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Toxic air from Ukraine train derailment continues to make people sick

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A freight train in Lviv, Ukraine derailed, caught fire, and spilled a toxic chemical, releasing dangerous fumes into the air early Tuesday morning (local time), and people who live near the site of the crash are still becoming sick. Officials say that the toxic cloud, surrounding at least 14 villages near the scene, is at least 23% above benign levels.

So far 70 people, including 19 children, have been hospitalized after being poisoned by the fumes from train cars filled with yellow phosphorous. That number is up from the 15 seeking medical attention on Tuesday.

“I can say we have resolved the situation by extinguishing those tankers. Now we need to talk about dealing with the aftermath of this breakdown,” said Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine’s Prime Minister.

“This is a dangerous substance … It is highly flammable and causes burns and choking,” said Greenpeace Russia toxic gas expert, Alexei Kiselev.

The European Union has stated that they will continue to monitor the gas cloud because toxic gas clouds do not “respect borders” of countries and will travel.

The train was shipping cargo from Kazakhstan to Poland when it derailed. Authorities have ruled out sabotage and terrorism from playing a role in the crash and are still investigating the accident. At least 15 cars, of the 58 the train was pulling, derailed or were overturned.

Water and local crops are said to not be affected by the chemical spill.

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University of Southern California spit test predicts cavities

Monday, February 21, 2005

Los Angeles, California —A simple saliva test can predict whether children will get cavities, how many cavities they will get and which teeth are most vulnerable.

Developed by researchers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the test quantifies the genetic component of tooth decay, spotting the risk when something can be done about it.

“When we apply this to young children, it allows us to predict what might be their future caries history—the number of cavities that they’ll get by, say, their late 20s or early 30s,” says researcher Paul Denny.

Called the Caries Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CARE) test, the test measures the relative proportions in saliva of different types of sugar chains called oligosaccharides. The same sugar chains are present on tooth surfaces.

The effect of sugar chains on teeth’s resistance to disease is analogous to the effect of “good” and “bad” cholesterol on blood vessels. “Good” sugar chains tend to repel bacteria that cause cavities while “bad” allow bacteria to bond to teeth and start the decay process. Unlike cholesterol, however, sugar chain makeup in humans is 100% genetically determined.

Denny and colleagues have found that the sugar chain makeup in saliva can predict a child’s future cavity history to plus or minus one cavity with greater than 98% confidence.

The findings suggest that in developed areas of the modern era genes play a more significant role in tooth decay than in former times or third world nations where gross malnutrition and negligent oral hygiene held the greatest impact on dental health.

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Edmund White on writing, incest, life and Larry Kramer

Thursday, November 8, 2007

What you are about to read is an American life as lived by renowned author Edmund White. His life has been a crossroads, the fulcrum of high-brow Classicism and low-brow Brett Easton Ellisism. It is not for the faint. He has been the toast of the literary elite in New York, London and Paris, befriending artistic luminaries such as Salman Rushdie and Sir Ian McKellen while writing about a family where he was jealous his sister was having sex with his father as he fought off his mother’s amorous pursuit.

The fact is, Edmund White exists. His life exists. To the casual reader, they may find it disquieting that someone like his father existed in 1950’s America and that White’s work is the progeny of his intimate effort to understand his own experience.

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone understood that an interview with Edmund White, who is professor of creative writing at Princeton University, who wrote the seminal biography of Jean Genet, and who no longer can keep track of how many sex partners he has encountered, meant nothing would be off limits. Nothing was. Late in the interview they were joined by his partner Michael Caroll, who discussed White’s enduring feud with influential writer and activist Larry Kramer.

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Selecting The Right Commercial Garage Door In Boston Ma

byAlma Abell

Any type of Commercial Garage Door in Boston MA will get an excessive amount of use. Deliveries will be made all hours of the day and night. Repairs trucks will be coming and going several times during business hours. Customers will be driving their cars and trucks through express oil change lanes. Forklifts and dock equipment will be going back and forth through warehouse doors and dock entrances. Selecting the right commercial door for the purpose is essential for functionality, durability, and longevity. It has to withstand opening and closing numerous times each day the business is opened. Depending on the business, a high-speed door may be the best choice.

