Oxford tourist falls to death at Indian temple

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Roger StotesburyImage copyright
Roger Stotesbury/ PA Wire

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Roger Stotesbury was on a “middle-aged gap year” with his wife Hilary and they were due to return home this month

A British man has fallen to his death while taking photos at a temple in India during a year-long world trip.

Roger Stotesbury, 56, was visiting Orchha, in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, with his wife Hilary on Friday when he plummeted 30ft (9m) from the Laxmi Narayan temple.

The couple, from Oxford, were blogging about their “middle-aged gap year”.

The Foreign Office said it was providing assistance to the family of a British man following his death.

‘Devoted couple’

Mr Stotesbury’s family said the father of two had just finished taking shots of the scenery from the 17th Century temple, about 160 miles south of the Taj Mahal.

The couple had been due to return to the UK this month, after completing their India trip.

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Vinod Shenoy

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Mr Stotesbury was taking photos on first floor of the Laxmi Narayan temple when he fell 30ft

A family spokesman said: “They were the most happily married couple I have ever known. They were just so devoted to each other.

“Roger took lots and lots of photographs, and he had gone to take some views from the temple.

“He put his equipment down and then he fell.”

On their blog, Mr Stotesbury wrote that his motto was to “die young as late as possible”.

The couple also wrote: “We took the view that on your deathbed you never wish you’d spent more time in the office.

“We’ve seen our two kids off into the wider world and we have no more caring responsibilities for our parents.

“So we thought now is the time to take a gap year and travel whilst we still have the health and energy. After all you only live once.”

In a statement issued on their behalf by the Foreign Office, his family said: “Roger Stotesbury was one of the most enthusiastic men who walked the planet, and was incredibly loved by his wife, children and the surrounding community.

“He brightened every room he entered. He and his wife, Hilary had planned their round-the-world gap year since the beginning of 2016 and set off on 1 November last year.

“They loved the last 11-and-a-half months of energetic travel, exploring from the bottom tip of Patagonia, right up through the Americas, to Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and finally India.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are providing assistance to the family of a British man following his tragic death in India on 13 October.

“Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time.”

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Puerto Rico raises Hurricane Maria death toll to 48

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Authorities in Puerto Rico raised the death toll from Hurricane Maria by 3 to 48 on Saturday based on a review of medical records.

The medical examiner concluded that the hurricane was the deciding factor in the three newly disclosed deaths, Secretary of Public Security Hector Pesquera said.

Precise details were not available, but one occurred in the central town of Caguas when a person was unable to get dialysis treatment after the storm knocked out power.

TRUMP WARNS POST-HURRICANE PUERTO RICO, SAYS FEMA WON’T STAY ‘FOREVER’

Another happened in nearby Juncos when a person with undisclosed respiratory problems could not get treatment.

The third occurred in the northern city of Carolina when a person suffering a heart attack was also unable to get treatment.

Pesquera said that the medical examiner is still reviewing all deaths that occurred in island hospitals around the time of the storm and the toll could rise further.

“We are reviewing each and every case to see if the storm was a direct or indirect cause,” he said following a news conference in the capital. “I doubt seriously that we will have any direct at this juncture.”

Maria hit the U.S. island territory Sept. 20 as a category 4 hurricane. The government says about 85 percent of the island remains without power.

FBI IN PUERTO RICO INVESTIGATING MISHANDLING OF FEMA SUPPLIES

Gov. Ricardo Rossello says he is pushing for outside aid to restore electricity and his goal is to have it back for half the island by Nov. 15 and for 95 percent by Dec. 31. But he conceded the task of rebuilding the transmission and distribution network is enormous.

“These are aggressive goals,” Rossello told reporters.

Previously, officials had said it could take as long as March to reach that goal. 

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California wildfires rage as record death toll climbs to 35

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SONOMA, Calif. (Reuters) – Fire officials in Northern California reported further headway on Friday against the most lethal outbreak of wildfires in state history, as the death toll rose to 35 and teams with cadaver dogs combed charred ruins for human remains.

The wind-driven blazes, which erupted on Sunday night in the heart of California’s renowned wine country, north of San Francisco, have destroyed an estimated 5,700 homes and businesses and forced the evacuation of at least 25,000 people.

