only a brick wall. Most homes in the area were burned, abandoned and rebuilt, and British Army engineers doubled the height of the wall in 2003. Nobody’s been shot there since, even though both sides continue to host illegal paramilitary groups billing themselves as community defenders.

In this photo taken on June 10, 2013, a boy plays at a bonfire site beside a peace wall that divides the Protestant Cluan Place from the Catholic Short Strand area, in the Protestant Cluan Place area of East Belfast, Northern Ireland. When President Obama comes to Belfast, he’s expected to praise a country at peace and call for walls that separate Irish Catholics and British Protestants to come tumbling down. Barely a 10-minute walk from where the U.S. leader is speaking Monday, June 17, 2013, those walls have kept growing in size and number throughout two decades of slow-blooming peace. Residents on both sides of the battlements today insist they must stay to keep violence at bay. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

This stretch of wall connects with other security lines that date back to the early days of the modernNorthern Ireland conflict in 1970, when IRA men in Short Strand shot to death three Protestants allegedly involved in attacking the district’s lone Catholic church. To make it less of an eyesore, Belfast City Council has funded imaginative art works all along that stretch, but it still leaves Short Strand looking a bit like Fort Apache.

Last month, the Catholic and Protestant leaders of Northern Ireland’s unity government announced a bold but detail-free plan to dismantle all peace lines by 2023. British Prime Minister David Cameron formally backed the goal Friday. Obama is expected to do the same Monday.

The politician working closest to the Cluan-Clandeboye wall, Michael Copeland, says both G-8 leaders are out of touch.

“Removing the walls would be a catastrophic decision,” said Copeland, a former British soldier and a Protestant member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, who keeps his office just around the corner from Cluan Place.

“The biggest walls to be addressed are in the minds of the people. And what people in here remember is being shot at, being bombed, having their street burned,” Copeland said while sitting on a Cluan Place bench outside one resident’s home. He knows everyone living in all 23 homes on the Protestant side and, in fact, helped get many of them get their housing assignment.

“The walls will come down when the people who live in the shadow of these walls, and look to those walls for a sense of security, can feel secure without them. Memories will have to fade. It will take another generation at least,” he said.

In this photo taken on June 10, 2013, a woman waters her plants in the Protestant Templemore Avenue area of East Belfast, Northern Ireland. A peace wall divides the Protestant area from the Catholic Short Strand area. When President Obama comes to Belfast, he’s expected to praise a country at peace and call for walls that separate Irish Catholics and British Protestants to come tumbling down. Barely a 10-minute walk from where the U.S. leader is speaking Monday, June 17, 2013, those walls have kept growing in size and number throughout two decades of slow-blooming peace. Residents on both sides of the battlements today insist they must stay to keep violence at bay. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

The two sides mark their cultural divide in ways petty and profound. Each morning, two sets of children depart in different directions, wearing different uniforms, as Catholics head for their own church-run schools, the Protestants for state-run ones. At night, the two sides usually order fast-food deliveries from their own areas, fearful that someone from “the other side” might spit in their food. They use separate taxi companies and favor different newspapers.

Short Strand’s community association has erected house numbers bearing each family’s name in Gaelic, the little-used native tongue of Ireland that is loathed by most Protestants.

Reflecting their anxiety that the faster-growing Catholic community wants to push them out, the Protestants of Cluan Place have painted the gable end of one house with a mural featuring a massive Union Jack and a list of attacks on their street since 2002. “Still loyalist, always British, no surrender,” it says.

The house opposite Currie’s, belonging to an aunt, has a dog strutting about sporting a Union Jack collar, and Ulster loyalist music blaring loudly enough from a stereo to carry to Catholic ears beyond the wall.

Across the divide, 56-year-old Maggie McDowell cocks an ear at the sectarian tune. “Och, him again,” she said, identifying her Protestant neighbor not by a name or face she’s never known, but by his musical taste. Unlike most living on both sides of this wall, she was here for the 2002 rioting — and credits the wall’s extension with ensuring no repeat.

