Grim search for vic­tims as fires grow to size of NYC

Yuma Sun - - OPINION -

WASH­ING­TON — Five years af­ter they were seized by a ter­ror­ist net­work in the moun­tains of Afghanistan, an Amer­i­can wo­man, her Cana­dian hus­band and their chil­dren — all three born in cap­tiv­ity — are free af­ter a dra­matic res­cue or­ches­trated by the U.S. and Pak­istani gov­ern­ments, of­fi­cials said Thurs­day.

The U.S. said Pak­istan ac­com­plished the re­lease of Cait­lan Cole­man of Ste­wart­stown, Penn., and her hus­band, Cana­dian Joshua Boyle, who were ab­ducted and held by the Haqqani net­work, which has ties to the Tal­iban. The op­er­a­tion, which came af­ter years of U.S. pres­sure on Pak­istan for as­sis­tance, un­folded quickly and ended with what some de­scribed a dan­ger­ous raid, a shootout and a cap­tor’s fi­nal, ter­ri­fy­ing threat to “kill the hostage.” Boyle suf­fered only a shrap­nel wound, his fam­ily said.

U.S. of­fi­cials did not con­firm the de­tails.

The fam­ily was to­gether in a safe, undis­closed lo­ca­tion in Pak­istan, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cial.

NYC, Lon­don po­lice tak­ing fresh look at We­in­stein claims

NEW YORK — Po­lice de­tec­tives in New York City and Lon­don are tak­ing a fresh look into sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions against Har­vey We­in­stein now that some 30 women have ac­cused the Hol­ly­wood film pro­ducer of in­ap­pro­pri­ate con­duct.

New York Po­lice Depart­ment spokesman Peter Don­ald said Thurs­day that in­ves­ti­ga­tors are re­view­ing po­lice files to see if any­one else re­ported be­ing as­saulted or ha­rassed by him.

So far, no filed com­plaints have been found, he said, other than one well-known case that prompted an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in 2015, but au­thor­i­ties are en­cour­ag­ing any­one with in­for­ma­tion on We­in­stein to con­tact the depart­ment.

Lon­don po­lice were also look­ing into a claim it had re­ceived from the Mersey­side force in north­west Eng­land, Bri­tish me­dia re­ported Thurs­day. Mersey­side po­lice said the al­le­ga­tion was made a day ear­lier and con­cerned “an al­leged sex­ual as­sault in the Lon­don area in the 1980s.”

Some 30 women — in­clud­ing ac­tresses An­gelina Jolie, Ash­ley Judd and Gwyneth Pal­trow — have spo­ken out re­cently to say We­in­stein had sex­u­ally ha­rassed or sex­u­ally as­saulted them. Rose Mc­Gowan, who has long sug­gested that We­in­stein sex­u­ally as­saulted her, tweeted Thurs­day that “HW raped me.”

Dan­ger­ous sound? What Amer­i­cans heard in Cuba at­tacks

WASH­ING­TON — It sounds sort of like a mass of crick­ets. A high-pitched whine, but from what? It seems to un­du­late, even writhe. Lis­ten closely: There are mul­ti­ple, dis­tinct tones that sound to some like they’re col­lid­ing in a nails-on-the-chalk­board ef­fect.

The As­so­ci­ated Press has ob­tained a record­ing of what some U.S. Em­bassy work­ers heard in Ha­vana in a se­ries of un­nerv­ing in­ci­dents later deemed to be de­lib­er­ate at­tacks. The record­ing, re­leased Thurs­day by the AP, is the first dis­sem­i­nated pub­licly of the many taken in Cuba of mys­te­ri­ous sounds that led in­ves­ti­ga­tors ini­tially to sus­pect a sonic weapon.

The record­ings them­selves are not be­lieved to be dan­ger­ous to those who lis­ten. Sound ex­perts and physi­cians say they know of no sound that can cause phys­i­cal dam­age when played for short du­ra­tions at nor­mal lev­els through stan­dard equip­ment like a cell­phone or com­puter.

What de­vice pro­duced the orig­i­nal sound re­mains un­known. Amer­i­cans af­fected in Ha­vana re­ported the sounds hit them at ex­treme vol­umes.

SONOMA, Calif. — Teams with ca­daver dogs be­gan a grim search Thurs­day for more dead in parts of Cal­i­for­nia wine coun­try dev­as­tated by wild­fires, re­sort­ing in some cases to se­rial num­bers stamped on med­i­cal im­plants to iden­tify re­mains that turned up in the charred ru­ins.

