Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Copenhagen shooting: 'Family row' sparked court killing


Several streets surrounding the court were cordoned off by police

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The deadly shooting at a court building in Copenhagen was the result of "a family dispute", Danish police say.
One person was shot dead and another wounded when a man reportedly opened fire inside the bailiff's court in the city centre.
According to witnesses, five or six shots were fired. A man was later arrested and a sawn-off shotgun recovered at the scene.
The Danish judges' association is urging action to improve security.
A preliminary custody hearing was taking place in the court when the shooting broke out at about 10:00 (08:00 GMT) Danish media reported.
Police at the scene of the shooting at a court building in Copenhagen on 16 September 2014. Officials believe this was the first ever shooting at the Copenhagen City Court which was founded in 1771
Danish emergency teams at the scene of a fatal shooting at the civil court in Copehnhagen, Denmark, on 16 September 2014.The suspect reportedly fled from the scene but was caught and arrested by armed police near City Hall
Danish police told the BBC's Malcolm Brabant that the suspect is the maternal grandfather of the child involved in the case.
The 31-year-old father of the child was shot and critically injured, and his 57-year-old lawyer was killed, they said.
"It is a family tragedy, not an attack on the court or the legal system," said Soeren Axelsen, who runs the Copenhagen City Court.
Both victims were shot inside the court, which handles family-related cases as well as debts and bankruptcy, the official said.
The first reportedly died at the scene and the second was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries.
One witness told reporters that the gunman fled the court and was later arrested in a street beside the city hall.
The judges' association told our correspondent they were alarmed that the man managed to smuggle the weapon into the building, and had been warning about this type of security incident for years.

Rob Ford tells Canadian newspaper he is 'pretty sick'


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks during the kick off of his re-election campaign at a rally in the city's north end 17 April 2014Rob Ford told the Toronto Sun he was calling constituents from his hospital bed

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is feeling "pretty sick" in hospital as he undergoes testing for tumours in his abdomen and lungs, he has told a local newspaper columnist.
Mr Ford, who withdrew from his re-election campaign last week, told the Toronto Sun doctors went "into my lungs" to take "another biopsy".
Mr Ford has been diagnosed with an abdominal tumour.
His brother Councillor Doug Ford has replaced him on the 27 October ballot.
Doug Ford has not yet held an official campaign event, saying he wants to spend time with family while his brother is in hospital.
At the same time as he withdrew from the mayoral election, Rob Ford's name was added to the ballot papers to run for councillor in his old constituency of Ward 2 in Toronto's Etobicoke North area, signalling his desire to remain a political force in the city.
Rob Ford's sudden announcement of his illness and subsequent withdrawal from the race presented a remarkable turn in a tumultuous tenure in the city hall of Canada's largest city.
Over the past year, Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine while in office, then did a month-long stint in rehab. He resisted pressure to resign even as the city council stripped him of most of his budget and authority.
Rob Ford continued to run for re-election until last week, when he was brought to hospital after complaining of pain in his abdomen.
He has been in hospital since and is reportedly waiting on results from a biopsy test.
"I'm feeling pretty sick," he told the Sun's Joe Warmington, who reported the mayor sounded "horrible" and was "coughing and hacking and talking with a heavy breath".
The mayor said he was trying to get some work done, ringing constituents.
"It's pretty tricky right now," Mr Ford said regarding his health, saying he hoped to recover and go back to "helping people" as councillor.
It remains to be seen whether Doug Ford can pick up his brother's support.
Other top contenders in the race are former NDP MP Olivia Chow and businessman and former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party John Tory.

Nasa picks astronaut crew ship designs



Nasa Administrator Charles Bolden: "This is the most ambitious and exciting chapter in the history of Nasa"

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The US space agency Nasa has picked the companies it hopes can take the country's astronauts back into space.
It is awarding up $6.2bn to the Boeing and SpaceX firms, to help them finish the development of new crew capsules.
Since the space shuttles were retired in 2011, the Americans have relied on Russia and its Soyuz vehicles to get to the International Space Station.
Boeing and SpaceX should have their seven-person crew ships ready to take over the role by late 2017.
Disagreements over Moscow's actions in Ukraine have made the current Soyuz arrangement increasingly unpalatable for Washington.
So has the price per flight now being charged - at $70m (£43m) per US astronaut seat. American officials regard this as excessive.
The Obama administration charged Nasa in 2010 with the job of "seeding" indigenous, competing companies to restore American capability.

