Ohio man arrested for planning attack on U.S. Capitol

admin   •   January 15, 2015   •   1930

Christopher Cornell, 20, of Cincinnati, Ohio is pictured in this handout photo obtained by Reuters January 14, 2015. CREDIT: REUTERS/BUTLER COUNTY JAIL

(Reuters) – An Ohio man claiming sympathy with Islamic State militants was arrested and charged on Wednesday in connection with a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol with guns and bombs, court documents disclosed.

Christopher Cornell, 20, of Cincinnati researched the construction of pipe bombs, purchased a semi-automatic rifle and 600 rounds of ammunition and made plans to travel to Washington to carry out the plot, according to an FBI informant’s legal testimony.

Court documents showed that Cornell indicated on Twitter that he supported the Islamic State group under the alias Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah.

According to the documents, in instant messages to the undercover FBI informant, Cornell indicated that while he did not have support to conduct an attack on behalf of any group, “we already got a thumbs up from the Brothers over there and Anwar al Awlaki before his martyrdom and many others.” Awlaki was killed by the United States in Yemen in 2011.

In a November meeting with the informant, Cornell said he considered members of Congress to be his enemies, and he outlined a plan to place pipe bombs at and near the U.S. Capitol and use firearms to kill employees and officials inside, according to the documents.

The suspect’s father, John Cornell, told CNN he thought his son “was coerced into a lot of this.”

“There is no way he could have carried out any kind of terrorist plot,” John Cornell said.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge John Barrios noted that the public was not in danger during this investigation.

Ohio U.S. Republican Senator Rob Portman praised the FBI and other law enforcement agencies for their work “to thwart this potential terrorist act. It is an important reminder of the very real threat that radical Islam continues to pose to the homeland.”

The U.S. Capitol Police said they had worked with the FBI on the case.

Cornell has been charged in a federal court in Ohio with attempting to kill a U.S. government officer and possession of a firearm in furtherance of an attempted crime of violence.

(Reporting By Julia Edwards; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Bill Trott, Peter Cooney, Toni Reinhold)

Asian supply lines hit by U.S. West Coast ports dispute

admin   •   February 16, 2015

Cranes and containers are seen at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California February 6, 2015 in this aerial image.
CREDIT: REUTERS/BOB RIHA JR

(Reuters) – A labor dispute at ports on the U.S. West Coast is disrupting supply chains across the Pacific, forcing some Asian suppliers to resort to costly air freight and pushing up shipping rates as more freighters are caught up in long queues to dock.

With ports near gridlock and cargo delays being felt throughout the U.S. economy, President Barack Obama on Saturday dispatched Labor Secretary Tom Perez to California to try to broker an agreement on a new contract between dockworkers and the group representing shippers and terminal operators.

Ports along the coast, which between them handle nearly half of all U.S. maritime trade and more than 70 percent of imports from Asia, have been experiencing severe delays since October, and the effects are rippling far beyond the United States.

Japan’s Honda Motor Co said on Sunday it would slow production for a week at plants in Ohio, Indiana and Ontario, Canada, as parts it ships from Asia have been held up by the dispute, affecting models including the Civic, CR-V and Accord.

“We do not have a sufficient supply of several critical parts to keep the production lines running smoothly and efficiently,” spokesman Mark Morrison said.

Honda and other carmakers have already started transporting some crucial parts from Asia to their U.S. factories by plane.

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, maker of Subaru cars, said it would continue flying parts to its U.S. factory beyond an initial arrangement through the end of February, which it previously said would cost an extra 7 billion yen ($59 million) a month.

Toyota Motor Corp , which built about 2 million vehicles in North America last year, said it has reduced overtime at some factories as a result, while Nissan Motor Co Ltd said it had been slightly affected.

RATES RISING

With dozens of ships caught up in queues for miles along the West Coast, many waiting more than a week, the rates to charter container ships have begun to climb.

“The strike is affecting a lot of vessels. There’s a lot of delays, and this is pushing up panamax (container) rates as fewer ships are available for new orders,” a leading Singapore-based broker said.

A Shanghai index for U.S. West Coast (USWC) freight rates rose 23 points last week to 2,265 and brokers said quotes had risen a further five points on Monday.

The dispute is also affecting volumes. Singapore-listed Neptune Orient Lines’ container shipping unit reported an 8 percent decline in the fourth quarter, partly due to fewer trans-pacific sailings as a result of the congestion.

Roberto Giannetta, secretary of the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association, said the effects were being felt across the industry, as shippers looked for ways round the delays.

“All shipping lines are affected, and all shipping lines are making alternative arrangements one way or another, by … reallocating assets to the trans-pacific or redirecting cargo via the East Coast.”

Even if the dispute is resolved, there could be long-term consequences for the ports and the communities that depend on them.

