Archive for 02/18/2012 – 

Gabe Watson was a liar and cold-blooded bride killer, who even took his wife’s engagement ring before she was buried, a prosecutor alleged in his opening statement.

“This whole case is not about murder, it’s about murder for gain,” Alabama Assitant Attorney General Andrew Arrington told a racially diverse jury of eight women and six men.

Gabe Watson is charged with murdering his wife Tina Thomas during a honeymoon scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Arrington said Watson wanted to collect a $165,000 life insurance policy from his drowned bride of 11 days.

Thomas stood to potentially gain much more from a lawsuit against a travel insurer, and took all of Tina’s personal belongings, and even the “engagement ring from off her finger.”

But Watson’s lawyer Brett Bloomston blamed Tina’s drowning on Townsville’s SS Yongala in 2003 on a “perfect storm” of tragic circumstances that had “nothing to do with Watson.”

He blamed a dangerous wreck, Tina, the dive boat, “bumbling” police, Tina’s dive leader, and an “additional equipment malfunction.”

Mr Bloomston, ad libing after his powerpoint presentation failed, blamed the Watson’s Townsville dive boat for taking the inexperienced Watsons to the Yongala – “a red flag dangerous dive” and even criticized the boat’s tour leader Wade Singleton, the man who brought Tina’s unconsious body to the surface.

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Tammie Souza –

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to swim through a shipwreck like this one? It may be easier than you think.

There are more than 400 shipwrecks in Lake Michigan and over the weekend of Feb. 17 to Feb. 19, everything scuba is at your fingertips during the Our World Underwater Convention at the Rosemont Convention Center.

“There are over 200 exhibitors from around the world. There’s dive manufacturers, equipment, travel destinations, great deals on travel and it’s very family oriented,” said convention organizer John Lally.

In recent years, scuba diving has grown in popularity, but who says you need an exotic location to enjoy diving. Although Lake Michigan may not look inviting right now, in several months it will be.

And our big lake holds many mysteries beneath it’s surface, like a wooden schooner sunk during a storm in the late 1800s.

Experts have called these some of the most spectacular wrecks in the world kept intact by the cold, fresh lake water.

There are also modern wrecks like The Buccaneer sunk a few years ago to create a reef 10 miles offshore.

One of the favorite sites is the historical old schooner Wells Burt which lies in 35 feet of water 3 miles off Evanston, where it has rested for the past 130 years.

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Warda Al-Jawahiry –

Nerves were strained as an Iranian patrol boat approached the USS Abraham Lincoln at speed.

A helicopter escort hovered above the vessel in a warning not to get any closer, and the grey boat, tiny compared to the massive U.S. aircraft carrier, eventually turned around.

The encounter involving U.S. and Iranian boats, common in recent weeks, underscores rising tensions in the Gulf region between rival powers since Tehran threatened to close the Hormuz Strait, the world’s most important oil shipping waterway, over Western moves to ban Iranian crude exports.

U.S. and Iranian warships shadow each other as they ply the Gulf in a standoff over Iran’s nuclear program the West fears is aimed at producing an atomic weapon. Many fear any incident could trigger a war.

“I watch it morning, noon and night. I take it (the threat to close Hormuz) very seriously. In fact it’s pretty much my life these days,” the commander of U.S. naval forces in the Gulf region, Vice Admiral Mark Fox, told a news conference in Bahrain ahead of the fleet’s voyage earlier this week.

The fleet, known as “Carrier Strike Group Nine” has been making forays through Hormuz despite the Iranian threats.

The 10-hour voyage through the waterway on February 14 was the second time the fleet had been through Hormuz in two months. Passage is done on a need-only basis as the U.S. Navy tries to avoid “escalation of hostilities or miscalculations,” as a result of their crossing, U.S. officials say.

With four helicopters circling overhead and two destroyers leading, the carrier entered Hormuz while up in the watch tower, some seven Navy commanding officers, intelligence chiefs and legal experts were gathered in a small but busy control room.

They inspected the Gulf waters intently. The head of the fleet, Rear Admiral Troy Shoemaker, spotted two small boats, thought to be of smugglers, being battered by the high waves.

“It is going very well, relatively quiet. We have had a couple of surveillance aircraft, a helicopter and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) but nothing in the way of surface activity,” Shoemaker said, referring to activity from Iranian side.

The geography of the Strait, where a third of the world’s seaborne oil trade passes, is challenging for a fleet of this size.

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