(NEWSER) – What do the first daughters, Pope Francis, and countless celebs have in common? They all made headlines with selfies in 2013, making it easy for Oxford Dictionaries to choose its annual word of the year. "Selfie" was a rare unanimous decision for the organization, it reports on its blog. The word was actually featured as far back as June 2012 on the dictionaries' site, but this year, "it seems like everyone who is anyone has posted a selfie somewhere on the Internet." Some selfie facts:
A nuclear power plant worker allegedly inspired by the Ben Affleck movie "The Town" was extradited from Venezuela to the United States late last month to face charges related to the attempted hijacking of an armored car in 2012. But the alleged plot went much further than the film.
Michael Buhrman, a 33-year-old senior reactor operator at the Dresden, Ill., nuclear power plant, recruited Landon Brittain, a colleague at the plant, to participate in the heist, NBC News reports.
According to court documents, Buhrman was wearing an "old man" mask like the ones used by the robbers in "The Town" when he carjacked a woman at gunpoint in the parking lot of a Chicago-area Kohl's in May 2012. A witness, though, followed the car and called police, who arrested Buhrman less than a quarter-mile away. Brittain, who was not arrested, acted as a lookout, authorities now say. The pair were allegedly planning to use the stolen vehicle in the armored car plot.
Buhrman, a U.S. Navy veteran, was released on bond, "but police said they were alerted by a girlfriend that he had access to offshore bank accounts, had purchased $100,000 in gold and intended to flee to Chile," NBC said.
In June 2012, a judge "added conditions to his bail, including a GPS ankle monitor." But three months later, he fled:
Police responded to an alert from the monitor and found it cut off in his Coal City home. An Illinois State Police sergeant testified later that there had been an attempt to make it appear that there had been a break-in and that Buhrman had been forcibly removed. Police also testified that $14,000 that had been deposited into Buhrman’s bank account from a foreign source was withdrawn three days before he disappeared.
Authorities say both Buhrman and Brittain fled to Venezuela, where they "rented an apartment in a luxury high-rise building in Caracas and frequented a nearby gym."
According to Lucas Hixson, a writer who covers the nuclear power industry, the Venezuelan intelligence agency SEBIN soon grew interested in Buhrman and Brittain on suspicions they were conspiring with a Venezuelan man in a money laundering, drug and gun smuggling operation.
Burhman and Brittain were arrested and sent back to the United States. Brittain pleaded not guilty. Burhman, who was tried in absentia after he fled the country, was found guilty of aggravated vehicular hijacking and sentenced to a 40-year prison term. (His lawyer told NBC that he is considering an appeal.)
Not surprisingly, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has banned both men from ever setting foot in a nuclear facility again.
In a letter to Burhman, the commission said it "concluded that your criminal activities related to both the carjacking and the planning of an armored car robbery have demonstrated a lack of trustworthiness."
(NEWSER) – An Army lieutenant accused of sexually assaulting several young girls will be allowed to make an unusual defense at trial: blaming his twin brother, the AP reports. DNA samples have linked the officer, Aaron Lucas, to three of the crimes, but the siblings share the same DNA. "I have never seen it, ever," says a criminal defense attorney. "The only time I have seen it was on 'Law and Order: SVU.'" A judge said it would be "inappropriate" to stop Lucas' lawyers from offering up his brother as a possible suspect.
Watch Jean-Claude Van Damme carry out his famous split between two reversing trucks. Never done before, JCVD says it's the most epic of splits -- what do you think? Please share & comment!
This live test was set up to demonstrate the precision and directional stability of Volvo Dynamic Steering -- a world first technology that makes the new Volvo FM easier to drive.
There’s something oddly soothing about this can of Chef Boyardee ravioli being swallowed up by lava still I can’t help wonder how dangerous getting this footage must’ve been?
Logan Paul is a first-year student at Ohio University who has quickly gained internet fame for his hilarious Vine videos.
In fact, he has amassed over 1.4 million Vine followers (and counting!), so it's no wonder that his Vine compilation video already has over 365,000 views on YouTube in less than 24 hours.
This morning, he tweeted:
Woke up this morning on the front page of Reddit, on Buzzfeed, Bro Bible, Gawker and more. Life is amazing.— Logan Paul (@LoganAPaul) November 14, 2013
Check out the epic Vine compilation below!
The pilot of a Southwest Airlines flight gave passengers a scare Tuesday when he announced over the loudspeaker that the plane was "going down."
"He said, 'We're going down,'" Shelley Wills, one of the passengers on the Boeing 737 en route from Tampa, Fla., to Raleigh-Durham International Airport, told ABC's affiliate there. "And everyone is looking around like, 'Is this a joke? Is he serious?' And then you felt the nosedive."
"At first it sounded like someone was coming over the PA to talk," Grace Stroud, another passenger, told CNN. "Then it sounded like shots through the cabin, twice, back to back. Seconds later, the panicked captain said, 'We're in trouble, we're going down.'"
Wills said she tried to console a woman seated next to her who was clutching her chest. "I'm thinking, 'Oh my God, she's going to scare herself into a heart attack,'" Wills said.
She said she even texted her daughter goodbye. "[The text] says, 'I love you Alyssa. My plane is going down.' I thought I was going to die, and that's what everyone on that plane thought. That we were all going to die, just by one word of the captain. I just think they could have handled it a little differently."
In an email to Stroud obtained by CNN, Southwest said the pilot “inadvertently activated the PA system.”
A Southwest spokeswoman confirmed there was an emergency.
"Flight 3426 experienced a maintenance alert as they were on descent into RDU," Southwest said in a statement. "The captain declared an emergency and descended the aircraft to 25,000 feet where the alert was resolved. Throughout the remainder of the descent the flight was normal, landed uneventfully, and was not met by emergency vehicles."
The FAA said it is investigating.
It's not the first time Southwest Airlines has had a scare at Raleigh-Durham. In September, a Southwest flight bound for Chicago struck a bird, damaging an engine. The pilot alerted the passengers, turned the plane around and landed safely at the airport to the delight of the 124 people on board.
"Everyone clapped," Shelly Tranchita, one of them, told WRAL-TV. "It was an uproar. It was a beautiful thing. We landed and were safe and it was a huge relief."
"I high-fived the guy next to me over his crying girlfriend," George Shackleton, another passenger, added.
Last month, Southwest fired a veteran pilot whose nosedive landing at New York's LaGuardia Airport in July injured 16 people. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot took control from the first officer just before the Boeing 737 hit the runway.