Archive for April 9, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. — (DMN/Accuweather) – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their March 2012 National Overview report today, confirming that March was more than just a month of scattered warmth — it shattered records across the U.S., becoming the only month ever recorded, except for January 2006, that had surpassed its record by such a large margin. According to NOAA, the average temperature across the U.S. was 8.6 degrees above the 20th century average. However, the report did not just reveal that certain parts of the U.S. had unseasonable warmth; no region was exempt from the weather anomalies.
Every state in the nation experienced at least one record warm daily temperature in March, totaling 15,272 warm temperature records broken. The Northeast had its warmest March in 118 years this year, averaging 44.4 degrees F, 9.8 degrees above the average for the region. In the Midwest region, it was the warmest March on record for the region as a whole and individually for each of the nine states within it. Over 6,400 daily temperature records were recorded for the region, 650 of which were records for any day in March.
In the Southeast, Virginia, the Carolinas and northern Georgia and Alabama had monthly temperatures that were 9 to 10 degrees F above average. Birmingham, Ala., Tampa, Fla., Atlanta, Ga., Columbia, S.C., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Roanoke, Va., all had their warmest March on record. Additionally, many locations in the Southeast experienced all-time March records for number of days with 80-degree-F temperatures and higher.
The High Plains had many summerlike days throughout March, with widespread monthly temperature departures of 9 to 15 degrees. Average monthly temperature records were broken in each state in the region, some of which had been in place for over 100 years. Many cities broke record high daily temperatures, as well, with some as high as 17 degrees above average. In the South, mean temperatures for the month ranged from 3 to 15 degrees F above normal. Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee each had their warmest March since records began in 1895.
The West was the coolest region of the U.S. throughout March, but it still experienced some record highs. Long Beach, Calif., hit a record high of 91 F for March 4. AccuWeather.com’s Long-Range Forecasting Team expected the unusual warmth during March and this spring in general. “At least two-thirds of the nation could wind up with above-normal temperatures (during spring 2012),” AccuWeather.com Paul Pastelok, expert long-range meteorologist and leader of the AccuWeather.com Long-Range Forecasting Team, wrote in a frecast back in late February. Pastelok said that spring of 2012 would feature the most widespread warmth since 2004.
The FBI Behavioral Science Unit estimates that anywhere from 30 to 50 serial killers are active in the United States at any given time. Comforting huh? In 1979 Houston’s legendary oil boom was in full swing. Thousands of people fleeing crumbling Rust Belt economies were pouring into the Bayou City. Many of the new Houstonians flocked to hundreds of apartment complexes that catered to a younger crowd. But there was a dark side to those jubilant days. A killer was stalking and murdering young women and men, sexually assaulting some of them and violently slashing their throats. And in two shocking murders, the killer made off with the victim’s head. Both are still missing.
Today, more than three decades later, the status of five murder cases that took place within two months of one another remains virtually the same as in 1979. There are no suspects, no fingerprint or forensic evidence to help develop a suspect, and the most rudimentary of theories. The questions remain: Was there a cold-blooded serial killer with a compulsion to collect human heads at work in Houston? And is the killer still out there? “I don’t think it’s the same suspect, but you’ve got to keep an open mind in these things,” said Sgt. Paul Motard, a veteran Houston police homicide investigator on the cold case squad.
The first killing shocked the city. On July 27, 1979, a co-worker of Alys Elaine Rankin went to pick her up at the Orchard Apartments in the 5900 block of Glenmont in the Gulfton area of southwest Houston. Bob Smithagreed to take Rankin, a 33-year-old secretary at an engineering firm, to work because her car was being repaired. Smith approached her apartment door and found it slightly ajar. He looked in and saw Rankin lying nude in bed, her feet bound together, with a pillow over her upper body. When he removed the pillow, he saw that Rankin’s head had been removed. Police say she had been sexually assaulted.
A trail of blood tracked from the side of the bed, where the killer set down her head, out the apartment door and down to the parking lot, where police believed he placed it in a car. Rankin’s head has never been found, although an extensive search was made. Smith, in a Houston Post story five years after the grisly murder, compared the terror he felt at discovering his co-worker’s headless torso to being slugged in the stomach. “I looked over my shoulder and had that feeling that if the person who did this was still around, he’d get me,” Smith said. Then, 14 days later and two floors above Rankin’s apartment, the body of Mary Michael Calcutta was discovered in her bathroom. This second murder ignited a wave of fear, with women leaving the Orchard Apartments or buying guns to protect themselves.
