Four heavily armed robbers have been killed and three others, including a policeman, injured in a gunbattle after police foiled a truck hijacking and armed robbery.
This took place on Tuesday after the police officers had driven about 100km to thwart the robbery on a deserted farm road west of Pretoria.
The shootout occurred over a 5km stretch of road. It began when police waiting in specifically designated areas launched their attack as the AK-47-wielding gunmen opened fire on a light utility van transporting cigarettes to several shops in the Broederstroom area. The Star has learnt that the officer shot was hiding inside the delivery van with other policemen.
The policeman, who is from the Crime Intelligence Unit, was shot in a shoulder as the gunmen tried to force the van to stop.
Unbeknown to the gunmen, the van they were attacking was filled with policemen. The police had received a tip-off last week that the gang of seven, who are responsible for a spate of bloody robberies in the Pretoria and Joburg areas over recent months, planned to attack the van on Tuesday.
Realising they were surrounded, the gunmen opened fire on the officers as they tried to flee.
Police armed with heavy-calibre machineguns returned fire as they surrounded and blocked the robbers' escape route.
The Star has learnt that police from the Johannesburg Crime Intelligence Unit, Special Task Force, Moroka police station trio task team, West Rand Flying Squad and Roodepoort Dog Unit began following the suspects as they left their hideout in Soweto, trailing them for nearly 100km.
Evidence of the ferociousness of the shootout could be seen from the scores of bullet shell casings that littered the Hartebeeshoek Skeerpoort service road intersection.
As police, hidden alongside the grass embankments at the intersection, opened fire on four robbers shooting from a Volvo station wagon at the cigarette van, officers in several other vehicles and a helicopter chased after three more robbers who managed to flee the scene in a delivery van.
The four men in the Volvo were found lying metres away from their vehicle in thick grass.
Chasing the remaining robbers at high speed along the service road, police eventually shot out their vehicle's tyres.
This caused the driver to lose control of his vehicle and crash head-on into a truck next to the Hartbeespoort satellite police station. Two of the suspects were caught inside the delivery vehicle, while the third was arrested as he tried to flee through a mealie field.
Haroon Malemela had just arrived at work when he heard gunfire as the fleeing robbers were chased along the service road.
"I had just got to work when I heard gunfire. The noise was incredible. When I ran outside, I saw a helicopter flying low over the road, with a policeman leaning out of it firing a massive gun. "He was shooting over and over again at the van, which crashed moments after the policeman opened fire," he said.
Running to the service road, Malemela watched as dozens of officers surrounded the delivery van lying on its side, while others chased down the third suspect. "I have never seen anything like it. The police did terrific work. They really need to be praised for catching these thugs and ensuring that no innocent people were killed," he said.
Police spokesperson Inspector Brian Dlamini said police recovered two AK-47s, two 9mm pistols, a .357 magnum, a .38 Special revolver - whose serial numbers had all been filed off - along with numerous rounds of hollow-point ammunition and a high-voltage stun gun.
He said the police were investigating information which indicated that the vehicles the robbers were using had recently been hijacked in Joburg.
Describing the shootout, Dlamini said: "Police were able to return fire, killing four of the robbers and arresting three others."
He added that an officer was slightly injured when he was shot in a shoulder. He said a case of attempted murder, attempted robbery and possession of unlicensed guns and ammunition were being investigated.
As the investigation progressed, Dlamini believed more charges would be added. Visible Policing Divisional Commissioner Arno Lamoer said the success of the operation was a sign of the courage and dedication of the officers involved to make South Africa a safer place.
"Time and time again it has been proved that an integrated approach between police units, together with partnerships with the private industry and co-operation from the community, is the best way to effectively rid our communities of armed thugs," he said.
Toyota bakkie photo with Kalashnikovs and pistols at the link.
I just have to ask, what does he mean by the phrase "Visible Policing"?
They have Invisible cops?
Posted by: Rednek Jim ||
Visible policing is a term used to described the copper on the beat or in the patrol car, visible to the public, as opposed to rear echelon support staff and detectives. Boots on the ground so to speak. In South Africa, detectives comprise 18% of the service and civilians 17%, and about 8% of the total staff is assigned to head office functions in Pretoria. None of the aforementioned perform visible patrols. In addition, a sizeable proportion of station-level uniformed staff are assigned to other duties, such as the client service centre, guarding holding cells or public buildings, and administrative tasks. Tooth to tail, not so good.