She and her husband, James, keep a collection of the most interesting objects that have crashed into their house or back garden, including one smooth stone used as a doorstop. He points out holes in their home’s brick wall marking strikes from past violence. Golf balls, a favored weapon for both sides, she collects by the bucket to give every so often to her golf-enthusiast brother.

When asked if she’d like the wall to come down, Maggie McDowell said, “It’s a terrible thing to say, but I wish they could make it higher.”

___

Online:

Maps and data of Belfast peace lines, http://bit.ly/11odl3w

Interfaces Map and Database – Overview

http://www.belfastinterfaceproject.org/interfaces-map-and-database-overview

In spring of 2011 Belfast Interface Project commissioned a piece of research carried out by the Institute for Conflict Research to identify and classify the known security barriers and associated forms of defensive architecture in residential areas of Belfast.

This interfaces map and database — provides a comprehensive listing with photographs and descriptions of security barriers and defensive use of space throughout the city, organised geographically by cluster — draws heavily upon the final research report produced by ICR and brings together photos and information from past BIP research projects including those undertaken by Frankie Quinn in 2005 and ICR in 2008.

Overview of Defensive Architecture

1. Categories and Locations of Barriers

The report identifies 99 different security barriers and forms of defensive architecture across the city associated with residential areas. These include:

  • 35 barriers which are made of different styles of metal fencing
  • 23 barriers which are comprised of a mixture of a solid wall with metal fencing above
  • 14 examples of a mixture of fences with vegetation which act as a buffer
  • 12 locations where roads have been closed to vehicles while allowing pedestrian access
  • 8 locations where there is a wall alone, and
  • 7 locations where roads have gates which are closed occasionally

Table 1 sets out the broad locations of these 99 barriers across the city:

  • 44 barriers are situated in North Belfast – defined as the area north of Crumlin Road and west of Belfast Lough
  • 30 barriers are in West Belfast – south of Crumlin Road and west of the Westlink and M1 motorway
  • 14 are in the Central Area – defined as immediately adjacent to the Westlink and Inner Ring roads
  • 10 are in East Belfast – east of the River Lagan and Belfast Lough
  • there is 1 barrier in South Belfast – east of the Dublin railway line, south of the city centre and west of the River Lagan

Table 1 - Categories of Barriers

2 Clusters

The different structures and blighted spaces are contained within 13 different ‘clusters’ — groupings of distinct and separate but related instances of defensively used space within the city — similar to the main interface areas identified by the NIHE in their internal review of interface areas carried out in 2006.

3. Ownership

The research also identified 10 different owners of the various structures (Table 2). The largest number of barriers (58) are owned by the Department of Justice (who inherited them from the Northern Ireland Office following devolution of policing and justice powers in 2007), 19 are owned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, 7 appear to be in private ownership, and 3 belong to the Department for Regional Development. To date it has not been possible to identify the owners of 4 of the barriers.

Table 2 - Builder/Owner of Barrier

4. Date of Construction

It proved difficult to get detailed information on the dates when the barriers were constructed. Table 3 is based largely on data for those barriers constructed by the NIO, which are now the responsibility of the DoJ. The table shows that barriers have been constructed steadily since 1969, with most barriers constructed through the 1990s – 12 were constructed prior to the 1994 ceasefires and 14 in the second half of the decade.

The figures also indicate that one third of those barriers for which we have the construction date have been built since the ceasefires. The figures in brackets refer to the number of barriers that have been subjected to rebuilding or extension during the relevant decade. The figures for which we have dates indicate the rebuilding of 21 barriers, mostly under reconstruction since 2000.

Table 3 - Date of Construction

The figures also illustrate different patterns of construction in different parts of the city. The vast majority of the barriers in central, East and West Belfast were constructed prior to the ceasefires while in contrast half of the barriers in North Belfast have been constructed since the ceasefires were declared in 1994.