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The companies proposed the value within which they were able to do the work and the government accepted that”
Kathy LeudersCommercial crew programme manager
Since then, the agency has released nearly $1.5bn in funding, with most of this money going to Boeing in Texas, California's SpaceX and a third firm - the Colorado-based Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC).
Ideally, the agency would have liked to continue funding all three into the final phase of its commercial crew programme, but its budget is too stretched.
It has meant Nasa having to pick favourites.
The Boeing Corporation is going to receive a fixed-price Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCtCap) contract worth up to $4.2bn.
SpaceX will get a contract for a lesser amount - $2.6bn.
Both companies must meet specified technical milestones to pick up what will be staged payments.
"From day one, the Obama administration has made it clear that the greatest nation on Earth should not be dependent on other nations to get into space," Nasa Administrator Charlie Bolden told reporters.
"Thanks to the leadership of President Obama and the hard work of our Nasa and industry teams, today we are one step closer to launching our astronauts from US soil on American spacecraft and ending the nation's sole reliance on Russia by 2017."
Chris FergussonThe very last shuttle commander, Chris Fergusson, is now part of Boeing's CST-100 team
For Boeing, the new money should take its CST-100 capsule through final development and safety certification.
Part of the contract also includes fees for initial crewed flights, up to a maximum of six.
The CST-100 is designed to launch into orbit atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and return to Earth with the assistance of a heat shield and parachutes to a land location.
Superficially, there are similarities with the Apollo system, but the new Boeing ship's technologies are, of course, all state-of-the-art.
Many people thought SpaceX might grab a larger tranche of the funding on offer.
It already operates a rocket and capsule system in an unmanned configuration to take cargo to the ISS, and was working to upgrade the design to accommodate the more stringent assurance levels demanded of human spaceflight.
But SpaceX is unlikely to be deterred by getting second billing. It is committed to completing development of its man-rated Dragon capsule.
And it believes that its system will eventually turn out to be much cheaper than the one coming from the more well-established Boeing Corporation.
This could put the California company in a very strong position to win commercial launch contracts further down the road.
The $2.6bn CCtCap contact it is due to receive also covers a certification process and initial crewed missions - again, up to six.
CapsuleSpaceX is upgrading its unmanned cargo ship to carry humans
In news conferences held by Nasa to announce the awards, reporters repeatedly pressed agency officials to explain why the sum offered to Boeing was so much larger than the one to SpaceX.
Those officials declined, stating the procurement process was continuing and that it would be inappropriate at this stage to discuss such matters.
But Kathy Leuders, the manager for the commercial crew programme, remarked: "The companies proposed the value within which they were able to do the work and the government accepted that."
The big loser in this final round of Nasa's commercial crew programme is the Sierra Nevada Corporation. It will get no CCtCap support.
But SNC has repeatedly said that its vision is not a hostage to Nasa patronage.
It has already booked a rocket to launch an unmanned demonstration flight of its proposed crew vehicle, which stands out for not being a conical capsule.
Known as the Dream Chaser, this ship looks like a mini space shuttle. And just like the famous winged orbiters, it would glide back to Earth to land on a runway.
SNC has spent a lot of time building partnerships with other companies and with foreign space agencies.
Dream ChaserSNC's Dream Chaser is different in that it is a winged vehicle. It has more in common with the old shuttles

Shropshire village could become centre of UK


Map of High ErcallOrdnance Survey said the centre of the UK, excluding Scotland, would be a field to the west of High Ercall

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A village in Shropshire would become the exact centre of the UK if Scotland became independent, Ordnance Survey (OS) has calculated.
Scottish independence is the subject of a referendum on Thursday.
OS said the centre of Great Britain had been "hotly disputed" for decades, but for the first time it had calculated the results for the UK as a whole.
It said a field near High Ercall would become the centre if Scotland became independent.
The field south of Shawbury is at grid reference 357767 317879.
With Scotland included the centre point calculated by OS is in the middle of Morecambe Bay, at map coordinates 341575 466760.
Balance the UK
The term Great Britain currently refers to England, Scotland, Wales and their collective islands, while the UK also includes Northern Ireland.
"We don't map Northern Ireland, but we got the data and applied it," said Rob Andrews from Ordnance Survey.
He said: "We use the gravitational method of working it out. If you imagine cutting out the whole of the UK with a giant pair of scissors and balancing it on a church spire, it's the balancing point.
"There are other methods, though, which can deliver different results."
Meriden, near Coventry, and Fenny Drayton in Leicestershire both claim to be the geographical centre of England, while Haltwhistle, in Northumberland, and Dunsop Bridge in Lancashire have strong claims to be the centre of Britain depending on which method is used.
Map of ShropshireOrdnance Survey said its gravitational method measured the balancing point if the UK was a cut-out

Estate agent sacked for 'stealing chocolate bar' during viewing


Estate agent takes chocolate barThe camera which captured the apparent theft is activated by movement
An estate agent was sacked after being caught on camera apparently stealing a bar of chocolate while showing a client around a flat.
The outgoing tenant of the flat in Walthamstow, east London, was testing the motion-activated camera, which he intended to use in his new home.
Jon Charter said it felt like "a complete betrayal".
Your Move Sterling & Co said the employee in question no longer worked for them.
The footage, recorded on Friday, shows a viewer walking ahead of the agent, who is at the door of the room where the camera is placed.
The agent is then seen coming back into the room, taking the bar of chocolate and putting it in his coat pocket.
Mr Charter said: "I set up the camera so that they would all be working when we moved to our new house.
Estate agent takes chocolate barThe agent was seen taking the chocolate bar and pocketing it before heading out
"I got alerted by email that there was movement and sound in my flat and it starts recording remotely straight away.
"I then started to watch this and saw the theft. I felt it was a complete betrayal and wondered what else could have happened to others and myself previously."
He said the agent later apologised via text message, claiming that he had been suffering from dizziness and needed the sugar in the chocolate bar.
Manish Somani, director of Your Move Sterling & Co said: "We are very serious about the protection of our reputation and brand.
"Therefore as soon as we were made aware of this incident action was taken and the employee is no longer working for us.
"We have also apologised to both the tenant and landlord for this unfortunate incident. The landlord has fully accepted this apology and the tenant has accepted a payment as a goodwill gesture for both the chocolate bar and any inconvenience caused."

