Airports Charge More For Cars Than Planes

LONDON, (UPI) — A British study found it is cheaper to park a light aircraft at several airports than it is to park a car at the facilities for the same amount of time.

The Daily Telegraph reported Manchester Airport charges about $54.89 for a full 24 hours of parking in the short-stay car lot, while parking a six-seat aircraft for the same amount of time costs only $32.94.

Parking a car for 24 hours at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport costs $62.73 compared with $16.81 for a light aircraft, the Telegraph said.

Scotland’s Edinburgh Airport charges $36.86 for 24 hours of car parking and $18.67 to park a light plane for the same amount of time.

The newspaper said London’s Luton Airport was the only place where plane parking, $60.99, was more expensive than car parking, $56.46.

“Years ago airports made all their money from the planes,” said Russell Craig of Manchester Airport. “Now at Manchester, aviation income makes up less than half of our revenues. To be able to keep investing, you’ve got to find new revenue streams and some of that is car parking. But pre-booking is the way to save money. The turn-up prices are what they are.”

Mayor Greets Olympic Torch In Sausage Suit

LOUTH, England, (UPI) — A British mayor showed up to greet the Olympic torch while dressed as a sausage to support a campaign to get protected status for Lincolnshire sausages.

Mayor Jill Makinson-Sanders of Louth, England, greeted the torch in her town Wednesday while dressed as a Lincolnshire sausage to show her support for the European Union granting status to the food that would protect manufacturers from outside imitators, This Is Grimsby reported Friday.

“I’m here as a member of the community — not the mayor,” Makinson-Sanders said. “Today is Louth Sausage Day. Louth welcomes the Olympic Torch and is proud to announce that the day will also be a celebration of sausages. There are free samples and sausage deals from all of the Louth butchers. I’m here support the Lincolnshire sausage and be part of this amazing day. So far the response has been very welcoming.”

NYPD Rookie Proposes After Graduation

NEW YORK, (UPI) — A New York Police Department rookie said he enlisted the help of two police officer uncles to propose to his girlfriend while celebrating his graduation.

Anthony Grosso, 23, who graduated Thursday from the Police Academy, said retired officer John Delgardo and detective Mark Moran rolled up in a patrol car while he was celebrating his graduation with family and friends and handed him the flowers and ring he used to drop to one knee and propose to Melissa Galassi, 24, the New York Daily News reported Friday.

“Perfect career, perfect girl, perfect day,” Grosso said after Galassi accepted his proposal.

Grosso said he was inspired to join the NYPD by police officer relatives who supported him when he developed rheumatic fever and a heart condition at the age of 9 and testicular cancer at the age of 15.

“They came on their days off … to take me to the hospital and made sure my family was taken care of,” Grosso said.

However, Delgardo said he sees things differently.

“He says I’m his hero — no way,” the uncle said. “What he went through in his life, he’s my hero.”

Transport Official Suspended For Face Lick

NEW YORK, (UPI) — New York transportation officials said a supervisor accused of licking a female subordinate’s face has been suspended and will likely be fired.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority spokesman Charles Seaton said division manager Earl Bryan’s badge and work pass were confiscated at the close of a first-level disciplinary hearing Monday and officials are moving to fire him following a “complete and exhaustive investigation,” the New York Daily News reported Friday.

Nancy Jenkins, an MTA bus driver, said she was receiving her route assignment early one April morning when Bryan grabbed her by the shoulders and “licked me from under my chin all the way up to my eyebrow.”

Local 100 President John Samuelsen said he filed federal and state lawsuits at the MTA for taking so long to take action on the case.

“It’s outrageous that it has taken nearly two months for the MTA to act,” Samuelsen said Thursday. “We have more than 8,000 female transit workers in all job titles. They have been subjected to lousy rest facilities, disrespect, suggestive language and sexual harassment for too long. Hopefully, this incident and the courageous actions of Bus Operator Nancy Jenkins and others coming forward to out this supervisor will serve notice on everyone at the MTA that sexual harassment has no place in any workplace, but especially in a workplace so public and so important to the people of the City of New York as our public transit system.”

California's Ban On Foie Gras Looms

SACRAMENTO, (UPI) — French foie gras producers are gearing up to fight the impending California ban on the livers of force-fed ducks and geese.

The California law, signed in 2004 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, takes effect Sunday. Animal-rights activists, who argue force-feeding is cruel to birds, lobbied for the ban.

CIFOG, the group representing the French industry, is planning to take the issue to the World Trade Organization, Radio France Internationale reported. Officials say the government backs them.

The United States is actually not a big market for French foie gras, but CIFOG says the ban gives the product a bad name. Producers argue force-feeding does not harm birds because they have elastic esophagi.

