David Shepherd: News Blog

Journalist's Notebook

North Korea Deploys Missiles

CNN is reporting North Korea has deployed surface-to-air missiles on its coast as the United States and South Korea prepare for navy drills Sunday.

 Tensions have been high on the Korean peninsula since last week’s North Korean attack against an island in South Korea.

 World leaders have been concerned over the escalating situation in that area as North Korea possesses nuclear weapons.

Some government leaders in South Korea have said the region is at the brink of war.

November 27, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | 1 Comment

Teen Arrested in Failed Portland Car Bomb Plot

Mohamed Osman Mohamud

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Saturday, November 27, 2010

Federal prosecutors tell NBC News that a Somali-born teen has been arrested for plotting a car bomb attack at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland Friday.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested after trying to detonate the dud bomb given to him by undercover agents as part of an anti-terror sting.

Court documents show Mohamud was arrested after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would detonate the explosives at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square as thousands were in attendence for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

Witnesses tell NBC News Mohamud yelled, “Allahu Akhbar” and tried to kick agents as the arrested him.  He’s charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.

If convicted, he could face up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

November 27, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UPDATE: Official Says South Korea Attack One Step Closer to Brink of War

By: David Shepherd & News Sources [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Photo: MSNBC

UPDATE: South Korea’s President, Lee Myung-bak, says “enormous retaliation should be made to the extent that [North Korea] cannot make provocations again,” after Tuesday’s military attack on the South. He said that an “indiscriminate attack on civilians can never be tolerated.”

Myung-bak called an emergency security meeting shortly after the initial shelling that killed 2 South Korean soldiers and wounded others and the death toll may climb, according to NBC News.

The White House said Tuesday, President Barrack Obama was awakened in the early morning hours and given an emergency briefing on the situation. A spokesman for the President says Mr. Obama plans to speak with the South Korean President.

The White House is strongly condemning the attack saying the United States will honor its alliance obligations to the South.

Peter Beck, a research fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations told NBC News, “[the attack] brings us one step closer to the brink of

South Korean TV showing images of homes burning in the wake of the most aggressive military action against the South since the Korean War ended in the 1950's

 war because I don’t think the North would seek war by intention, but war by accident, something spiraling out of control has always been my fear.”

ORIGIONAL STORY: The South Korean island was attacked Tuesday by North Korean artillery shells in one of the most aggressive attacks on the country since the Korean War, NBC News is reporting. The North’s military attack killed 2 South Korean soldiers, wounded 15 others, and set up to 70 houses ablaze, according to South Korean TV YTN.

The news agency is reporting at least 200 shells hit the island of Yeonpyeong. Most of the shells landed on a South Korean military base there. Now, both countries are ready for whatever may come next, vowing to continue to fight if the other doesn’t back down. In Seoul, the South Korean government called the action an “indisputable armed provocation against the Republic of Korea.  Making matters worse, it even indiscriminately fired against civilians. Such actions will never be tolerated.”

The statement says the country “immediately and strongly responded to the provocation in accordance with the rules of engagement”and vowed to “retaliate against any additional acts of provocation in a resolute manner.”

North Korea also issued a statement saying the attacks were in response to an incident that stemmed from South Korean military drills, calling them “war maneuvers for a war of aggression.”

AP / Tentions mounting in South Korea after the attack from the North, which claims to have a strong and growing nuclear weapons program.

In Washington, there are fears of escalation with a U.S. Defense official telling CNN that the “hope is that this is just one isolated incident, not an escalation into a different military posture.”

For decades, North Korea has been a concern on the global front for their nuclear program. North Korea possesses nuclear weapons that may be able to reach as far as the United States. Many fear escalation could bring the two nations closer to the brink of nuclear war.

November 23, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rare Late November Tornado Touches Down in Illinois, Significant Damage, Injuries

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Monday, November 22, 2010

Photo: Nicole Bradley

Destruction lies in the wake of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that ripped through parts of the Midwest Monday.

Among the hardest hit, northern Illinois, where there were several reports of tornado touchdowns and significant damage.

 News sources are reporting at least three children were hurt in Caledonia, Illinois, when their school

Photo: The Rockford Register-Star

 bus was flipped in the severe storms.  There have been no reports as to the extent of their injuries.

 CNN is reporting Caledonia’s town hall was destroyed when the storms blew through.  Elsewhere in the town, at least one home was completely destroyed and power was knocked out to about 500 residents.  There was significant damage done to several other homes and businesses in that area.

 Severe weather was also reported in Wisconsin where meteorologists from the National Weather Service will have to determine if a tornado touched down there.

November 23, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hot Contests: It May Be A Long Election Night

By: David Shepherd [dshepherd@wtwo.com] – Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The “spin machines” are telling voters and candidates this Election Night could be a long one, with so many hotly contested races across the nation.

This election is an important one.  The balance of power in Congress will be decided by the voters today.  But will we know those results tonight?  If candidates mount legal challenges to a result that doesn’t favor them, it could take days or even weeks.

Challenges, re-counts and lawsuits have become a staple part of American politics.  But with so much on the line tonight, anxious voters are hoping to have answers as soon as possible.

NBC News is reporting even if there are no legal challenges or recounts, it’s likely that the results of several contests will not be clear on the morning of November 3rd. And there are plausible scenarios in which the balance of power in the Senate — where Republicans must net 10 seats to regain the majority — is not known for days after Election Day.

One of those hotly contested races is for The Senate in Illinois.  It’s being called one of the tightest contests in America this year.  The

PHOTO: NBC News / Getty Images

 Republican candidate is pulling anywhere between a two-and a three-point lead over his Democratic challenger. 

In some states, results within a few points of each other would trigger an automatic recount.  But under Illinois’ election laws, a candidate can request a recount under certain circumstances but there would be no automatic recount.

As we learned from the Presidential Election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, and from many races that followed, a candidate could take results of a recount they don’t like a mount a lengthy legal challenge.

But do the recounts and all of the legal “bumbo jumbo” leave a bad taste in voter’s mouths?  What do you think?  Take the on-line poll.

SoundOFF Web Poll

November 2, 2010 Posted by | News & Current Events | Leave a comment