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The Air Force pilots who made a low-altitude pass over Bank of America Stadium and uptown Charlotte on Monday have been restricted from flight duties as the military and the Federal Aviation Administration investigate the incident. The incident happened around noon on Monday as the A-10 jets swooped low over several downtown buildings and Bank of America Stadium, where the Carolina Panthers were practicing at the time. Many people were startled by the incident and several people contacted media outlets about the low-flying jets.
“… fighter jets just buzzed by my window of the high rise bldg I work in – uptown Charlotte NC. Scary!” wrote Julie H. Saunders on Twitter. At first, officials at the Charlotte airport said the pilots were practicing for a fly-over at an upcoming Panther’s home game. However, on Tuesday, officials said that was not true and that the pilots were buzzing Charlotte on their return flight to their home base at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, WCNC-TV in Charlotte reported.
“As professional Airmen we take aviation safety very seriously,” Col. Thomas Kunkel, commander of the 23d Wing, said in a statement Tuesday. “As we look into the circumstances of this incident we are working with the FAA to ensure both civil and military aviation instructions were complied with.” The FAA said Tuesday that an FAA worker incorrectly told Charlotte airport officials that the flight was fly-over practice, the TV station reported. Several people contacted WBTV as one person questioned whether they should be worried about the jets “buzzing” over the buildings uptown. Another witness, Zakk Zwier, Tweeted video of one of the jets flying low over the Bank of America Stadium. The Air Force told WCNC that the pilots involved are “restricted from flight duties” until an investigation is complete.
A man from north Texas who falsely claimed to be a wounded Navy SEAL has been sentenced to spend four years in prison. The man from Granbury, Texas, pleaded guilty to a charge of theft after he accepted a gun donated to honor his falsely claimed service record. Carlos Felipe Luna-Gonzalez said he was a Naval officer who had been wounded while serving as a Navy SEAL.
A local gun store worked with police after becoming suspicious of Luna-Gonzalez’ claims, the Associated Press reported. He presented the fake sailor with a rifle valued at $2,300 to honor his “service.” The 31-year-old Luna-Gonzalez, who's an ex-seaman apprentice, was free on bond when he fled to Puerto Rico. He was later extradited. Luna-Gonzalez received 16 months in state jail for theft, plus three years in prison for failure to appear and bail jumping.
Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler wasted no time in bringing Luna-Gonzalez to stand trial. The sheriff, a veteran himself, told ABC News, “That’s a touchy subject with a lot of us vets.”
“They wanted to know if we would extradite. They wanted to know in 10 minutes. They got their answer in eight,” Fowler grinned. “He couldn’t even shine the SEALs’ boots, as far as I’m concerned.”
A 92-year-old World War II veteran takes on a knife-wielding robber and wins. Mark Curtis said he got so mad when he saw the knife in his face that he grabbed the attacker’s arm then punched him in the face.
"He said, ‘Mister, I want your damn money.’"
Curtis joined the Army at 17 and fought in World War II. He was captured by SS troops, held as a POW for 11 months. He said he was beaten so badly he’s still deaf in one ear.
"He (an SS officer) hit me upside the head with the butt of the gun and I haven't been able to hear out of it since," Curtis said.
A grenade almost tore his arm off - he was shot in the stomach and still has shrapnel wounds in his leg and feet to this day. He has a stack of medals, including a Purple Heart and a Silver Star.
So, when he saw the robber's knife in his face, Curtis wasn't scared, he got mad.
"I got up out of my chair and I reached like I was getting my billfold and I grabbed that arm," he said.
During the struggle, the robber stabbed Curtis in the arm several times, but he still didn't back down.
Curtis said, "I hit him in the jaw and knocked him down. His head hit that concrete real hard." He hit the robber so hard, the guy rolled down the driveway. Curtis is soon headed to Florida for his grandson's beach wedding, where he's going to be the best man.
It seems we have to be increasingly careful about wearing or displaying any insignia or image that may have originally been created by someone in our country's history who may have been a slave owner, or had bigoted tendencies, or have lived in an era where folks thought differently and segregation was the status quo. Even if that insignia or image is not in itself racist, in the correct context it can be deemed as such and thereby put you at risk of breaking the law. Are our tongues being policed in a way that stifles freedom of thought and fans the fires of racial friction? Workplace harassment law has become a content-based, viewpoint-based speech restriction, including on core political speech. A pretty serious First Amendment problem, I think.
