The Daily Press The Saline Courier | AP iAtom feed Copyright The Daily Press 2014-07-24T15:35:05-04:00 lifts ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airport2014-07-24T15:35:05-04:002014-07-24T15:35:05-04:00The Saline CourierThe end of the ban, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets, was effective at 11:45 p.m. EDT Wednesday."Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation," the FAA said. "The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions as necessary."The FAA instituted a 24-hour prohibition Tuesday in response to a rocket strike that landed about a mile from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. The directive, which was extended Wednesday, applied only to U.S. carriers.United Airlines, which has two daily flights from Newark, New Jersey, to Tel Aviv, said Thursday: "We intend to resume service. We're now reviewing when we can do so."American Airlines — parent company of US Airways, which has one daily flight from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv — said: "We are in the process of assessing the situation and will make a decision as soon as possible on when to resume service. Other factors will be considered before we resume — the most important being the safety of our crew and our passengers."The FAA has no authority over foreign airlines operating in Israel, although the European Aviation Safety Agency recommended Tuesday that airlines refrain from operating flights to and from Tel Aviv. EASA lifted that advisory Thursday, recommending that national authorities base decisions on flying to Ben Gurion "on thorough risk assessments, in particular using risk analysis made by operators."The FAA's flight ban was criticized by the Israeli government and by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who questioned whether President Barack Obama used a federal agency to impose an economic boycott on Israel.Delta Air Lines, which diverted a jumbo jet away from Tel Aviv before Tuesday's ban by the FAA, will not necessarily resume flights to Israel even if U.S. authorities declare the area safe, the airline's CEO said before the FAA lifted the ban.CEO Richard Anderson said Delta would of course obey FAA orders but would continue to make its own decisions about safety."We appreciate the advice and consent and the intelligence we get, but we have a duty and an obligation above and beyond that to independently make the right decisions for our employees and passengers," Anderson said on a conference call with reporters. "Even if they lift" the prohibition on flying in and out of Ben Gurion Airport, "we still may not go in depending on what the facts and circumstances are."Anderson declined to discuss specifically how the airline would make the decision to resume the flights and spoke only in general terms. He said the airline decides whether flights are safe to operate "on an independent basis, so we will evaluate the information we have and we will make the judgment that our passengers and employees rely on us to make for them every day."The CEO of Middle East carrier Emirates said after the shoot-down in Ukraine of a Malaysia Airlines jet last week that global airlines need better risk assessment from international aviation authorities. Delta, however, seemed more inclined to go it alone.Benton, ARAssociated PressFAA lifts ban on U.S. flights to Tel Aviv airportNo source Air Algerie flight vanishes over N Mali2014-07-24T15:33:52-04:002014-07-24T15:33:52-04:00The Saline CourierAir navigation services lost track of the MD-83 about 50 minutes after takeoff from Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 0155 GMT (9:55 p.m. EDT Wednesday), the official Algerian news agency APS said.That means the plane had been missing for hours before the news was made public. It wasn't immediately clear why airline or government officials didn't make it public earlier.Air Algerie Flight 5017 was being operated by Spanish airline Swiftair, the company said in a statement. The Spanish pilots' union said the plane belonged to Swiftair and it was operated by a Spanish crew.French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said the plane vanished over northern Mali. He spoke Thursday from a crisis center set up in the French Foreign Ministry.The flight path of the plane from Ouagadougou to Algiers wasn't immediately clear. Ougadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers, passing over Mali where unrest continues in the north.Northern Mali fell under control of ethnic Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremists following a military coup in 2012. A French-led intervention last year scattered the extremists, but the Tuaregs have pushed back against the authority of the Bamako-based government.A senior French official said it seems unlikely that fighters in Mali had the kind of weaponry that could shoot down a plane.The official, not authorized to speak publicly, said on condition of anonymity that they primarily have shoulder-fired weapons — not enough to hit a passenger plane flying at cruising altitude.Swiftair, a private Spanish airline, said the plane carrying 110 passengers and six crew left Burkina Faso for Algiers at 0117 GMT Thursday (9:17 p.m. EDT Wednesday), but had not arrived at the scheduled time of 0510 GMT (1:10 a.m. EDT Thursday). The nationalities of the passengers weren't immediately clear.Swiftair said it has not been possible to make contact with the plane and was trying to ascertain what had happened. It said the crew included two pilots and four cabin staff."In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan," APS quoted the airline as saying.Benton, ARAssociated PressFrance: Air Algerie flight vanishes over N MaliNo source university to cut 16 jobs in 2 years2014-07-24T15:32:19-04:002014-07-24T15:32:19-04:00The Saline CourierOffset printing will stop on July 1, 2016, in the university's Print-Mail-Copy Solutions business unit, which provides graphic design services, on-campus mail delivery and a full-service post office. Offset printing involves