Nashville plane crash: 4 person in crash after plane had lost altitude

The Nashville plane crash has left 4 person killed this week. A small plane was said to have lost altitude and struck a parking lot near a YMCA center, causing what one witness called the “largest fire” she had ever seen. Fox News confirms this Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, that the fatal accident occurred Monday night, killing all members aboard the flight and damaging a number of cars below.

The Nashville plane crash continues to be examined by local authorities, but it is believed that a total of 4 people aboard the plane were all members of the same family. The flying object struck not far from a YMCA (the Y) center in Bellevue. Officers from Nashville will not be releasing any of the identities of the victims until they can be verified, while no individuals on the ground at the time of the sudden impact were injured when the plane fell.

During its fatal descent, police have reported that the plane was grazing trees near the YMCA before finally slamming into the ground at the far edge of the parking lot. It is believed that all 4 family members were killed on impact, as the sheer force of the collision was enough to send littered plane wreckage within a range of 80 yards. A massive fire was also said to have erupted once the flight struck ground.

According to the press release on the Nashville plane crash:

“The plane was a Gulfstream 690C that departed from Great Bend Municipal Airport in Great Bend, Kan., at 2:45 p.m. and crashed 10 miles south of John C. Tune Airport in Nashville about 5 p.m. The flight was bound for John C. Tune Airport but missed its first approach and was preparing for a second one when the aircraft crashed, Nashville Police asserted.”

One female witness to the crash said that the accident had caused the “largest fire” she had ever seen. While studying in a nearby Starbucks, she said that the YMCA’s indoor swimming pool only barely avoided getting hit. A number of people in the store came running out to see the blazing fire and high columns of smoke rising into the air.

"It looked like someone had poured gasoline on a bonfire," the witness noted. "It was probably the largest fire I have ever seen in my life."

No YMCA members were hurt in the Nashville plane crash either, confirmed a spokeswoman for the center. However, the area was immediately evacuated, as the frightening incident was said to have occurred at what are usually the peak hour times at the gym locale.

Federal investigators are currently examining the situation and what might have caused the tragic crash.

Second Taliban bomb attack kills 13 near Pakistan army HQ

A Taliban suicide bomber killed 13 people in a crowded market near the Pakistani army headquarters on Monday, a day after the Taliban killed 20 soldiers near the largely lawless, tribal region of North Waziristan, police said.

The market, a short walk from the army headquarters in Rawalpindi, near the capital, Islamabad, was in one of the most secure areas of the city. The area was cordoned off by the military immediately after the blast.

Two college students wearing blue uniforms were among the dead, their bodies lying near wreckage of a bicycle and pools of blood. Rescue workers struggled to help the wounded. Windows were shattered several hundred meters away.

The attacks come after a couple of months of relative calm as the Taliban regrouped following the death of leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone strike in November. A drone had killed his deputy earlier in the year.

After protracted negotiations, Mehsud was replaced by Mullah Fazlullah, a ruthless commander who has made large-scale attacks on Pakistani security forces his trademark.

Police Superintendent Muhammad Maqbool said five of the 13 killed on Monday were soldiers. Fourteen were wounded, he said.

Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed responsibility for the blast on behalf of the Islamist insurgents.

"We will continue attacks on the government and its armed forces as the government has neither announced a ceasefire nor peace talks with us," he said.

Monday's attack came a day after a bomb planted by the Taliban ripped through a vehicle carrying Pakistani troops on Sunday, killing 20. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cancelled his trip to the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos this week to address the violence.

The government is keen to pursue peace talks with the Taliban to end the insurgency but there has been an upsurge in attacks since Sharif won elections in May 2013.

(Additional reporting by Amjad Ali and Syed Raza Hassan in Islamabad, Saud Mehsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar.; Writing by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Missionary Bae jailed in North Korea 'wants U.S. to help him get home': Kyodo

U.S. missionary Kenneth Bae, imprisoned in reclusive North Korea for more than a year, said on Monday he wants to return to his family as soon as possible and hopes the United States will help, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported.


The appeal came after North Korea signaled last week it was prepared to reach out to South Korea if it abandoned military drills with the United States that start next month and as Pyongyang appeared to embark on a charm offensive.

Bae, a 45-year old ethnic Korean, was jailed for 15 years of hard labor for state subversion in North Korea, where he was detained in 2012 while leading a tour group.

North Korea's Supreme Court said he used his tourism business to form groups aimed at overthrowing the government.

Bae met "a limited number of media outlets" in the North Korean capital Pyongyang and expressed hope of the United States securing his release, Kyodo said. He admitted he had broken North Korean laws.

Footage released by Kyodo showed Bae in a drab grey prison uniform and baseball cap as he was escorted into the brief press conference.