“Trust in West Coast ports is at an all-time low, and the perception of supply chain risk is at an all-time high,” said Peter Tirschwell, chief maritime analyst at the JOC Group, a supplier of U.S. seaborne trade data. “We are entering another period of fundamental supply chain re-evaluation that is already leading some shippers to permanently abandon the West Coast.”

For air freighters, however, the crisis is an opportunity.

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific reported on Monday combined cargo and mail traffic figures for Cathay Pacific and Dragonair rose 12.5 percent in January, outpacing a 2.7 percent increase in passenger numbers, thanks to increased North American traffic.

“We saw a pick-up in demand as January progressed, and by the end of the month we were operating close to a full freighter schedule,” said its cargo sales and marketing manager Mark Sutch.

(Additional reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai and Rujun Shen and Henning Gloystein in Singapore; Writing by Will Waterman; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Cleveland video shows police shot boy within seconds

admin   •   November 27, 2014

A police officer (L) is seen pointing his weapon during an incident involving the shooting of a 12-year-old boy with a pellet gun at the Cudell Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in this still image from video released by the Cleveland Police Department November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Cleveland Police Department

 

(Reuters) – Cleveland officials on Wednesday released a video of the fatal police shooting of a 12-year-old boy that shows him pointing a pellet gun around a park before police arrive and shoot him within two seconds.

Tamir E. Rice was shot by a patrol officer on Saturday after a 911 call reported someone pointing a gun at people at the Cudell Recreation Center. The caller said the gun could be a fake.

The video shows the boy walking and pointing the gun in different directions before entering a gazebo.

A patrol car with two officers pulls up to the gazebo. The first to get out, identified by a city official as Timothy Loehmann, 26, shoots almost immediately.

In a news conference broadcast by NBC, Cleveland Police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said the time between the car pulling up and Rice being shot was 1.5 to 2 seconds.

There is no audio on the video, but the officers said they told Rice to raise his hands three times before he was shot, police said. He died on Sunday.

Asked why the car pulled up so close, Tomba said “That’s a legitimate question,” which is part of the investigation.

In a statement about the video, Rice’s family said, “It is our belief that this situation could have been avoided and that Tamir should still be here with us.” The family asked the community to remain calm and keep protests peaceful.

Cleveland police said Loehmann and the second officer, Frank Garmback, 46, were both on leave. A union representative said the officer who shot Rice had been on the force for under a year.

Rice had an Airsoft-type replica gun that resembles a semiautomatic pistol, but typically shoots plastic pellets, police said.

Rice’s family described him as “a bright young man who had his whole life ahead of him.”

The video release follows a second night of sometimes violent protests over a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a white Ferguson police officer for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager.

Both Rice and Brown were African American.

The shooting case will go to the Cuyahoga County Grand Jury for possible charges.

An Ohio grand jury in September decided not to press charges against two police officers who fatally shot a man while he held a pellet gun at a Dayton-area Walmart.

(Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien; Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Eric Walsh)

Serena wins Cincinnati title in final U.S. Open tune-up

admin   •   August 18, 2014

Aug 17, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Serena Williams (left) and Ana Ivanovic during the trophy presentation on day seven of the Western and Southern Open tennis tournament at Linder Family Tennis Center. Williams defeated Ivanovic 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Serena Williams finished her last U.S. Open tune-up in style by blowing away Serbian Ana Ivanovic 6-4 6-1 to win her first title at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati on Sunday.

For the top-seeded American, the triumph marked her first in six visits to Cincinnati and sent a message that she is in top form heading into the year’s final grand slam, where she is the two-time defending champion.

“It’s just amazing to finally win here,” said Williams, who fired a dozen aces and broke her opponent four times. “The fans were amazing and it’s so wonderful to be here.”

After falling behind early, Williams broke her ninth seeded opponent’s serve in the sixth game of the first set to pull even and then broke again four games later to wrap up the opener in 38 minutes after consecutive double faults from Ivanovic.

A year removed from losing the Cincinnati final in a third set tiebreak to Victoria Azarenka, the world number one left nothing to chance in a dominant second set.

Williams broke Ivanovic to open a 3-1 lead in the second set and then relied on her powerful serve to carry her the rest of the way.

It marked the fifth title of the year for the 32-year-old American following wins in Stanford, Rome, Miami and Brisbane.

The Cincinnati tournament is the last of the key tune-ups ahead of the Aug. 25-Sept. 8 U.S. Open in New York.

For 26-year-old Ivanovic, a former world number one who was chasing her fourth title of the year, her run to the Cincinnati final will put her back in the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in five years.

“It’s been a great week for me in Cincinnati,” said Ivanovic, who was coming off a nearly three-hour win over fifth seed Maria Sharapova in Saturday’s semi-final.

“I really want to congratulate Serena. I think I got a lesson on how to serve today. Maybe after you retire you can give me some tips.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Mark Meadows)

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