BALTIMORE -- Police said a 58-year-old man stabbed his teenage son after he refused to take off his hat at church earlier in the day. The father and his 19-year-old son got into an argument on Sunday afternoon. That's when police said the father went to a car, got a knife and stabbed his son in the left buttock and fled.
The son was taken to University of Maryland Medical Center for treatment. The father's name was withheld pending his arrest.
Since the British Empire disappeared, we have to look to smaller things to keep us amused.
Two police officers were given the run-around for 20 minutes in a low-speed pursuit of a giant white rabbit on the loose in a town centre.
Pcs Matt Jackson and Yasmin Mossadegh, of Kent Police, came across the two-foot long, 20lbs animal - the size of a small dog - hopping along a road in Canterbury at 2.20am on Sunday. Practicing for Easter, are yeh? Do you have a permit for this activity?
They admitted that at first it seemed like "something out of Alice in Wonderland". But detaining the albino rabbit before it caused an accident proved to be more of a handful than they first thought.
After spending 10 minutes fruitlessly trying to grab the animal - even resorting to using their jackets as matador capes in a bid to snare the creature - they had to call on eight members of the public to help out. Damned waskelley wabbit, defying the law. You eight people are deputized. Waise yer wight hand and take the oath. OK, on to the wabbit.
Pc Jackson said: "After several failed attempts trying to grab the rabbit, we removed our coats to try and cover it with a bullfighting technique. Again this failed. This wabbit is smarter than I thought.....We need more deputies!!!! Put out a call for volunteers!! Bullfighting. A rabbit. Tell me that this is on YouTube ...
"Pet-loving members of the public who were passing by saw us struggling and rushed to our assistance. Now, with 10 pairs of hands at the ready, the rabbit's time on the run was coming to an end."
The officers and members of the public pursued it for about 200 yards before it was finally caught. That's 183 metres for you Euro chaps.
Pc Jackson added with a smile: "Inquiries are ongoing into unconfirmed reports that Bunny had an accomplice called Clyde who assisted in the hare-brained escape idea." No jokes, Jackson. You have wasted the public time enough perusing the White Wabbit.
The rabbit has been nicknamed Tiny and is currently being cared for by staff at Barton Veterinary Hospital in New Dover Road.
It is still unknown where the animal came from.
Veterinary nurse Jenny Gooderham said: "I think it is someone's pet as it is in good condition and is used to being handled. We've certainly never had a stray giant rabbit before - they are not very common." It is rumored that a big stew will be made for the homeless tonight, we are looking for a few volunteer carrots, onions, and potatoes, to go with the Wabbit.
One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall
And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
When she was just small
When men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know
When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"
Remember what the dormouse said:
"Feed your head
Feed your head
Feed your head"
WASHINGTON -- The Obamas are getting a dog in April. First lady Michelle Obama tells People magazine that the target date for the arrival of the family pet is after her daughters' spring break trip in April, though 7-year-old Sasha is convinced the dog is coming April 1. "So Sasha says 'April 1st.' I said, 'April.' She says, 'April 1st.' It's like, April!" said Mrs. Obama, who said she favors Portuguese Water Dogs.
The Obama girls -- Sasha and 10-year-old Malia -- attend the private Sidwell school, which has spring break March 20-29 and a day off for students on April 13.
The first couple and their daughters have been going back and forth on possible names. Among the two Mrs. Obama mentioned -- and nixed -- were Frank and Moose. "I'm like, no. Come on. Let's work with the names a little bit," she told People. How about..."Chris Matthews"? Or "Mikulski"? Or "Blago"? "Daley" being perhaps a bit too obvious... Maybe Pelosi will come over to walk it? I'm sure she won't mind. Name it "Biden" and it will always heel ...
Barack Obama and his wife had promised their daughters that they would get a dog if he were elected president, and the selection of the first pet has been eagerly awaited not only by the children but by the nation's dog lovers. I'd laugh like hell if he got a pit bull...
In the interview, the first lady discussed the family's daily routine in the White House, her efforts to keep things normal for her children and a recent girls' night in.