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A Commercial Garage Door in Boston MA also has to provide the proper level of security to protect the building, the vehicles, and any inventory stored inside. Once the day is over, the door has to be able to hold strong against vandalism, break in attempts, and inclement weather. Steel reinforced doors, heavy-duty aluminum, and high security doors may be ideal for large garages. Timed locking mechanisms, doors that lock into bolts on the floor, and doors with sliding deadbolts can be fitted to any entrance width. A warehouse door that is designed for forklifts, for example, will be narrow to increase energy-efficiency in the building. In that case, a roll-up door make be the perfect solution.

Appearance is also a factor, depending on where the door is located. A garage door at the side of the building, as opposed to the back, will be seen by customers, passers-by, and the customers and staff of the neighboring commercial building. Selecting a door that matches the exterior of the building, suits the style of the business, and looks welcoming is important. Those in the back should blend in with the rest of the structure, but can focus on function more than appearance. A wide variety of choices from top manufacturers, knowledgeable staff, and custom solutions for unique situations makes selecting the right door easier. An experienced company, like Collins Overhead Door Inc, for example, will provide selection assistance to customers, as well as a warranty on any door installations.

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Dog owner to face felony charge

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Two dog attacks in a week puts Spotsylania County authorities in the spotlight to take action on pet owners for their dog’s behavior. In unrelated incidences, an elderly woman was killed and another woman was bitten. Three dogs have been shot dead by police.

An 82 year old woman was walking her Shih Tzu breed of dog in her front yard last week when she came under attack by three Pit Bulls. She died being transported to the hospital after police responded and shot two of the attacking dogs. They later captured the third dog and euthanized it.

More recently, a 31 year old woman was bitten on her hand during a fight that ensued between two Pit Bulls in her back yard. The responding police officer shot the aggressor dog.

Public outcry over the death of the elderly woman stirred procecutors to charge the dogs’ owner, Deeana Large, with involuntary manslaughter. This is a first for the Commonwealth of Virginia where charges that carry a maximum penalty of 10 years are leveled in a case involving a pet’s owner. In order to gain an indictment, prosecuters will have to prove the dogs’ owner was criminally negligent. In the biting incident, the attacking dog’s owner faces a misdemeanor charge of letting the dog run at large.

Deeana Large, who initially said she owned only 1 of the 3 dogs involved in the mauling case, has not yet been formally charged and awaits indictment. Investigators in the case say there were earlier reports of her dogs allegedly killing a German Shepard and a kittten in her neighborhood. Complaints by neighbors spurred an animal control officer to be looking for the dogs at the time the woman was killed.

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Ed Sheeran wins Song of Year Grammy for Thinking Out Loud

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Yesterday, UK singer Ed Sheeran won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for his song Thinking Out Loud from his album × ahead of Kendrick Lamar’s Alright; Wiz Khalifa’s, featuring Charlie Puth, See You Again; Little Big Town’s Girl Crush; and Taylor Swift’s Blank Space. Girl Crush won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

Welsh singer Amy Wadge co-wrote the song. Sheeran during the ceremony said they wrote the song on a couch in his house. In remarks to the Western Mail, Wadge said the album was already complete when they wrote the song.

Thinking out Loud remained #2 on Billboard Hot 100 for almost two months, and topped the UK rankings last year. Its video song has 969 Million YouTube views and has more than four million likes. The song also won the Grammy Award for Best Pop Solo Performance.

US singer Stevie Wonder announced the winner for the Song of the Year, and the envelope was written in Braille script. He joked about it saying “You can’t read it, you can’t read Braille!”

Along with Ed Sheeran’s first Grammy, Canadians The Weeknd and Justin Bieber won Grammy awards for the first time.

