Atheist soldier feared for life

first_imgSpc. Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed a lawsuit this past week against a Maj. Paul Welborne and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The suit, in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., alleges that Welborne threatened to file military charges against Hall and to block his re-enlistment for trying to hold a meeting of atheists and non-Christians in Iraq. Hall is in Iraq with the 97th Military Police Battalion out of Fort Riley. He has been in Iraq since 2006, on his second tour. The suit also alleges Gates permits a military culture in which officers are encouraged to pressure soldiers to adopt and espouse fundamentalist Christian beliefs. In a series of e-mails to Mikey Weinstein, the foundation’s founder and president, Hall said he feared for his safety after being “hallchecked” – being shoved against a wall in a hallway – by fellow soldiers who objected to his lawsuit. Bloggers have also referred to “fragging” Hall, or killing him by friendly fire. “I hope I am not the victim of a hate crime while I sleep tonight. I do not want to die for my country this way,” wrote Hall, saying a noncommissioned officer was threatening to beat him. “I’m doing my best right now. But I am still afraid that I might be harmed or worse.” The Army is investigating Hall’s allegations, said Lt. Col. James Hutton, a spokesman for multinational forces in Iraq, in a statement Saturday. However, Hutton added: “Several media reports list a person named Maj. Paul Welborne as having been involved in this situation. To date, we have not located any soldier by that name.” Weinstein said the incidents alleged in the lawsuit happened in July and August and Welborne may have left Iraq since then. Instead of finding the major, Weinstein said the military must find the soldiers who threatened Hall after he filed the lawsuit and prosecute them under military law. “We’re talking about stuff that happened 36 hours ago. If they can’t find the people who have been harassing Jeremy, we will,” said Weinstein, who released Hall’s e-mails to The Associated Press on Friday. “This isn’t that hard to do.” In naming Gates as a defendant, the lawsuit alleges he permits a culture that sanctions activities by Christian organizations, including providing personnel and equipment. It also says the military permits proselytizing by soldiers, tolerates anti-Semitism and the placing of religious symbols on military equipment, and allows the use of military e-mail accounts to send religious rhetoric. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! HARASSMENT: “I hope I am not the victim of a hate crime,” a specialist who is suing wrote. By John Milburn THE ASSOCIATED PRESS TOPEKA, Kan. – Military officials are investigating an Army specialist’s allegations that he was harassed for being an atheist but said Saturday they have found no trace of the officer listed as a defendant in the soldier’s lawsuit. last_img read more