Calcutta, a 27-year-old Pittsburgh native, was stabbed dozens of times as she put up a determined fight with her killer. She, too, had been sexually assaulted, police said “Mary Calcutta died harder than any murdered woman I ever worked. She fought her killer from the front door until she couldn’t fight him anymore,” recalled Jim Binford, a retired HPD homicide investigator. “He stabbed her with such force that it went all the way through her, and it bent the blade.” Binford and Motard believe the same man killed both young women. Investigators found butcher knives at both apartments.
The retired detective is convinced the Orchard Apartments killer had more than two victims. “He just didn’t stop doing it,” Binford said. Calcutta’s family, who in 1980 offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to her killer’s arrest, have stayed in touch with Houston police. “We’re trying to renew (the investigation) again, and we’re trying to find closure,” said Sister Margaret Ann Calcutta, a nun who is one of the slain woman’s five siblings. “It’s something our family has lived with all these years, and it has really been a heartache for us.” Calcutta’s body was found Aug. 10, 1979, the same day an exterminator walked into a northwest Houston townhouse and found the body of Doris Lynn Threadgill, 26. Detectives said her killer slashed the woman’s throat so deeply her head was nearly removed from her body.
While police were working to solve these three killings, another headless victim was found. Residents around Freed Park in northwest Houston, five blocks from Threadgill’s home, were alarmed by a woman’s screams and gunshots that rang out late Oct. 3, 1979. Houston park police came to the house, where a neighbor saw a young woman being dragged by her hair by a man in a cap. The two struggled on the front porch of a home across the street. The residents of that house heard gunshots and a girl screaming, “Help. Don’t do this to me,” according to published reports.
Park police officers who responded that night told residents no blood was found on the porch and said they had mistaken firecrackers for gunshots. But the next morning, Houston police found blood on the porch, and they later found the body of Joann Huffman, 16, lying shot to death in Watonga Park nearly four miles away. Police believe Huffman was the girl heard screaming. Around the same time that day, Houston police were called to a used car lot in the 4200 block of Mangum where the sales manager found a blood-smeared white Dodge. Inside the trunk, officers discovered the headless body of Robert Spangenberger, 18, who had been dating Huffman.
No physical evidence was developed from Spangenberger’s car or from the body of Huffman, who was shot in the mouth with a handgun, Motard said. In 2010, cold case investigators submitted physical evidence from the two sets of murders involving headless victims to a private lab for testing, but no DNA was recovered, Motard said. The prevailing theory is the Orchard Apartment murders of Rankin and Calcutta were committed by the same killer. But most homicide investigators believe the deaths of Huffman and Spangenberger were the work of a separate killer. Investigators are unsure about Threadgill’s connection to the other murders. “I’m not ruling anything out; anything’s possible,” Motard said.
Serial-killer claims prompt new look at 1970s cases
Police investigators and prosecutors in three counties said, last fall, that they will look into long forgotten evidence as they review claims made by convicted murderer Edward Harold Bell who says he stalked and killed as many as 11 young girls in the 1970s. Bell described a string of mostly unsolved murders in Galveston, Webster, Houston, Alvin and Dickinson from 1971 to 1976. Bell named four victims and blamed the crimes on a persuasive brainwashing “program.” Bell, 72, is serving a 70-year sentence for killing a Pasadena Marine veteran in 1978 and says he will provide proof only if granted immunity. “We will continue to review anything credible on these cold cases. The investigation is on-going, however, so we won’t be discussing any details,” said Donna Cameron, First assistant Galveston County district attorney.
A dizzying array of local law enforcement agencies share records and responsibility for the 11 girls’ homicides. Officials at six different departments – the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Pasadena Police Department, the Galveston Police Department, the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office and the Harris County District Attorney – said they plan to review files to determine if evidence could be retested or used to corroborate or disprove Bell’s newly published admissions. “I believe that Ed Bell is a serial killer. I believe the truth needs to come out and someone has to go the extra distance to make sure these evil deeds are clearly revealed,” said Jason Chide, a retired Galveston Police detective who has investigated Bell.