5. Blighted Land

The report also includes a number of examples of blighted land which are immediately adjacent to an interface barrier. The 58 examples include 20 areas where there are 1 or more derelict properties (in some cases there are numerous such properties plus empty plots of land), 32 locations where land remains unused and 6 sites which are currently used as car parks. At best this is a conservative list of unused or underused land in the immediate vicinity of an interface.

Table 4 - Blighted Land

Sweden’s Princess Madeleine weds

Posted in News with tags on June 11, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Sweden’s Princess Madeleine weds

http://news.yahoo.com/lightbox/sweden-s-princess-madeleine-weds-slideshow/swedens-princess-madeleine-christopher-oneill-kiss-outside-royal-photo-161403681.html

Princess Madeleine, fourth in line to the Swedish throne, married U.S.-British banker Christopher O’Neill on June 8 in a ceremony attended by royals and socialites from around the world. The 30-year-old princess married O’Neill, 38, before some 600 guests in the chapel of the Royal Palace of Stockholm. (Reuters)
Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill kiss outside the Royal Chapel after their wedding ceremony in Stockholm, Saturday June 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Bjorn Larsson Rosvall) SWEDEN OUT
Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O’Neill during their wedding ceremony at the Royal Chapel in Stockholm, Saturday June 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Fredrik Sandberg) SWEDEN OUT
Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O’Neill during their wedding ceremony at the Royal Chapel in Stockholm, Saturday June 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Anders Wiklund) SWEDEN OUT
U.S.-British banker Christopher O’Neill kisses Sweden’s Princess Madeleine at the royal church in the royal castle during the wedding ceremony in Stockholm June 8, 2013. Princess Madeleine, 30, daughter of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, marries U.S.-British banker O’Neill, 38, on Saturday at a wedding to be attended by European royals and socialites from across the Atlantic. REUTERS/Jessica Gow/Scanpix (SWEDEN – Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)
Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill leave the Royal Chapel after their wedding ceremony in Stockholm, Sturday June 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Tobias Rostlund) SWEDEN OUT
Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill, at the Royal Chapel during their wedding ceremony in Stockholm, Saturday, June 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Scanpix Sweden, Jessica Gow) SWEDEN OUT
From right, Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria with Princess Estelle, Prince Daniel and Prince Carl Philip attend the wedding ceremony of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill at the Royal Chapel in Stockholm, Saturday June 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Anders Wiklund) SWEDEN OUT
Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill kiss outside the Royal Chapel after their wedding ceremony in Stockholm, Saturday June 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Bertil Enevag Ericson) SWEDEN OUT
The designer of Sweden’s Princess Madeleine’s wedding dress Valentino Garavani (C) sits in the Royal Chapel before the wedding of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill in Stockholm June 8, 2013. REUTERS/Janerik Henriksson/Scanpix
Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O´Neill leave in an open carriage after their wedding ceremony at the royal chapel in Stockholm Saturday June 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Soren Andersson) SWEDEN OUT
Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and U.S.-British banker Christopher O’Neill leave in a carriage after their wedding ceremony at the royal chapel in Stockholm June 8, 2013. Princess Madeleine, 30, daughter of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, married O’Neill, 38, on Saturday at a wedding attended by European royals and socialites from across the Atlantic. REUTERS/Bertil Enevag Ericson/Scanpix (SWEDEN – Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and U.S.-British banker Christopher O’Neill pose with family members and guests on the stairs of Drottningholm Palace, after their wedding ceremony in Stockholm June 8, 2013. Princess Madeleine, 30, daughter of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, married O’Neill, 38, on Saturday at a wedding attended by European royals and socialites from across the Atlantic. REUTERS/Jonas Ekstromer/Scanpix (SWEDEN – Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO COMMERCIAL USE
Princess Hisako Takamado of Japan arrives to the Royal Chapel before the wedding of Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill in Stockholm June 8, 2013. REUTERS/Soren Andersson/Scanpix (SWEDEN – Tags: ROYALS)
