Recent News from ACT! for America

A Saudi Arabian man has been arrested for vandalizing Buddhist statues at a temple in downtown Tokyo.

Police say they received an emergency call about a foreigner behaved violently at the Sensoji Temple in Asakusa, Taito Ward at around midnight on Wednesday.

They say officers who rushed to the scene found 4 Buddhist statues lying broken on the ground.

Police say they questioned a 31-year-old Saudi Arabian graduate school student nearby, and the man admitted that he had destroyed the statues.

The vandalism involved 3 stone statues measuring 60 to 100 centimeters tall and a 200-centimeter tall bronze one that was made about 300 years ago.

It has been designated as the ward's significant cultural property.

Police say the man told them that he has conducted similar vandalism at another temple.

[NYK World]


By Mark Tran for The Guardian

Survivors of the 7 July bombings in London have spoken out angrily at the defacement of the memorial to those who died in the attacks, describing the vandalism as "childish".

Jacqui Putnam, who survived the explosion in the Edgware Road train, said: "It's an immature act by young people who don't understand the impact of what they're doing. It's childish. Once they're older they will realise this. This is not a political memorial."

Overnight on Sunday, the 3.5m (11.5ft) pillars had been daubed with red and black slogans saying "4Innocent Muslims", "Blair Lied Thousands Died" and "J7 Truth".

By the time survivors and relatives had gathered in the morning sunshine to mark the ninth anniversary of the attacks in which 52 people were killed, all trace of the graffiti had been removed.

In a statement police said: "Officers were called by a member of the public shortly before 3.30 this morning and informed of the graffiti, which is being treated as criminal damage. Inquiries continue, led by officers from Westminster – there have been no arrests at this time."

Four bombs exploded on 7 July 2005, just one day after London celebrated the news that it would host the 2012 Olympic games. Three bombs exploded at 8.50am on underground trains outside Liverpool Street and Edgware Road stations, and on another travelling between King's Cross and Russell Square. An hour later another explosion tore through a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square. Fifty two people were killed as well as the four suicide bombers. A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain condemned the vandalism of the memorial. "This is a shocking case of vandalism which we condemn, 7/7 is an atrocity etched on all our minds, and Muslims joined fellow Britons in speaking out against this terrorism," he said. "This monument to those who lost their lives should be considered as a point of solemn reflection and unity for us all."

The incident was condemned "unreservedly" by the prime minister David Cameron, while Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, expressed his shock and sadness. "It is completely unacceptable and the Metropolitan police is already investigating," he said. "I am pleased that the graffiti has been removed so quickly and that today's commemoration ceremony can go ahead as planned."

Those attending the ceremony included former London mayor Ken Livingstone and Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Cressida Dick. A plaque with the names of the dead at the memorial was covered with bouquets including floral tributes from Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and former Labour minister Tessa Jowell and Johnson. A handwritten note signed by Cameron said: "In memory of the victims of the London terror attacks, on July 7 2005. You will never be forgotten."

For the survivors and relatives who gathered at Hyde Park Corner, the vandalism was little more than a minor distraction from the main purpose of the day: to remember. On the dot of midday, the Rock Choir of amateur singers sang Both Sides Now, followed by a minute's silence. In short speeches, survivors and emergency services staff described how their lives had changed forever that day.

For Susan Verghese, a survivor of the King's Cross-Russell Square bombing, that meant studying for a masters in humanitarianism and conflict response at Manchester University.

"I stand here not now in defeat by my experience but as an individual who has risen above my trauma no longer allowing it to haunt me but instead turning it into an inspiration to do good," she said.

Tim Coulson, who was on the train at Edgware Road, read out the names of the 52 victims, as sunshine briefly gave way to a few drops of rain.

Sudhesh Dahad, who was in the same carriage as the bomb that went off near Russell Square, said the best tribute to pay to those who died was to live life to the full. Dahad, who underwent spinal surgery for the insertion of two prosthetic discs in his neck after the pain became too much, said: "It's a bit of a cliché, but we should make the most of what we have, go for it, don't hesitate, that is the best tribute we can pay to those who died."