In 1978 Bell was arrested for murdering Larry Dickens, shot dead for trying to stop Bell as he masturbated in front of a group of girls. Bell spent the summer cruising around Pasadena repeatedly exposing himself, records show. He carried a 32 AA bra, a pair of guns and porn magazines in his 1977 GMC pickup, according to police records. Of special interest to investigators seeking evidence are Bell’s white 1971 Ford Van, which Bell repainted and later burned, and an unusual Semaphore red travel trailer designed to look like a caboose. Bell kept the “caboose” parked on land not far from where girls disappeared and bodies were dumped. It was later sold and last seen at a hunting camp in West Texas, the Chronicle found.
Both Galveston and Harris County prosecutors received letters of confession from Bell in 1998. But Galveston County prosecutors declined to attempt to indict Bell, based on the letters and other evidence uncovered by Galveston police officer Alfred Paige, who worked the cases from 2005 to 2010. Harris County prosecutors lost copies of Bell’s confession, though retired DA’s investigator Larry Boucher believed his claims. James Leitner, first assistant Harris County district attorney, said the office will try to recover the old letters.
The Houston Chronicle contributed to this report.
Richard Leon Finkbiner
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — (DMN) – Authorities fear that an Indiana man arrested on a single count of sexual exploitation of children might figure in a nationwide case of Internet sex crime with perhaps hundreds of young victims. If true, it would rank as one of the broadest cases of “sextortion” on record, federal officials say. The FBI and U.S. attorney’s office today are publicly releasing a police booking mug shot of Richard Leon Finkbiner, hoping his photo can generate leads that will allow them to identify children pictured in thousands of sexually explicit videos that authorities say they found on Finkbiner’s computer.
Finkbiner, 39, ws arrested at his Brazil home, which also houses the office of Clay County Internet, authorities say. Finkbiner owns the Internet services company, according to the small-business listing website manta.com. Federal officials were led to Finkbiner through complaints from two 14-year-old boys, who went to police in their home states of Michigan and Maryland saying they were victims of what authorities call “sextortion,” according to a federal criminal complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Terre Haute. Sextortion is the blackmailing of people by threatening to publicly disclose sexually explicit photos of them. Finkbiner was arrested Friday.
After being shown a photo of one of the boys by police, Finkbiner told authorities “he had induced or coerced the production of videos and images of so many people engaged in sexually explicit conduct that he could not readily recognize every individual,” according to the complaint. Finkbiner confessed to the Internet sexual exploitation of “at least 100 individuals,” the nine-page FBI complaint says. He was being held Sunday in the Vigo County Jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday in federal court in Terre Haute. “This office will vociferously oppose” any attempt Finkbiner might make to seek his release on bail at the hearing, said Brant Cook, an assistant U.S. attorney.
The U.S. attorney in Indianapolis, Joe Hogsett, said federal investigators are trying to figure out how broad the case is and whether others are involved as perpetrators. “We are fearful it will be vast, but we don’t know that,” he said Sunday. “This is a case, frankly, in its infancy.” He said federal officials took the unusual step of releasing the mug shot of the defendant to try to get victims or their families to call the FBI if they recognize him. Almost all of the youths pictured in seized videos are boys, and most appear to be 14 to 16 years old, Cook said.
Cook said Finkbiner used an alias to contact the two 14-year-olds and exchanged messages with them using online chat services set up for private, anonymous conversation. Such chat services “lend themselves to extortion schemes,” said Cook, who led the prosecution of a Maryland man recently sentenced to 33 years in prison for sexual exploitation of children, including a girl from Indiana. The case involving Finkbiner could expand to include many more victims. “Although it is impossible to know the number of victims at this stage, the presence of hundreds of victims would put this investigation and prosecution among the larger — if not largest — sextortion prosecutions ever undertaken in the United States,” said a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office.
