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TWA Flight 800 Exposé Takes Off at Stony Brook Film Festival

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York In the opening minutes of Kristina Borjesson’s devastating new documentary on the fate of TWA Flight 800, one of the eyewitnesses who saw the crash unfold points to the horizon and tells the camera, “All of a sudden I see something rise up from those trees over there!”As many Long Islanders will never forget, the sun had barely set that perfect July day and the twilight sky was clear. The jet airliner had just taken off from JFK International Airport with 230 people on board headed for Paris when it suddenly exploded 10 miles off East Moriches.Now, on the 17th anniversary of the July 17, 1996 tragedy, one of America’s most controversial aviation investigations takes the spotlight at the Stony Brook Film Festival.“With the festival being less than 20 miles from the memorial site [on Fire Island at Smith Point], I felt we were the perfect venue for this film,” says Alan Inkles, founder and director of the film festival now in its 18th year. He saw an early version of TWA Flight 800 in the spring, calling it both personal and universal at the same time. “I was extremely taken by both the subject matter and its exceptional work as a film,” he says.“We feel that this is very much a Long Island story,” says Borjesson, an Emmy Award-winning journalist, who wrote, directed and co-produced the film. “There are a lot of eyewitnesses who live on Long Island, and we felt it was appropriate to have a screening where everybody there could see it, and it would get attention.”As she tells the Long Island Press, almost a hundred people, all unrelated and in different locations along the South Shore, saw the entire incident, from the moment streaks of light shot from the surface and intersected the jetliner to when the plane burst into a fireball and plummeted into the Atlantic Ocean.The government’s official explanation is that one of the fuel tanks onboard caught fire when an electrical wire supposedly short-circuited. But as six former members of the investigation’s team who finally broke their silence to appear in public reveal in this emotionally riveting film, that explanation just doesn’t fly—and they hope it never will again.This documentary premieres July 17 on the EPIX cable network, a joint venture of Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate, available through Verizon FiOS and the DISH Network. It will get its Festival premiere screening on July 20 at 3 p.m., followed by a panel discussion with Borjesson and Tom Stalcup, a physicist in Massachusetts who devoted his life to unlocking the truth about what happened after seeing an animation of the crash that the CIA had produced which he found unscientific and unbelievable. Jeff Sagansky, a former president of CBS Broadcasting, where Borjesson once worked, is executive producer.After TWA Flight 800 exploded off Fire Island, investigators collected its damaged parts from the ocean floor and reassembled the Boeing 747 in a hangar at Calverton Airport in Riverhead. (Photos courtesy EPIX)“This is the first documentary on TWA Flight 800 that deals strictly with firsthand sources, people who handled the evidence, with the exception of Tom,” she says. Among the key members of the original investigation team who came forward to speak in this documentary are Hank Hughes, senior accident investigator for TWA now retired; Bob Young, chief accident investigator for TWA now retired; and James Speer, the Air Line Pilot Association’s representative/investigator, also retired. “They’re experts and they know what they’re talking about,” Borjesson says.EVIDENCE TAMPERINGAs reports of this documentary’s forensic assertions started to trickle out to the media in the weeks leading up to the premiere, James Kallstrom, the retired head of the FBI’s New York office, and others have started pushing back, hard.Kallstrom had become the public face of the 1996 inquiry once the FBI declared it a “criminal investigation” and took it over from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which routinely handles domestic aviation accidents. In the documentary, the civilian investigators say they found holes in parts of the fuselage that FBI agents wouldn’t let them photograph as well as traces of nitrates on parts of the plane that the bureau wouldn’t let them test independently. They reported agents were hammering parts of the plane flat and changing evidence tags on debris. Just as tellingly, Speer found that an underwater video taken of the recovery effort was expurgated and he was rebuffed when he asked to see the original version, which would have helped investigators reconstruct the timeline of the crash.Now back in the media glare, Kallstrom has tried a multi-pronged approach. He said the evidence cited in the documentary was recycled and discredited—a false claim as the documentary makes unmistakably clear—and he questioned the investigators’ motives.