With more than 200 people still missing on Friday in Sonoma County alone, and rubble from thousands of incinerated dwellings yet to be searched, authorities have said the number fatalities from the so-called North Bay fires would likely climb higher.

Even as firefighters gained more ground during a second day of better weather, they braced for a return of higher temperatures, lower humidity and strong, gusty winds that could increase the threat to communities still in harm’s way.

Ground crews raced to clear drought-parched vegetation along the southern flanks of fires, removing highly combustible fuels adjacent to populated areas before extreme heat and winds were forecast to revive over the weekend.

”We’ve challenged the troops to get out there and secure mainly the south parts of these fires in preparation for those strong north winds,” Bret Gouvea, deputy chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), told a news conference.

As of Friday afternoon, 17 major wildfires – some encompassing several smaller blazes merged together – had consumed nearly 222,000 acres of dry brush, grasslands and trees across eight counties.

Governor Jerry Brown planned to visit the area with California’s two U.S. senators on Saturday.

Officials have said power lines toppled by gale-force winds the first night may have sparked the conflagration, though the official cause remained under investigation.

Much of the devastation centred in and around the Sonoma County town of Santa Rosa, where whole neighbourhoods were reduced to landscapes of grey ash, smouldering debris and burned-out vehicles.

Some victims were asleep when flames engulfed their homes, and many survivors had only minutes to flee.

RESORT IN DANGER

The picturesque town of Calistoga, at the northern end of Napa Valley, faced one of the biggest remaining hazards. Its 5,000-plus residents were ordered from their homes on Wednesday night as a fierce blaze dubbed the Tubbs fire crept to within 2 miles (3.2 km) of city limits.

On Friday evening, fires raged along mountain ridges overlooking Calistoga, threatening to rain embers onto the town if strong winds blow out of the north as predicted, Cal Fire spokesman Dennis Rein said.

A resort and spa destination dating from the mid-1800s, Calistoga is famed for its mud baths, hot springs, geysers and a historic Western-style downtown.

A cadaver dog team with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team searches for two missing people amongst ruins at Journey’s End Mobile Home Park destroyed by the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, California, U.S. October 13, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

The enclave is surrounded by vineyards and wineries, upscale hotels and even a replica of a medieval Italian castle, Castello di Amorosa, one of its best known attractions.

The 35 confirmed fatalities – 19 in Sonoma County – mark the greatest loss of life from a single fire event on record in California, surpassing the 29 deaths from the Griffith Park fire of 1933 in Los Angeles.

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said his office had investigated nearly 1,500 missing-persons reports stemming from the fires, and all but 235 had since turned up safe as of Friday evening.

Disruptions in communications and the failure of many evacuees to promptly check in with authorities or loved ones accounted for the overwhelming majority of individuals initially reported missing, authorities said.

Still, Giordano said 45 search-and-rescue teams and 18 detectives had been deployed to scour obliterated neighbourhoods for more victims.

FINDING SHELTER

At a fairground converted to a shelter in the nearby city of Petaluma, about 250 cots were full by Friday, and people slept in tents in the parking lot as volunteers served porridge and eggs for breakfast.

Yasmin Gonzalez, 28, her four children and husband, a grape picker, were anxious to leave the shelter and return to their apartment in Sonoma.

“It’s horrible to leave your home, and your things and not know what’s going to happen,” Gonzalez said.

The region’s health system has also been weakened by the fires. Kaiser Permanente was forced to close its Santa Rosa medical centre and pharmacy, and many doctors and small practices evacuated.Kaiser said on Friday that it was rerouting patients, some of whom complained of respiratory ailments as a result of smoke, to nearby medical centres.

At least 40 Sonoma County physicians have lost their homes in the fires, leaving the county medical association to seek alternative accommodations for them, agency director Wendy Young said.

The year’s wildfire season is one of the worst in history in the United States, with nearly 8.6 million acres (3.5 million hectares) burned, just behind 2012, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

In the worst year, 2015, about 9.3 million acres burned.

The fires have thrown California’s wine-producing industry, and related tourism, into disarray at the end of the region’s annual grape harvest, damaging or destroying at least a dozen Napa Valley wineries.

The state’s newly legalized marijuana industry was also hit hard, with at least 20 pot farms in Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa counties ravaged, a growers’ association said.

