US train riders held up phones as woman was raped, police say

Southern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority GM Leslie Richards speaks during a news conference on Oct. 18, 2021 following a brutal rape on the commuter as other riders watched. (Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP) 
Southern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority GM Leslie Richards speaks during a news conference on Oct. 18, 2021 following a brutal rape on the commuter as other riders watched. (Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP) 
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Updated 19 October 2021

US train riders held up phones as woman was raped, police say

US train riders held up phones as woman was raped, police say
  • Police say the people who recorded the attack and failed to intervene could possibly be charged
  • Arrest records show Fiston Ngoy, 35, was charged with rape and related offenses

PHILADELPHIA: A man charged with raping a woman on a commuter train just outside of Philadelphia harassed her for more than 40 minutes while multiple people held up their phones to seemingly record the assault without intervening, authorities said.
More than two dozen train stops passed as the man harassed, groped and eventually raped the woman, the police chief for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said at a news conference Monday.
Police do not believe a single witness on the train dialed 911. They are investigating whether some bystanders filmed the assault.
Both the man and woman got on the train at the same stop Wednesday night in North Philadelphia. Officers pulled the man off of the woman at the last stop. They responded within about three minutes of a 911 call from a transportation authority employee, authorities said.
“What we want is everyone to be angry and disgusted and to be resolute about making the system safer,” SEPTA Police Chief Thomas J. Nestel III said at the news conference.
Arrest records show Fiston Ngoy, 35, was charged with rape and related offenses.
The affidavit of arrest for Ngoy detailed times of the assault, including that during those 40 minutes the woman appears to repeatedly push Ngoy away.
Nestel would not give an approximate number of witnesses and it was unclear from the affidavit how many passengers were present for those 40 minutes. Authorities have not released the surveillance video.
“I can tell you that people were holding their phone up in the direction of this woman being attacked,” he said.
Elizabeth Jeglic, a psychology professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, researches sexual violence prevention. She said if people feel uncomfortable physically intervening, there are other options like calling the police.
“When we have multiple people, people don’t necessarily intervene,” she said. “However, more recent research actually suggests that looking at video footage of more extreme circumstances that up to 90 percent of cases we do see people intervening. So it was actually somewhat of an aberration in this case that somebody did not step forward to help this individual.”
Superintendent Timothy Bernhardt, of the Upper Darby Police Department, has said surveillance footage showed other riders were on the train and someone “should have done something.” Messages for Bernhardt were left Monday.
The New York Times reported that Bernhardt said that people who recorded the attack and failed to intervene could possibly be charged, but that would be up to the Delaware County District Attorney’s office to determine.
There were no calls made to 911 in Philadelphia. Nestel said police were still waiting for Delaware County 911, which covers the last two train stops, to determine if it received any calls.
Investigators said in the affidavit that Ngoy sat down next to the woman about a minute after he boarded the train car, shortly after 9:15 p.m. The video shows her pushing him away multiple times until he is seen ripping her pants down at about 9:52 p.m.
Bernhardt said officers arrived at the 69th Street terminal on the Market-Frankford Line, the busiest route on SEPTA, around 10 p.m.
A SEPTA employee who was in the vicinity as the train went past called police to report that “something wasn’t right” with a woman aboard the train, Bernhardt said.
SEPTA police waiting at the next stop found the woman and arrested Ngoy, who they had pulled off of the woman. She was taken to a hospital.
According to the court documents, the woman told police that Ngoy ignored her pleas to go away.
Ngoy claimed in his statement to police that he knew the victim, but couldn’t remember her name and said the encounter was consensual.
Ngoy, who listed his last address as a homeless shelter, remained in custody on $180,000 bail. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 25. Court records show he had not requested a public defender as of Monday.
SEPTA issued a statement calling it a “horrendous criminal act” and urged anyone witnessing such a thing to report it to authorities by calling 911, pressing an emergency button on every train car or using the authorities emergency safety app.
“There were other people on the train who witnessed this horrific act, and it may have been stopped sooner if a rider called 911,” the authority said.

Related


Pakistani train driver who stopped for yoghurt suspended

Pakistani train driver who stopped for yoghurt suspended
Updated 08 December 2021

Pakistani train driver who stopped for yoghurt suspended

Pakistani train driver who stopped for yoghurt suspended

LAHORE: An inter-city train driver in Pakistan has been suspended after he made an unscheduled stop to pick up some yoghurt.
A video of the driver’s assistant collecting the snack from a street stall before climbing back into the carriage has been circulating on social media.
The incident on Monday raised questions about the safety and regulation of railways in Pakistan, where accidents are common due to mismanagement and neglect.
“When you stop a train in the middle (of the tracks) it becomes a safety issue. Safety is our priority. We cannot tolerate anything which compromises safety,” Syed Ijaz-ul-Hassan Shah, a spokesman for the railway ministry, told AFP on Wednesday.
The passenger service had started its journey in the eastern city of Lahore and was moving south toward Karachi.
In a statement the country’s minister of railways, Azam Khan Swati, warned that he will not “allow anyone to use national assets for personal use.”
A railway official admitted to AFP that such incidents are not uncommon in Pakistan, and that oversight is often lacking.
More than 60 people were killed in June when a train hurtling through farmland smashed into the carriages of another service that had derailed minutes earlier.