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Advice For Planning Cheap Family Holidays In The Uk

Submitted by: Ungira Pandit

Are you one of the many out there searching for cheap family holidays in the UK? 32.6 million tourists visited the UK in 2007. But did they get their value for money? That is another story altogether. If you are planning a trip to the UK with your family, you need to be equipped with the right information aimed to give you the best experiences in the UK without putting a hole in your pocket. If you plan your family holiday correctly you will be able to have the perfect UK holiday you want. Taking the time to do some productive research will give you a better idea on how to secure cheap family holidays and also keep your loved ones satisfied.

The first step for cheap family holidays in the UK would be to avoid the busy seasons which start in July and end in August. If you go during the off season to the UK, hotels, restaurants and attractions have much cheaper fares as compared to the busy season. April through September would be a good time to plan a trip to the UK. Visiting the UK in the winter can also have its advantages depending on what kind of family holiday you are anticipating for. If you are looking for cheap family holidays in the UK which revolves only around the theatres, galleries and museums then winter is a good time since these are the only attractions open. But be careful to schedule your time wisely as it starts getting dark around 4 pm.

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Doing some hunting on the internet will save you some money on airlines and hotels perfect for arranging cheap family holidays in the UK. Many hotels and airlines offer discounts if you book your hotel via the internet and buy airline tickets online. Sometimes it helps finding out current deals and offers by calling up the hotel you wish to stay in. Most of the rates for accommodations are more expensive during the weekends so try and plan your stay during the week if possible. Inquire about their policy on children. You may find that your child will be accommodated for free if they are under a certain age. Search for bed and breakfasts, guest houses and smaller hotels to get a better accommodation rate. These types of places generally have a traditional touch. They may be smaller and less glamorous but they will not fail to please!

Dining in the UK can hike up price of your family holiday quite a bit, especially if you have a large family. But there are ways to save some money and also have a delicious meal every time you eat during your cheap family holidays in the UK. Start by finding out where the local grocery stores are. The food available in grocery stores is ten times cheaper and more realistic to the regional taste and delicacies. If you want to go to a restaurant try the ethnic smaller restaurants and pubs which don t cost as much as hotel restaurants and provide tasty traditional meals. Remember to check if the service fee is included in the bill so you don t unnecessarily pay a tip to the waiter. If you must check out a fancy restaurant, opt for a lunch meal instead of dinner to get subsidized rates. There are also takeaway joints which don t have sitting areas but instead the opportunity to pack a meal to carry to your next destination. This saves time to see more attractions and money on your meal expenditure. The local fish and chips takeaways are famous for providing big quantities enough for two and a tasty meal to carry with you. Experiment with the local markets as well. Many markets prepare sandwiches using fresh deli meats, sausages and bread for scrumptious affordable experiences on your cheap family holidays.

Megatrains provide low cost travel options which take you to all the popular attractions in the UK. It gives you a chance to pass through cities you initially had not planned to visit. Megatrains give you the chance to explore away from the normal tourist routes and to observe the local culture. Train fares range from 1 to 20 and have a 50 pence booking charge. Even buses provide a good option as in some towns they have shuttle buses running for free. Some of the buses even provide city tours to check out all the sights by bus and view the city scenery. It would be a wise decision to find out about passes which can be obtained only outside of the UK to get free entry into all the attractions.

There are many options to get free offers and subsidized fares. The idea is to avail of as many of these discounts as possible to provide pleasant cheap family holidays in the UK.

About the Author: Pontin’s is well known for its special offers and has all the resources your family will need to plan a cost effective entertaining holiday for your next break. Pontin s has been around in the business since 1946 and is currently offering exclusive packages for

cheap family holidays

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US Court of Appeals reduces sentence for former Philippines officer in spy case

Monday, February 9, 2009

Michael Ray Aquino, a former Philippines National Police officer serving six years imprisonment in McRae, Georgia for espionage could now be eligible for immediate release after a United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit judge panel Friday modified a United States District Court for the District of New Jersey‘s judgment, ordering a resentence of the accused under more lenient guidelines.