New deaths con­firmed Thurs­day took the toll to 31, mak­ing this the dead­li­est week of wild­fires in Cal­i­for­nia his­tory.

Many of the flames still burned out of con­trol, and the fires grew to more than 300 square miles (777 square kilo­me­ters), an area as large as New York City.

Sonoma and Napa coun­ties en­dured a fourth day of chok­ing smoke while many res­i­dents fled to shel­ters or camped out on beaches to await word on their homes and loved ones.

A fore­cast for gusty winds and dry air threat­ened to fan the fires fur­ther.

Some of the state’s most his­toric tourist sites, in­clud­ing Sonoma city and Cal­is­toga in Napa Val­ley, were ghost towns pop­u­lated only by fire crews try­ing to stop the ad­vanc­ing in­fer­nos.

Cal­is­toga, known for wine tast­ings and hot springs, had dozens of fire­fight­ers staged at street cor­ners. Ash rained down from the sky and a thick haze cov­ered the ground. Mayor Chris Can­ning warned that the fires were draw­ing closer and all of the city’s 5,000 res­i­dents needed to heed an evac­u­a­tion or­der.

“This is a manda­tory evac­u­a­tion. Your pres­ence in Cal­is­toga is not wel­come if you are not a first re­spon­der,” Can­ning said dur­ing a news briefing, ex­plain­ing that fire­fight­ers needed to fo­cus on the blazes and had no time to save peo­ple.

A few res­i­dents left be­hind cook­ies for fire crews with signs read­ing, “Please save our home!”

Sonoma County Sher­iff Robert Gior­dano said of­fi­cials were still in­ves­ti­gat­ing hun­dreds of re­ports of miss­ing peo­ple and that re­cov­ery teams would be­gin con­duct­ing “tar­geted searches” for spe­cific res­i­dents at their last known ad­dresses.

“We have found bodies al­most com­pletely in­tact, and we have found bodies that were noth­ing more than ash and bones,” the sher­iff said.

Some re­mains have been iden­ti­fied us­ing med­i­cal de­vices un­cov­ered in the scorched heaps that were once homes. Metal im­plants, such as ar­ti­fi­cial hips, have ID num­bers that helped put names to vic­tims, he said.

The eight new deaths con­firmed Thurs­day brought the to­tal to 31. Most of the fires, and the deaths, were in the coastal re­gion north of San Fran­cisco that en­com­passes wine coun­try. Four deaths came fur­ther in­land in Yuba County.

While the Oakland Hills fire of 1991 killed 25 peo­ple by it­self and the Grif­fith Park fire in Los An­ge­les in 1933 killed 29, never in recorded state his­tory have so many peo­ple been killed by a si­mul­ta­ne­ous se­ries of fires, said Daniel Ber­lant, a deputy di­rec­tor with the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Forestry and Fire Pro­tec­tion.

Fire­fight­ers had re­ported mod­est gains against the blazes, but con­tain­ment seemed nowhere in sight.

“We are not out of this emer­gency. We are not even close to be­ing out of this emer­gency,” Emer­gency Op­er­a­tions Di­rec­tor Mark Ghi­lar­ducci told a news con­fer­ence.

More than 8,000 fire­fight­ers were bat­tling the blazes, and more man­power and equip­ment was pour­ing in from around the coun­try and from as far away as Aus­tralia, of­fi­cials said.

Since ig­nit­ing Sun­day in spots across eight coun­ties, the fires have trans­formed many neigh­bor­hoods into waste­lands. At least 3,500 homes and busi­nesses have been de­stroyed and an es­ti­mated 25,000 peo­ple forced to flee.

The wild­fires con­tin­ued to grow in size. A to­tal count of 22 fires on Wed­nes­day fell to 21 on Thurs­day be­cause two large fires merged, said state Fire Chief Ken Pim­lott.

The chal­lenge of fight­ing the fires was com­pounded by the need for more help and the grow­ing fa­tigue of fire­fight­ers who have been work­ing for days.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A HE­LI­COPTER FLIES THROUGH THE SMOKE-FILLED SKY to drop a load of water on a wild­fire Thurs­day in Sonoma, Calif. Of­fi­cials say progress is be­ing made in some of the largest wild­fires burn­ing in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia but that the death toll is al­most sure to surge.

Kid­napped, held 5 years, U.S.-Cana­dian fam­ily free in Pak­istan BY THE NUM­BERS Dow Jones In­dus­tri­als: – 31.88 to 22,841.01 Stan­dard & Poor’s: – 4.31 to 2,550.93 Nas­daq Com­pos­ite In­dex: – 12.04 to 6,591.51

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