She said on Feb. 19, when the president traveled to Canada, she invited secretaries and policymakers to the White House for popcorn and a screening of the movie, "He's Just Not That Into You." Awwww, no. We gotta see a chick flick?
Problem with that, Mr. Biden?
She said she and her husband rise at 5:30 a.m., exercise in the White House gym and typically have breakfast together. The White House chefs cook "mean waffles and grits," she said. "We have dinner as a family together every night, and Barack, when he's not traveling, tucks the girls in," she said. "We haven't had that time together for (years), so that explains a lot why we all feel so good in this space."
The interview with Mrs. Obama appears in Friday's editions of People. The first lady appears on the magazine's cover. That's required by federal law now, right?
I thought it was inappropriate for Michelle to attend the speech last night in a sleeveless dress. The setting is more formal, with the assembled Congress, Cabinet, Supreme Court, and Joint Chiefs.
"we're a country that is "just downright mean," we are "guided by fear," we're a nation of cynics, sloths, and complacents. "We have become a nation of struggling folks who are barely making it every day," she said, as heads bobbed in the pews. "Folks are just jammed up, and it's gotten worse over my lifetime. And, doggone it, I'm young. Forty-four!"
From these bleak generalities, Obama moves into specific complaints. Used to be, she will say, that you could count on a decent education in the neighborhood. But now there are all these charter schools and magnet schools that you have to "finagle" to get into. (Obama herself attended a magnet school, but never mind.) Health care is out of reach ("Let me tell you, don't get sick in America"), pensions are disappearing, college is too expensive, and even if you can figure out a way to go to college you won't be able to recoup the cost of the degree in many of the professions for which you needed it in the first place. "You're looking at a young couple that's just a few years out of debt," Obama said. "See, because, we went to those good schools, and we didn't have trust funds. I'm still waiting for Barack's trust fund. Especially after I heard that Dick Cheney was s'posed to be a relative or something. Give us something here!"
Full text here. "The Other Obama, Michelle Obama and the politics of candor. The New Yorker magazine.
Sweden's future queen will marry her boyfriend next year, the royal court announced Tuesday, ending years of speculation.
The court announced the engagement of Crown Princess Victoria to Daniel Westling after informing government ministers Tuesday at Stockholm's waterfront royal palace. The wedding will take place "in the early summer of 2010," the royal court said.
Swedish media flashed the announcement with bold headlines on their Web sites and the Scandinavian nation's major broadcasters reported the news live from outside the palace.
Victoria, 31, is first in line to succeed her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, to the Swedish throne. She and Westling, a 35-year-old gym owner, became a couple in 2002. Wedding rumors have mounted since July last year, when Westling moved to the royal family's residence outside Stockholm.
The court said Westling would assume the title Prince Daniel, Duke of Vastergotland, after the wedding.
In a televised address, Victoria said it would be easier for her to assume her future royal duties together with Westling. "I feel safe with Daniel by my side," she said. Westling said he would "do everything to deserve the trust of the Swedish people."
The European royals are the basis for easy profits in several industries, and as such good for their respective nations' employment and GDP numbers. Think magazine articles, books, souvenir tchockes, and all the expenses associated with the paparazzi. ;-) And they already have all the estates and fancy palaces they need.
Saudi police have clashed with Shiite pilgrims over several days near a cemetery in Islam's second-holiest city, leading a Shiite cleric to appeal to the king to put a stop to the "insults" of the religious police.
Relations are tense between Saudi Arabia's majority Sunnis and the Shiites, who make up a small minority of the country's 22 million people. Shiites, who are considered infidels under the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam widely followed in the kingdom, routinely complain of discrimination. Outspoken Shiite critics have been jailed, and many Shiites claim to have been banned from such jobs as the religious police and teaching religion classes.
Shiite witnesses said the first clash took place Friday evening after religious police, who enforce the country's strict interpretation of Sunni Islam, filmed female Shiite pilgrims outside the al-Baqee Cemetery in Medina, which contains the graves of revered imams.
When five male relatives of the women demanded the police turn over the tapes, there was a scuffle and the men were arrested, according to a witness who refused to be identified for fear of being punished.
