December 30, 2012 |
SANTA FE, N.M. - Peter Smith steered his silver Chevy TrailBlazer down a rough dirt road, rolling to a stop at the edge of a dry, sandy wash called the Gallina Arroyo. "Here's the scene of the crime," he said. Two years ago, Smith cleaned out and graded a few hundred yards of the arroyo that winds through the 20-acre tract he and his wife, Francoise, own in the hills south of Santa Fe, not suspecting that he might be committing a federal offense. But in June 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent a letter informing him that by failing to obtain a permit before blading the bed of the arroyo with his tractor, he had violated the Clean Water Act. The corps issued a warning but did not impose fines or penalties.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 29, 2012 |
An area that just a week ago was lush habitat on the Sepulveda Basin's wild side, home to one of the most diverse bird populations in Southern California, has been reduced to dirt and broken limbs - by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Audubon Society members stumbled upon the barren landscape last weekend during their annual Christmas bird count. Now, they are calling for an investigation into the loss of about 43 acres of cottonwood and willow groves, undergrowth and marshes that had maintained a rich inventory of mammals, reptiles and 250 species of birds.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 28, 2012 |
In a cavernous warehouse on a recent weekday, Rose Parade volunteers were busy painting and clipping flowers as they rushed to complete their float in time for New Year's Day festivities. But all activity paused when the star of the decorated stage arrived. With a Marine corporal in tow, Lucca, a German shepherd-Malinois mix, hopped curiously toward a group of excited children. Her head dipped from the weight of her body, no longer supported by her amputated left leg. It's been nine months since Lucca lost her paw to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.
December 25, 2012 |
Although it may never be the yule log in the electronic hearth that it is in the United Kingdom, the "Doctor Who" Christmas special, like "Doctor Who" itself and by extension its BBC America home, has gained a lot of American currency in the past few years. Airing here, as it does there, on Christmas Day, the special is inevitably a celebration of Dickensian mood and Victoriana, with high-profile guest stars and particularly poignant story lines. This year is no different, though it does have the additional joy of introducing the Doctor's new companion, played by Jenna-Louise Coleman - photos of an apparently steamy kiss between the two have been circulating on fan sites for weeks.
December 23, 2012 |
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo - On Nov. 19, armed men from a rebel group called the M23 were looking for a prominent civil society leader in a village outside Goma, a provincial capital in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He'd been in hiding for several weeks after receiving text messages threatening him for his public denunciations of M23 abuses. When the rebels didn't find him, they shot his colleague, killing him. The next day, the M23 - fighters who had integrated into the Congolese army in 2009 but mutinied earlier this year - took control of Goma.
December 19, 2012 |
SEATTLE -- The commanders at Joint Base Lewis-McChord have decided to refer the case against Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales for a general court-martial on charges that he murdered 16 civilians in a late-night shooting rampage outside a remote Army outpost in southern Afghanistan. Army officials also announced they would seek the death penalty against Bales, a veteran of four combat deployments who is also charged with wounding six other civilians after a night of drinking on top of steroid use at what defense lawyers say was a dysfunctional special operations outpost.
December 11, 2012 |
SEATTLE - A military judge has ruled that defense examiners can utilize hypnosis to help Army Sgt. John Russell penetrate the haze of amnesia he says prevents him from remembering the day he allegedly killed five fellow service members at a mental health clinic in Iraq. Monday's ruling is a boost for the defense, which hopes to show that Russell should not face the death penalty because he was suffering from a mental breakdown brought on by longstanding depression, mental illness and Army psychiatrists who allegedly taunted him instead of treating him. Judge David L. Conn also authorized the defense to hire an expert to conduct tests for signs of physical brain damage, but ruled that defense lawyers hadn't shown they need additional experts to analyze whether there were deficiencies in the psychiatric care that Russell received at the hands of Army doctors.
December 3, 2012 |
The military judge supervising the trial of accused Ft. Hood shooter Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was removed from the case Monday, with the military's highest appeals court ruling that his "duel of wills" with Hasan over the defendant's beard gave the appearance of bias. Hasan, 42, is accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than two dozen others at Ft. Hood in Texas on Nov. 5, 2009. Hasan, who is Muslim, says that he grew the beard for religious reasons and that it is protected under freedom of religious expression.
December 2, 2012 |
BEIRUT - Fierce clashes and heavy government bombardment were reported Sunday on the outskirts of Damascus as the Syrian military pressed an offensive aimed at securing the capital and its vulnerable international airport. Syrian warplanes and artillery pounded rebel-held positions to the south and east of the capital, opposition spokesmen said, continuing a pattern of heavy strikes that has continued for at least four days. The government appears intent on creating a security cordon around the capital and along the road to the nation's international airport, where flights were interrupted last week because of clashes along the main airport road - which skirts several rebel-dominated districts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 2, 2012 |
A self-described "meat and potatoes" conservative, Tony Ruiz often argued politics with his son. They clashed over perceptions of Islam after the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi was overrun. But Tony said his son, Clinton, made some good points. "He drew a very clear distinction between Muslim radicals and the Islam religion," Tony said. "It actually did convince me. " He is still convinced, a month after his son, Sgt. Clinton K. Ruiz , was killed by small-arms fire in Afghanistan, serving a tour as a psychological operations specialist with the 9th Military Information Support Battalion, 8th Military Information Support Group.