“Since we respect the physiology of the animal, we cannot just let this go without reacting,” Marie-Pierre Pe, a spokeswoman said.

In California, meanwhile, restaurants were offering last-minute foie gras binges, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Ken Takayama, chef at Melisse in Santa Monica, said the restaurant has offered a “Foie for All” menu for the past seven months. Even though the price tag is $185, that’s what half his diners are now choosing.

“I have never bought so much foie gras in my entire cooking career,” Takayama said. “It’s just insane.”

Air Force Expands Sex Abuse Investigation

WASHINGTON, (UPI) — The U.S. Air Force says it is expanding an investigation of a sexual misconduct scandal involving dozens of instructors at basic-training sites.

The investigation began a year ago, with a woman filing a complaint at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. It has grown into what observers say could become the worst sex scandal in the U.S. military since 12 male soldiers were charged with abusing female recruits and trainees at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1996, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The Air Force investigation is focused on a unit of boot-camp instructors at Lackland, near San Antonio. About a fourth of the instructors in the 331st Training Squadron either were charged with crimes or are being investigated for sexual misconduct. One trainer was charged with raping or sexually assaulting 10 recruits.

Senior Air Force officials said problems were found in other units, prompting them to open more investigations to determine how extensive harassment toward female recruits is and whether the Air Force’s process for selecting male instructors is flawed, the Post said.

“We are leaving no stone unturned,” Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., Air Force commander of training and education, said Thursday. “I am being as aggressive as I can.”

Rice was in Washington to brief congressional members and Pentagon officials on the investigations.

Last week, the Air Force relieved Lt. Col. Michael Paquette, commander of the 331st Training Squadron, citing “an unacceptable level of misconduct” by unit members.

The Air Force appointed a two-star general to investigate whether the Lackland boot camp and other training sites have “systemic” sexual-misconduct issues, the Post said.

About 3,200 incidents of sexual assault were reported or investigated by the armed services in 2011, Defense Department data indicated.

In April, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced policies designed to encourage victims to come forward and to requiring that senior officers investigate all sexual assault complaints.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., has called on the House Armed Services Committee to conduct hearings as it did in the Aberdeen scandal, the Post said.

“This scandal is exploding at Lackland, and it is frighteningly similar to what happened at Aberdeen,” Speier told the Post.

Shootings At Fort Bragg Kill 1, Injure 2

FORT BRAGG, N.C., (UPI) — A soldier stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., shot and killed a battalion commander, then wounded himself, military officials said.

A third soldier was “slightly injured” by a ricocheting bullet, investigators said.

Fort Bragg officials said the shootings occurred Thursday during a unit safety briefing, The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer reported.

A spokesman for Fort Bragg said the names and ranks of the three soldiers, all members of the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade, wouldn’t be released until relatives were notified.

NBC News reported the soldier killed was a battalion commander, citing a Defense Department official.

The wounded shooter was in custody, said Col. Kevin Arata, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg spokesman.

“This is a tragedy for our community,” Arata said. “We don’t yet know the reasons for the shooting, but are working with the unit and the affected families to help them through this extremely difficult period.”

U.S. Heat Wave Moves East

WASHINGTON, (UPI) — A record-setting heat wave in portions of the U.S. midsection pushes east and south this weekend, weather officials said.

Temperatures were expected to approach 100 degrees along the Interstate 95 corridor, challenging record highs in Washington, Baltimore and Richmond, Va., reported.

Temperatures were expected to hit 100 in several southern cities, including Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Nashville; and Birmingham, Ala.

A huge high-pressure system was responsible for more than 1,000 record high temperatures this week, forecasters said.

Monthly records were either tied or broken from Ohio to Arkansas, The Weather Channel said.

Hill City, Kan., recorded its sixth straight day of 110-plus degree heat Thursday.

St. Louis topped out at 108 degrees, the warmest day since July 18, 1954, and the temperature rose in Louisville to 103 degrees, topping the all-time June record high of 102 set in 1936 and tied in 1944 and 1952, The Weather Channel said.

Forecasters said Nashville could have 100-degree temps into next week.

Asheville, N.C., in the Blue Ridge Mountains, could get several days of 100-degree heat, forecasters said.

Raleigh, N.C., could have triple-digit temperatures through the weekend, The Weather Channel said, challenging the city’s record high for June, 104 degrees on June 27, 1954.

Face-Eater Had No 'Bath Salts' In System

MIAMI, (UPI) — The man who bit off parts of a homeless man’s face in Miami had marijuana but no other drugs in his system, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s office said.

The May 26 attack, captured on a Miami Herald security camera, had led to speculation the attacker, Rudy Eugene, was under the influence of harder drugs, the Herald reported.