He said he intended to meet some of the challenges he had set himself. Apart from skydiving, the asset investment manager said he intended to hike the 305km between St Bees, Cumbria and Robin Hood's bay, Yorkshire, carrying his own gear.






TUCSON - News 4 Tucson has learned a Mexican military helicopter travelled across the border and fired on U.S. Border Patrol agents.

It happened in the early morning hours Thursday, west of the San Miguel Gate on the Tohono O'Odham Nation. The chopper fired on the agents but missed them. The chopper then flew back into Mexico. We're told Mexican authorities contacted the U.S. and apologized for the incident.

We've received two statements regarding the incident:

Art del Cueto, Border Patrol Tucson Sector union president:

The incident occurred after midnight and before 6 a.m. Helicopter flew into the U.S. and fired on two U.S. Border Patrol agents. The incident occurred west of the San Miguel Gate on the Tohono O'odham Indian Nation. The agents were unharmed. The helicopter went back into Mexico. Mexico then contacted U.S. authorities and apologized for the incident.

Andy Adame, U.S. Border Patrol Spokesperson:

Early this morning, a Mexican law enforcement helicopter crossed approximately 100 yards north into Arizona nearly 8 miles southwest of the Village of San Miguel on the Tohono O'odham Indian Nation while on a drug interdiction operation near the border. Two shots were fired from the helicopter but no injuries or damage to US property were reported. The incident is currently under investigation.

[News 4 Tucson]


By Gary Craig, Staff writer - Democrat & Chronicle (Rochester, NY)

Through the 140 characters allowed on Twitter, Mufid Elfgeeh spelled out again and again his ideological hatred toward the United States, federal authorities allege.

In one Tweet, he announced his allegiance with al-Qaida, writing, "al-Qaida said it loud and clear; we are fighting the American invasion and their hegemony over the earth and the people," authorities say.

Other Tweets encouraged the donation of money for jihadists, and, while advocating martyrdom, Elfgeeh claimed al-Qaida and jihadists are the world's true Muslims.

On Saturday afternoon, FBI agents and members of the agency's Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested Elfgeeh in the parking lot of the Walmart at 1490 Hudson Ave. They allege that he'd planned to buy firearms and he wanted to use them to kill returning American troops as well as Shi'a Muslims living in the region.

Elfgeeh is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen who managed a convenience store on North Clinton Avenue.

At the Walmart, Elfgeeh, 30, met with an FBI informant who provided him firearms and silencers, according to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Albert Zenner.

A swarm of law enforcement officials arrested Elfgeeh around 3 p.m. as shoppers wandered in and out of the store. The weapons the informant gave Elfgeeh immediately before the arrest had been rendered inoperable beforehand, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Harvey, a prosecutor in the case.

"At no time was there a risk to the public this weekend," FBI Special Agent Brian Boetig, who heads the agency's western New York region, said about the large show of force for the arrest.

Elfgeeh is charged with two counts of illegally receiving and possessing unregistered firearm silencers, but the investigation is continuing, U.S. Attorney William Hochul Jr. said at a news conference Monday.

At a court appearance Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman, Elfgeeh was appointed lawyers from the Federal Public Defender's Office. A bail hearing is scheduled for June 16.

Federal prosecutors have requested that Elfgeeh stay jailed pending trial.

Using confidential informants, the FBI has been investigating Elfgeeh since early 2013, according to the affidavit from Zenner.

In early 2013, an individual who has occasionally worked as an informant for the FBI "first reported information about Elfgeeh."

The informant, records show, has helped the FBI since around 2000. He has been paid about $21,700 by the agency, and the FBI assisted him in receiving visas for family members.

A second informant, who also has been paid by the FBI, began a series of conversations with Elfgeeh in late 2013. Those broad talks about terrorism in the Middle East and American politics morphed into Elfgeeh's stated intent to do harm to Americans, authorities allege.

In the aftermath of the December terrorist attack on a mall in Kenya, Elfgeeh told the second informant that, "I'm thinking about just go buy a big automatic gun from off the street ... and just put on a vest or whatever and just go around and start shooting," the affidavit states.

Elfgeeh indicated he already had a bulletproof vest.

[read more]



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