French climber pockets Mont Blanc gems after 2013 find

A picture taken on August 10, 2018 shows a helicopter flying over the Mont Blanc massif, on the Italian side of the Alps. (AFP)
A picture taken on August 10, 2018 shows a helicopter flying over the Mont Blanc massif, on the Italian side of the Alps. (AFP)
Updated 06 December 2021

French climber pockets Mont Blanc gems after 2013 find

A picture taken on August 10, 2018 shows a helicopter flying over the Mont Blanc massif, on the Italian side of the Alps. (AFP)
  • In September 2012, India took possession of a bag of diplomatic mail from the Kangchenjunga, a Boeing 707 flying from Mumbai which crashed on the southwest face of Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966

GRENOBLE, France: A treasure trove of emeralds, rubies and sapphires buried for decades on a glacier off France’s Mont Blanc has finally been shared between the climber who discovered them and local authorities, eight years after they were found.
The mountaineer stumbled across the precious stones in 2013. They had remained hidden in a metal box that was on board an Indian plane that crashed in the desolate landscape some 50 years earlier.
“The stones have been shared this week” in two equal lots valued at around 150,000 euros ($169,000) each, Chamonix mayor Eric Fournier told AFP.
He said he was “very happy” that events had been brought to a conclusion, in particular for the climber who he praised for his “integrity” in turning his find in to police as required by law.
Two Air India planes crashed into Mont Blanc in 1950 and in 1966.
Over the years, climbers have routinely found debris, baggage and human remains from the aircraft.
In September 2012, India took possession of a bag of diplomatic mail from the Kangchenjunga, a Boeing 707 flying from Mumbai which crashed on the southwest face of Mont Blanc on January 24, 1966.
The crash killed 117 people including the pioneer of India’s nuclear program, Homi Jehangir Bhabha.
Authorities believe the precious stones are likely to have come from that flight which had been en route from Mumbai to New York.


Bob Dole, war hero, longtime US senator, presidential candidate, dies at 98

World War Two veteran and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole attends Memorial day services at the World War II Memorial in Washington, U.S., November 11, 2016. (REUTERS)
World War Two veteran and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole attends Memorial day services at the World War II Memorial in Washington, U.S., November 11, 2016. (REUTERS)
Updated 06 December 2021

Bob Dole, war hero, longtime US senator, presidential candidate, dies at 98

World War Two veteran and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole attends Memorial day services at the World War II Memorial in Washington, U.S., November 11, 2016. (REUTERS)
  • Dole, known for referring to himself in the third person, made a classic American journey from the poverty of the Great Depression of the 1930s, through World War Two battlefields to the corridors of power with a stoic Midwestern dignity

WASHINGTON: Bob Dole, who overcame grievous World War Two combat wounds to become a pre-eminent figure in US politics as a longtime Republican senator from Kansas and his party’s unsuccessful 1996 presidential nominee, died on Sunday. He was 98.
Dole, known for a wit https://www.reuters.com/world/us/humor-late-former-senator-bob-dole-2021-12-05 that ranged from self-deprecating to caustic, died in his sleep, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation said. Dole announced in February that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and would begin treatment.
“America has lost one of its heroes; our family has lost its rock,” Dole’s family said in a statement. “He embodied the integrity, humor, compassion and unbounded work ethic of the wide open plains of his youth. He was a powerful voice for pragmatic conservatism.”
Dole sought the presidency three times https://www.reuters.com/world/us/facts-about-late-former-senator-bob-dole-2021-12-05 and was the Republican Party’s nominee in 1996 but lost to Democratic incumbent Bill Clinton. Dole was his party’s vice presidential nominee in 1976 on a ticket headed by incumbent President Gerald Ford but they lost to Democrat Jimmy Carter and his running mate Walter Mondale.
Dole, known for referring to himself in the third person, made a classic American journey from the poverty of the Great Depression of the 1930s, through World War Two battlefields to the corridors of power with a stoic Midwestern dignity.
He represented Kansas in Congress for 35 years: 1961 to 1969 in the House of Representatives and 1969 to 1996 in the Senate. Dole helped shepherd Republican President Ronald Reagan’s legislative agenda as Senate majority leader in the 1980s and spearheaded important legislation of his own.
Dole, who lost the use of his right arm from a war wound, was an advocate for the disabled and worked to shore up the finances of the Social Security retirement program. Dole was instrumental in passage of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public accommodations and transportation.
He also was a key figure behind building a memorial honoring Americans who served in World War Two on Washington’s National Mall, now a popular tourist stop.
President Joe Biden fondly recalled his visit to Dole in February at the Watergate complex in Washington where he lived.
“We picked up right where we left off, as though it were only yesterday that we were sharing a laugh in the Senate dining room or debating the great issues of the day, often against each other, on the Senate floor,” Biden said in a statement.
“Though we often disagreed, he never hesitated to work with me or other Democrats when it mattered most,” Biden said in a statement, a contrast to today’s bitter partisanship that has made it hard for the major parties to cooperate on legislation.
Former President Donald Trump called Dole “an American war hero.” In a statement, Trump added, “the Republican Party was made stronger by his service.”
Dole, who described himself as “a Trumper” in support of the former president, in July voiced impatience with Trump’s ongoing allegation that the 2020 election had been stolen from him because of massive voter fraud — a claim that has been rejected by several court challenges and Trump’s own Justice Department.
“He lost the election, and I regret that he did,” Dole told USA Today’s Susan Page. “I’m sort of Trumped out,” he added.
“When I think of the greatest generation, I think of Senator Bob Dole — a man who dedicated his life to serving our country. Rest In Peace, my friend,” Senator Mitt Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate, wrote on Twitter.
American flags were ordered to fly at half-staff at the White House, the US Capitol and other federal buildings.