The footage was less than a minute long (here)

and Bae appeared to be in reasonable health before he was escorted out by uniformed North Korean officials.

It was not immediately clear why the North Korean authorities allowed the press conference, Bae's second media appearance since he was jailed.

An attempt to secure Bae's release by a U.S. emissary was called off by Pyongyang in August and there has been no official contact between the United States and North Korea since then.

Bae is believed to be in ill-health and led missionary groups into North Korea, according to speeches he made that were posted on the Internet.

North Korea said Bae was plotting to overthrow the state and that his crimes deserved the death penalty.

On one of his trips, Bae recalled singing hymns together with his mission tourists at a beach surrounded by North Koreans.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by Nick Macfie and David Chance)

Five killed by snipers in Lebanon's Tripoli

Five people have been killed by sniper fire since Saturday in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, medical and security sources said.


The deaths are the latest round of violence fuelled by sectarian tensions over neighboring Syria's civil war.

Tripoli, 30 kilometers (20 miles) from the Syrian border, has been subject to sharp divisions between the Sunni Muslim majority and small Alawite community for decades.

The Lebanese army used "rockets" for the first time to quell the fighting between rival neighborhoods, one security source said, without specifying which weapons were used. Normally, soldiers use assault rifles to target snipers.

The sources said three of the dead belonged to the Sunni Muslim Bab al-Tabbaneh district, whose residents overwhelmingly support the Sunni Muslim rebels battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Two others killed were from the Alawite neighborhood of Jebel Mohsen, which supports fellow Alawite Assad.

Sniper attacks are common along Syria Street, which divides the rival neighborhoods, and adjacent streets.

Sources said 45 people have also been wounded in the past 48 hours in related clashes, including four soldiers. The army has been deployed across the city for months in an effort to quell the violence.

But Tripoli also saw some of the heaviest violence last year. Sectarian fighting in Tripoli killed more than 100 people in the city in 2013. Dozens of people died in gun battles, and twin car bombs at Sunni Muslim mosques in Tripoli killed 42 people in August.

(Reporting By Nazih Saddiq in Tripoli and Stephen Kalin in Beirut Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

Thai government considers state of emergency after weekend violence

Thai authorities are "very seriously" considering a state of emergency after a weekend of violence in the capital where protesters have been trying for more than two months to bring down the government, the security chief said on Monday.

The violence is the latest episode in an eight-year conflict that pits Bangkok's middle class and royalist establishment against poorer, mainly rural supporters of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled by the military in 2006.

"We're prepared to use the emergency decree ... Everyone involved including the police, the military and the government is considering this option very seriously, but has not yet come to an agreement," National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattantabutr told Reuters after meeting Yingluck.

"The protesters have said they will close various government offices. So far, their closures have been symbolic, they go to government offices and then they leave." he said.

"But if their tactics change and they close banks or government offices permanently, then the chance for unrest increases and we will have to invoke this law."

The emergency decree gives security agencies broad powers to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge, censor media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare parts of the country off limits.

The size of the demonstrations in Bangkok has declined, but the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), a body grouping government and security officials, said small protests had spread to 18 other areas.

"The protesters haven't threatened to shut down government buildings but they are taking their orders from protest leaders in Bangkok so we're keeping an eye on them," CAPO deputy spokesman Anucha Romyanan told Reuters.

One man was killed and dozens of people were wounded, some seriously, when grenades were thrown at anti-government protesters in the city center on Friday and Sunday.

"I think these attacks have been designed to provoke an army reaction," said Paul Chambers, director of research at the Institute of South East Asian Affairs in Chiang Mai, predicting a measured increase in the violence.

That in turn could prompt the Election Commission to refuse to oversee an election called for February 2, which the main opposition has said it will boycott, he said.


The protests led by opposition firebrand Suthep Thaugsuban were triggered by Yingluck's move last year to attempt to push through a political amnesty that would have allowed her brother Thaksin to return home.

The billionaire former telecoms tycoon lives in Dubai to avoid a jail sentence for abuse of power, but is thought to run his sister's government. The protesters want to remove his influence through ill-defined political reforms.

The upheaval threatens economic growth and a small majority of economists polled by Reuters thought the central bank would cut interest rates by 25 basis points to 2 percent this week.

"Fiscal policy is pretty much crippled right now and the onus is on the central bank to boost the economy," DBS Bank in Singapore said in a note, although it did not expect a rate cut this time, saying it would do little to help confidence under present circumstances.


Business is getting nervous. Kyoichi Tanada, president of Toyota Motor Corp's Thai unit, said on Monday he was unsure the Japanese car maker would increase investment in Thailand if the crisis was drawn out.