Additional reporting by Stephen Lam, Dan Whitcomb, Steve Gorman and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.,; Gina Cherelus in New York, Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee, Heather Somerville in San Francisco.; Writing by Dan Whitcomb and Steve Gorman; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Cynthia Osterman, Toni Reinhold

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Texas inmate executed for prison guard’s death

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A Texas inmate convicted in the death of a prison guard was put to death Thursday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his lawyer’s attempts to halt the execution.

Robert Pruett was given a lethal injection for the December 1999 death of corrections officer Daniel Nagle at a prison southeast of San Antonio. Nagle was repeatedly stabbed with a tape-wrapped metal rod, though an autopsy showed he died from a heart attack that the assault caused.

Prosecutors have said the attack stemmed from a dispute over a peanut butter sandwich that Pruett wanted to take into a recreation yard against prison rules.

The 38-year-old Pruett, who was already serving a 99-year sentence for a neighbor’s killing near Houston when he was convicted in Nagle’s death, lost two appeals at the Supreme Court as his execution neared. He became the 20th prisoner put to death this year in the U.S. and the sixth in Texas, which carries out the death penalty more than any other state. Texas executed seven inmates last year.

Pruett’s lawyers had asked the high court to review whether lower courts properly denied a federal civil rights lawsuit that sought additional DNA testing in his case. They also questioned whether a prisoner like Pruett, who claimed actual innocence in federal court because of newly discovered evidence after exhausting all other appeals, could be put to death.

Pruett avoided execution in April 2015, hours before he could have been taken to the death chamber, when a state judge halted his punishment so additional DNA testing could be conducted on the rod used to stab the 37-year-old Nagle. The new tests showed no DNA on the tape but uncovered DNA on the rod from an unknown female who authorities said likely handled the shank during the appeals process after the original tests in 2002.

Pruett’s attorneys unsuccessfully sought more DNA testing and filed a federal civil rights lawsuit arguing Pruett had been denied due process. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the lawsuit last week, and the lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Attorneys for Texas told the Supreme Court that Pruett’s appeals were delay tactics after issues were “repeatedly raised” and “properly rejected” by the courts.

No physical evidence tied Pruett to Nagle’s death at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s McConnell Unit near Beeville. At his 2002 trial, prisoners testified that they saw Pruett attack Nagle or heard him talk about wanting to kill the guard. According to some of the testimony, he talked about possessing a weapon as well.

Pruett had said he was framed and that Nagle could have been killed by other inmates or corrupt officers at the McConnell Unit.

Pruett’s 99-year murder sentence was for participating with his father and a brother in the 1995 stabbing death of a 29-year-old neighbor, Raymond Yarbrough, at the man’s trailer home in Channelview, just east of Houston. Pruett was 15 when the attack happened.

According to court testimony from a sheriff’s detective, Pruett argued with Yarbrough and then got his father and brother to join him in attacking the man. Pruett punched and kicked Yarbrough and held him down while his father stabbed the man multiple times, the detective said.

Pruett’s father, Howard Pruett, is serving life in prison. His brother, Howard Pruett Jr., was sentenced to 40 years.

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Death toll rises to 31 in California wildfires, hundreds missing

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SONOMA, Calif. (Reuters) – Firefighters gained ground on Thursday against wildfires that have killed at least 31 people in Northern California and left hundreds missing in the chaos of mass evacuations in the heart of the state’s wine country.

The death toll, revised upward by eight on Thursday, marked the greatest loss of life from a single California wildfire event in recorded state history, two more than the 29 people killed by the Griffith Park fire of 1933 in Los Angeles.

With 3,500 homes and businesses incinerated, the so-called North Bay fires also rank among the most destructive.

The flames have scorched more than 190,000 acres (77,000 hectares), an area nearly the size of New York City, reducing whole neighbourhoods in the city of Santa Rosa to ash and smouldering ruins dotted with charred trees and burned-out cars.

The official cause of the disaster was under investigation, but officials said power lines toppled by gale-force winds on Sunday night may have sparked the conflagration.

A resurgence of extreme wind conditions that had been forecast for Wednesday night and early Thursday failed to materialise, giving fire crews a chance to start carving containment lines.

But fierce winds were expected to return as early as Friday night, and a force of 8,000 firefighters was racing to reinforce and extend buffer lines across Northern California before then.

Despite progress, fire crews remained “a long way from being out of the woods,” Ken Pimlott, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), told reporters in Sacramento, the state capital.