Afterward, hundreds of pilgrims gathered outside the cemetery, demanding their release. Riot police used batons to disperse the crowd, said the witness.
According to Medina's police, however, the five were arrested and charged with causing a disturbance at the cemetery gate after being told visitation hours were over.
On Monday night, another confrontation took place when the religious police banned female Shiite pilgrims from visiting an area reserved for them outside the cemetery overlooking the graves, according to the same witness. In Saudi Arabia, all women are banned from visiting cemeteries so special viewing areas are created for them.
The witness said police used batons against the angry Shiite crowd, which he estimated at 3,000-4,000. Sunni onlookers also joined the fray, attacking Shiite pilgrims.
On Tuesday, when police once again prevented people from entering the cemetery, the pilgrims drew knives and attacked, injuring two policemen, according to a security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media.
A member of the crowd was taken to the hospital, the official said.
The Shiite pilgrims were at the cemetery to mark the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad's death _ an occasion not observed by Sunnis in Saudi Arabia.
In an appeal posted Monday on his Web site, Sheik Hassan al-Saffar, a prominent Shiite cleric, said the treatment of Shiites at the cemetery violates "Islamic morals and human rights" and the tolerance called for by an interfaith conferences hosted by the king a few months ago.
From the bullet that smashed through a Lawrence City Hall window to stinking fishes flung at the Gloucester mayor's home, city and state leaders are feeling the heat on the street from taxpayers and public sector workers fuming over impending layoffs and service cuts.
Authorities believe a bullet that slammed into the Lawrence city planner's desk last weekend may be related the recent layoffs of 11 city employees and the firing of two others. "If someone is giving a message that you'd better watch out, that's disconcerting," Lawrence Mayor Michael J. Sullivan told the Herald yesterday. Lawrence. The Anus of Essex County. Ya wouldn't have to shoot at me to get me outta there. But, up there, it usually just happens... The same guys rolling into office every election just happens, too. Ah Lawrence, the Cicero Illinois of the east ...
Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk, who receives plainclothes police protection on occasion, found a pile of fish on her front porch last month, and her secretary intercepts an almost daily stream of angry e-mails and letters, redirecting the most menacing to police. "In this budget climate, we're all faced with cutting jobs, people's livelihoods," Kirk said. "It makes a mayor a target."
Meanwhile, at a gas station on Old Colony Avenue yesterday, State Rep. Brian Wallace (D-South Boston) got an earful from a man incensed about Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed 19-cent gas tax hike. "It's gotten worse," said Wallace, who also gets blistering e-mails from constituents. "It's taken a different tone, an edge. People are stretched to the limit." It's getting worse because people don't think you give a shit about anything but your six figure pension, gettting your brother in law or your cousin a nice hack job "on the state", and sticking your sticky hand in our pockets over and over and over again.
And you don't... But the campaign funds keep rolling in, and the same crooks keep warming the same chairs in the same old city halls and legislatures...
Geoff Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, fears that the anger could morph into violence as the economic crisis deepens. "Unfortunately, the decisions local officials have to make are personal ones, and people get upset at them," Beckwith said. "When emotions run high and difficult decisions are made, there's the potential for violence." Spoken like a true hack government employee union boss."Youze pissin off sum folks whos could get upset. Youze remember dat if youze schmart..."
Lynn Mayor Edward "Chip" Clancy agreed. "Any time you tell someone no, people get very, very angry," he explained. Lynn. The Colon of Essez County...
Beckwith and other municipal officials are aware this latest onslaught comes little more than a year after a disturbed gunman opened fire on the Kirkwood, Mo., City Council, killing five people. "We know we're the people who feel the heat," said Brockton Mayor James Harrington, who's considering laying off at least 100 cops and firefighters. "That's the job we chose, and it's a big part of the job." Brockton. Another garden spot. Not too far from me...
In Melrose, Mayor Robert Dolan blamed tough times for a spike in dime-dropping by anonymous tipsters targeting police, fire and public works employees believed to be cavorting about on city time. Geez, don't wanna see their money wasted? The bastids!
Lynn's Clancy said he's steering clear of bars and other places where he might run into angry taxpayers. Who needs to see angry taxpayers when you're a public servant ...
