Vacationing US soldiers thwart massacre on high-speed train

first_imgHommage aux #héros américains qui ont neutralisé le tireur du #Thalys dérouté à #Arras #reconnaissance #respect— Frédéric Leturque (@FLeturque) August 21, 2015Norman told a news conference in Arras: “I came in at the end of it all and helped get him under control.”The gunman reportedly boarded the train in Brussels, where luggage does not pass security screening. In addition to the Kalashnikov rifle with nine clips of ammunition, he was also carrying an automatic pistol and a box-cutter.Cazeneuve said el-Khazani was brought to the attention of French authorities by Spain in February 2014, “due to his involvement in radical Islamist movements.” The pair’s traveling companion, Anthony Sadler, told Associated Press: “We heard a gunshot, and we heard glass breaking behind us, and saw a train employee sprint past us down the aisle.”Sadler said they then saw the gunman enter their train car with an automatic rifle.“As he was cocking it to shoot it, Alek just yells, ‘Spencer, go!’ And Spencer runs down the aisle … Spencer makes first contact, he tackles the guy, Alek wrestles the gun away from him, and the gunman pulls out a box cutter and slices Spencer a few times. And the three of us beat him until he was unconscious.”A Pentagon spokesperson was quoted as saying that one U.S. military member received injuries that were “not life-threatening.”French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve told said Saturday that Stone was hospitalized, along with another American passenger who was shot in the shoulder, though neither are in critical condition.The mayor of Arras, Frédéric Leturque, tweeted a photo of the passengers (from left: Anthony Sadler from California, Alek Skarlatos from Oregon, and Chris Norman from Britain) as they received bravery medals. A suspected terrorist opened fire inside a high-speed train near the Belgian-French border Friday afternoon, injuring at least two people before being tackled by passengers, including two holidaying U.S. servicemen.The Amsterdam-Paris train carrying 554 passengers stopped at Arras in northern France where the injured were unloaded and the suspect — 25-year-old Moroccan, Ayoub el-Khazani, who was apparently known to EU security agencies for holding radical jihadist views — was arrested.According to initial reports, two U.S. servicemen on holiday (Spencer Stone, who is in the Air Force, and National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos) rushed the gunman who began firing a Kalashnikov rifle as the train traveled south near the Belgian-French border around 6pm. — Charles Michel (@CharlesMichel) August 21, 2015 Cazeneuve said: “This led the French authorities to place him on a watch list to monitor him should he return to French territory.”A Spanish anti-terror source told AFP, el-Khazani “lived in (southern) Spain in Algeciras for a year, until 2014, then he decided to move to France. Once in France he went to Syria, then returned to France.”Cazeneuve said that in 2015 el-Khazani lived in Belgium and that Belgian authorities have opened their own inquiry.Belgian justice minister Koen Geens told reporters el-Khazani was known to Belgian authorities, having been flagged by other countries’ security services as a potential jihadist.“You understand, we receive many names like this,” Geens said.A Saturday meeting of the Belgian national security council decided to increase joint French-Belgian patrols in high-speed Thalys trains, and to reinforce police patrols in stations and public places. El-Khazani is being held near Paris by anti-terror police under legislation, which allows him to be detained for up to 96 hours.On Friday, Cazeneuve traveled to Arras, where he said: “Together with the president and the prime minister I want to express to these two American passengers — who were particularly courageous and showed great bravery in very difficult circumstances — all our gratitude, recognition and admiration for their composure that they showed and without which we could have been confronted with a terrible drama.”Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel condemned what he called a “terrorist attack,” while in a statement U.S. President Barack Obama “expressed his profound gratitude for the courage and quick thinking of several passengers, including US service members, who selflessly subdued the attacker.”French President François Hollande has spoken to the French and American passengers who intervened and “conveyed the gratitude of all of France,” Cazeneuve said.The passengers will be received at the Elysée Palace “in the coming days,” according to a statement by the president’s office.Je condamne l’attaque terroriste dans le @thalys_fr et fais part de ma sympathie pour les victimes. Je fais part de ma solidarité aux blessés de l’attaque du train Amsterdam-Paris. Tout est mis en œuvre pour faire la lumière sur ce drame.— François Hollande (@fhollande) August 21, 2015last_img read more

Listed legal entities report large profit hikes

first_imgTwo listed companies whose portfolios include established law firms have revealed big profit increases in annual results published today.Fairpoint Group, which recently acquired north-west firm Coleman-CTTS and bought national firm Simpson Millar in 2014, increased profit before tax by 21% to £4.1m in the full year ending 30 June.The 2014/15 financials, which reflect the first full year since acquiring Simpson Millar, also revealed that revenue increased by 64% to £22.9m.Legal services now represent 62% of group revenues and accounted for 49% of total revenue in the reporting period – up from 8% in 2014.The results announcement, posted on the London Stock Exchange, says the group is in a strong position to grow ‘organically and through further acquisition’, supported by a £25m loan facility.The company, headed by chief executive Chris Moat (pictured) and which previously concentrated on debt management and individual voluntary arrangements, saw its share price rise by 3.2% following the announcement.Meanwhile Redde PLC, which entered the legal market through the acquisition of NewLaw under its previous name Helphire last year, says it increased profits before tax by 91% this year.The company today reported its results for the year ending 30 June and said it made £22.3m profit based on £248.7m turnover.Redde did not specify what profit was made from NewLaw, but said the firm and its associated businesses made an ‘encouraging contribution’ during the first full year since acquisition and performed in line with expectations.Principia Law, the company’s other legal services business with a focus on personal injury, has made ‘good progress’ as it emerges from its start-up phase.Martin Ward, chief executive, said: ‘The group has continued to make very good progress and remains well positioned, with the funds available, to support further growth.‘Our “GPS” strategy (Growth, Profitability and Sustainability), launched in 2013, is gaining further momentum with a growing pipeline of new business.’last_img read more