Wild Canyon Games 2012 – Extreme Geocaching

first_img SharePrint RelatedJoin in the Geocaching Adventure at the Wild Canyon Games!March 29, 2011In “Community”Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter – February 15, 2012February 14, 2012In “Groundspeak’s Weekly Newsletter”April Featured Geocacher of the Month Nominees – Add Your CommentsMay 11, 2012In “Community” Geocachers from Foundation Fitness competing in the Wild Canyon Games Geocaching Event. The circle highlights a helicopterFour geocachers finally stood atop the rock covered peak of a desert vista. The geocachers could see the horizon stretch out before them for miles. Geocaching.com Lackeys Colin Williams (Colin) and Jenn Seva (MissJenn), accompanied by two other geocachers, climbed high enough to look down on the flight path of an observation helicopter.Logging a geocache near the Wild Canyon Games venueLackey Troy Kaser running in the TriathlonThere were no homes to be seen. They squinted to even find a road. But hidden on the largest geocaching course in the world – 55 square miles – 450 geocaches waited in crevasses and cracks, bushes and trees, to be discovered. Colin and Jenn were part of one of two Geocaching.com teams competing in the Wild Canyon Games. The Wild Canyon Games is a team-based adventure race competition.Colin and Jenn’s GPS coordinates told them a geocache was somewhere on that peak. They teamed up with other geocachers to find it. Geocaching is just one event in two days worth of adventure games.In the geocaching event hundreds of competitors had four hours to accumulate the most points – by logging geocaches and recording the unique codes inside. Each geocache carried a point value based on its difficulty, terrain, and distance from the start.Lackeys Annie Love and Nicole Bliss ready to download waypoints for the Geocaching EventThe course crawled with more than 600 geocachers. Teams plotted strategy to unlock the geocaching route they believe would deliver them the most points. They raced the clock.Nearly 130 teams from the Pacific Northwest of the United States competed in the games.Lackey Ernesto Ricks after riding the bike courseColin says they had to take the long detour to try to find just one cache – to help even the playing field, “Sure, we climbed the highest mountain in the area. If we spent the whole time geocaching it would have been unfair to the rest of the field.”Lackeys helped the rest of the field prepare for the event. The Lackey teams assisted competitors by downloading the waypoints on GPS devices and offering GPS device training before the geocaching event began. Groundspeak’s two teams of seven also competed in an Olympic length relay triathlon and a seven stage relay which included, among other obstacles, a 50 foot canyon swing, an elevated ropes course, and a zip-line.Lackeys MissJenn and Colin pointing the mountain they climbedLackey Annie Love (Love) completed the zip line safely. But she says, her fate seemed a little unsure at the top of the tower, “As I was about to step off the Zip Line platform, I had a quick thought of ‘OMG, I am going to die!!’ and then I thought to myself ‘My team needs me.’ and I leaped off.”The weekend wrapped up with a team relay race called Creek to Peak that features Cyclo-Cross, an obstacle course, a lake sprint swim, two mountain sprints, and much more.But for Lackeys like Constance Baldwin, it was the geocaching that defined the weekend. She says, “Geocaching brought us together in sometimes adverse terrain and we cared for each other. It was extremely profound for me personally and made me love the game and Groundspeak and what we do even more.”Wild Canyon Games 2013 is already being planned for next year. When asked by the emcee of the event, “Are you coming back next year?” Lackey Bethany Buer simply said, “Duh!” And we hope to see you there.A special thanks to the Wild Canyon Games organizers and Paul Tannahill (Pablo Mac) and his team for preparing the geocaching course.Geocaching.com Teams at the Wild Canyon Games (not pictured Lackey Volunteers Cathy Hornback and Tom Phillips ) Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

Mobile Web or Native App? Chomp’s App Search Shows Both

first_imgThe debate between native mobile apps and HTML5 mobile web apps is probably not very important in the minds of most consumers – but it’s big for developers. Starting today the venture funded iPhone app recommendation app Chomp now includes both in its search and social recommendations. That means more and different apps for users.Mobile Web apps don’t require Apple’s approval to be accessible, but for now Chomp is limiting its index to the thousands of mobile Web apps that have been checked and approved by Apple. (Did you know Apple maintained a list of approved mobile Web apps?) None the less, it’s an important development in the app ecosystem. App discovery on mobile devices is a big challenge. Apple announced in January that iPhone users have downloaded apps 3 billion times and analysts expect the total mobile app ecosystem across all platforms to grow to 50 billion by 2012. That number could be even bigger if it included Web-accessed apps. Chomp believes it offers a better app discovery process than Apple’s own iTunes store (VentureBeat has a good in-depth overview). The company has served up tens of millions of app recommendations since launching in January and now has a few million reviews posted. The Google Mobile team launched an app-discovery feature in its search results this week but doesn’t include mobile Web apps and is very limited. Chomp’s approach is better, but is still limited to Apple-approved apps. The company says it wants to keep users safe with a good experience, but it’s also clear that basing its Web app index off of Apple’s is the simplest way to include any Web apps. Chomp also requires that you download and launch a specific app for app discovery, rather than surfacing web apps through everyday casual mobile Web use.Chomp looks and works much better today than it did at launch and is worth checking out. As a news event, bringing together native and mobile web apps into one search interface is definitely notable and likely a sign of things to come across the whole app ecosystem. Combine this with Google’s recent announcement that it is advancing access to hardware for mobile web apps and the division between the mobile web and native app ecosystem feels less important every day. Tags:#mobile#NYT#Product Reviews#web Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement marshall kirkpatrick Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

