Wikinews:Briefs/August 6, 2010

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Today on Wikinews : We briefly recap the top stories from around the world and on today's this day in history, we present the missingest man in New York.

Today is Friday, August 06, 2010. I'm Dan Harlow and this is Wikinews.



A man armed with a 2-foot long knife killed three children and a teacher in a brutal attack in Zibo in eastern China. The Chinese government has been mostly silent on the incident.

The man who killed the people was identified as 26 year-old Fang Jiantang, and he later turned himself in to police. His motive for killing the children and the teacher is unknown.


After a rare clash between Israeli and Lebanese forces over the cutting down of a tree near the border of the two countries, it appears that all sides are attempting to restore peace.

The skirmish started after an Israeli soldier started cutting down a tree that has the capability to provide cover for Lebanese infiltrators. Israel has stated that they clear the border of underbrush weekly. After the tree was cut down, the Lebanese army started firing. The Lebanese were allegedly aiming at a base nearby, and the resulting skirmish killed a senior Israeli military officer, a Lebanese journalist two Lebanese army soldiers.

The United Nations peacekeeping force in south Lebanon has stated that Israel was operating in their own territory. However, Lebanese Information Minister Tarek Mitri said that the area of land which had the tree "[was] Lebanese territory," and also stated that though Lebanon respects the border, the country still contests part of it.


According to TIME magazine, Haitian-American music star Wyclef Jean is to seek Haiti's presidency this Thursday. Last week Jean, who is a former member of the Fugees music group, took legal steps to run for the presidency, and Jean said in an interview that "if I can't take five years out to serve my country as President, then everything I've been singing about, like equal rights, doesn't mean anything." His younger brother also said that his candidacy was "very serious."

On January 12 of this year, Haiti was rocked by a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that killed 300,000 and displaced millions. Whoever wins the presidency will face the task of rebuilding the crippled country. The presidential elections are scheduled for November 28.


The president of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, is facing criticism for continuing a tour of Europe while his homeland is facing the worst flooding in 80 years.

Opposition politician Imran Khan called for the president "to head home immediately." Khan criticized Zardari for "[going] on this lavish tour -- this money could be used on the victims. Remember, Pakistan is bankrupt right now so the government doesn't have enough money, so he should be mobilizing people to help these victims of the floods." Zardari is scheduled to meet UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday.

The flooding has killed over 1,500 people and has left over three million others in need of assistance. According to Islamabad's National Weather Forecasting Center, rain has been falling at a rate of 25-30% higher than average.


Aircraft company Boeing lost orders for 26 jets over the past week, according to the company's website. Boeing lost 15 orders for their new and long-delayed 787 Dreamliner, 10 for their Boeing 777 and one for their smaller 737 jet. The company also gained two orders for the 737, which makes for a net loss of 25 orders. Boeing hasn't identified the customers that canceled their orders.

With the 15 dropped 787 orders, Boeing has lost four more orders than it gained for the aircraft this year. Boeing has gained 28 orders for the 787 and lost 32 in 2010. Boeing has gained 255 orders for its lineup this year, which consists of the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787. 229 of those orders are for the 737 jet.


Alex Rodriguez, baseball player for the New York Yankees, hit his 600th career home run on Wednesday. His 600th home run was hit in Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the homer was "an amazing feat -- quite an accomplishment."

With the home run, Rodriguez, also known as A-Rod, became the seventh player in Major League Baseball history to reach the 600 milestone.

On this day in history (4:49)

And today on This Day in History ...

... a tale of mystrey, intrigue, and posbily murder!

It was the summer of 1930 and Judge Joseph Force Crater and his wife, Stella Mance Wheeler, were vacationing at their summer cabin at Belgrade Lakes, Maine. Everything seemed fine until, in late July, Judge Crater received a telephone call which he took in private.

He offered no information to his wife about the content of the call, other than to say that he had to return to the city "to straighten those fellows out".

The next day, he arrived at his Fifth Avenue apartment but instead of dealing with business, he made a trip to Atlantic City with his mistress, a showgirl named Sally Lou Ritz.

He then returned to Maine on August 1, but traveled back to New York on August 3. Before making this final trip, he promised his wife he would return by her birthday, on August 9.

On the morning of August 6, Crater spent two hours going through his files in his courthouse chambers. He then had his assistant, Joseph Mara, cash two checks for him that amounted to U.S. $5,150 (equivalent to about $67,115 in today's funds).

At noon, he and Mara carried two locked briefcases to his apartment and he then let Mara take the rest of the day off.

Later that evening, Crater went to a Broadway ticket agency and bought one seat for a comedy called Dancing Partner that was playing that night at the Belasco Theatre and then went to Billy Haas’s Chophouse on West 45th Street for dinner. There, he ate dinner with Sally Lou Ritz and a friend of his who was a lawyer. The dinner ended a little after 9 pm, a short time after the curtain rose on the show for which Crater bought a ticket, and the small group went outside.

Sally and the lawyer then entered a taxi outside the restaurant and both saw Crater walking down the street. However, what happened to him after that remains a mystery.

When he did not return to Maine for 10 days, his wife began making calls to their friends in New York, asking if anyone had seen him. Only when he failed to appear for the opening of the courts on August 25 did his fellow justices become alarmed. They started a private search but failed to find any trace. The police were finally notified on September 3 and after that, the missing judge was front-page news.

The story captivated the nation and a massive investigation was launched. The official investigations started vigorously, but quickly slowed. Detectives discovered that the judge's safe deposit box had been emptied and the two briefcases that Crater and his assistant had taken to his apartment were missing. These promising leads were also quickly bogged down by the thousands of false reports coming from people claiming to have seen the missing man. Crater's wife later found the missing money in a desk drawer in her home, along with a note from the judge.

Was he murdered? Had he run off with another woman? Or had he been involved in corrupt practices which were about to be revealed? Who knows. However, Sally Lou Ritz, the mistress, also disappeared in August or September 1930, and was never seen again either.

For many years following Crater's disappearance, "Judge Crater, call your office" was a standard gag of nightclub comedians and was often heard on public address systems. The phrase "to pull a Crater", meaning to disappear, also became a popular expression.

However, none of the subsequent investigations succeeded in discovering the judge's fate or possible whereabouts, and Crater was officially declared dead "in absentia" on June 6, 1939 and his case — Missing Persons File No. 13595 — was officially closed in 1979.

But then, on August 19, 2005, authorities received a note from the recently deceased 91 year old wife of former NYPD officer Robert Good. The note identified a location near West Eighth Street in Coney Island, Brooklyn, at the current site of the New York Aquarium, where she claimed the judge was buried under the boardwalk. She also identified the killers as members of the organized crime gang Murder, Inc., and her husband.


And those are the top headlines for Friday, August 06, 2010

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