“I feel relieved for Michael Aquino and his family. We won the appeal. Michael will be resentenced. His new sentencing range will be 36-46 months (that is, essentially time served). Aquino has now served exactly 41 months in prison to the day on Feb. 9, 2009,” Aquino’s lawyer, Mark A. Berman, Esq. said. “The accused pleaded guilty to merely to possessing military secrets, and a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Walls erred in using harsher sentencing guideline reserved gathering or transmitting classified documents,” Berman added.

But Federal prosecutors had argued for Walls’ sentence, alleging “his guilty plea included acknowledging the stolen documents could have been used to harm the United States, making him eligible for the stiffer sentence,” Christopher J. Christie, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey submitted. “Crimes like these strike at the heart of our national security because they involve our keeping our secrets secret. These defendants will face the full weight of federal prosecution,” said US Attorney Christie.

“The arrests of Leandro Aragoncillo and Michael Ray Aquino affirm the FBI’s commitment to apprehending those who would seek to reveal classified information to foreign nationals,” explained FBI Special Agent in Charge Leslie Wiser Jr. Both accused were ordered in judicial custody without bail by United States Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz in September 2005.

“While Aragoncillo was an active participant in the offense, Aquino’s role was purely passive,” wrote Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry in a written opinion promulgated Friday, in “US v Aquino” (No. 07-3202), an appealed case originating from D.C. Crim. No. 05-cr-00719. In the judgment, federal judges Barry, Michael Chagares and Jane A Restani, Chief Judge of the United States Court of International Trade, sitting by designation, have acknowledged that Judge William H. Walls’ interpretation of the harsher sentencing guideline was understandable, but the statute is imprecise. “Accordingly, we will vacate the judgment of sentence and remand for resentencing,” the panel ruled.

“The Honorable Maryanne Barry” is a United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit judge, daughter of Mary MacLeod Trump, who hails from Tong, Western Isles. Barry is the older sister of real estate mogul Donald Trump and the mother of David Desmond, who is a neuropsychologist and the author of the satirical novel Oliver Booth.

The espionage case was the first of its kind, obliging the Court to turn to the dictionary instead as a legal tool to resolve the landmark case. Circuit Judge Barry then used the 1993 version of the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary to define the word “obtain.” The pertinent part, pages 9 to 10 of the 13-page decision provides as follows:

First, Aquino never admitted—at least in so many words—that he “obtained” the documents found in his possession. According to Webster’s, “to obtain” means “to gain or attain possession or disposal of usu[ally] by some planned action or method.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 1559 (1993). This has an active connotation. At his sentencing hearing, Aquino answered in the affirmative when asked whether he had “receiv[ed]” documents (App. 44) that Aragoncillo “was providing” (App. 45) or “transmit[ting]” (App. 46). At no point was “planned action or method” on Aquino’s part even suggested. While Aragoncillo was an active participant in the offense, Aquino’s role was purely passive. In short, there is no sound textual basis for selecting either § 2M3.2 or § 2M3.3 to address Aquino’s retention offense at Step One. Fortunately, at Step Two, the Sentencing Commission provided guidance that makes it functionally irrelevant whether we begin our analysis at § 2M3.2 or § 2M3.3. Critically, the District Court did not heed what the Commission had said.—”USA v. Michael Ray Aquino,” Case No. 07-3202, Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry

Judge Walls sentenced Aquino to 76 months imprisonment for violation of 18 United States Code 793(e), punishable under the harsher United States Sentencing Guidelines, 2M3.2, (Gathering National Defense Information, which imposes 35 years sentence if top secret and 30 years, if not) instead of the more lenient 2M3.3 (Transmitting National Defense Information, etc.)

Because of the Barry decision which modified the original Hall’s sentence, Aquino now faces 37 to 46 months imprisonment when he is resentenced by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Since he has already served 40 months, he could be immediately released.

But since he was initially arrested in September 2005 for tourist visa rules violations, he will be delivered by the judicial authorities to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services when he leaves McRae Correctional Institution in Georgia. Aquino will be processed for deportation. McRae is a city in Telfair County, Georgia, United States.

Michael Ray Aquino was a former Deputy Directory of the Philippines National Police Intelligence Group and former senior superintendent of the now-disbanded Philippines Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force under former Philippines president Joseph Estrada.