Royal Navy aircraft carrier costs 'to double'


Computer-generated image issued by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance of the new Queen Elizabeth Class ships This computer-generated image shows how the ships might look

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The cost of two new aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy is expected to be almost twice the original estimate, the government is expected to confirm this week.
In the latest budget, the Ministry of Defence is set to estimate the cost of the two ships at £6.2bn.
The department says it is renegotiating the contract to avoid further significant rises.
Six years ago, when the contract was approved, costs were put at £3.65bn.
'Financial fiascos'
The defence project is one of the biggest ever undertaken in the UK and has been beset by construction and design delays.

Analysis

It's perhaps no great surprise that another major defence project is well over budget. And Britain's not alone. The Pentagon is seeing the price tag rise for its new aircraft carrier too.
Nevertheless, this is an embarrassment for Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who has boasted that he would keep costs under control. He'll be keen to blame the last Labour government for signing a "flawed" contract with industry (David Cameron said it would have cost more to cancel the project than build the ships).
Mr Hammond is soon expected to announce that he has renegotiated that contract to ensure that industry equally shares the burden of any more cost rises - that's the silver lining.
The worry though is that the government - and the taxpayer - still don't know what the final bill will be. That £6bn does not include the cost of buying the new F35 jets for the carrier. Nor has the government made clear whether the Royal Navy will be getting one new carrier or both. The original plan was to mothball one.
A government source said it had inherited a flawed contract that was now being renegotiated to ensure industry shared the burden of any future rises.
The shadow defence secretary, Labour's Vernon Coaker, said: "This is the latest in a series of financial fiascos in the MoD under David Cameron.
"The defence secretary's claim that he has balanced the MoD books looks increasingly nonsensical. Britain deserves better than this shambolic approach to our nation's defence."
During the course of the project, an order for carrier jump jets - capable of short take-offs and vertical landings - was switched to jets with a longer range that could carry more weapons.
However, in February last year, the MoD decided to revert to the original jets for logistical and financial reasons.
This "U-turn" saw £74m of taxpayers' money go "down the drain", Labour's Margaret Hodge, the chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said in September.
The cross-party committee, which assesses value for money in government spending, has said it still regards the project as "a huge technical and commercial risk" and was not convinced the MoD had it under control.
It said in its report that officials had made basic errors, such as failing to factor in the cost of inflation and VAT.
'Advanced negotiations'
Of the latest cost rises, the Ministry of Defence said: "Negotiations between the MoD and the Aircraft Carrier Alliance [the ship-builders] regarding the re-baselining of the Queen Elizabeth carrier programme are at an advanced stage.
"No final decisions have been taken and the department will make an announcement in due course."
Assembly work is taking place on both of the 65,000-tonne carriers at a specially extended dry dock at Rosyth, on the River Forth in Dunfermline.
HMS Queen Elizabeth, which will not be finished until 2016 at the earliest, will be delivered before HMS Prince of Wales.
The Royal Navy says the ships will carry helicopters until 2020, when the fighter jets will become available.
The £6.2bn cost estimate for the project does not include buying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. The MoD says there are expected to be 48 jets, although this has not been confirmed.
The UK currently has only one aircraft carrier - HMS Illustrious - but this cannot be used for strike aircraft, only helicopters. This has led to warnings of a decade-long capability gap.
Aircraft carrier infographic showing key points

Mother and Daughter Come Out about Lesbian Relationship

Mary and Vertasha Carter are more than mother and daughter. They are also lesbian lovers.
mother-daughter-lesbians
“Vertasha and I knew we were attracted to each other when she was sixteen,” Mary Carter said. “But we decided to wait to have sex until she was eighteen, legally of age. We are now going public with our relationship to help others who might be in gay mother/daughter relationship feel confident and okay about coming out. We want the world to know we love each other as mother and daughter andromantically.”
Laws forbid incest mostly because of inbreeding and the birth defects that can often come as a consequence.
“We’re women, so Vertasha  and I obviously can’t make children,” Mary Carter said. “It’d be one thing if her daddy (he’s out of the picture) got her pregnant and a baby was born with deformities, but we’re not hurting anyone. We’re a new minority and just want acceptance.”
Vertasha is apparently happy with the relationship as well.
“My mom is still my mom. She does normal mom stuff: buys me clothes, pays for food, tells me to make our bed. We just happen to enjoy sex with each other too.”