transferring ink from a plate to a rubber cylinder and then onto paper.The planned cuts are about 40 percent of the business unit, which has 39 jobs, according to reports.University officials said the offset printing operation has been losing money for years. Ending the offset printing service, they say, is expected to save the college several hundred thousand dollars per year."While most people don't want to hear their position is being phased out, our plan is to give ample advance notice to the 16 affected employees, giving them approximately two years to make an orderly transition to other employment or to plan for retirement," said Tim O'Donnell, interim vice chancellor for finance and administration.The school will work with employees who want to stay at the university in helping them find jobs, he said.A mix of in-house services and outside vendors will be used to help fulfill campus demands for printing brochures, newsletters and postcards.Benton, ARAssociated PressArkansas university to cut 16 jobs in 2 yearsNo source lifted at Little Rock Air Force Base2014-07-24T15:31:31-04:002014-07-24T15:31:31-04:00The Saline CourierDuring the lockdown, no one was allowed to enter or leave the base. Gates were closed and a line of vehicles stretched for a quarter-mile outside of the base, which takes up just a bit more than 9 square miles."We responded with the necessary caution to secure our airmen, their families and Air Force resources," Col. Patrick Rhatigan, the 19th Airlift Wing commander, said in a statement. He apologized for the inconvenience but said it was necessary to ensure that the base and its military and civilian staff were safe."After a thorough search of the base," Rhatigan said, officials "found the report no longer credible."About 7,000 to 8,000 people work at the base, approximately 1,200 of them civilians.Lt. Mallory Thornton, a spokeswoman for the Little Rock Air Force Base, blamed the lockdown on a "suspicious individual." Officials were not releasing specific details about what prompted the lockdown and search."Someone called in to security forces to say they had seen a suspicious person, what that person was doing has not been released," Thornton said.The base is a training site for personnel assigned to the C-130 cargo airplane and hosts the 19th Airlift Wing, the 314th Airlift Wing, the 29th Weapons Squadron and the Arkansas Air National Guard's 189th Airlift Wing.Three C-130s were diverted to Little Rock National Airport during the lockdown.Christina Rivera, whose husband is an airman on the base, said she'd received an automated phone call telling everyone on base to stay indoors. Rivera, who had been waiting outside the gate entrance for more than two hours at that point, said her husband was barricaded in their bedroom with their two children, who are 8 months old and 18 months old."All I want is to go home and be with my husband and my kids," she said.Emergency crews were on the scene, and sirens could be heard over loudspeakers outside the base's entrance. The base had been conducting emergency response exercises, but officials said Wednesday's incident was not part of the drill.Some vehicles were allowed to leave the base after being checked by security about two hours after the lockdown began.The perceived threat never extended off the base; some local law enforcement agencies were notified about the lockdown but were not summoned. "They've got their own security force," said Bill Sadler, a spokesman for the Arkansas State Police.Shane Carter, a spokesman for the Little Rock airport, said three C-130 aircraft landed at the city's airport about an hour after the lockdown began. The behemoths practice series of landings and takeoffs at the civilian airport.Benton, ARAssociated PressLockdown lifted at Little Rock Air Force BaseNo source fire stations doused2014-07-24T15:29:53-04:002014-07-24T15:29:53-04:00The Saline CourierIn November voters approved a bond issue to build two fire stations to replace older stations. Based on estimated revenue, the city's former finance director, Cindy West, had predicted that the city would have $4.4 million available for the project. However, based on revenue from 2013, the city now anticipates having less to spend on the project. "Since our finance department has established more accurate reporting practices, staff has discovered that the anticipated revenue stream to fund the fire departments was already dedicated for other purposes within the fire department," said Dabbs during the City Council meeting Monday. The city is currently using the money to pay off new fire trucks.The trucks have been financed for four more years but the city is working to pay off the trucks as quickly as possible, Dabbs said.Also during the meeting, Alderman Randy Cox made a motion that the city hire an engineer to inspect the garage at Station 3 to determine if the building is safe and will last until the money is available. This motion was approved. "Bryant has much to be proud of and the community is the envy of many around Arkansas," Cox said."There are many fire departments with beautiful fire stations that do not come close to Bryant's public safety facilities and personnel," Dabbs said.Benton, ARSarah PerryProposed fire stations dousedNo source In History: State review board to consider Palace for historic register2014-07-24T15:25:43-04:002014-07-24T15:25:43-04:00The Saline CourierThis will be a matter to be addressed in the board's next meeting, which is set for 10 a.m.Wednesday, Aug. 6, in Room 170 at 323 Center St. in Little Rock, according to the program director, Frances McSwain. The Palace Theater at 224 W. South St. is a two-story brick structure built in 1919. Extensive alterations to the building preclude its listing on the National Register of Historic Places.“Since its construction in 1919, the building has served as a theater where the community could gather and watch popular motion pictures of the era or theatrical productions,” according to the Arkansas Register nomination.