News Briefs 2/6/13
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 13:02
Kerry addresses North Korean nuclear testing rumors
While rumors of a North Korean nuclear test in the coming weeks persists, newly appointed Secretary of State John Kerry made a statement Sunday warning the country to stop or suffer “significant consequences from the international community.”
Kerry, who recently took over the position held by Hilary Clinton, spoke on the telephone with the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea, Fumio Kishida and Kim Sung-hwan, respectively. Many say this is an attempt to seek additional international sanctions against North Korea.
On Jan. 14, North Korea put out a statement claiming the United States’ aggression against the “Korean peninsula” has led to North Korea to seek other ways to help assure peace to the country, suggesting nuclear weapons were the solution.
Kerry, a former Massachusetts senator who served on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 28 years, has been a proponent of stricter sanctions against North Korea since the country’s first nuclear test in 2006. It also launched a test in 2009. He had criticized the Obama administration in the past for weak foreign policy decisions regarding North Korea.
On Jan. 23, North Korea made a statement saying it would no longer comment on the matter of nuclear testing.
Schools evaluating security after Newtown massacre
Local schools are evaluating and changing their security measures to ensure a tragedy like the massacre in Newtown in December never happens again.
Union East Elementary in Cheektowaga is now requiring parents identify themselves and their children before entering the building. They must show identification before picking them up after school.
Newfane schools now have “go bags” at each school with information for first responders, according to The Buffalo News.
The Williamsville district is adding 13 more security personnel for the schools.
“Nobody wants to respond to a situation; we want to prevent a situation from ever occurring,” Capt. James J. Speyer Jr. of Cheektowaga police department told The Buffalo News.
The schools are running more drills for lockdowns, lockouts, shelter-in-place and evacuation. These prepare the children and staff for when there is an intruder in the building, a suspect from an outside crime on the loose, a weather emergency or chemical spill occurs or the school is no longer the safest place for students, respectively.
Cheektowaga police have practiced in local schools so they can easily navigate the building in an emergency. Cameras are connected to the police station so dispatch can warn officers of what’s found on arrival.
The school will never be 100 percent safe, according to Donald A. Ogilvie, superintendent of Erie 1 Board of Cooperative Educational Services. However, having a prepared staff is half the battle.
“I would rather have a building full of adults who are aware of the emergency response plan, who are conscious of what is a normal part of routine, with internal communication,” Ogilvie told The News. “I’d rather have that network than any electronic device lulling me into thinking I had absolute security.”
Boy rescued from underground bunker, captor killed
Five-year-oldEthan was reunited with his family Tuesday after being held captive in an underground bunker in Midland City, Ala., for seven days. FBI agents rushed the bunker and killed the captor, Jimmy Lee Dykes.
The boy, who has Asperger’s and ADHD, was kidnapped from his school bus after Dykes killed the driver. Ethan was unharmed.
Dykes had been negotiating with the authorities, allowing them to send crayons, toys and medicine into the bunker. He was eventually talked into opening the door to receive a larger item, according to USA Today.
“Then they threw in the distraction devices, or what are commonly called by SWAT teams ‘flash bangs,’” said John Miller, a CBS News reporter, quoting unidentified sources. “They made a blindingly bright light, and a huge, big noise that is very disorienting.”
It was done within seconds, he said.
The FBI had built a practice bunker used to train rescue agents in similar scenarios, according to ABC News. Details of the team’s entry into the bunker could not be released in fear of hurting future hostage negotiations.
The investigation is ongoing and authorities are working on clearing the scene of any additional explosive devices Dykes could have created. However, the story is considered one of success, now that Ethan is safe, according to Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson.
“If I could, I would do cartwheels all the way down the road,” said Debra Cook, Ethan’s great-aunt. “We’d all been walking around in a fog.”
The boy is home, the whole ordeal now behind him, laughing and playing again.