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – JUNE 08: Queen Silvia of Sweden and Prince Carl Philip of Sweden attend the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O’Neill hosted by King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia at The Royal Palace on June 8, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)
Britain’s Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex arrive at the royal church for the wedding ceremony of Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and her U.S.-British banker fiance Christopher O’Neill, at the royal castle in Stockholm June 8, 2013. Princess Madeleine, 30, daughter of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, marries U.S.-British banker O’Neill, 38, on Saturday at a wedding to be attended by European royals and socialites from across the Atlantic. REUTERS/Soren Andersson/Scanpix (SWEDEN – Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)
John Taylor of the rock group Duran Duran and his wife Gela Nash arrive for the wedding ceremony of Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and U.S.-British banker Christopher O’Neill at the royal church in the royal castle in Stockholm June 8, 2013. Princess Madeleine, 30, daughter of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, marries U.S.-British banker O’Neill, 38, on Saturday at a wedding to be attended by European royals and socialites from across the Atlantic. REUTERS/Soren Andersson/Scanpix (SWEDEN – Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)
Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark arrive at the Royal Chapel for the wedding of Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill, in Stockholm, Saturday June 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Soren Andersson) SWEDEN OUT
Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and U.S.-British banker Christopher O’Neill walk towards the boat that will ferry them to Drottningholm Palace for their wedding dinner, after their wedding ceremony in the royal castle in Stockholm June 8, 2013. Princess Madeleine, 30, daughter of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, married O’Neill, 38, on Saturday at a wedding attended by European royals and socialites from across the Atlantic. REUTERS/Adam Ihse/Scanpix (SWEDEN – Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT)
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – JUNE 08: Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Daniel of Sweden depart for the travel by boat to Drottningholm Palace for dinner after the wedding ceremony of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O’Neill hosted by King Carl Gustaf XIV and Queen Silvia at The Royal Palace on June 8, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
L-R) Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary walk with Norway’s Princess Martha Louise, Norwegian author Ari Behn, Norway’s Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Crown Prince Haakon as they leave Riddarholmen for a boat trip to Drottningholm Palace for the wedding dinner after Sweden’s Princess Madeleine married Christopher O’Neill at the royal castle in Stockholm June 8, 2013. Princess Madeleine, 30, daughter of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, married O’Neill, 38, on Saturday at a wedding attended by European royals and socialites from across the Atlantic. REUTERS/Erik Martensson/Scanpix (SWEDEN – Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO COMMERCIAL USE
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN – JUNE 08: Crown Princess Victoria, and Prince Daniel of Sweden attend the evening banquet after the wedding of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O’Neill hosted by King Carl Gustaf XIV and Queen Silvia at Drottningholm Palace on June 8, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Photo by Julian Parker/Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
Sweden’s Princess Madeleine and U.S.-British banker Christopher O’Neill arrive at Drottningholm Palace, after their wedding ceremony in the royal church in Stockholm June 8, 2013. Princess Madeleine, 30, daughter of Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, married O’Neill, 38, on Saturday at a wedding attended by European royals and socialites from across the Atlantic. REUTERS/Christine Olsson/Scanpix (SWEDEN – Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO COMMERCIAL USE
Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia leave Riddarholmen for a boat trip to Drottningholm Palace for the wedding dinner after their daughter Princess Madeleine married U.S.-British banker Christopher O’Neill at the royal church in Stockholm June 8, 2013. Princess Madeleine, 30, married O’Neill, 38, on Saturday at a wedding attended by European royals and socialites from across the Atlantic. REUTERS/Erik Martensson/Scanpix (SWEDEN – Tags: ROYALS ENTERTAINMENT) ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO COMMERCIAL USE
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