UK summons Argentine envoy over Falklands “intimidation“

Updated 04 December 2012
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UK summons Argentine envoy over Falklands “intimidation“

LONDON: Britain summoned Argentina’s ambassador to London on Monday after masked men ransacked the offices of a shipping company in Buenos Aires, a move the Foreign Office alleged was aimed at deterring ships from visiting the disputed Falkland Islands.
The Foreign Office said the shipping firm, agents for a cruise company, had been attacked on Nov. 19, causing the cancelation of a planned visit to the islands some 300 miles (482 km) off Argentina’s coast.
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has launched a wide-ranging diplomatic offensive to try to assert Argentina’s claim to the islands 30 years after the Falklands war, angering Britain which says the islanders want to continue to be governed by London.
The Foreign Office, which labelled the shipping office incident a “violent act of intimidation,” said it had summoned Alicia Castro, Argentina’s envoy to London, after earlier invitations had been ignored.
A British official with knowledge of the matter said Britain was concerned it had not received assurances that British-linked firms would not be attacked again. The official said Britain was also worried the attackers may have had state backing.
“It is shameful that elements within a large country like Argentina should seek to strangle the economy of a small group of islands. Such action benefits nobody and only condemns those who lend it support,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
“We were disappointed that it was necessary formally to summon the ambassador into the Foreign Office. We made several attempts to arrange for a less formal meeting, each of which the Argentine embassy declined,” the statement said.
The Argentine embassy was not immediately available for comment, but the British official said after the meeting that Castro had been “very cross” to have been summoned and that she had accused the Foreign Office of “wasting her time.”
The British official said Britain believed Argentina had been contacting cruise companies and other firms to try to pressure them into not doing business with the Falkland Islands, which Argentina calls the Malvinas.
Fernandez has accused London of maintaining “colonial enclaves” and has demanded the two countries sit down to discuss the disputed islands’ sovereignty — a suggestion Britain has rejected.
Lawmakers in Buenos Aires province passed a bill in August banning ships involved in business activities off the Falkland Islands from mooring at its ports, part of Argentina’s drive to discourage oil exploration in the area.
Argentina had already banned ships flying the Falklands flag from entering the country’s ports. The regional Mercosur trade group backed the move.


Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

Updated 22 April 2018
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Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

  • The victim was dining with his family when the suspect came and stabbed him without warning
  • Police say suspect is a felon who had been convicted for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse since the 1990s

LOS ANGELES: A homeless man who randomly stabbed a patron in a crowded Southern California restaurant to death as he was holding his daughter was reported just a few hours earlier for disruptive behavior, but police ultimately determined he was not a threat, authorities said Saturday.
Jamal Jackson, 49, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele. He was being held in Ventura County jail on a $1.5 million bail. It was unclear if Jackson, who is also a convicted felon, had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Mele and his wife were eating dinner with their 5-year-old daughter Wednesday at Aloha Steakhouse in the seaside city of Ventura. The girl was sitting on her father’s lap when prosecutors say Jackson walked up and stabbed Mele in the neck.
Prosecutor Richard Simon said customers and a restaurant employee followed Jackson out of the restaurant, even though he still had the knife. They kept track of him until Ventura police arrived and arrested him.
Mele was taken to a hospital and died Thursday after being taken off life support.
“It’s horrible,” Simon said. “You don’t think you’re going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family and you didn’t do anything.”
Simon said the two men had not interacted before the attack.
“He was just sitting there with his daughter in his lap,” Simon said. “You’re not supposed to die that way.”
Mele’s loved ones started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for a funeral and to support his wife and daughter.
Mele’s Facebook page was filled with photos of his daughter and said he was a manager at an AT&T store.
Police confirmed that a bystander reported a man — who turned out to be Jackson — for disruptive behavior several hours before the stabbing.
According to the bystander, a man was yelling on the promenade not far from the beachside restaurant about three hours before the attack.
Patrol officers were out on other calls so command center staff monitored the man via a pier security camera system for more than 20 minutes before deciding he didn’t seem to be a threat, police said.
Police are asking anyone who spoke with Jackson during that time to contact investigators in the city 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
Jackson also had half a dozen contacts with police in Ventura since the beginning of the year, including an arrest after a physical fight at a park, said Commander Tom Higgins.
He was also stopped on March 31 after a passer-by reported he was brandishing a knife. Police searched his bag and found a knife but there was no victim so no charge was filed, Higgins said.
Jackson has a lengthy rap sheet including charges in San Bernardino County, Higgins said, as well as convictions for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse dating back to the 1990s.
The killing prompted the Ventura City Council to increase police patrols in the area and add staff members to monitor security cameras, among other measures.
“We are extremely disheartened and infuriated by this criminal attack,” Mayor Neal Andrews said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses.”
If convicted, Jackson faces up to 55 years in prison.