"When they have a few in them," Clancy said, "they get a little - how do you say - demonstrative." I wouldn't go into a bar in Lynn unless I was well armed...
Former Union Communications Minister Sukh Ram was sentenced to three years' imprisonment in a 13-year-old disproportionate assets case by a New Delhi court on Wednesday. A fine of Rs 2 lakh was also imposed on him under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Ordering forfeiture of Rs 4.25 crore accumulated illegally by the 83-year-old Congress leader during his stint as a Cabinet minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, Additional Sessions Judge V K Maheshwari observed, "Political corruption is the worst form because its consequences are far-reaching. When our leaders, who are the role models of society and whose actions should be above board, are themselves corrupt, how can we expect honesty and virtue from public at large?"
"If the public servants are corrupt, the whole structure of society would get upset and the policies of the government, howsoever beneficial it may be, would be adversely affected," the judge noted.
Dismissing Sukh Ram's request to sentence him to a one-month jail term already undergone by him during the investigation, the judge referred to a Supreme Court verdict and said 'soft sentencing' was gross injustice where many innocents turned out to be potential victims.
Soon after the judgment, however, Sukh Ram was released on bail after the court suspended his sentence for 60 days, enabling him to file an appeal in the Delhi High Court against the order.
Terming the verdict 'biased', the former minister said, "The judges in the special courts, designated for cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, are generally in a hurry to reach the High Court. I think I became a victim of this rush."
"I brought in a revolution in the telecom industry during my tenure. I fulfilled the dreams of late Rajiv Gandhi, and the country cannot forget my contribution," he said while coming out of the courtroom.
Asked if he would contest the elections, he said he was still a 'member of the Congress party'.
"The party might not give me a ticket to contest now that I have been convicted. Given a chance, however, I will contest the elections," he added.
Sukh Ram had already been sentenced to a three-year jail term by a Delhi court in an equipment supply case to Hyderabad-based Advance Radio Masts (ARM) in 2002 and his appeal against the said order has been pending at the Delhi High Court.
In another case, the leader faces charges of illegal gratification while granting a contract for supply of cables to a firm despite specific ministry recommendations against it.
"I had never seen so much of cash at one go," recalls former CBI director Joginder Singh during whose tenure the investigating agency had searched the house of former Union Minister Sukh Ram.
"I had returned from the Supreme Court and it was raining heavily when my officers told me that the cash recovered was 50 lakh, which kept on mounting every 10 minutes," the 69-year-old Singh said while recalling that this was his first major case after heading the CBI in 1996.
Singh said he vividly remembered the moment when he sprang out of the chair when one of his officers called him and informed him that the cash recovery had touched Rs 1 crore.
First, Google's e-mail service froze for several hours, locking out millions of users. Now its chat service appears to be the conduit for a rapidly spreading phishing scam.
Gmail users who are logged into the accompanying chat service Google Chat, as most are, have been getting messages that appear to be from friends, urging them to click on a Web address starting with tinyurl.com that takes them to a site called ViddyHo. The site asks for the person's Gmail log-in information and then hijacks the account, sending out chat messages to all of the user's contacts and spreading itself further.
The online service Twitter had a steady stream of complaints and warnings about the attack. "To anyone who receives a Viddyho invite from me, please ignore it," a Twitter user named Zaffi cautioned. "I think I've been duped."
Avivah Litan, a security analyst with the research firm Gartner, said phishing attacks luring Web surfers to click on videos have been steadily increasing over the last six months. Consumers have "wised up" to e-mail messages masquerading as notes from banks and credit card companies, Ms. Litan said. Now, she said, phishers are sending video invitations that play on hot topics and news events (in this case, a video starring the comedy troupe The Lonely Island and the singer T-Pain). While the video plays, the site might be downloading so-called malware in the background to infect the victim's computer.
"These criminals really know how to get people's attention," she said. "It's the modus operandi that's favored by the crooks, and it's working pretty well. They laugh all the way to the bank."
For users who fell victim to ViddyHo, Ms. Litan recommends changing passwords and running a virus scan, although she warns that might not be enough. "In the really sophisticated cases, you could run 40 antivirus programs and it might not find any malware," she said. "You may need to make a backup, delete everything and start over. That's the safest thing to do."