All you need to know about Dhola-Sadiya Bridge, India’s longest river bridge

first_imgPrime Minister Narendra Modi takes a walk on the Dhola-Sadiya bridge over the Brahmaputra in Assam after inaugurating it on Friday. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@PMOIndia 4. It is 3.55 km longer than the Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai. The sea link has now become the second longest river bridge in the country.5. The construction of the Dhola-Sadiya bridge began in 2011 by the Ministry of Road Transport along with Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd., under the public-private-partnership agreement6. A sum of ₹ Rs 2,056 crore has been spent on the bridge that can withstand 60 tonnes of weight, including battle tanks.7. The bridge, which has a three-lane carriage way, will also cater to the strategic requirements of the country in the border areas of Arunachal Pradesh, besides facilitating numerous hydro power projects coming up in the State, as it is the most sought after route for various power project developers.8. The bridge will make it much easier for Army convoys to reach outposts near the China border. It is also expected to boost tourism as there is no civilian airport in Arunachal Pradesh and this will make the road transport smoother.9. The bridge will increase industrial investments with better border trade between the Northeast and South Asian countries.10. State-run SAIL is the largest supplier of steel for the bridge. The PSU has supplied around 90% or around 30,000 tonnes of steel, including TMT, structurals and plates, for the bridge. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated the Dhola-Sadiya Bridge in Assam, which is India’s longest river bridge.Here are 10 things to know about the bridge:1. Spanning 9.15 km, the bridge is built across the Lohit river, which is a tributary of the Brahmaputra. It will connect Assam and eastern Arunachal Pradesh. The total length of the project, including the approach roads on each side, is 28.50 km.2. The bridge is located 540 km from Assam’s capital Dispur and 300 km from Arunachal Pradesh capital Itanagar. It connects Sadia town in Assam’s Tinsukia district with Dhola village, also in Assam.3. The bridge will reduce the travel time between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh from six hours to just one hour as the distance will shrink by 165 km.last_img read more