“The Palace Theatre building also has been a place in which the youth of the city could congregate socially or participate in a variety of sports and recreational activities," the nomination form notes.At the upcoming meeting, the board also will consider Redbug Field at Fordyce in Dallas County and Langley Gymnasium at Langley in Pike County for listing on the Arkansas Register of Historic Places.Two years ago the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas named the Palace to Arkansas' Most Endangered Places listing.The Palace Theatre opened its doors to a sold-out crowd on March 5, 1920. Unfortunately, the builder was forced to sell the theatre only a few months later. Throughout the 1920s the building changed ownership several times, but remained a movie and play theatre before closing its doors.After World War II, residents joined together to reuse the building as a youth recreation center. The popular Play Palace attracted young people from around the county for recreation and social events.The center closed in 1953 and the building was used as a gathering place for residents of Benton before the Panther Den opened in 1960. After its closure a few years later, the city remodeled the building, bricking up windows and installing an arched entrance. A white vinyl "slipcover" facade was added.The Saline County Library opened there in 1967 and served the city in this capacity until 2003. In 2005, the city removed the slipcover from the front of the building, revealing the historic facade which was masked for nearly 50 years.The building currently is used for storage by the Royal Players, the local community theater organization. In addition to the Palace Theatre issue, the State Review Board will consider eight Arkansas properties for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.The Arkansas Register recognizes historically noteworthy places that are not eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.Properties to be considered for National Register nomination are Heagler House and Duffy House at North Little Rock in Pulaski County, Sid Hutcheson Building at Norfork in Baxter County, Redfield School Historic District at Redfield in Jefferson County, Carnahan House at Pine Bluff in Jefferson County, U.S. 64 Horsehead Creek Bridge at Hartman in Johnson County, Harold Adams Office Building at Fort Smith in Sebastian County and Beaver Spring at Beaver in Carroll County.The AHPP is the Department of Arkansas Heritage agency that identifies, evaluates, registers and preserves the state’s cultural resources. Other agencies are the Arkansas Arts Council, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Delta Cultural Center, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and the Historic Arkansas Museum.Benton, ARLynda HollenbeckPlace In History: State review board to consider Palace for historic registerNo source NEWS: Little Rock Air Force Base on lockdown2014-07-23T13:30:56-04:002014-07-23T13:27:44-04:00The Saline CourierAn official statement was released by the base:Benton, ARSaline Courier StaffBREAKING NEWS: Little Rock Air Force Base on lockdownNo source cites progress in Gaza cease-fire talks2014-07-23T13:05:35-04:002014-07-23T13:05:35-04:00The Saline Courier"We certainly have made steps forward," U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in Jerusalem, where he met for the second time this week with United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon. "There's still work to be done."He did not offer any specifics about the progress he cited in his third day of talks with Mideast leaders. He was in Jerusalem shortly after landing in Tel Aviv on an Air Force jet — one day after the FAA banned commercial flights into Ben-Gurion Airport because of a Hamas rocket attack nearby.White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken said there must be a way forward that does not involve Hamas having the ability to "rain down rockets on Israeli civilians.""One of the results, one would hope, of a cease-fire would be some form of demilitarization so that this doesn't continue, doesn't repeat itself," Blinken said in an interview with NPR. "That needs to be the end result."Asked about Blinken's remarks, Kerry said, "All of the issues of Gaza would be on the table."The U.S., Israel and the European Union all consider Hamas a terrorist organization. But the U.N. does not, and Ban said he and Kerry were jointly lobbying officials in the region to push Hamas and Israel to a cease-fire as soon as possible."We don't have much time to wait and lose," Ban told reporters before the meeting with Kerry.Kerry also offered "profound gratitude" to what he described as 30,000 Israelis who lined Jerusalem streets on Wednesday for the funeral procession of Israeli soldier Max Steinberg, a 24-year-old American from the San Fernando Valley of Southern California who was killed in the fighting. "That's a remarkable statement — we're very grateful," Kerry said.In Ramallah, following a meeting of just over an hour with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Kerry said the limited progress was gained in the last 24 hours and pledged to continue working on the cease-fire when he returns to Cairo late Wednesday night."We're doing this for one simple reason: the people in the Palestinian territories, the people in Israel, are all living under the threat or reality of immediate violence," Kerry told reporters outside Abbas' office. "And this needs to end, for everybody. We need to find a way forward that works. And it's not violence."Abbas made no public statements during Kerry's visit to Ramallah.Kerry also planned to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on what appeared to be a crucial day in the talks. U.S. officials have downplayed expectations for an immediate, lasting truce between Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza.Meanwhile, the FAA was reassessing its ban on Ben-Gurion — which the State Department said does not apply to military aircraft — by midday Wednesday in Washington. The European Aviation Safety Agency also issued an