The two victims mentioned in the complaint against Finkbiner are from Prince George’s County, Md., and Oakland County, Mich. The complaint alleges that, from November to February, Finkbiner sent both boys video clips he had captured online that depicted them in sexually explicit poses. He then allegedly told the boys that if they didn’t follow his instructions, he would release the video clips on the Internet or to their friends. Finkbiner is charged with coercing one of the boys into recording additional sexually explicit videos. Cook said those involved in sextortion typically want sexual videos or photos, not money. “The thing of value being extorted is more (sexually explicit) images. There are people in the world who value those highly.”
Authorities say that Finkbiner bragged to one of his victims that he wouldn’t be caught. “I won’t get caught im (sic) a hacker I covered my tracks,” Richard Finkbiner, 39, allegedly wrote according to a 14-year-old boy he was extorting. The exchange came after the boy had begged Finkbiner to stop threatening to post racy pictures of the boy on the Internet. “All I ask is for you delete it please im (sic) onlyh (sic) 14 please just do this to somebody else not me please,” according to a criminal complaint against Finkbiner.
U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said at a news conference Finkbiner found sexual explicit photos of the boys online, then contacted them and threatened to post them on gay websites or email them to their friends and families if they did not send him more images of themselves. Police said they found 1,000 images on Finkbiner’s computers and he has told them he might have blackmailed more than 100 boys, said Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent in Charge for the Indianapolis Field Office Robert Holley. Despite his claims of being catch-proof, Finkbiner, on at least some occasions, allowed the victims to see his face on webcams. “I guess he got sloppy,” Holley said. Federal authorizes took the rare step of releasing his photo so other victims might come forward. The two 14-year-old victims live in Maryland and Michigan.
FBI asks for help in ‘sextortion’ case
The FBI wants the public’s help in identifying hundreds of minors shown in sexual poses in videos that authorities say they found on the computer of Richard Leon Finkbiner, 39, of Brazil, Ind. Authorities have released Finkbiner’s mug shot, hoping people recognize him from videos he might have sent out over the Internet. Finkbiner was arrested Friday and faces one count of sexual exploitation of children. To contact the FBI in the case, call its cybersquad division in Indianapolis at (877) 542-8979.
A Southwest Airlines jet prepares to take-off from Houston’s William Hobby Airport.
Houston’s airports chief announced his support Monday for a proposal by Southwest Airlines to open Hobby Airportfor international commercial flights, bringing Houston one critical step closer to becoming only the second city in America to have two international commercial airports within its limits. At a news conference Monday, Houston Airport SystemDirector Mario Diazsaid that multiple metropolitan areas, including Chicago and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale “successfully operate multiple international airports and have proven that the resulting competition lowers airfares and grows the overall metropolitan and regional air travel market.” “New international air service at Hobby will create competition in the Houston Latin American market, leading to lower fares and more travel options for Houston passengers,” Diaz said.
Diaz based his assertions and recommendation on a report summarizing the findings of two city-commissioned studies, which found the proposal would bring at least 1.5 million additional travelers a year, create 10,000 new jobs and inject $1.6 billion a year into the local economy. Until Monday, the report had been withheld from everyone except Southwest and United Airlines, which has been lobbying against the proposal, and city officials had remained neutral over whether Hobby should be allowed to compete for global routes with Bush Intercontinental Airport– United’s largest hub and Houston’s only international airport.
The report notes that “United and its Star Alliance partners have a near monopoly” on service to Latin America, “operating 97 percent of the seats.” The fate of the proposal is now in the hands of Mayor Annise Parker and City Council. In a statement issued by Parker’s office, the mayor said, “I am carefully considering Southwest’s proposal and the recommendation of the city’s aviation director and will take all views into account. With City Council involvement, we will convene meetings with and seek input from stakeholders, including airlines, members of the business community, Houston residents, organized labor and other interested persons. My decision, which I intend to reach by the end of April, will be based on what is best for the city and the flying public, not what may or may not be best for any one specific airline.”
