Monday, November 08, 2010

Brian David Mitchell Trial

Brian David Mitchell Trial - Elizabeth Smart testified that Brian David Mitchell made her take "the sacrament," forcing her to drink wine, eat some food and then later sexually assaulting her.

Mitchell forced the then-14-year-old girl to drink more wine, but did not bless it. He drank an entire bottle of wine, she said.

"Before this time, had you ever drank alcohol before?" federal prosecutor Felice Viti asked.


"How did you feel?"

"Not normal. I felt everything just sort of dulled and my senses were dulled," she said.

"Ms. Smart, after the first time you drank alcohol, were there other occasions where he forced you to drink?"

"Yes," she said, describing how he would go into the city 3-4 times a week and return with wine, rum, vodka, gin, scotch or whiskey. "A lot."

"Did he bless the gin before he forced you to drink it?" Viti asked.

"No," she said, repeating it for every type of alcohol described by prosecutors.

She was also forced to smoke cigarettes, she testified.

"He said that in order to rise above all things I had to sink below all things first, and that included smoking," Smart testified, describing how he forced her to take a hand-rolled cigarette.

She said she didn't really inhale the cigarette smoke.

On the Fourth of July, Smart said that Mitchell untethered her and let her watch the fireworks from the top of the mountain. But he had a warning: "He told me not to run away, or I'd be killed. He told me that my family would be killed as well."

Brian David Mitchell Trial

Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart

Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart - Kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart says she was gripped with "indescribable fear" the night her alleged attacker held a knife to her neck as she lay in bed.

Ms Smart, 23, was testifying in the trial of Brian David Mitchell, the man accused of abducting her eight years ago when she was 14 and holding her captive for nine months, CNN reported.

She was allegedly taken from her bedroom in the early hours of June 5, 2002, made to walk to a hillside camp, bonded to Mitchell then raped.

"I was woken up. There was a strange man's voice and something cold across my neck," Smart told the federal court in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Monday.

"I remember him saying 'I have a knife to your neck. Don't make a sound. Get out of bed and come with me or I will kill you and your family.'

"I thought I was having a nightmare. It was indescribable fear."

Accused .... Brian David Mitchell. Photo: Reuters
Ms Smart's mother, Lois Smart, also testified during a dramatic day during which Mitchell was ejected from the court for singing.

Mrs Smart told the court that her younger daughter, Mary Katherine, had woken her that night told her: "Elizabeth is gone."

Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart

Free In-Flight Wi-Fi

Free In-Flight Wi-Fi - Google is partnering with three major U.S. airlines to offer free wireless Internet access on domestic flights this holiday season, the search engine said Monday.

The free Wi-Fi will be available for travelers on AirTran (AAI), Delta and Virgin America from Nov. 20, 2010, to Jan. 2, 2011, according to a blog post by Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google.

Last year, Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) ran a free in-air Wi-Fi promotion on Virgin America, but it also sponsored free Internet access in dozens of airports around the U.S. The company won't be repeating that offer this year, according to a company representative.

Virgin America, which was the only airline that participated last year's inaugural Google promotion, said travelers have been steadily increasing their use of in-flight Wi-Fi since the airline launched the service in 2008.

"We saw a jump in the number of guests logging on after last year's free Wi-Fi gift and we expect to see an increase again," David Cush, chief executive of Virgin America, said in a prepared statement. "Once people try WiFi at 35,000 feet they rarely go back."

For this year's promotion, Google said it chose to partner with airlines that have outfitted their entire domestic fleet with Gogo wireless technology. That left out operators such as American Airlines (AMR, Fortune 500), which has only adopted the technology on some of its planes.

Gogo, the most widely used in-flight wireless provider in the U.S., estimates that the free service will be available on more than 700 planes, and that about 15 million passengers will use it this holiday season. A Gogo spokeswoman said this year's free offering is the company's largest ever.

Free In-Flight Wi-Fi

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep Grand Cherokee - The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee could provide the donor platform for new SUVs from Alfa Romeo and Maserati, according to Fiat CEO Marchionne, who said the Grand Cherokee platform also could support the use of Ferrari powertrains.