“If they were so committed…why did they wait until they retired?” he asked news outlets.“They didn’t wait,” counters Borjesson adamantly. “They spoke up. And Jim Speer…almost got himself kicked off the investigation twice…. After TWA Flight 800, Hank was relegated to [investigating] minor accidents. He was punished for what he did. Kallstrom doesn’t mention that!”Ironically, the night of the crash, Borjesson, whose husband is French, had gone to bed early after sending her 11-year-old son off on an Air France flight to Paris to see his relatives. She’d just finished wrapping up a show for CBS Reports on Fidel Castro and went home exhausted.She was woken up out of a deep sleep by a phone call at 9 p.m.“My neighbor says, ‘Was that your son’s plane that just went down?’” Borjesson recalls. “And for a minute, I felt what those victims’ family members were feeling. I will never forget that feeling.”Her son’s plane had departed five minutes behind Flight 800. The next day when she went to work, she was assigned to cover the TWA crash, launching her on the long, turbulent journey that will bring her to Stony Brook later this month to reveal what her years of investigative journalism have found.In one scene of the new documentary, shot inside the Cradle of Aviation Museum, two retired aviation accident investigators join physicist Tom Stalcup to air their doubts.Once the FBI took over the inquiry, they wouldn’t let the NTSB investigators interview the eyewitnesses as they normally would have in a typical airline crash follow-up. And the media, from the New York Times to NBC News, swallowed what officials were pushing: that the witnesses “were not credible.”“You have high-ranking sources [in the government] giving you the inside scoop,” Borjesson says of her former colleagues in the Fourth Estate. “But the inside scoop is bullet points of their agenda…. All these high-level people are just telling you what they want you to think because they already have an outcome in mind.”For her film, which cost about $500,000 to make, Borjesson wanted to question William Perry, who was Secretary of Defense in 1996, because “we think the Secretary of Defense has knowledge that is pertinent to this event.” He declined to participate, as did the man who appointed him to the post, President Bill Clinton.Over the years some people have speculated that what the witnesses saw were missiles possibly fired by Navy vessels. The documentary will not go there.Borjesson said her collaborator, Tom Stalcup, “doesn’t want to go one millimeter further than the evidence, the math and the facts will take him.”And that’s why she would not use the word “missile” in her documentary.“We call them ‘objects’ for a reason,” Borjesson says. “We want the official investigation reopened so they can be identified.”With that goal in mind, the investigators cited in the film have filed a petition for reconsideration with the NTSB, as well as another lawsuit against the CIA. Stalcup had obtained heavily redacted documents from the CIA in his lawsuit filed several years ago, which shows CIA analysts taking the eyewitness reports and apparently concocting a scenario to explain that hundreds of people on Long Island did not see what they said they saw.Now everyone can judge for themselves—something the NTSB may be dreading.The Stony Brook Film Festival will show a mix of new independent features, documentaries and short films at the Staller Center from July 18 to July 27. Besides TWA Flight 800, other domestic and foreign films will be premiered and indie filmmaker Christine Vachon, whose feature Boys Don’t Cry won an Academy Award for actress Hilary Swank, will be presented with a career achievement award. Vachon has recently joined the Stony Brook Southampton Arts faculty. For more info, call 631-632-2787 or visit www.stonybrookfilmfestival.com.last_img read more