The head of the Miami police union had speculated Eugene, who was fatally shot by a police officer, was under the influence of “bath salts,” synthetic stimulants that have been blamed for what appeared to be psychotic episodes elsewhere in the country.

The medical examiner, who enlisted the help of an outside forensic toxicology lab, found no evidence of common ingredients of bath salts.

The Herald said the lab found no evidence of synthetic marijuana or LSD and the medical examiner found Eugene had not taken cocaine, heroin, PCP, oxycodone, amphetamines or any other known street drug other than marijuana, which isn’t known to cause violence.

Eugene, 31, had stripped his clothes off along the MacArthur Causeway, then attacked 65-year-old Ronald Poppo.

Poppo is recovering at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

Congress Holds Eric Holder In Contempt

WASHINGTON, June 28 (UPI) — Congress Thursday voted to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not turning over documents in to the Fast and Furious gun-walking operation.

Congress voted 256-67 to make Holder the first Cabinet member ever held in contempt of Congress. The vote came after Holder declined to comply with subpoenas for documents relating to the controversial gun program, which was started under the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Seventeen Democrats joined the Republican majority in the vote, with more than 100 Democrats, led by the Congressional Black Caucus, walking out of the chamber as voting began.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer accused Republicans of executing a politically motivated agenda, calling the vote “a politically transparent stunt.”

“Republicans pushed for political theater rather than legitimate Congressional oversight,” he said in a statement following the vote.

After the vote, Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., moved to authorize the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and its chairman, Darrel Issa, R-Calif., to obtain a court judgment enforcing its subpoenas of Justice Department officials, including Holder.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a District of Columbia Democrat, called the contempt resolution a “serious, baseless charge of coverup” and asserted Holder began an investigation into Fast and Furious when he learned of it and fired the Bush-era officials involved.

Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va, called the resolution “unfounded, unfair and unwise” noting Holder has already handed over “thousands of documents in response to multiple subpoenas” and blamed Bush’s last attorney general, Michael Mukasey, for allowing the program to continue.

Holder issued a statement on the vote, saying:

“Today’s vote is the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided — and politically motivated — investigation during an election year. By advancing it over the past year and a half, Congressman Issa and others have focused on politics over public safety. …

“When concerns about Operation Fast and Furious first came to light, I took action — and ordered an independent investigation into what happened. We learned that the flawed tactics used in this operation began in the previous administration — but I made sure that they ended under this one. I also made sure that agents and prosecutors around the country knew that such tactics must never be used again. I put in place new policies, new safeguards, and new leadership to make certain of this — and took extraordinary steps to facilitate robust congressional oversight. Let me be very clear — that was my response to Operation Fast and Furious. Any suggestion to the contrary simply ignores the facts.”

Before the vote, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the resolution “abusive” and “factually not true.”

“I urge my colleagues to vote ‘no’ or not vote,” Pelosi said. “It’s Eric Holder one day, you don’t know who it is the next.”

Earlier, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the vote was part of lawmakers’ constitutional duty.

“It’s an unfortunate place where we are. But our members raise their right hand and swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the laws of the United States. And we’re going to do our job,” Boehner said, vowing to press ahead with the civil and criminal contempt votes after the Justice Department refused to hand over all its memos and e-mails that reflect internal deliberations that took place after Congress began its inquiry into a botched gun-tracking operation.

The White House has invoked executive privilege in the matter.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking Democrat on the oversight committee, had appealed to Boehner to halt the precedent-setting action to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt.

He identified 100 “errors, omissions and mischaracterizations” in a report the committee drew up recommending the contempt citation.

The Fast and Furious dispute stems from an oversight committee claim the Justice Department may have sought to mislead the committee about the gun-tracking operation when it said incorrectly in a Feb. 4, 2011, letter the operation did not use a tactic, officially against Justice Department policy, called gun-walking.

The department later retracted that statement.

The 2009-11 Fast and Furious operation was part of a strategy begun during the Bush administration to combat Mexican drug and organized-crime cartels.

News reports have said the operation, run by Arizona agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, used gun-walking, which let suspected smugglers buy more than 2,000 firearms — including AK-47 variants, .50-caliber sniper rifles, .38-caliber revolvers and semiautomatic pistols — without intercepting the weapons.

The stated goal of permitting the purchases was to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key cartel figures, which would presumably lead to the figures’ arrests and the cartels’ dismantling. But the agents lost track of several hundred of the weapons.

Some guns later turned up at crime scenes on both sides of the border, including that of a Dec. 14, 2010, shootout in which U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed.

The gun-walking operation became public after Terry’s death, when enraged agents went to lawmakers about the operation.