Mark Ghilarducci, state director of emergency services, added: “We are not even close to being out of this emergency.”

DEATH TOLL COULD RISE

Authorities have warned that the death toll from the spate of more than 20 fires raging across eight counties for a fourth day could climb higher, with more than 400 people in Sonoma County alone still listed as missing.

One of the greatest immediate threats was to the Napa Valley town of Calistoga, whose 5,000-plus residents were ordered from their homes on Wednesday night as winds picked up and fire crept closer.

Calistoga Mayor Chris Canning said anyone refusing to heed the mandatory evacuation would be left to fend for themselves if fire approached, warning on Thursday: “You are on your own.”

Melissa Rodriguez, her husband, baby and dog camped in the parking lot of a local college after smoke forced them to flee their Calistoga apartment.

A sign left by an evacuated resident, fleeing wildfires in the heart of the California’s wine country, rests against a fire hydrant in the evacuated town of Calistoga, California, U.S., October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Noel Randewich

“We have high hopes it will still be there when we go back. … It feels sad, helpless, there’s nothing we can do.”

The Tubbs fire on Thursday was within 2 miles (3 km) of Calistoga, which was spared on the first night of the fires.

Whether the town burns “is going to depend on the wind,” Calistoga Fire Chief Steve Campbell told Reuters. “High winds are predicted, but we have not received them yet.”

Fire officials have said some people killed in the fires were asleep when flames engulfed their homes. Others had only minutes to escape as winds of over 60 mph (97 kph) fanned fast-moving blazes. Ghilarducci said the loss of cell towers likely contributed to difficulties in warning residents.

“We have found bodies that were completely intact, and we have found bodies that were no more than ash and bone,” Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano told reporters. He added that recovery teams would begin searching ruins with cadaver dogs.

NEARLY 500 MISSING

As many as 900 missing-person reports had been filed in Sonoma County, although 437 had since turned up safe, Giordano said.

It remained unclear how many of the 463 still listed as unaccounted for were actual fire victims rather than evacuees who failed to alert authorities after fleeing their homes, he said.

“The best we can pray for is that they haven’t checked in,” emergency operations spokeswoman Jennifer Larocque told Reuters.

Sonoma County accounted for 17 of the North Bay fatalities, all from the Tubbs fire, which now ranks as the deadliest single California wildfire since 2003.

About 25,000 people remained displaced on Wednesday as the fires belched smoke that drifted over the San Francisco Bay area, about 50 miles (80 km) to the south, where visibility was shrouded in haze and automobiles were coated with ash.

The fires struck the heart of the state’s world-renowned wine-producing region, wreaking havoc on its tourist industry, while damaging or demolishing at least 13 Napa Valley wineries.

The full economic impact of the fires on the wine industry was not immediately clear. But 90 percent of grapes in Napa Valley were picked before the fires broke out on Sunday, according to Napa Valley Vintners.

California’s newly legalized marijuana industry also was hit hard, with at least 20 pot farms in Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa counties ravaged, said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association.

All the farms were seeking permits to eventually serve California’s nascent market for state-sanctioned recreational marijuana, Allen said.

Additional reporting by Stephen Lam, Dan Whitcomb, Steve Gorman and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles, Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.; Jonathan Allen in New York, Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Writing by Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrew Hay and Peter Cooney

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KJ Apa Reacts To That Shocking Riverdale Death

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Last season, Riverdale‘s all-American everyboy Archie Andrews became a bit of a punch line. Torn between his rock-star dreams and high-school football career, Archie’s problems were never quite on par with Jughead’s self-inflicted loneliness, Dark Betty, and Veronica’s serious mommy and daddy issues. And his woefully misguided and highly illegal fling with his music teacher Ms. Grundy was thankfully short-lived.

TL;DR: Archie was adorably oblivious to the darkness around him. Not to mention, he didn’t even know who Bob Dylan was. (I will never let that go.)

But if the crazy Season 2 premiere of Riverdale (“A Kiss Before Dying”) proved anything (spoilers ahead), it’s that after the trauma of nearly losing his dad to a masked madman in Pop’s, Archie Andrews has been reborn — and he’s out for vengeance. There’s a reason showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has been calling this season Archie Andrews’s origin story; if you’re well-versed in comic book lore, then you know this is how Bruce Wayne eventually became the Caped Crusader of Gotham. Does this make Archie the Batman of Riverdale? According to series star KJ Apa, yes!