On November 24, 2000, PR man Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito were kidnapped along the corner Zobel Roxas Street in Manila and the South Super Highway by gunmen believed to be members of the PNP. Four days after, the victims’ charred remains, consisting of burnt bones, metal dental plates and a ring, were later found in Barangay Buna Lejos, Indang, Cavite. Both victims were killed by strangulation.

P/Col. Glenn Galapon Dumlao, one of the accused, named former Po/Supt. Cezar O. Mancao II and former S/Supt. Michael Ray Aquino as the brains behind the crime. Mancao and Aquino were members of Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force or PAOCTF, headed by then Gen. Panfilo Lacson. Suspects Mancao and Aquino left the country after being implicated in the heinous crime. Dumlao disappeared afterwards but later resurfaced in the US.

In 2005, murder cases were filed in Philippine courts and arrests warrants were issued against accused Dumlao, Aquino and Mancao. Dumlao, a resident of Patchogue, New York was arrested and held without bail on November 20, 2008 by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge William D. Wall. On December 10, Dumlao was ordered extradited to the Philippines by Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Long Island, New York.

The initial hearing of the extradition case of Dumlao’s co-accused, Mancao II, now detained in Florida, was held on December 3, in the US District Court in Southern Florida in Fort Lauderdale. Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez had requested the US Justice Department to extradite Mancao and Dumlao to face murder charges in the Philippines. An extradition hearing has yet to be initiated for Aquino, although, as trusted officer of then PNP chief, now senator, Panfilo Lacson, was also requested for extradition by the Philippine government to face trial for the Dacer-Corbito double murder.

“Sir, the other day Leandro ‘Lean’ Aragoncillo called me. … He wants to talk to you and give you some updates on the political situation in the country,” wrote Aquino in an e-mail of January 2005 to his former boss Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. “I find all the information that you are sending me very useful. I hope you will continue sending more,” replied Sen. Lacson in an e-mail he allegedly sent in January 2005 to Aragoncillo. “By no means would you show this information. … I will be affected severely. Again, please protect the source – Me,” said Aragoncillo in an E-mail he allegedly sent in August 2005 to former Philippines President Joseph Estrada.

In March 2005, Aquino was arrested by immigration authorities for overstaying his visa. He contacted his friend, Leandro Aragoncillo, a Philippine-born civilian FBI Intelligence Analyst, who worked in the White House (between 1999 and 2002) as “administration chief” of the security detail assigned to the Vice President (Gore and then Cheney). However, Aragoncillo’s efforts on Aquino’s behalf eventually led to Aragoncillo being investigated by the FBI. In the course of that investigation, evidence of espionage against the United States Government was uncovered.

According to reports complied by Filipino intelligence professionals, there were indications of a link between Aragoncillo and the French intelligence service, Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure. Frequent visits by Aragoncillo to Manila allegedly were interspersed with clandestine meetings between identified, French operatives and several “illegals” (i.e. unregistered agents) around 2002 to 2004.

“What it means is that there is a hole in White House security. There are two kinds of people at the White House: Those that have been very well-vetted and those that have been extremely well-vetted and have access to the top secret computer network. This man had access to the top secret computer network.” said Richard A. Clarke, a former White House adviser.

“The FBI said Aragoncillo was concerned about e-mailing from his personal account so many classified documents from FBI computers, and he asked one recipient, Filipino opposition Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, whether he was a nuisance. “The reply, court records say, came back two days later in a cell phone message intercepted by the FBI: “What you are sending are never a nuisance to me. They are in fact informative and very useful,” Clark added.

In September 2005, Aragoncillo, a retired US Marine Gunnery Sergeant with 21 years service was suspended by the FBI, and arrested for violation of Title 18 of the US Code, Sections 371 and 951, admitting espionage activities from August 2000 to August 2005, and taking files while working under VP Cheney from 2001-2002, including giving information to another country.