1996 ELECTION
“To those who believe that I am too combative, I say if I am combative, it is for love of country,” Dole said in his speech accepting his party’s 1996 presidential nomination. .”.. And to those who believe that I live and breathe compromise, I say that in politics honorable compromise is no sin. It is what protects us from absolutism and intolerance.”
Dole defeated rivals including conservative commentator Pat Buchanan to secure the nomination. At age 73, he found himself facing Clinton, 50 at the time, a charismatic embodiment of the postwar baby boom who already had weathered charges of adultery and military draft evasion.
Dole subtly raised Clinton’s past by saying: “If something happened along the route and you had to leave your children with Bob Dole or Bill Clinton, I think you’d probably leave them with Bob Dole.”
Clinton defeated Dole, capturing 49 percent of the popular vote to Dole’s 41 percent and third-party challenger Ross Perot’s 8 percent. Dole won 19 of the 50 states, losing the state-by-state Electoral College by a 379-159 count.
Clinton in 1997 awarded Dole the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Dole in 2018 received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor Congress can bestow.
On Capitol Hill, Dole was a pragmatic conservative and an effective legislator liked by Democrats as well as Republicans for his ability to build coalitions and pass broadly acceptable laws. He was Senate majority leader from 1985 to 1987 and then again from 1995 to 1996, and was Senate minority leader from 1987 to 1995.
Dole acquired a reputation for sometimes lashing out at rivals and assumed the role of “hatchet man” as Ford’s running mate in 1976.
In a 1976 debate with Mondale, Dole declared: “If we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans, enough to fill the city of Detroit.” Trying to recoup from that statement, Dole displayed a flash of humor, saying, “They told me to go for the jugular, so I did — mine.”
When he sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, Dole snapped at Vice President George H.W. Bush, saying, “Stop lying about my record.” Bush won the nomination and the presidency. Dole attended Bush’s 2018 funeral service at the US Capitol Rotunda, standing up from his wheelchair with the help of an aide and raising his left hand for a final salute.
Dole also sought the 1980 Republican presidential nomination eventually won by Reagan.
Dole’s wife, Elizabeth, served as Republican senator from North Carolina from 2003 to 2009, and as Bush’s secretary of labor and Reagan’s secretary of transportation.
WAR HERO
Robert Joseph Dole was born on July 22, 1923, one of four children of a grain elevator manager and a traveling saleswoman in Russell, Kansas.
As a US Army lieutenant in World War Two, he led an assault on a German machine-gun nest in Italy. A shell wrecked his right shoulder, paralyzed his right arm, broke vertebrae, riddled his body with shrapnel and cost him a kidney. Decorated for heroism, Dole spent 39 months in hospitals before returning to civilian life.
Dole attended law school, unable to write but getting through with the help of his first wife, Phyllis, who transcribed class lectures he recorded. Dole had one daughter, Robin, from his first marriage.
Dole became involved in the 2016 Republican presidential campaign by endorsing Jeb Bush and joining his campaign. After Bush dropped out, Dole endorsed eventual winner Donald Trump. Former Dole adviser Paul Manafort served as Trump’s campaign chairman. In 2017, Dole praised Trump for having “immensely helped restore our position as leader of the free world.”