Nitish on a clean-up drive in era of graft

first_imgMany politicians have squandered away the benefits of a landslide electoral victory by doing precious little for the common man. But Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar seems inclined to make the most of the three-fourths majority given to his alliance in the recent assembly elections.He has begun his new innings in right earnest by declaring an all-out war on corruption. Less than a week after he assumed charge, he announced his government’s resolve to bring about the Right to Service Act in Bihar to facilitate timely disposal of work related to public utility services. He also talked about incorporating provisions for a penalty on officials who do not compelte their task within the stipulated time.In the following week, his government acted swiftly to confiscate the property of an official charged with amassing wealth disproportionate to his known source of income. The government will now open a school in his palatial building in keeping with Nitish’s poll-time promise.But it is his decision to abolish the local area development fund of the state legislators that has underlined his determination to rid the state of corruption. Under the scheme, MLAs and MLCs of the state had been getting a discretionary fund of Rs 1 crore per annum.This fund was created with the seemingly ‘noble’ intention of helping legislators implement development projects as per their preference in the areas of their choice but it did not remain immune to taints of graft in subsequent years. Majority of the schemes executed with this fund reeked of poor quality and hence the scheme came to be seen as perpetuating corruption.advertisementSensing the public perception of this scheme, Nitish first broached the abolition of this project during a meeting of the National Democratic Alliance ( NDA) legislators last week and sought their opinion about it. He also spelt out the reason behind it, saying the fund had caused more harm to their image in the public eye. Three days later, the state cabinet took a decision in principle to do away with this scheme and bring about an effective scheme in its place.In just one masterstroke, he put an end to this fund of Rs 1 crore each to 243 MLAs and 75 MLCs, which he can now channel to other welfare initiatives. Not only this, he also called upon all ministers and legislators to declare their income and assets every year to ensure probity in public life.Even opposition parties like the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress have supported this move. But more surprising is the way the NDA legislators have rallied behind him, except for the murmurings of a few. Deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi says that there is no difference of opinion among the legislators over the abolition of the fund and wants the Centre to emulate it.Nitish’s decision to get the fund abolished has come at a time when the NDA had received a massive mandate and his leadership cannot be questioned by anybody within the coalition. He apparently wants to convey his seriousness about eradicating corruption from public life not only to the people in general but also to those politicians who wish to perpetuate the myth that graft is a way of life these days.Nitish’s decision has come at the right time. This has set the agenda for his government for the next five years. He has taken the bull of corruption by the horns at the outset of his new tenure. Its success will be evaluated in the next assembly election.Sonepur’s good old cattle fairThe traditional rural fairs are fast becoming pass even in Bihar but the famous Sonepur Mela seems to have retained its old charm. In an era of fun parks and mobile games, the fair – once touted as the biggest cattle fair in Asia – gives glimpses of the “real India”. The month- long mela attracts not only national and foreign tourists but also villagers from nearby areas. It has been primarily famous for the sale and purchase of animals, especially elephants, horses, dogs, cows and birds over the years.In recent times, the ban on the sale of birds and animals, including elephants, have limited its appeal but it still attracts hordes of prospective buyers. Instead of outright sale, elephants are given away as ” gifts” to tweak the rules these days. It is, however, the village market-like atmosphere that is the USP of this mela.From the typical Bihari cuisine available at food stalls to the rural wares sold at the fair, everything reminds one of good old days. The crowds of villagers swaying to the beats of catchy tunes inside the theatres also seem to be the throwback to a bygone era. The Saran district administration is often forced to cancel the licence of the theatres on the charge of obscenity but they return every year in view of their ever- growing demand among the mela revellers.advertisementA treat for Patna’s bookworms Patna Book Fair is an event that every Patnaite looks forward to every year.Bihar is considered to be a huge market by the publishers because of the people’s abiding interest in books and their love for reading.The fair attracts a large number of bookworms every day. This time, it is no different.The latest edition of the fair, inaugurated by chief minister Nitish Kumar on Friday, had more than 60,000 visitors last Sunday. But not every visitor is a potential buyer of books. Majority of them go there for reasons other than purchasing books.Some visit the fair to listen to eminent writers and other intellectuals who share their thoughts with the readers every day. Others go to explore career and employment opportunities through the stalls of different agencies and institutions. Some food stalls selling delicacies like Hyderabadi Biryani draw more crowds than many of the book stalls. And a large majority makes the most of it by having fun, loitering around under the winter sun and having an extended picnic through the day. Nitish believes that this ambience makes it a ‘fair’ in the real sense.In a lighter vein, he said that many people primarily turned up only to gaze at the crowd of book buyers. ” But how long can one go on gazing at the people?” he said.”They also end up developing an interest in reading when they look at the books.” Nitish now wants the organisers to host an international book fair in Patna in deference to the wishes of the teeming book lovers of Patna.Do not disturb! Cops sleeping It is not at all uncommon to catch policemen napping during their duty hours in Bihar.Some of them tend to make the most of the winter sun whenever they find a convenient place. At times, one can find them dozing off even in their patrol cars.But two such ‘ sleeping’ constables in Patna found themselves to be the unlucky ones when they were caught stealing forty winks by none other than the district’s senior superintendent of police B. S. Meena.The SSP saw Rakesh Kumar and Ravindra Kumar Singh sleeping near a girls’ college where they had been deployed to keep a watch on mischief mongers and eveteasers.The SSP, who happened to be passing by, promptly suspended them from duty. The suspension must surely have robbed the duo of their sleep now!BIHAR has finally found a woman sporting icon in Smita Kumari who was part of the Asian Games gold- medal winning kabbadi team. Her success is all the more striking because she fought poverty and family opposition before making it to the team. Smita developed a passion for kabaddi while watching boys play in her village. She now wants more girls to take up kabbadi and hopes that the state government would provide jobs to players to motivate them.advertisementlast_img read more

Turning point: South Africa vs West Indies World Cup tie

first_imgThe turning point in the South Africa vs West Indies World Cup match that was played at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi on Thursday has to be the third wicket stand between South Africa skipper Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers.The two put on 119 runs for the third wicket after the West Indies bowler struck early removing Hashim Amla (14) and Jacques Kallis (4). From 20-2 they pushed the score to 139-3 and eventually helped the team win by seven wickets.Man-of-the-Match AB de Villiers went on to score a century remaining unbeaten on 107 and even earned a MoM award for his efforts.last_img