Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Israel indicts American over plot to bomb Muslim holy sites

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An American Christian is facing charges in Israel of plotting to blow up Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, Israeli authorities said Tuesday.
Adam Everett Livix, 30, was identified by the Israeli Police and the Justice Ministry. Livix faces drug charges in the U.S. and that he once turned down an offer from a Palestinian to assassinate President Obama during a visit to Israel in 2013.
The Justice Ministry said the man they identified as Livix underwent a psychiatric evaluation Tuesday after his indictment Monday on charges of illegal weapon possession and overstaying his visa by more than a year. Operating in cooperation with Israel's Shin Bet security service, police went to arrest Livix last month at his 7th-floor apartment, the ministry said, but he initially tried to escape by leaping down to a patio on the floor below.
Livix, posing as an ex-Navy SEAL, was asked by a Palestinian to assassinate Obama with a sniper rifle in March 2013 when Obama was making a trip to the region, Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfield said. Livix did not go through with it and the FBI ended up investigating the matter.
Later that year, Livix entered Israel, the Justice Ministry said, and told Israeli friends he had strong anti-Arab sentiments. The ministry said Livix later cooperated with his roommate, a serving soldier in the Israeli military, to obtain 3 pounds of explosive material to blow up the unidentified Jerusalem holy sites. The ministry said police discovered the plot in October.
Livix's indictment comes at a time of rising tensions in Jerusalem, mostly over a disputed holy site known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and Jews as the Temple Mount. It is the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest in Judaism.
As members of the Israeli government demand that Jews be allowed to pray at the Muslim-run site, Palestinians fear it is a pretext to a Jewish takeover.
This isn't the first time there have been allegations of a foreigner threatening a holy site in Jerusalem. In 1969, an Australian Christian started a fire at the complex's Al-Aqsa Mosque in hopes that it would hasten the second coming of Jesus Christ. The man, Denis Michael Rohan, was subsequently committed to a mental institution.

Jumping shark 'photobombs' surfing competition off Australian town, breaching twice nearby

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A jumping shark has "photobombed" a surfing competition off an Australian beach.
Amateur photographer Steph Bellamy captured the image of the shark with her smartphone on Sunday as she was photographing mothers and their children paddling on their surfboards off a beach in the New South Wales state town of Coffs Harbour.
Bellamy, 47, said Tuesday that she did not know that the splash in her viewfinder was a shark until she examined the image on her phone moments later.
"He jumped twice, he photobombed big time, then he went on his way," Bellamy said.
The mothers, like Bellamy, had children in the Coffs Harbour Boardriders club and were taking part in a special mothers' heat toward the end of day of a local surfing competition when the shark appeared a few meters (yards) away from the group. She photographed the second breach.
Bellamy quickly showed the image to organizers, proving that the split-second disturbance had not been caused by a dolphin or tuna. The surfers were called out of the water. But about 15 minutes later, most returned and the completion continued, she said.
"Nobody was rattled. Everybody was really cool and blown away that I got the shot," Bellamy said.
Colin Simpfendorfer, a James Cook University shark expert, confirmed that the image was of a shark. He said it was possibly a spinner shark, which is common in the region and is known to jump from the water. He estimated it was around 2 meters (7 feet) long.
Lee Winkler, who was among the surfers near the shark, said he mistook it for a tuna.
"It was having a bit of fun," Winkler said. "It just jumped up and had a spin, then jumped up and had another spin, then went away."