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Jamaica calls for comprehensive review of the impact of climate change

first_imgPartnerships neededHolness told the conference, which is also being attended by several CARICOM leaders, that this would require partnership as ”well as using existing support more effectively and making new resources available for us to build the required resilience at  the country, community and personal level”.Natural disasters cost Caribbean US$130 billion in 2017Holness noted that last year, natural disasters in the Caribbean set back the region to the tune of US$130 billion and urged the conference to think of resilience “beyond these natural disaster events or what we refer to as sudden events.He said there is a ‘more comprehensive picture that we must pay attention to,” adding that behind the scenes of the natural disasters “there are these slow growing events for which we have not yet even started to contemplate…the potential impact.Damage to reefs and sea life‘Specifically as SIDS we must begin more fruitful dialogue on building resilience to impact these slow unset events such as sea temperature rise, which according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is causing our reefs to bleach at an unprecedented rate”.He said while this situation is not unique to the CARICOM countries, countries like Mexico are implanting measures to deal with that and that there is need for the region to put in places measures to deal with the situation.He said the University of the West Indies is carrying out research to identify the DNA of coral reefs adaptable to sea temperature rises and other matters.In his address, Holness repeated the call by the Caribbean for developed countries to re-visit the criteria used for providing concessionary loans to developing countries, saying that the graduation of the region to high middle income status is seriously undermining the Caribbean’s socio-economic future.“And as such we are often times not considered as high priority for the allocation of donor support from the international community. It should be quite clear by now that GDP in and of itself is not a true indicator of development”.He said apart from indebtedness, “it does not take into consideration vulnerability to …factors including increased intensity and frequency of natural disasters”.“My point and hope is that we need to quickly find alternatives that are fair, practical, relevant and helpful to us as Small Island Developing States. Alternatives that will ultimately enhance our disaster risk management capacity and ability to respond to the increasing impacts of climate change”.He said the region is encouraged by the prospects of the Addis Abba Action Agenda  and the financing for development “and note the progress being made in translating this agenda into action.Holness said the region as also taking note of new financing opportunities to assist “in our path to become more resilient.” Credit: Andrew Holness Twitter WASHINGTON, CMC – Jamaica on Monday called for a comprehensive review of the impact of climate change on the Caribbean, including the “cancers” not yet integrated  into the process as it also reiterated a call for the international community to review its concessionary lending policies to Small island Developing States (SIDS).“As natural disaster become more frequent so do the adaptation costs impose on us as Small island Developing States, especially since we are on the front line of climate change impacts,” Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the high-level conference on building resilience to disasters and climate change in the Caribbean.The event, sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank, is a follow up on the 2017 high-level forum “Unleashing Growth and Strengthening Resilience”The IMF said it has brought together key stakeholders, including senior policymakers, multilateral development partners, and the private sector to “explore incentives to shift the focus of policies towards building resilience and innovative disaster risk financing policies and instruments that would help in the region.”Urbanization in coastal zones Holness, who is also the chairman of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping, said that the region is facing rapid urbanization in coastal zones with corresponding falling populations in rural areas and out islands.“Some more than others are facing the pending loss of limited land mass due to sea level rise,” he said, noting that one common theme is that the cost of repeated natural disasters has been underestimated “and this is making sustainable development and prosperity much harder to achieve, especially as we are confronted with many development challenges which affect our economic growth.“What is clear to many of us though is that meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and the goal of leaving no one behind will become increasingly costly, more challenging and likely not met unless measures are taken to reduce the vulnerabilities and build the resilience of Small island Developing States to the climate change impacts which continue to set us back.”last_img read more

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Lakers free agency rumors: JR Smith could be reunited with LeBron James

first_imgIt looks like JR Smith and LeBron James could be together again.It would take a couple of moves to make that happen, but according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, that is what very well could occur. Lakers ‘on the right path’ after Anthony Davis trade, owner Jeanie Buss says Haynes said:”Cleveland, right now, they are trying to trade JR Smith and whichever team trades for JR right now, most likely he will be waived and when he’s waived, it is my belief he will end up with the Lakers.”The big thing with Smith is that he has one season remaining on the four-year, $57 million deal he signed with the Cavaliers in 2016. Related News The Cavaliers are trying hard to trade him, and because he has an expiring contract, he is appealing to several teams who could use the cleared out cap space next offseason.So, the general consensus among pundits is that Smith will be moved and then waived. And if that happens, the Lakers could be a great destination for him as he has played with James before and shares an agent with him, as well, in Rich Paul of Klutch Sports.As of right now, the Lakers don’t have enough cap space to sign a third max player and it is very logical they could go into next season without a third star alongside Anthony Davis and James.If that happens, according to Haynes, the team will likely look to land some complementary pieces. Kyle Korver is someone they could go after, as is Smith.center_img Lakers’ Jeanie Buss ‘surprised’ Magic Johnson resigned … but she doesn’t blame him The reason being is the Lakers shot horribly from 3-point range last year. Los Angeles went 33.3 percent from beyond the arc, which was 29th in the NBA.Adding Korver or Smith would be a good addition who could address that issue for a relatively affordable price.We’ll see exactly what happens when free agency opens up, but this scenario very well could happen. At the same time, if the Lakers do get Davis to waive his trade kicker, they could sign a third max player, so there are several things that could happen over the next couple of weeks.last_img read more