Jordanian flies the world from homemade basement cockpit

 Muhammad Malhas, 76, operates his flight simulator cockpit at his home in Jordan's capital Amman on November 8, 2021. (AFP)
Muhammad Malhas, 76, operates his flight simulator cockpit at his home in Jordan's capital Amman on November 8, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 04 December 2021

Jordanian flies the world from homemade basement cockpit

 Muhammad Malhas, 76, operates his flight simulator cockpit at his home in Jordan's capital Amman on November 8, 2021. (AFP)

AMMAN: Jordanian Muhammad Malhas has long harbored dreams of being a pilot. Now at 76 years old, he’s soaring above the clouds in a cockpit he built in his basement.
“Since the beginning of time, man has been watching the birds in the sky, and dreaming of flying freely,” Malhas told AFP.
As a boy, he enjoying flying his kite and wondering how something so flimsy made of paper could soar so high.
“It was then the desire and love of flying began to obsess me,” he added, sitting in the flight simulator, a replica of the cockpit of a Boeing 737-800, which he has spent three years building from scrap and secondhand items.
“My heart was always hanging in the sky, and my dream was to become a pilot, but circumstances did not allow it,” he said.
He graduated in hospital management from a London university in 1969, and went to work with his father at the Amman hospital the family had founded.
But Malhas kept his dreams alive, devouring books on aviation, aircraft engineering and guides to learning how to fly.
He even joined the Royal Jordanian Air Academy in 1976, rising before dawn to take flying lessons in a small Piper aircraft, before heading to work. He obtained his license two years later.
For almost a decade he was a member of the Jordanian Gliding Club, taking to the skies every weekend.

Muhammad Malhas (L), 76, sits at his flight simulator cockpit at his home in Jordan's capital Amman on November 8, 2021. (AFP)

And by 2006, he was flying virtually thanks to flight software he downloaded on his computer.
He joined a global network of flight simulator fans, where they could fly in almost real conditions directed by an air traffic controller.
“We were a group of about 30 to 40 friends, aviation enthusiasts from different countries chatting about flying virtually in our spare time.
“We used to fly to Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad... even Britain and the US. Sometimes we sat for six hours on computers as if we were flying real flights,” he told AFP.

Now retired, his life-long passion has taken a new spin.
Sat in front of three large screens, equipped with switches and indicators, in his homemade cockpit, Malhas has the world at his fingertips.
All the parts were bought at local markets. The chairs were originally part of a bus.
The screens show pictures of clouds and sky above, rivers, forests and deserts below. He can even choose what the weather outside is like.
The work took three years, with the help of friends who are electronic engineers. And it cost around six thousand dinars ($8,400).
His friend Ahmed Fares, 25, helped installing switches and indicators which “respond to the conditions of the plane, so that it looks like a real plane flying.”
Sometimes his wife joins Malhas in the cockpit.
“I think it is amazing to fly while sitting at home and to feel the joy of flying around the world,” he said.


Belgian zoo hippos test positive for Covid

Belgian zoo hippos test positive for Covid
Updated 03 December 2021

Belgian zoo hippos test positive for Covid

Belgian zoo hippos test positive for Covid
  • The infections at Antwerp Zoo are not the first time that zoo animals have tested positive
  • It is not known how the hippos were exposed to the virus

BRUSSELS: Two hippos in a Belgian zoo have tested positive for Covid-19, their keepers announced Friday, stressing that the giant animals do not appear to be in danger.
The infections at Antwerp Zoo are not the first time that zoo animals have tested positive during the pandemic, but most cases are thought to have been in cats and monkeys.
The building housing Hermien and Imani, a mother and daughter aged 41 and 14, has been closed to the public and their keepers have formed an isolated social bubble.
Antwerp Zoo tested its animals last year and found no cases of coronavirus, but veterinarian Francis Vercammen checked the hippos as cases rose again this winter.
“This time they were expelling snot, which I had tested as a precaution to check for bacteria,” he said, explaining how he came to send samples to Belgium’s national veterinary lab.
“In view of current events, I took the additional decision to test the samples for Covid-19, which gave this surprising result,” he said.
“As far as I know, this is the first known infection in this species. Worldwide, this virus has mainly been reported in great apes and felines.”
It is not known how the hippos were exposed to the virus. Their keepers have had no symptoms but are taking additional precautions and will be quarantined if they test positive.
Belgium, in common with much of Europe, is facing a growing wave of Covid-19 infections as winter grips the country, including a so far small number of cases of the new Omicron variant.
On Friday, Prime Minister Alexander de Croo announced a series of measures to tighten sanitary rules, bringing school Christmas holidays forward and asking children aged six and over to wear masks.
Belgium, with a population of 11 million, has recorded an average of more than 17,800 daily infections with Covid-19 over the past seven days, as well as 44 deaths.
Around 800 people with severe forms of the disease are in intensive care in hospitals across the country, leading to overcrowding and the postponement of treatment for many other conditions.