Actor Vince Vaughn ready to make icy plunge in Lake Michigan

Intel chief says 2014 deadlist yearfor terror ever for recoreded

ISIS thugs taje a hummer to civilisation

Islamisc state’s ‘Jihadi Jhon’ named mohammed Emowazi from West London

Actor Vince Vaughn ready to make icy plunge in Lake Michigan

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Actor Vince Vaughn ready to make icy plunge in Lake Michigan

Tribune staff and wire reports

Actor Vince Vaughn will be among several thousand people immersing themselves in the icy waters of Lake Michigan Sunday morning to support the Special Olympics.

The 15th annual Polar Plunge in Chicago takes place at North Avenue Beach.

The longtime Chicago Blackhawks fan and Lake Forest native will wear his Blackhawks jersey for the event.

Vaughn is the star of movies including “Wedding Crashers” and “Old School.” His upcoming film “Unfinished Business” opens March 6.

Special Olympics Chicago Director Susan Nicholl says they used social media and the hashtag #VinnyDippin to recruit the actor.

She says he responded almost immediately with a yes.

Last year, comedian Jimmy Fallon helped raise more than $1 million at the event. Fallon jumped into Lake Michigan wearing a suit and tie.

Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune

admin @ March 1, 2015

Intel chief says 2014 deadlist yearfor terror ever for recoreded

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Intel chief says 2014 deadliest year for terror ever recorded, in counter to upbeat Kerry


The top U.S. intelligence official on Thursday gave a drastically different assessment than Secretary of State John Kerry of the terror threat — declaring 2014 the deadliest year for global terrorism ever recorded, after Kerry claimed that threat was diminishing.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, testifying on Capitol Hill, catalogued the growing terror-fueled violence in stark terms.

“When the final accounting is done, 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled,” Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He offered statistics that would appear to challenge other administration officials’ claims that the country and world are safer today.

A day earlier, Kerry testified at a separate hearing that, “Despite ISIL, despite the visible killings that you see and how horrific they are, we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally; less deaths, less violent deaths today, than through the last century.”

That prompted a quick response from lawmakers and from inside the intelligence community.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn , former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Fox News that Kerry is “out of touch with reality, he clearly is not listening to the entire U.S. intelligence community.”

Clapper on Thursday said that in 2013, about 11,500 worldwide attacks killed about 22,000 people. But in the first nine months alone of 2014, he said, preliminary data from a University of Maryland research unit show nearly 13,000 attacks killed 31,000 people.

Half of those attacks and fatalities were in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, he said. He said the Islamic State conducted more attacks than any other terror group in those first nine months.

The Clapper testimony came as Congress focused attention Thursday on what’s being done to defeat the Islamic State — at all levels of government — as more cases surface of westerners trying to link up with the terror network, including a disturbing case out of New York City.

Clapper said Thursday that about 180 Americans have been involved in various stages of traveling or trying to travel to fight in the region. He said more than 3,400 total western fighters have gone to Syria and Iraq.

He spoke after the Justice Department announced Wednesday that three New York City residents plotted to travel to Syria to join ISIS militants and “wage jihad.”

One of the defendants also offered to kill the president of the United States if ordered to do so, the criminal complaint alleged.

The Obama administration, meanwhile, has forged ahead with a campaign of airstrikes against ISIS, with the help of Middle East allies. At the same time, though, President Obama has downplayed the threat. In a recent interview with Vox.com, he accused the media of overplaying the issue.

“If it bleeds, it leads, right?” he said.

FBI Director James Comey has said his bureau is investigating possible ISIS supporters in all 50 states.

Aside from Clapper’s testimony, a House judiciary subcommittee was holding a separate hearing on Thursday on the threat of ISIS in America. FBI and other local law enforcement officials were set to testify.

Fox News’ Bret Baier contributed to this report. 

admin @ February 26, 2015

ISIS thugs taje a hummer to civilisation

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ISIS thugs take a hammer to civilisation: Priceless 3,000-year-old artworks smashed to pieces in min…

Julian Robinson for MailOnline

  • Extremists used power drills and sledgehammers to smash ancient items
  • They wrecked a series of 3,000-year-old statues at museum in Mosul, Iraq
  • One vandal says items being destroyed because they promoted idolatry
  • Comes after thugs destroyed thousands of books at Mosul Public Library

Islamic State thugs have destroyed a collection of priceless statues and sculptures in Iraq dating back thousands of years.

Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artwork as they rampaged through a museum in the northern city of Mosul.

Video footage shows a group of bearded men in the Nineveh Museum using tools to wreck 3,000-year-old statues after pushing them over.

Scroll down for video 

Extremists used sledgehammers and power drills to smash ancient artifacts at a museum in the northern city of Mosul 
Militant uses a power tool to destroy a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity at the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. The statue dates back to the 9th century B.C.

One of the items, depicting a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity, dates back to the 9th century B.C.

A man shown in the video said the items were being destroyed because they promoted idolatry.

‘The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him,’ the unidentified man said.

The articles destroyed appeared to come from an antiquities museum in the northern city of Mosul, which was overrun by Islamic State last June, a former employee at the museum told Reuters.

The extremist group has destroyed a number of shrines – including Muslim holy sites – in a bid to eliminate what it views as heresy.

Militants are also believed to have sold ancient artwork on the black market in order to finance their bloody campaign across the region.

ISIS destroy artefacts with sledgehammers at Mosul museum

A man shown in the video said the items were being destroyed because they promoted idolatry

The video bore the logo of the ISIS group’s media arm and was posted on a Twitter account used by the group.

Yesterday it was revealed how terrorists had blown up the Mosul Public Library, sending 10,000 books and more than 700 rare manuscripts up in flames.

Leading members of Mosul society reportedly tried to stop the fanatics destroying the building, but failed.

The director of the library, Ghanim al-Ta’an, said that the extremists used homemade bombs in the attack, which took place on Sunday.

He told Middle Eastern website Geran: ‘ISIS militants bombed the Mosul Public Library. They used improvised explosive devices.’

Presumed destroyed are the Central Library’s collection of Iraqi newspapers dating to the early 20th century, maps and books from the Ottoman Empire and book collections contributed by around 100 of Mosul’s establishment families.

Large segments of the priceless winged-bull Assyrian protective deity are hurled to the ground as militants smash it to pieces

Isis first invaded the Central Library in January. Residents say the extremists smashed the locks that had protected the biggest repository of learning in the northern Iraq town, and loaded around 2,000 books – including children’s stories, poetry, philosophy and tomes on sports, health, culture and science – into six pickup trucks. They left only Islamic texts.

‘These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned,’ a bearded militant in traditional Afghani two-piece clothing told residents, according to one man living nearby who spoke to The Associated Press.

The man, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation, said the Islamic State group official made his impromptu address as others stuffed books into empty flour bags.

Since the Islamic State group seized a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria, they have sought to purge society of everything that doesn’t conform to their violent interpretation of Islam.

They have already destroyed many archaeological relics, deeming them pagan, and even Islamic sites considered idolatrous. Increasingly books are in the firing line.

Iraqis look at books on al-Mutanabi Street, home to the city’s book market in central Baghdad. Iraq is home to a great many culturally significant books and manuscripts

Mosul, the biggest city in the Islamic State group’s self-declared caliphate, boasts a relatively educated, diverse population that seeks to preserve its heritage sites and libraries.

In the chaos that followed the U.S.-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein, residents near the Central Library hid some of its centuries-old manuscripts in their own homes to prevent their theft or destruction by looters.

But this time, the Islamic State group has made the penalty for such actions death.

A University of Mosul history professor, who spoke on condition he not be named because of his fear of the Islamic State group, said the extremists started wrecking the collections of other public libraries in December.

He reported particularly heavy damage to the archives of a Sunni Muslim library, the library of the 265-year-old Latin Church and Monastery of the Dominican Fathers and the Mosul Museum Library with works dating back to 5000 BC.

© 2014 Associated Newspapers Ltd

admin @ February 26, 2015

Islamisc state’s ‘Jihadi Jhon’ named mohammed Emowazi from West London

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Islamic State’s ‘Jihadi John’ Named as Mohammed Emwazi from West London | VICE News

John Beck

BREAKING STORY: Please check back for regular updates.

The masked Islamic State (IS) militant nicknamed “Jihadi John” who appeared in beheading videos of Western hostages has been named as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British citizen in his mid-20s from West London.

Emwazi, whose identity was first reported by the BBC and the Washington Post, first appeared in an August 2014 IS video seemingly showing him murdering US journalist James Foley. He was later seen in similar footage showing the beheadings of two Americans — journalist Steven Sotloff, US-aid worker Abdul-Rahman (also known as Peter) Kassig — and two Britons — aid worker David Haines and taxi driver Alan Henning.