The government has mostly avoided direct confrontation with protesters while the army, which has staged or attempted 18 coups in 81 years of on-off democracy, has stayed neutral.


The violence is the worst since 2010 when Suthep, at the time a deputy prime minister in charge of security, sent in troops to end mass protests by pro-Thaksin activists.


Suthep faces murder charges related to his role in that crackdown, when more than 90 people were killed, and for insurrection in leading the latest protests.


Yingluck faces legal charges from the anti-corruption agency, which said last week it would investigate her role in a loss-making government rice purchase scheme.


The scheme has won her party huge support in the rural north and northeast. But there is growing discontent among farmers who say they have not been paid for their rice and are threatening to block major roads.


Chambers said the rise in violence could suck the police into the fray.


"(That would provide) Suthep with an excuse to accuse Yingluck of repressing the demonstrators, the army may suggest that the Yingluck government step aside or judicial cases against Yingluck's government may be expedited to push (her party) Puea Thai from power," he said. ($1 = 32.8500 Thai baht)


(Writing by Jonathan Thatcher and Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alan Raybould)


Hong Kong woman held on suspicion of abusing Indonesian maids

A Hong Kong woman was arrested on Monday on suspicion of abusing her Indonesian maids in a case that has sparked widespread outrage and drawn fresh attention to the risks faced by the migrant community.

A housewife surnamed Law, 44, was arrested at the airport when she was trying to leave for Thailand, Hong Kong police said at a briefing.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, a 23-year-old maid who said she had been badly beaten by her employer, is recovering at a hospital in Sragen, a city in central Java, after flying out from Hong Kong in early January.

A second maid, identified only as Susi, who claimed to have been abused by the same employer, also gave a statement to police, saying she had frequently been beaten and abused.

Law was believed to have a connection with the two cases, which would be dealt with as wounding cases, the police said. No formal charges have been laid against her.

Hong Kong, an ex-British territory that returned to Chinese rule in 1997, has around 300,000 foreign domestic helpers, most of them from the Philippines and Indonesia. They are excluded from a minimum wage and other basic rights and services.

Ill-treatment of foreign domestic workers in Asian and Gulf regions such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Dubai has been a longstanding problem.

In September a Hong Kong couple were jailed for repeatedly assaulting and torturing their Indonesian maid over a two-year period until she escaped.

Thousands of people rallied in Hong Kong on Sunday to demand justice for Erwiana.

Six officers from the city's police and labor bureau have flown to Indonesia to interview Erwiana, who suffered extensive injuries from head to foot, and collect evidence.

Erwiana said she would be willing to go back to Hong Kong to help with investigation or testify in court if needed but would not return for work, local media reported.

"Hong Kong is a society with the rule of law. For any unlawful act, especially those involving inflicting violence on others mentally or physically, we will not put up with it," Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said with respect to the case earlier on Monday afternoon.

(Additional reporting by Venus Wu)

Baghdad bomb blasts kill 26, Iraqi troops fight Sunni rebels

Seven bomb explosions killed 26 people and wounded 67 in the Iraqi capital on Monday, police and medics said, as security forces battled Sunni Muslim militants around the western cities of Falluja and Ramadi.


The bloodiest attack occurred in the mainly Shi'ite Muslim Abu Dsheer district in southern Baghdad, where a car bomb near a crowded market killed seven people and wounded 18.

No group claimed responsibility for the blasts. But Sunni insurgents, some of them linked to al Qaeda, are widely blamed for a surge in violence in the past year apparently aimed at undermining the Shi'ite-led government and provoking a return to all-out sectarian strife.

Al Qaeda militants and their local allies seized control of Falluja and parts of Ramadi on January 1, exploiting resentment among minority Sunnis against the government for policies perceived as unfairly penalizing their once-dominant community.

Five of Monday's bombs targeted mainly Shi'ite districts of the capital, while two were in mostly Sunni areas.

Sporadic fighting again flared around Falluja and Ramadi.

Anti-government tribesmen attacked an army barracks in Saqlawiya, 10 km (six miles) northwest of Falluja, and destroyed two Humvee vehicles, before army helicopter gunships forced them to retreat. One of the attackers was killed and two wounded, police said. There was no word on casualties among the army.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who faces a parliamentary election on April 30, has ruled out a full-scale army assault on Falluja, urging tribesmen to drive al Qaeda militants from the city, where U.S. troops occupying Iraq fought some of their toughest battles with Sunni insurgents in 2004.

An Iraqi journalist, Firas Mohammed, was killed by a roadside bomb that exploded near a police station in Khaldiya, a town between Falluja and Ramadi, on Sunday, police said. He had worked for the local television channel in Falluja.

Ten journalists were killed in Iraq last year, the highest number anywhere except Syria, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Mike Collett-White)