The statement went on to note that the city would only decide whether to support Southwest’s proposal, and pointed out that the federal government will decide whether international service will be allowed at Hobby. If Parker decides to promote Diaz’s recommendation, the city will start negotiating an agreement with Southwest to cover the cost of building a full-scale Customs facility and international terminal at Hobby, an amount the Dallas-based carrier has estimated at $75 to $100 million. The council would vote on the agreement as early as next month. Southwest’s proposal – and foray into the international travel business – stems from its purchase last year of Orlando-based AirTran Airways, which flies to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Since the acquisition, the merged carrier has announced new service to Cancun, Mexico from places like Austin, San Antonio and Denver, Colorado. Last week, AirTran received the green light from the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin flying to Cancun from Chicago Midway International Airport. The carrier’s Houston proposal incited an epic tug of war with Chicago-based United, which merged with Houston’s former hometown carrier Continental Airlines in 2010. United has opposed the Hobby proposal from the moment it got wind of it in January just days after breaking ground on a $1 billion terminal expansion project at Bush Intercontinental that it says is now in jeopardy. United officials have described the studies’ conclusions as “fiction” built on unrealistic, inflated data.
Officials told the Houston Chronicleeditorial board last week they will be forced to decrease service at Bush Intercontinental by 10 percent if the proposal goes through and cut at least 1,300 jobs. Noting that the airline is working on its own impact analysis, United spokeswoman Mary Clarksaid Monday, “The assumptions supporting the analysis in the Airport System’s reports are fundamentally flawed and lead to conclusions that fly in the face of reality.” “Our ongoing analysis using realistic assumptions and publicly available industry data shows that the proposal will significantly harm Bush Intercontinental, one of the region’s leading economic engines, which brings jobs and business development to Houston,” Clark said in an e-mail. “The fact that Southwest has been using these reports to promote its proposal well before today’s release should raise serious questions about the reports’ purpose and objectivity. We hope the mayor and council will reserve judgment until they can review better data.”
The Houston Chronicle contributed this report.
Chicago, Illinois this evening.
In advance of what it calls a satellite launch, North Korea has taken the unprecedented action of allowing foreign journalists a look at it’s controversial rocket site as South Korea accuses it’s reclusive Communist neighbor of preparing for a nuclear weapons test. A report from South Korean intelligence officials obtained by CNN has come to light as North Korea gets ready to carry out a controversial rocket launch this week, a move that would further strain ties between the reclusive, nuclear-armed state and other countries in the region. The planned rocket launch is scheduled to take place just months after the ascendancy of its new leader.
The South Korean intelligence report says it is highly probable that after the long-range rocket launch, North Korea will use the ensuing international condemnation as an excuse to go ahead with the nuclear test in Punggye-ri, the site in the country’s northeast where the other two tests were conducted in 2006 and 2009. The report, which said such a test would be considered a grave provocation, includes satellite images that it claims were filmed recently and show the final stages of a tunnel being dug at the site.
The photos show an unusual pile of earth and sand near the opening of the tunnel, and the report says this pile has been slowly increasing since March. North Korean state media have not made an announcement regarding plans for a new nuclear test. Two senior U.S. officials said the United States also had reason to believe that the North was planning such an action. “Once again this shows …they know how to manipulate the world,” said Andrei Lankov of Seoul’s Kookmin University. “If they do a missile launch and in few months a successful nuclear test, especially a uranium based nuclear device, it will send a very strong message to the world. The same message they always want to deliver — we are here, we are dangerous, unpredictable and it’s better to deal with us by giving us monetary and food concessions.”
In closed-door meetings partly brokered by China, North Korea in February agreed to stop nuclear tests, uranium enrichment and long-range missile launches in exchange for resumption of U.S. food aid. The launch and the test, if carried out, could also derail recent efforts to reconvene the multilateral talks, known as six-party talks, on denuclearizing North Korea. Pyongyang agreed to curtail its nuclear activities in exchange for aid in an agreement reached in talks in September 2005. The deal fell apart after North Korea conducted the nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 and later disclosed a previously unknown uranium enrichment program that provided a second path to a bomb, in addition to the already known plutonium program.
The country has designated the entire year of 2012 as a year of strength and prosperity to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of the communist state. His birthday next Sunday, known as the “Day of the Sun,” is a key public holiday in the North Korean calendar. Last month, Pyongyang announced it would launch a rocket carrying a satellite sometime between Thursday and April 16 to mark the occasion. The North Korean government says the operation is for peaceful purposes. But Japan, the United States and South Korea see the launch as a cover for a long-range ballistic missile test.