In each video, he is clad all in black with his identity hidden by a balaclava and taunts world leaders in a distinctive British accent. He was given the name by foreign hostages he once held as part of a team guarding Western captives.

His identity has been the result of intense speculation. UK Intelligence services previously said they were aware of who he was, but didn’t name him for operational reasons, while FBI director James B. Comey said in September last year, that after interviews with his captives and voice analysis, they believed they did also.

The British authorities refused to confirm or deny his identity today, saying they would not comment on an ongoing security operation.

Emwazi grew up in a well-off family in West London, has a degree in computer programming from the University of Westminister and is thought to have travelled to Syria in 2012 before joining (IS), according to the Washington Post.

A crowd of reporters gathered this morning outside what is believed to be his family home in North Kensington. The directory 192.com has since removed the address concerned. VICE News understands that his family has been relocated by police.

Friends described him as a polite and devout young man who enjoyed fashionable clothes, the Post said. They added that he started to show signs of more extreme beliefs in 2009 after a planned safari in Tanzania with two friends, which resulted in them being detained in Dar es Salaam then deported and flown to Amsterdam. There, Emwazi claimed that a member of British intelligence agency MI5 accused him of trying to reach Somalia, where extremist militants al-Shabaab operate, then tried to recruit him.

The safari episode is referenced in a 2010 Independentarticle that identifies Emwazi as “Muhammad ibn Muazzam”. In it, both he and a friend say they were threatened with violence by the Tanzanian security forces on MI5 orders.

A BBC report linked Emwazi with a UK citizen suspected to be involved with al-Shabaab.

After this, Emwazi is reported to have had more run-ins with counterterrorism officers, including an incident where he was detained while trying to move to Kuwait.

admin @ February 26, 2015

athe – and giving him special care, because Silas was born three months before his due

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Rare birth: Baby born completely encased in amniotic sac

Ben Brumfield, CNN

Story highlights

  • Silas Philips was born ‘en caul,’ with completely surrounded by his amniotic sac
  • That’s very rare — it occurs in fewer than one in 80,000 births

(CNN)We all know that every baby is special, but Silas Philips pulled off a rare feat right out of the womb.

Days before he’s scheduled to leave the hospital, he’s already gone viral on social media because he was born ‘en caul.’

Silas was completely encased in his amniotic sac, said Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in a Facebook post. That’s so rare, that even doctors delivering babies hardly see it. So Silas’ doctor snapped a photo with his cell phone.

It looked like the baby was trapped in a big water bubble.

“Even though it’s a cliche — we caught our breath,” neonatologist William Binder told CNN affiliate KCAL. “It really felt like a moment of awe.”

Then Binder got to work helping Silas to breathe – and giving him special care, because Silas was born three months before his due date via Caesarean section.

Later, Silas’ grandmother showed the cell phone photo to his mother, Chelsea Philips.

“It was definitely like a clear film, where you could definitely make out his head and his hair,” Philips told the affiliate. Silas was curled up in fetal position inside.

What is ‘en caul’

The amniotic sac is an opaque bubble that covers all babies in the womb from right after conception. As the baby grows, it fills with fluid, including the baby’s urine.

The sac cushions the baby from bumps and jostles during mom’s daily ups and downs.

Normally, during a birth, it breaks, and the fluid rushes out, which is where the term ‘breaking water’ comes from.

But sometimes, the sac can get stuck around part of the baby, according to Dr. Amos Grunebaum, an obstetrician and gynecologist,who publishes a website on birth and baby care.

It can, for example, get stuck on the baby’s head, which makes it look like its wearing a glass space helmet. That’s also where the term caul comes from — it derives from Latin words that refer to a helmet.

After IVF shock, mom gives birth to two sets of identical twins

Such amniotic sac helmet births are rare enough, but to have the entire baby inside the sac, or ‘en caul,’ occurs in less than one in 80,000 births, Cedars-Sinai said.

When Philips heard how rare her Baby’s birth was, she was flabbergasted. “I was like, oh my gosh, Silas, you’re a little special baby,” she told KCAL.

It’s particularly surprising in a C-section, because the scalpel usually pierces the amniotic sac.

The doctors must have missed Silas’s.

Florida woman gives birth to 14.1-pound baby boy

admin @ February 25, 2015