In July 2007, Aragoncillo, age 50, a naturalized US citizen residing in Woodbury, New Jersey was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for “transferring classified information to assist in overthrow of Philippines government.” Aragoncillo, admitted passing information by cellphone text messages and e-mail messages through Hotmail and Yahoo accounts, to Aquino, former President Joseph Estrada, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and opposition politicians, who wanted to oust Mrs. Arroyo, including former House Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella, according to court documents. He will be released from Federal Correction Institute in Big Spring, Texas on May 28, 2014.

The court fined Aragoncillo $40,000. “I never intended to cause harm or injury to the United States,” Aragoncillo told the judge. In July 2007, Sen. Panfilo Lacson as well as deposed president Joseph Estrada have admitted to receiving information from Aquino, but they denied any conspiracy. “Aquino is determined not to return to the country,” said Sen. Lacson, who admitted extending financial support to Aquino and his family.

In July, 2008, Sabina and Carina Dacer, the daughters of missing public relations man Salvador “Bubby” Dacer testified at the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC), after almost eight years of self-exile in the United States. “In his exact words he said, ‘mga anak, kung may mangyari sa akin, walang ibang may kakagawan noon kundi si Ping Lacson, (my daughters, if anything happens to me, no one but Ping Lacson is responsible)” Sabina Dacer told ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. “Hindi naman kilala ng daddy ko si Michael Ray Aquino as far as we know eh. So kung hindi siya kilala ng daddy ko, sino yung kilala niya na kilala ng daddy ko? (My dad does not know Michael Ray Aquino as far as we know. So, if my dad does not know him, whom does he know that my dad knows?)” Carina Dacer said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson has vehemently denied any involvement in the Dacer-Corbito murder case. “For the Nth time, I will assert the truth that I had nothing to do with it,” said Lacson in a text message. “They can lie and make people lie even under oath and before a court of law to make me look bad and guilty in the Dacer case. In fact, right after Dacer disappeared, the family sought my help… And I responded the way I should as a law enforcement officer at that time,” Lacson explained.

On Saturday, September 10, 2005, Aquino was also arrested at Queens, New Jersey and was charged with conspiracy and acting as an agent of a foreign official in the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, presided by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls. Aquino was accused of helping Aragoncillo transmit classified United States documents regarding President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to her opponents in the Philippines, including both former President Joseph Estrada and current opposition leader, Panfilo Lacson, who had been Aquino’s superior in the police force.

In an indictment of 6 Oct 2005 signed and filed by United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie, the Grand Jury sitting at Newark, New Jersey, accused Aquino with charges of – “knowingly communicating classified information by a government employee to an agent or representative of a foreign country (i.e. receiving classified information), acting as an agent of a foreign official without notification of the Attorney General, in violation of Title 18 of the US Code, Section 951, conspiracy to commit all of the above offenses in violation of Title 18 of the US Code, Section 371, and not cooperating with authorities, under Title 18 of the US Code, Section 2.

Under an eventual plea-bargain agreement, Aquino entered a plea of guilty to illegal possession of classified documents, but avoided the more serious charge of espionage which Aragoncillo received. On July 17, 2007, Aquino was sentenced to six years and four months in prison by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls. Federal prosecutors had sought the maximum 10-year term.

Aquino “did subject our nation to some peril,” ruled Judge Walls. “I am sorry for what I did. I never had the intention to harm the United States. I love this country,” said Aquino who addressed the court for three minutes before sentencing, and apologized. On November 21, 2008 his reduced sentence request was submitted to the appellate court.

Meantime, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is monitoring developments in the Aquino espionage case. “Of course we are interested in his case, but all we can do is to wait for the outcome of the case of Michael Ray in the US,” said a police official.

The Alliance for A Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines has criticized the judgment: “For the AJLPP the news of the release proves that the charade of injustice is ever present when it comes to the cabal of AFP men who served as worst human rights violator and proven puppets of the United States military like the Lacson boys,” the AJLPP said. “On the other cases of oppressed immigrants like the Baoanan case languishes in courts and not acted upon. So much for double standard of American justice system.” The AJLPP statement concluded.

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