Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Cannibal restaurant 'with roasted human heads on the menu' shut down by police

Police arrested 11 people and closed a restaurant after two human heads wrapped in cellophane were discovered at a hotel restaurant that had been serving human flesh.

A tip-off led police to the macabre discovery in Anambra, Nigeria, with 11 people being arrested and AK-47 guns and other weapons being seized.

Human flesh was apparently being sold as an expensive treat at the restaurant, with authorities saying that roasted human head was even on the menu.

"I went to the hotel early this year, after eating, I was told that a lump of meat was being sold at N700, I was surprised," a pastor who had visited the eatery said.

"So I did not know it was human meat that I ate at such expensive price.

"What is this country turning into? Can you imagine people selling human flesh as meat," he added. "Seriously I’m beginning to fear people in this part of the world. "

Another local added to the Osun Defender newspaper: "I always noticed funny movements in and out of the hotel; dirty people with dirty characters always come into the hotel.

"So, I was not surprised when the police made this discovery in the early hours of yesterday."

The tabloid reported that two army caps, 40 rounds of live ammunition and 'so many cell phones' were also discovered by authorities.

Tuesday 18 February 2014


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S Korea building collapse: At least nine dead, 10 trapped

At least nine people have died and 17 more have been seriously injured in a building collapse at a resort in South Korea.

At least 10 people are still trapped under the wreckage in the south-eastern city of Gyeongju.

Seven of those killed were students.

About 80 people received minor injuries, officials at the state-run National Emergency Management Agency said, when part of an auditorium fell in after heavy snowfall.

The structure failed during an orientation event for first-year university students from the southern city of Busan.

Fire services have blamed the weight of snow on the roof. The weather is also thought to have slowed rescue efforts.

Local media reports say the collapse happened at around 21:15 local time (12:15 GMT), though there is confusion over the number of students in the hall at the time.

A large number of students from Busan University of Foreign Studies were at the Mauna Ocean Resort, said an official, and many managed to get out of the damaged building by themselves.

The students are thought to have been attending a concert in the auditorium when the roof fell in.

"The ceiling came crashing down at the front near the stage," one student told South Korea's YTN news channel. "Then pandemonium broke out and everyone started rushing towards the exits, shouting and screaming," he added.

Gyeongju is a historic city that served as the capital of one of the Korean peninsula's ancient kingdoms, and is a popular tourist destination.

The area has experienced exceptionally heavy snowfall over the past week.

One of the world's worst peacetime building collapses happened in South Korea in June 1995, when Seoul's Sampoong Department Store collapsed, killing hundreds.

Tuesday 18 February 2014


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Crowdsourcing fuels revolution in missing-persons hunts

Not too long from now, the Orange County coroner's office will post details about an unidentified person on a national database of unidentified bodies.

The particulars will include: The body was male, found in the Pacific Ocean a mile off Newport Beach on Dec. 24. He was 6 feet tall, 162 pounds, wearing nylon sweat pants made by Champion and size 11 Asics running shoes. There will be a photo of his left shoe and of the Timex he wore on his left wrist.

Local officials have his DNA and some general information about the man's appearance, but it will take an anthropologist a little time to determine his age range.

Once the information is posted, anyone in the country who is looking for a lost father or son or uncle or neighbor can go on the fully searchable website and see if they recognize anything remotely familiar. If so, they can alert the authorities and ask them to check if their lost soul matches our found body.

This crowd-sourced matching of missing persons to unidentified bodies – or of a missing person to the lost living – is what makes the U.S. Department of Justice's National Missing and Unidentified Persons System so revolutionary.

NamUs, as it is known, has been up and running for 10 years.

So how come you've never heard of it?


Maybe it's because you're lucky. You're not connected in a personal way with the reality that there are 100,000 active missing person cases going at any time in this country. That on the virtual shelves of America's medical examiners and coroners lie 40,000 sets of unidentified human remains. That every year 1,000 more sets get added to those shelves.

And maybe you haven't had a reason to know that, until a decade ago, more than half of the nation's medical examiners didn't have a policy for storing the X-rays and fingerprints of their unsolved unidentifieds.

Or that thousands of jurisdictions – state, local, county, parish, city, region, whatever – have sometimes confusing, sometimes overlapping and sometimes nonexistent rules about who tells who what when adults go missing.

Or that missing adults, because they are adults and have the freedom to come and go as they please, are not always reported as missing unless foul play is suspected.

This is all true despite that fact that the National Institute of Justice – the research, development and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice – launched an initiative in 2004 to improve the nation's ability to find missing people. It was working on better training for law enforcement and medical examiners, and better education for judges and lawyers on DNA evidence, and to standardize the world of forensic record-keeping.

In spring 2005, it convened an Identifying the Missing summit, which brought together many of the nation's most vocal advocates for the missing. They created NamUs – pronounced Name Us – which stipulated that only medical examiners and coroners could place information on the unidentifieds database. But taking advantage of the coming idea of social media, they also wanted to make it possible for interested parties to upload information onto their missing person's site, thus alerting authorities to promising matches of unidentified bodies and missing loved ones.

Orange County got on board early, in 2009.

Unidentified Person #7690 is a woman who was hit by a car while walking across Beach Boulevard at Orangewood Avenue in 2005. A mole was made note of. So, too, a faint scar on her inner left ankle. If you'd like to see the clothes she died in, the photos are there. Same for her leather-strapped sparkly sandals.

It's not meant to be prurient. Nothing gory is shown. It's meant to be specific enough to be helpful, says Todd Matthews, director of communications for NamUs. Helpful, that is, to the families of those who are looking for a 5-foot-3, 165-pound woman of indeterminate race, likely between 19 and 30.