“After his dad is shot, Archie is blinded by his revenge for whoever it was that shot him,” Apa told MTV News. “That’s the only thing that he can think about. That’s the only thing that he can focus on. It kind of starts to eat away at his relationships.”

Yes, including his freshly minted and very passionate relationship with Veronica. There’s been an undeniable physical attraction between the teen lovebirds since Veronica and her fabulous cape first stepped foot into Pop’s, but as viewers saw in the Season 2 premiere, there’s more going on between them than sex. They deeply care for one another, and Archie’s personal crusade for justice will cause some serious friction.

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Archie and Veronica (Camila Mendes) embrace in the hospital in the Season 2 premiere.

“They’re both dealing with that kind of strife for the first time,” Apa said. “So they’re both learning how to cope, and it forces them to explore different parts of their relationship.”

His dad’s shooting isn’t the only thing weighing on his mind, either. In the final moments of “A Kiss Before Dying” the hooded criminal from Pop’s — a man we’re going to call Black Hood — kills Ms. Grundy in her Greendale home. To further twist the knife in Archie’s heart, she’s strangled by the bow Archie gave to her in Season 1. It’s a shocking scene, and it’s obviously going to have major repercussions throughout the season as Archie’s thirst for justice intensifies.

“Archie loved Ms. Grundy, or he thought he loved Ms. Grundy, and he’s really hurt by her death,” the actor said. “It further increases his mission to find revenge.”

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Archie and Ms. Grundy (Sarah Habel) in Riverdale Season 1.

With a killer on the loose seemingly targeting people close to Archie, it makes sense that he’d take it personally. As Betty once said, “Riverdale is Archie Andrews.” And in the spirit of Betty’s Season 1 speech, Archie takes it upon himself to “do better” and protect the town of Riverdale. His town.

“He’s trying to save the town,” Apa said. “He’s trying to stop whatever’s happening, to make Riverdale good again. Everything he does that may seem like a bad decision, he’s always trying to do it for the benefit of someone else, which is a great quality about Archie. He’s always trying to help people. The downfall of that is he doesn’t understand that you can’t make everyone happy.”

“While trying to help one person,” he added, “he usually ends up screwing over someone else.”

In many ways, Archie is at war with himself — stuck between his desire to fix the town he loves and his commitment to the people closest to him, like his best friend and newly enrolled Southside High student, Jughead Jones. This season will not only test Archie’s loyalties but also his psyche.

So in other words, it’s not all milkshakes, guitar strings, and girl troubles for Riverdale’s resident heartbreaker anymore.

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The Electrical Birth, Life, and Death of Stars | Space News



The EU2017 Conference: Future Science — Aug 17 – 20, Phoenix: https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2017/01/22/eu2017-homepage-2/ In Part One of this …

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Linkin Park Remember Chester Bennington With Carpool Karaoke Episode Filmed Days Before His Death

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One of the last things Chester Bennington did before he tragically took his own life on July 20 was to film an episode of Apple Music’s Carpool Karaoke with his Linkin Park bandmates. For weeks afterward, it remained uncertain whether or not the episode would ever air, but with the blessing of Bennington’s family, it’s finally here.

On Thursday (October 12), Linkin Park made the 23-minute episode available to stream for free on Facebook, explaining, “With the blessing of Chester’s family and his bandmates, we share this episode, and dedicate it to the memory of Chester.”

Bennington, Mike Shinoda, and Joe Hahn filmed their ride through Los Angeles with comedian Ken Jeong, a self-professed Linkin Park fanatic. They kicked it off with OutKast’s “Hey Ya,” before moving on to Linkin Park’s “Numb” and “In the End,” as well as the Red Hot Chili Peppers classic “Under the Bridge.”

Of course, there are also plenty of hilarious antics, like when the group stops for a silly dance break on the sidewalk and when they hop on a karaoke bus. Bennington appears in good spirits throughout the whole thing, talking about his signature “scring” (scream/sing) and the joy he takes in seeing his kids follow their dreams. At one point, he even calls it “the greatest day of my life.”

Given the context, the episode is hard to watch, but you have to think this is the way Bennington’s family and bandmates would want him to be remembered: laughing out loud and singing his heart out with his friends.

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