advisory saying it "strongly recommends" airlines avoid the airport. Israeli officials said the precautionary U.S. step was unnecessary and "gave terror a prize" by reacting to Hamas' threats.State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, "The FAA is in close touch with Israel (and) continues to monitor and evaluate the situation."Israel launched a massive air campaign on July 8 to stop relentless Hamas rocket fire into Israel, and expanded it last week to a ground war aimed at destroying tunnels the military says Hamas has constructed from Gaza into Israel for attacks against Israelis. More than 630 Palestinians and about 30 Israelis have been killed in the violence. Israel says its troops have killed hundreds of Hamas gunmen, while Gaza officials say the vast majority have been civilians, many of them children.Israel and the U.S. back an unconditional cease-fire proposal that has been offered by Egypt, which would be followed by talks on a possible new border arrangement for Gaza. Israel and Egypt have severely restricted movement in and out of Gaza since Hamas seized the territory in 2007.But Hamas has rejected repeated Egyptian truce proposals. The militant group, with backing from its allies Qatar and Turkey, says it wants guarantees on lifting the blockade before halting its fire. In addition to discussions with Egypt officials, including President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Kerry spoke several times Tuesday from Cairo with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiya.Earlier this week, Netanyahu said the international community must hold Hamas accountable for the latest round of violence, saying its refusal to agree to a cease-fire had prevented an earlier end to the fighting. He has long accused Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel, of not wanting a two-state solution.Egypt has also been negotiating with some Hamas officials, but relations between the two sides have been strained since Egypt outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood, which has ties to Hamas, after last year's overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi.Benton, ARAssociated PressKerry cites progress in Gaza cease-fire talksNo source men charged in western Arkansas shooting death2014-07-23T13:03:39-04:002014-07-23T13:03:39-04:00The Saline CourierJonathan Bridgewater, 27, and Nicholas Barrows, 19, half-brothers from Rudy, are accused of fatally shooting Jamison Lee Plum, 19, the Southwest Times Record reported. Barrows also faces a charge of criminal use of a prohibited weapon, after police said they found pipe bombs during a search of his home.Plum's body was discovered last month with multiple gunshot wounds in a shallow grave on property owned by the suspects' grandmother. Both men lived on the property in separate homes.Online court records do not show an attorney for the men, who are being held on no bond at the Crawford County jail. They were charged with capital murder Monday.Police found the victim's body after Bridgewater's then-girlfriend reported he had shown her Plum's corpse underneath a tarp in the woods.Capital murder is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. The prohibited weapon charge is punishable by five to 20 years in prison."A decision on the death penalty will be decided later on, after a complete and thorough investigation by the sheriff's office," Prosecuting Attorney Marc McCune said.Benton, ARAssociated Press2 men charged in western Arkansas shooting deathNo source probing switch of flags on Brooklyn Bridge2014-07-23T13:02:38-04:002014-07-23T13:02:38-04:00The Saline CourierThe security breach at one of the city's most secured landmarks didn't appear to be the work of terrorists or even a political statement, said the police department's deputy commissioner for counterterrorism and intelligence, but was likely done by people familiar with climbing or bridgework who may even have scaled the bridge before."We don't take these things lightly, or as a joke, or as art or within the realm of speech," John Miller said. "These are issues of trespass — they put themselves in danger, they put others in danger — and that's why we investigate it."Video footage of the security breach shows the unidentified people walking on the bridge's footpath at about 3:10 a.m., and 20 minutes later the light on the bridge's Brooklyn tower flickers and goes dark, Miller said. The same thing happens about 12 minutes later on the Manhattan tower, he said.Locked gates midway up the main cables leading to the tops of the towers didn't appear to have been tampered with, suggesting the climbers scaled them to reach the top, Miller said.Two police cars sit at either end of the bridge, which stretches the East River connecting lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, and are fed real-time security camera footage trained on areas affecting the structural integrity of the bridge, Miller said, but those cameras didn't capture the flag bandits.At about 5:30 a.m., construction workers noticed the white flags, apparently American flags about 20 feet by 11 feet and perhaps commercial grade, with faded stars and stripes, police said. Police removed the white flags just before noon.The flags fly from above the pillars year-round and are replaced by transportation workers when they become frayed about every two months, police said. They are lit from the bottom by a lamp at the base of each tower at night — lights that were covered by aluminum foil cooking sheets secured with zip ties, Miller said.More than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists cross the Brooklyn Bridge every day, said the city's Department of Transportation, which maintains it.Tourist Johan Lund, from Stockholm, Sweden, crossed the bridge Tuesday and did a double take when he noticed the white flags flapping in the wind."Wasn't there an American flag there yesterday?" he said to himself.High-profile breaches have been made before.Benton, ARAssociated PressPolice probing switch of flags on Brooklyn BridgeNo source