"Let’s think about how this plays out in the workplace. Imagine that you are a reasonable employer. You don’t want to restrict employee speech any more than is necessary, but you also don’t want to face the risk of legal liability for allowing speech that the government might label “harassing.” An employee comes to you, complaining that a coworker’s wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” cap — or having an “All Lives Matter” bumper sticker on a car parked in the employee lot, or “Stop Illegal Immigration” sign on the coworker’s cubicle wall — constitutes legally actionable “hostile environment harassment,” in violation of federal employment law. The employee claims that in “the specific context” (perhaps based on what has been in the news, or based on what other employees have been saying in lunchroom conversations), this speech is “racially tinged” or “racially insensitive.” Would you feel pressured, by the risk of a lawsuit and of liability, into suppressing speech that expresses such viewpoints? Or would you say, “Nope, I’m not worried about the possibility of liability, I’ll let my employees keep talking”? Again, the question isn’t what you may do as a matter of your own judgment about how you would control a private workplace; the question is whether the government is pressuring you to suppress speech that conveys certain viewpoints." - excerpt from Washington Post. You can read the full Washington Post article by clicking on the button below:
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PYONGYANG, North Korea -- North Korea's top diplomat for U.S. affairs told The Associated Press on Thursday that Washington "crossed the red line" and effectively declared war by putting leader Kim Jong Un on its list of sanctioned individuals, and said a vicious showdown could erupt if the U.S. and South Korea hold annual war games as planned next month.
Han Song Ryol, director-general of the U.S. affairs department at the North's Foreign Ministry, said in an interview that recent U.S. actions have put the situation on the Korean Peninsula on a war footing.
The United States and South Korea regularly conduct joint military exercises south of the Demilitarized Zone, and Pyongyang typically responds to them with tough talk and threats of retaliation.
Han said North Korea believes the nature of the maneuvers has become openly aggressive because they reportedly now include training designed to prepare troops for the invasion of the North's capital and "decapitation strikes" aimed at killing its top leadership.
Han says designating Kim himself for sanctions was the final straw. "The Obama administration went so far to have the impudence to challenge the supreme dignity of the DPRK in order to get rid of its unfavorable position during the political and military showdown with the DPRK," Han said, using the acronym for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "The United States has crossed the red line in our showdown," he said. "We regard this thrice-cursed crime as a declaration of war."
Soldiers shout slogans as they march past a stand with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other officials during the parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in Pyongyang Oct. 10, 2015.
Although North Korea had already been heavily sanctioned internationally for its nuclear weapons and long-range missile development programs, Washington's announcement on July 6 was the first time Kim Jong Un has been personally sanctioned.
Less than a week later, Pyongyang cut off its final official means of communications with Washington - known as the New York channel. Han said Pyongyang has made it clear that everything between the two must now be dealt with under "war law."
Katina Adams, State Department spokeswoman for East Asia and the Pacific, said the U.S. continues to call on North Korea "to refrain from actions and rhetoric that further destabilize the region and focus instead on taking concrete steps toward fulfilling its commitments and international obligations."
She said the U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises are "defense-orientated" and have been carried out regularly and openly for roughly 40 years, and are designed to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula. "These exercises are a clear demonstration of the U.S. commitment to the alliance," she said.
South Korea's unification, defense and foreign ministries did not immediately comment.
Kim and 10 others were put on the list of sanctioned individuals in connection with alleged human rights abuses, documented by the United Nations Human Rights Commission, that include a network of political prisons and harsh treatment of any kind of political dissent in the authoritarian state. U.S. State Department officials said the sanctions were intended in part to highlight those responsible for the abuses and to pressure lower-ranking officials to think twice before carrying them out.
Pyongyang denies abuse claims and says the U.N. report was based on fabrications gleaned from disgruntled defectors. Pointing to such things as police shootings of black Americans and poverty in even the richest democracies, it says the West has no moral high ground from which to criticize the North's domestic political situation. It also says U.S. allies with questionable human-rights records receive less criticism.
