Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death on Black Friday

From the NY Times:

The throng of Wal-Mart shoppers had been building all night, filling sidewalks and stretching across a vast parking lot at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, N.Y. At 3:30 a.m., the Nassau County police had to be called in for crowd control, and an officer with a bullhorn pleaded for order.

Tension grew as the 5 a.m. opening neared. Someone taped up a crude poster: “Blitz Line Starts Here.”

By 4:55, with no police officers in sight, the crowd of more than 2,000 had become a rabble, and could be held back no longer. Fists banged and shoulders pressed on the sliding-glass double doors, which bowed in with the weight of the assault. Six to 10 workers inside tried to push back, but it was hopeless.

Suddenly, witnesses and the police said, the doors shattered, and the shrieking mob surged through in a blind rush for holiday bargains. One worker, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was thrown back onto the black linoleum tiles and trampled in the stampede that streamed over and around him. Others who had stood alongside Mr. Damour trying to hold the doors were also hurled back and run over, witnesses said.

Some workers who saw what was happening fought their way through the surge to get to Mr. Damour, but he had been fatally injured, the police said. Emergency workers tried to revive Mr. Damour, a temporary worker hired for the holiday season, at the scene, but he was pronounced dead an hour later at Franklin Hospital Medical Center in Valley Stream.

How Mumbai attacks unfolded

From the BBC News:

2120 local time (1550 GMT): Gunfire starts at the Chhatrapati Shivaji railway station when at least two gunmen storm the crowded terminal, firing indiscriminately. Many of the deaths and injuries occurred in this attack.

2120-2200: Gunmen raid the Cama and Albless Hospital, shooting indiscriminately. Two attackers later killed and two captured.

2120-2200: Gunmen seize control of the Nariman House business and residential complex. Police surround the complex, which houses the Jewish Chabad Lubavitch outreach centre.

2120-2200: Gunmen storm the Cafe Leopold and open fire on diners, causing numerous causalities.

They were in no hurry. Cool and composed, they killed and killed

From The Guardian:

The gunmen, most of them apparently in their twenties, wearing T-shirts, black shirts and jeans, came ashore in black and yellow inflatable rubber dinghies. Armed with automatic weapons, and carrying rucksacks packed with hand grenades and explosives, they abandoned their landing-craft on the beach, from where they would have been able to make out the outlines of their targets, some of Mumbai’s most famous buildings.

It would appear that they had landed earlier, around 8pm, in a larger vessel at Sasoon dock and then used the dinghies to get closer to their targets in the heart of the city.

“Six young men with large bags came ashore, after which the two who remained in the boat started the outboard motor again and sped off,” said one witness. “They were fair, chikna [well-off] and looked around 20, 22, 25 years old. They said they were students. When we tried to find out what they were doing, they spoke very aggressively, and I got scared.”

Within two hours, the young gunmen were causing mayhem in the city that has always prided itself as being the hospitable gateway to India.

EPA Unlikely to Limit Perchlorate in Tap Water

From the Washington Post:

The Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from the White House and the Pentagon, is poised to rule as early as today that it will not set a drinking-water safety standard for perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel that has been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women, newborns and young children across the nation.

According to a near-final document obtained by The Washington Post, the EPA’s “preliminary regulatory determination” — which was extensively edited by White House officials — marks the final step in a six-year-old battle between career EPA scientists who advocate regulating the chemical and White House and Pentagon officials who oppose it. The document estimates that up to 16.6 million Americans are exposed to perchlorate at a level many scientists consider unsafe; independent researchers, using federal and state data, put the number at 20 million to 40 million.

Some perchlorate occurs naturally, but most perchlorate contamination in U.S. drinking water stems from improper disposal by rocket test sites, military bases and chemical plants. A nationwide cleanup could cost hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars, and several defense contractors have threatened to sue the Defense Department to help pay for it if one is required.

Iraq proposes timetable for 2010 U.S. withdrawal

From Reuters:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi negotiators have proposed a timetable for U.S. withdrawals that would see combat troops leave the country by October 2010, although Washington has not yet agreed to it, a senior Iraqi official said on Friday.

If agreed, the timetable would mean the administration of President George W. Bush effectively adopting a schedule very close to that proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who opposed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

“As of last night that was one of the issues being discussed between the two sides. There is no agreement yet, but this is what the Iraqis are asking for,” said the official who is close to the negotiations.

The schedule proposed by Iraqi negotiators would see U.S. forces withdraw from the streets of Iraqi cities by the middle of next year and combat troops return home by October 2010. Some American support units could stay on for another few years.

Newspaper Criticized For Publishing Photo

How are we supposed to ignore the carnage and death we have brought to Iraqi civilians when the damn newspapers show pictures of dead children? Shouldn’t they be covering last night’s American Idol?

WASHINGTON — Some readers resented The Washington Post for publishing an Associated Press photograph of a critically wounded Iraqi child being lifted from the rubble of his home in Baghdad’s Sadr City “after a U.S. airstrike.”

Two-year-old Ali Hussein later died in a hospital.

As the saying goes, the picture was worth a thousand words because it showed the true horrors of this war.

Neither side is immune from the killing of Iraqi civilians. But Americans should be aware of their own responsibility for inflicting death and pain on the innocent.

The Post’s ombudsman, Deborah Howell, said about 20 readers complained about the photo, while a few readers praised the Post for publishing the stark picture on page one.

Some mothers said they were offended that their children might see the picture, though one wonders whether their youngsters watch television and play with violent videos in a pretend world.

From the start of the unprovoked U.S. “shock and awe” invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, the government tried to bar the news media from photographing flag-draped coffins of American soldiers returning from Iraq. A Freedom of Information lawsuit forced the government to release pictures of returning coffins.

Howell said some readers felt the photo of the Iraqi boy was “an anti-war statement; some thought it was in poor taste.” Well, so is war.

(via IdleWorm, a great blog that desperately needs an RSS feed)

“Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? It’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?” – Barbara Bush