In a third-quarter conference call Monday with reporters, Marchionne said the Grand Cherokee "architecture has legs and should be extended as much as possible." The platform is being shared with the new Dodge Durango.

Marchionne said, "I envision using the (Grand Cherokee) architecture for the benefit of Alfa Romeo and Maserati," adding, "the possibility of using Ferrari powertrains (with) the architecture is real." He said the Grand Cherokee architecture "is capable of handling much more powerful" engines, such as the Maserati 4.2- and 4.7-liter V8s that are built by Ferrari.

"This is a unique opportunity to use all work that has gone on inside Chrysler and extend it to areas (for which) the architecture was never intended," Marchionne said. He noted that the Grand Cherokee platform, which was jointly developed with Mercedes-Benz at the former DaimlerChrysler, is "quite capable" of supporting premium brands such as Alfa Romeo and Maserati. "We're in the first steps of that, but the indications are positive," he said.

Marchionne said an Alfa or Maserati vehicle based on Grand Cherokee underpinnings would look quite different from the Jeep range, but would still be an SUV. "We're not turning a toaster into an oven," he joked.

Neither Maserati nor Alfa Romeo currently offer an SUV, although both brands have shown crossover concepts in years past, including the Maserati Kubang from the 2003 Detroit show and the stunning Alfa Romeo Kamal that was unveiled at the 2003 Geneva show.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Al Harris Released From Green Bay

Al Harris Released From Green Bay - If any Green Bay Packers fans were wondering when they’d see cornerback Al Harris back on the field, it looks like you may be rather disappointed. It appears that Harris was officially released by the team on Monday, putting a stop to his return following a serious knee injury.

According to Chris Jenkins and Jon Krawczynski over at the Canadian Press, 35-year old Harris has been absent from the field for almost a year now, after suffering an injury to his left knee last November. Harris started this season, on the Packers’ physically unable to play list.

However, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that just because they’ve released him, it doesn’t mean they think Harris’ playing days are finished. In fact, McCarthy said that he thinks Harris will definitely play within the National Football League (NFL) again.

“This is not a physical decision. This is a big-picture roster decision,” he said about the latest move. Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress was asked if his team had any interest in adding Harris to the roster, but Childress was non-committal. Who do you think he will play for next?

Al Harris Released From Green Bay

Karina Smirnoff Engagement Ring

Karina Smirnoff Engagement Ring - Diamonds are Karina Smirnoff's best friend!

The Dancing With the Stars pro debuted her engagement ring from baseball player beau Brad Penny on Saturday at the fifth anniversary party for TAO in Las Vegas.

According to jewelry expert Michael O'Connor, the diamond sparkler is an estimated 4.5 carat princess cut, center stone diamond set on a platinum band that includes smaller channel-set princess cut diamonds.

Estimated price tag: $95,000!

"All these diamonds set into platinum provide maximum shimmer that's fit for a fairytale princess, and Karina has always liked romantic style rings," O'Connor, who once worked with Smirnoff for an awards show, tells

"I was in the middle of the show and had no clue what was cooking behind my back," she told Us, adding that the proposal happened at what she thought was a business meeting. "Even after Brad got down to one knee and opened the box with the ring, it still didn't register."

Karina Smirnoff Engagement Ring

Petit Murders

Petit Murders - Steven Hayes was sentenced to death by a Connecticut jury on Monday for his role in the violent 2007 home invasion, robbery and arson that killed Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters.

The panel had deliberated for slightly more than three full days. Hayes, 47, sat motionless at the defense table as the recommendation was made in the courtroom. He had been found guilty of six death-penalty counts on Oct. 5.

The other defendant in the case, Joshua Komisarjevsky, 30, goes to trial on the same charges next year. The two men stood accused of holding the family of Dr. William Petit hostage for hours before setting the house on fire.

Dr. Petit's wife, Jennifer-Hawke-Petit, 47, was strangled to death. Their daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley, died of smoke inhalation.

As the verdicts were read in the courtroom, Dr. Petit looked emotional and his eyes – which he closed when the names of his murdered family were said aloud – well up with tears, reports the Hartford Courant.