The South Korean intelligence report noted that shortly before the last two nuclear tests, North Korea launched what it said were satellites in orbit. The act of firing the long-range rocket would breach U.N. Security Council resolutions. Japan has said it will shoot down any part of the rocket that enters its territory. The planned launch is scheduled to take place less than four months after Kim Jong Un became “supreme leader” of North Korea, succeeding his father, Kim Jong Il, who died in December. Analysts are still trying to gauge how much influence the younger Kim, thought to be in his late 20s, has beyond his growing collection of military and ruling party titles. Senior officials in the regime like Kim’s uncle, Jang Song Taek, are considered to exert considerable sway on policy making.
North Korea granted journalists a rare glimpse Sunday of its preparations for the rocket launch, taking a group to the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in Tongchang-ri, in the northwest part of the country. “If you look for yourselves with your own eyes, then you can judge whether it’s a ballistic missile, or whether it’s a launch vehicle to put a satellite into orbit,” Jang Myong Jin, head of the launch site, said through a translator. “That’s why we’ve invited you to this launch site.” Journalists — who were not allowed to take laptops or cell phones to the site, but were permitted to film — were shown the control center and the satellite that officials said would be shot into space.
The rocket itself is 30 meters, or about 100 feet, long. It was white, with some red and blue paint. International leaders have urged North Korea to cancel the launch, but Pyongyang has refused to back down, insisting that it needs the satellite to gather information on its crops, forests and weather. An independent European analyst who visited the launch site said he saw nothing obvious that raised red flags. “I don’t know what they want to do in the future, but today what we see is a space launcher,” said Christian Lardier. The last time Pyongyang carried out what it described as a satellite launch, in April 2009, the U.N. Security Council condemned the action and demanded that it not be repeated.
China, North Korea’s closest ally and largest provider of aid, has expressed concern about the planned launch. Beijing says it has held talks with Pyongyang on the matter, but they appear to have had little effect on the North’s plans. “China strongly encourages everyone involved to remain calm and reasonable,” said the Chinese foreign minister, Yang Jiechi, according to a report Monday by the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua. “These issues need to be worked out in a diplomatic and peaceful manner.” Analysts say the current trajectory of the multi-staged rocket’s path is north to south over the Yellow Sea, with the main body of the projectile eventually landing in the Pacific Ocean near the Philippines. President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines has publicly condemned the launch as a “needless provocation” that could increase tensions in Southeast Asia.
At the scene
Damian Grammaticas BBC News, North Korea
Hidden behind a fold in the hills, on North Korea’s coastline, its Unha rocket looked almost ready for launch. Painted with the North Korean flag, it towered 30m high. Soldiers stood guard while technicians worked on the rocket. It is a birthday present for the North’s former dictator Kim Il-sung, designed to put a satellite into polar orbit, to mark his 100th birthday, even though he died 17 years ago. North Korea wants to convince its own people that their nation is now strong and prosperous.
The BBC’s Damian Grammaticas was among a group of foreign journalists taken by train to the Sohae satellite station at Tongchang-ri, on the country’s north-west coast, on Sunday to see the final preparations for the rocket launch. All three stages of the rocket were visibly in position at the launch pad. Station manager Jang Myong-jim told reporters that preparations were on track and fuelling would begin soon, without giving exact timings. He said the 100kg (220 pound) satellite is designed to send back images and information that will be used for weather forecasts as well as surveys of North Korea’s natural resources. But should the country be putting its effort into a satellite launch when it cannot feed its own people, our correspondent asked.
”If we don’t develop our own technology, we will become slaves,” the director of the launch site told the BBC. ”We need our own technology to be an advanced country, to be a powerful space nation.” Pyongyang has previously said the launch, for “peaceful purposes”, is to mark the centennial of the birth of founding leader Kim Il-sung. But the United States and North Korea’s neighbours say it contravenes UN resolutions that were imposed after a similar launch in April 2009. Japan and South Korea have warned they will shoot the rocket down if it strays into their territory. The North says any of those responses would be considered hostile acts. But it seems determined to go ahead even if it sets of a dangerous cascade of events, says our correspondent.
The BBC, CNN and the KCNA contributed to this report.
Houston, Texas this morning.
Amanda Bynes arrested for DUI
Police say the actress was arrested early Friday morning after colliding with a police car in West Hollywood, Calif.