Risks to Sporting Events Illustrated After Drone Drops Leaflets on Two NFL Games
Authorities are considering how to keep drones from flying over large crowds after one of the unmanned aircraft dropped leaflets on two NFL games in California on November 26. Federal and local laws bar pilots from flying drones near games. Santa Clara police Lt. Dan Moreno declined to discuss what additional security measures are being considered, but said the blades could cause injury, and terrorists could arm the machines. The United States has not yet seen a drone attack. The drone released fliers criticizing television news over Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara as the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks played, and also dropped leaflets over the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum during the Raiders-Denver Broncos game. Police said surveillance cameras helped identify a California man, Tracy Michael Mapes, 55, as the pilot. He was charged with misdemeanors and released. Also investigating is the Federal Aviation Administration, which banned drones during most major sporting events in 2014 after police detained people for using small drones at NFL and NCAA football games. But the flights have continued. A drone crashed into the stands at Petco Park in San Diego during a baseball game this year, missing fans. And a teacher was arrested after a drone crashed into empty seats at the 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York City.
Anti-Fracking Rail Blockade in Washington State Ends With Peaceful Raid
A two-week anti-fracking rail blockade ended early November 29 when railroad police in Olympia, Washington, dismantled the downtown encampment. Some 20-30 protesters had left following pre-dawn warnings. They watched the cleanup and were blocked by Union Pacific Railroad officers from returning. No one was arrested, although a raid following a similar blockade last year resulted in 12 arrests. The protesters, from a group called Olympia Stand, oppose shipping fracking sand through the Port of Olympia.
Improvised Bomb that Prompted Christmas Market Evacuation Linked to Extortion Plot
No injuries were reported after police in Germany neutralized a bomb packed with nails that was delivered on December 1 to a pharmacy next to an outdoor Christmas market. Wires and other suspicious items prompted a call to authorities in Potsdam, police said. The Christmas market was evacuated. Authorities later said the device was an attempt to blackmail the shipping company DHL, which had delivered the package. Postsdam is about 20 miles from Berlin, where Anis Amri rammed a tractor-trailer through the Christmas market last year, killing 12 and leaving about 50 injured. Amri was killed by Italian police four days later. Amri, 24, a Tunisian, had pledged allegiance to ISIS. Last month, a lack of “concrete evidence” regarding any terror plot or ISIS membership led German police to release six Syrians without charge. The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office, however, said there are indications the men have had contacts with ISIS and investigations are ongoing. A source that CNN identified as a German intelligence officer had said the arrests uncovered a possible plot on a Christmas market in Germany.