Han took strong issue with the claim that it was not the U.S. but Pyongyang's continued development of nuclear weapons and missiles that is provoking tensions.
"Day by day, the U.S. military blackmail against the DPRK and the isolation and pressure is becoming more open," Han said. "It is not us, it is the United States that first developed nuclear weapons, who first deployed them and who first used them against humankind. And on the issue of missiles and rockets, which are to deliver nuclear warheads and conventional weapons warheads, it is none other than the United States who first developed it and who first used it."
He noted that U.S.-South Korea military exercises conducted this spring were unprecedented in scale, and that the U.S. has deployed the USS Mississippi and USS Ohio nuclear-powered submarines to South Korean ports, deployed the B-52 strategic bomber around South Korea and is planning to set up the world's most advanced missile defense system, known by its acronym THAAD, in the South, a move that has also angered China.
Echoing earlier state-media reports, Han ridiculed Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, for a flight on a U.S. Air Force F-16 based in South Korea that he said was an action "unfit for a diplomat."
"We regard that as the act of a villain, who is a crazy person," Han said of the July 12 flight. "All these facts show that the United States is intentionally aggravating the tensions in the Korean Peninsula." Han warned that Pyongyang is viewing next month's planned U.S.-South Korea exercises in this new context and will respond if they are carried out as planned.
"Nobody can predict what kind of influence this kind of vicious confrontation between the DPRK and the United States will have upon the situation on the Korean Peninsula," he said. "By doing these kinds of vicious and hostile acts toward the DPRK, the U.S. has already declared war against the DPRK. So it is our self-defensive right and justifiable action to respond in a very hard way.
"We are all prepared for war, and we are all prepared for peace," he said. "If the United States forces those kinds of large-scale exercises in August, then the situation caused by that will be the responsibility of the United States."
Last year's Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercises involved 30,000 American and 50,000 South Korean troops and followed a period of heightened animosity between the rival Koreas sparked by land mine explosions that maimed two South Korean soldiers. In the end, the exercises escalated tensions and rhetoric, but concluded with no major incidents.
Han dismissed calls for Pyongyang to defuse tensions by agreeing to abandon its nuclear program.
"In the view of cause and effect, it is the U.S. that provided the cause of our possession of nuclear forces," he said. "We never hide the fact, and we are very proud of the fact, that we have very strong nuclear deterrent forces not only to cope with the United States' nuclear blackmail but also to neutralize the nuclear blackmail of the United States."
Last of elite Navajo Code Talkers whose tribal language became secret weapon in WWII, has died aged 93.
The last of the 29 Navajos whose tribal language was used to develop a code that stumped the Japanese during the Second World War has died aged 93.
Chester Nez, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, died Wednesday morning of kidney failure, Judy Avila, who helped Nez write his memoirs, said.
He was one of seven veterans honored for their bravery in November last year, when he was presented with the Audie Murphy Award for distinguished service.
The Windtalkers: How Native Americans helped win the war.
The U.S. Marines used codetalkers in every Pacific assault from 1942 to 1945.The Native Americans used a code based on their language, which was never cracked by the Japanese. It was estimated that outside of tribes, fewer than 30 people understood the Najavo lanaguage during the Second World War. Native American language had also been used for code purposes in the First World War.The code was made up of unrelated Najavo words that would be translated into English. The first letter of the translated word would then be used to build up the message. When the Marines developed the code they had to create new words in the language to incorporate military terms, including 'besh-lo' meaning iron fish for submarine, and 'dah-he-tih-hi', which translates as humming bird, for fighter planes. The Windtalkers, as the Native American Marines became known, were essential to the war effort, with Major Howard Connor, a 5th Marine Division signal officer, saying: 'Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.'
In 2012, Nez received a bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas, where he abandoned his studies in fine arts after money from his GI Bill ran out.
Despite having both legs partially amputated, confining him to a wheelchair, Nez loved to travel and tell his story. 'He always wanted to go, he loved meeting people,' said Judy Avila the author who helped him write his autobiography. 'And with something like kidney failure, it comes really gradually. At the end, he was really tired.'
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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