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MOPI invites bids for sea defence works in six regions

first_imgAmidst controversy over whether or not Government should be passing new bills in Parliament and inviting new projects, the Public Infrastructure Ministry recently invited bids to upgrade sea and river defence structures in six administrative regions in Guyana.The Ministry, in an advertisement, said that it was accepting invitations for the bid for the upgrading of structures in Regions Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).The Public Infrastructure Ministry pointed out that works will be done in 25 different lots of which one bid can be submitted for a single lot or for multiple lots of the project.“Bidding will be conducted through the National Competitive Bidding (NCB) procedures, specified in the Procurement Act 2003 and is open to all bidders, subject to provisions of Section III (Eligible Countries) of this document. Interested eligible bidders may obtain further information from the Chief Sea & River Defence Officer, Work Services Group at Fort Street, Kingston, Georgetown and inspect the Bidding Documents at the same address between the normal working hours from January 8, 2019 to January 31, 2019,” the Ministry stated in a release.The major project will come up at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) on January 31, 2019.A few of the areas which will be bid on by major contractors include maintenance works to the concrete structures at Charity, Essequibo Coast, Region Two; maintenance works to the earthen embankment from Andrews to Cozier, Essequibo Coast, Region Three; maintenance works to the river embankment along the Lower Pomeroon River, Region Two; maintenance works to the river embankment along the Upper Pomeroon River, Region Two and Timber Revetment River Defence Works along the Supenaam River in Region Two as well.Boulder face protection works will also be conducted in Regions Two and Three along the Essequibo Coast and Wakenaam Island respectively.Maintenance works are also scheduled for the earthen embankment in Wakenaam and Leguan along with Boulder face protection works in Leguan.Meanwhile, gabion mattress river defence works are expected for Region Three along with concrete river defence works.In Region Four, the nation’s most populated region, the Ministry said concrete river defence works at Unity, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara (ECD) as well as concrete repair works to existing structures between Melanie and Paradise, ECD, are expected.During an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI) last year, Chief Sea and River Defence Officer, Kevin Samad stressed the importance of sea and river defense, as most of Guyana’s population reside in communities that lie below sea level.Samad noted that over the years, it has been a challenge to maintain or preserve the mangrove vegetation. It is especially challenging with the advent of various illegal activities such as cattle rearing and the cutting of mangroves for various reasons.Nevertheless, “we are aware of the impacts of climate change and sea level rise and we have factored in sea level rise in our designs of all coastal and riverine structures,” the Sea and River Defence Officer explained.It has been argued that since the Government collapsed with the recent passage of the no-confidence motion on December 21, 2018, no project should be initiated unless it is of utmost importance.last_img read more

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first_imgCllr Marie Therese GallagherCAMPAIGNERS are to march in Dungloe on Saturday to ensure 10 beds closed at the town’s hospital are re-opened.It will leave Ionad Teampall Croine at noon and proceed to the hospital, led by the St Crona’s band. “This is a simple yet important March of support from all of the people of the Rosses and Gweedore to highlight the recent bed closures and to have all ten beds reopened,” said local councillor Marie Therese Gallagher. “There has been progress made since the community came together at our public meeting, and the community has to be commended on the turn out at the meeting and take credit for the progress that has been made so far.“Delegations have met the HSE and an tAire Dinny McGinley, who has agreed to set up a meeting with Minister Reilly. The HSE have confirmed that five beds will reopen this Summer, but this still leaves five much needed beds closed in our hospital.”The councillor insisted: “These five beds will not reopen unless there is a relaxation in the recruitment embargo. Over the next while staffing pressures may rise again and we will be faced with this scenario once again.“We need to send a strong message to the Minister that we will not sit idly by, there is huge support in the area for our hospital and we as a group are asking all members of our community to come out and support our hospital on Saturday, which will strengthen the argument when representatives meet the Minister.”  PEOPLE TO MARCH IN DUNGLOE TO KEEP PRESSURE ON HSE OVER HOSPITAL BEDS was last modified: June 13th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:PEOPLE TO MARCH IN DUNGLOE TO KEEP PRESSURE ON HSE OVER HOSPITAL BEDSlast_img read more