Petit Murders

Beaver Island Technology

Beaver Island Technology - Muggs Bass doesn't own a computer. She's pretty much dead set against e-mail. Anyone who calls her home on Michigan's remote Beaver Island should be prepared for a busy signal, if she's on her land-line phone. She has no cell.
"When you don't have it, you don't miss it. That's what I say," says the spunky 70-year-old grandmother, who's as comfortable telling jokes at the local pub as she is attending Mass each morning.

Technology isn't really her thing. So, it's a small miracle when Bass drives, once a month, to her island's rural health center to sit down in front of a wide-screen television. There, she and a handful of other islanders connect by video conference with a similar group in Charlevoix, Mich., a two-hour ferry ride to the south and east.

They chat. They laugh. They cry together.

All of them have, or have had, cancer, Bass included. Hers started with a lump in her breast and has since metastasized to her bones, making her cancer treatable, but incurable, her doctors tell her.

Her own grandmother died of the same disease and went off the island for occasional treatments, as Bass does every few weeks. But that grandmother could hardly have imagined a day when islanders talked openly about their cancer, face-to-face with people in a support group miles away.

It's just one of many ways technology is making this rugged place less remote than it once was and, some would say, more livable for more people.

It also gives islanders hope for new jobs that could attract residents to this island in northern Lake Michigan where the year-round population is about 650 people, give or take a few dozen.

"In the last few years, technology has sprung," says Joe Moore, a retired teacher who's known as one of the geeks on the island who helps keep computers running.

Not that the change has come quickly, or that technology always works perfectly.

That's just how it is on an island where a popular bumper sticker reads "Slow Down! This Ain't The Mainland." It's aimed at anyone who's in too big a hurry, including lead-footed tourists who kick up dust on the many dirt roads or who panic when cellphone service drops.

Beaver Island Technology

Zulqarnain Haider Missing

Zulqarnain Haider Missing - Fresh turmoil has rocked Pakistan cricket as young wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider has gone missing after reportedly receiving death threats.

Haider has been missing from his hotel room here since morning after the fourth one-dayer against South Africa.

“Pakistani cricket team wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider went missing from hotel room in Dubai this morning,” ‘Geo News’ reported.

“The wicketkeeper is missing from his hotel room since 6:00 a.m. this morning," the report added.

The 24-year-old has left a cryptic message on his facebook profile, which says, “leaving pakistan cricket because get bad msg fr 1 man fr lose the match in last game.”

A Geo News correspondent also received a similar message from Haider’s mobile number which said he is “leaving cricket as someone is giving him murder threats.”

Haider had struck the winning runs for Pakistan in the fourth ODI against South Africa which levelled the five-match series two apiece.

Zulqarnain Haider Missing

UAA Professor Gives Presentation

UAA Professor Gives Presentation - With a presidential commission slated to issue a report on the cause of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Monday, local environmentalist Rick Steiner shared some of the key findings in his research on the spill at Alaska Pacific University Sunday.

More than six months after the Deepwater Horizon spill, Alaskans are constantly reminded of the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill -- and Steiner, a University of Alaska Anchorage marine conservation professor, says his work identifies similarities between the two disasters.

Both government agencies and the general public are finding the spill’s effects still fresh, although it happened in April.

UAA Professor Gives Presentation

Warren Harding Loses

Warren Harding Loses - Warren Harding lost to Glenville Academic Campus in a game last Saturday, November 6, which paved the way for the upcoming game between both ‘unbeatens’ Glenville and St. Edward next Saturday.

The quarterfinal victory that Glenville scored over Harding was shown by a 41-6 final score. That, of course, means that Harding is now out of the chance of ever reaching the semis (and more especially, the finals).

Shane Wynn, Marion Worthington Jr., Cardale Jones and the rest of the Tarblooders contributed to what was considered “amazing playing”. Jones, though, exited the game with a hip injury during the first half. The Tarblooders’ coach, Ted Ginn Sr., nevertheless assured everybody that he’d be ready to go up against St. Edward next Saturday.

Warren Harding Loses