New Botswana law gives wives the ability to own land

first_imgBurkina Faso’s National Assembly passes law to repossess land Proposed law in Namibia bans foreigners from owning land Mokgweetsi Masisi, Botswana’s president. (Getty Images) Women’s rights activists in Botswana are applauding the government’s decision to allow wives to own land alongside her husband. Women’s groups say the action allows women to be independent in marriages and also have the same rights to land as any other person.Mokgweetsi Masisi, Botswana’s president. (Getty Images)On Thursday, President Mokgweetsi Masisi amended a 2015 Land Policy which stopped wives from owning land if their husbands already owned property.“The Botswana Land Policy 2015 was discriminatory against married women and did not give them equal treatment with men, and I am happy to report that this discriminatory sub-section has since been repealed,” the president said at a virtual briefing.Under the old policy, only unmarried women or the wives of men who did not already own land were eligible for land rights. The discrimination left millions of married women, widows and single mothers without access to the land where they live and work.Women face a host of barriers to owning land – be it through skewed inheritance rights or restricted authority over assets – in 40% of countries, World Bank research shows.Although most African and Asian farmers are women, only about 15% of global farmland is owned by women, according to Landesa, a global land rights organisation, with experts predicting increased inequality due to the coronavirus.Masisi said on Twitter that the new policy would also protect widows and orphans who may be the head of their households. Related SA opposition in court to block land law changelast_img read more

Kodaira claims double at speedskating worlds

first_img IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMES Nao Kodaira competes at the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships in Calgary on Saturday. | KYODO Nao Kodaira, World Sprint Speed Skating Championships KEYWORDScenter_img In the 1,000, she clocked 1:12.51 to eclipse her other record which stood since November 2013 by 1.47 seconds. Jorien ter Mors of the Netherlands had the second-fastest time of 1:12.53 and Bergsma was third again, 0.44 behind Kodaira.“I was hoping to go in the early 1:13-mark but didn’t imagine I would record 12:51,” said the 30-year-old Kodaira, who flew to Canada on Wednesday, the day after claiming her second gold at the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo.“I’m not happy with my lack of balance in the 500 meters and I can go on and on complaining about that. I hope to make adjustments and improve my record,” she said.Maki Tsuji finished sixth in the same race, crossing the finish line in 37.56.In both the men’s 500 and 1,000, Tsubasa Hasegawa placed 12th for Japan’s best performance with times of 34.68 and 1:08.49, respectively. Shunsuke Nakamura was also tied for 12th in the 1,000.In the two-day meet, each skater will take part in two 500 and two 1,000 races, and the champion will be determined based on the cumulative ranking. RELATED PHOTOS CALGARY, ALBERTA – Nao Kodaira won the women’s 500 and 1,000 meters while rewriting the national record in both distances to take the overall lead on the opening day of the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships on Saturday.In the 500, Kodaira clocked 36.75 seconds at the Olympic Oval to trim 0.38 second off her own national mark set two weeks ago in South Korea, with Karolina Erbanova of the Czech Republic taking second in 37.06 and American Heather Bergsma third in 37.22.last_img read more

Monday Thoughts

first_imgMeans’ next start is scheduled for Friday night in Cleveland. Picking up wins in both starts, Means is now 5-3 on the year, as well as in his major league career. In his first major league season, Means is pitching to a 2.33 ERA in 10 games. John Means had an outstanding homestand this past week. Since ending the drought, Davis is 18 for 59, which is a slash line of .290/.371/.581. He also crushed five homes runs and tallied 15 RBI in that span. Stewart Makes MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week: John is on a Means Streak: DJ Stewart is finally starting to get hot in Triple-A Norfolk, so much so that he made MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week. In his two starts, Means pitched seven innings of one run ball against the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox and six innings of one run ball against Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels. center_img The Baltimore Orioles had an interesting week of baseball. Finishing a homestead with a 3-5 run, the O’s will begin a week-long road trip starting in the Bronx and wrapping up in Cleveland. So with that being said, here are our Monday Thoughts! Davis Looking Like His Old Self: On the year, Stewart is batting .259/.390/.500 in 137 plate appearances for the Tides. Please follow and like us: Chris Davis has been swinging the bat ever since ending his record-breaking hitless streak against Boston. In five games this past week, Stewart slashed an impressive .313/.368/1.000. He tallied three home runs and two doubles with 10 RBI. He also scored five times and recorded two walks. Davis is currently batting .189/.287/.379 in 108 plate appearances on the year. And while it is still shy of where Davis wants to be, it is a huge step in getting him back to his old self. last_img read more