And somebody is looking. NamUs keeps track. Interested parties have gone on the database and asked the medical examiner in Orange County to check to see if #7690 was 1) Teresa Alcaraz, born 1974; 2) Katrina Ashford, born 1953; 3) Lynn Bandringa, born 1945 … There have been 47 failed matches so far. That is, the county coroner has looked at each of the 47 women in question and compared their missing persons details to that of #7690 and, in each case, found something that didn't fit.

The family in such cases, explains Matthews, was “probably devastated either way.” Because one answer means your loved one is definitively dead, the other means you have to keep looking.

What you want, he says, is to allow the family to finally lay their burden down. The pain is, sadly enough, not yours to spare them.


NamUs is not widely known in California. Though local agencies are required to report missing persons to the California Department of Justice, they are not yet required to report or publish information to the NamUs database.

“California has strong reporting laws; they're progressive,” Matthews says. “But the state has a large burden compared to other states. (NamUs') approach has been, ‘Let us help you.'

“California is worried about handling information in California. But we are worried about handling information as a nation.” The nationwide outreach is an important part of the NamUs puzzle – because people from California just don't disappear in California to be found in California.

What if the body recently found off Newport Beach belongs to a family in New York City? Busy investigators in that metropolis and in that state might not put the pieces together when they get the National Crime Information Center bulletin. But families, looking for a lost sailor or a runaway father or a troubled son, have a place to start, a place they can search daily with specific tools. Might they recognize the Timex? Might they help themselves to lay their burden down?

Missing adults can be entered in NamUs at any time, but that process is just one step. A local report also must be filed with law enforcement officials before a case can be published in NamUs.

Missing children are, of course, handled differently. They have no legal right to wander without permission, so laws require reporting missing children to NCIC, the FBI and other agencies.

The online NamUs database currently contains information on 10,704 unidentified bodies and 16,037 missing people. What it doesn't include are likely thousands of FBI records, and of those people who are between 18 and 21, who fall out of the “child” category and not quite into the “adult” one.

Twice – once each in 2009 and 2011 – U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., and Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, introduced a bill to fund the sharing of information between the FBI, the National Crime Information Center and NamUs, thus streamlining the data transfer and the public's right to know.

Twice the bill has died. It is referred to as Billy's Law, after Billy Smolinski, a 31-year-old Connecticut man whose family believes that unnecessary delays and the confused state of reporting adult missing persons cost him his life.

FOUND IN PLAIN SIGHT Sometime soon, Diana Smith will be exhumed from Mountain View Cemetery in San Bernardino. She will be cremated and her remains will be sent home to her family in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

Because she was 19 when she left her family on July 3, 1991, no police agency in the past two decades has agreed to list her as missing. Her family had no way to find her other than to post a few fliers and wait for a phone call that never came. They saved enough money to hire a private investigator in 2005, but he didn't turn up anything.

All they could do was pray that Diana simply wanted nothing to do with them.

Late last year, when they inquired if they could enter their own file about Diana into NamUs, family members were told that they could, but that it would be unpublished until a law enforcement agency could verify the case. They were also told that NamUs would help them not only obtain, but pay to obtain and analyze, the requisite information.

NamUs investigators began to help the day the self-reported missing notice arrived. That was Nov. 30, 2013. On Dec. 11, the agency collected the DNA of Diana Smith's surviving younger sister, Chrissy Metzler. By Dec. 20, the Ohio Bureau of Investigation had a warrant for Diana's dental records.

Metzler had already scoured the Unidentified portion of NamUs and found four possible matches. One was sort of promising. On Jan. 9, Ohio investigators knocked on Metzler's door to tell her that NamUs UP # 2551 was, in fact, Diana.

They explained to Metzler, 39, that her big sister had been slain two months after she left home in 1991. The body was found at a truck stop off California State Road 58 on Sept. 3, 1991, three days after she'd been shot multiple times.

“Oh, yes, it was awful,” Metzler says, “but at least we knew.”

Diana Smith has been dead for 22 years. Once the details were entered into a database you've never heard of, she was able to reclaim the name she'd lost so long ago.

It took just a little more than a month.

Monday 18 February 2014


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Samjhauta blasts : 7 years after, 19 dead bodies still unidentified

Seven years on, 19 dead bodies of the victims Samjhauta Express twin bomb blasts are lying buried unidentified at Panipat's burial ground. At the same time, kin of victims are running from the pillar to post to get the death certificates.

68 persons, most of them Pakistani nationals were killed in the twin bomb blasts in Attari (Pakistan bound) cross border Samjhauta Express near Deewana railway station on the night intervening February 18 and 19, 2007. Dead bodies of 45 victims were identified. 23 dead bodies were given the mass burial. As on now 19 dead bodies are still unidentified and are lying in the burial ground.

After a four-year-long probe, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on June 20 last year charged suspected right-wing extremist Swami Aseemanand and four others with triggering explosions in the cross-border Samjhauta Express.

But due to non release of DNA reports by Hydrabad's central forensic laboratory, kins of those believed to be dead are a harried lot these days.

Momin Malik, the Panipat based lawyer, who had been pursuing the cases related to claims of kins of those dead claimed that even after assurance by NIA officials couple of months ago, nothing has happened so far.

Sometimes we feel ashamed due to the attitude of authorities in Hydrabad as well as Indian government. There are four such persons whose families have been wiped out in the incident. Just because of the delay in DNA reports neither those families have got the death certificates nor they have been given the claims,'' Malik said.

There is a girl called Raheela, who has lost her father Mohammad Vakil, the government has neither issued his death certficiate nor government has been able to search him. We ourselves have searched around 90 jails in India so far, he added further.

Tuesday 18 February 2014


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