Syria Leaves Lebanon – CBS News

Syrian tanks were carted toward the border on flatbed trucks Sunday while soldiers loaded ammunition and knocked down the walls of an old base in eastern Lebanon, effectively ending a 29-year military presence by sending home all but a few troops staying for a formal farewell ceremony this week.

Under pouring rain, a convoy of 200 armored vehicles towing cannons and rocket launchers, T-52 and T72 tanks, military trucks and buses carrying more than 500 soldiers were seen heading to the Masnaa border point.

There are about 500 Syrian soldiers left in Lebanon, a senior Lebanese military officer said.

“All Syrian troops will leave Lebanon by Tuesday,” the officer told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity, as is typical for military officials here.

An Associated Press reporter in the city of Baalbek in the eastern Bekaa Valley said the accelerated Syrian troop withdrawal Saturday night was delayed for a few hours by a heavy downpour, unusual for this time of year.

At their last major garrison in Lebanon, the Bekaa town of Deir el-Ahmar, Syrian soldiers burned documents, dismantled military posts and loaded ammunition on to trucks.

Syrian intelligence agents vacated their headquarters in Baalbek at noon Sunday and later the Lebanese army moved in and took over the position. Lebanese soldiers also hoisted the Lebanese flag at a vacated Syrian checkpoint in Deir el-Ahmar. A Lebanese bulldozer filled holes and trenches used by retreating Syrian soldiers in Baalbek.

With the latest Syrian pullout, the Bekaa Valley has become almost entirely clear of Syrian troops and military intelligence, witnesses said. The exception is the border town of Anjar, home of Syria’s chief of military intelligence in Lebanon, where Syrian officials appeared to be going about their business as usual Sunday.

Syrian and Lebanese officials said Sunday that Syria was withdrawing all but a token force that will remain in Lebanon for a farewell ceremony Tuesday that the Lebanese Army plans to hold in a town near the border.

2005 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Rash of burglaries reported in Kona

Local organizations and businesses are encouraging people not to drink and drive this holiday weekend.

However, if you do drink, there are free options to help you get home safely.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is also teaming with ride-sharing company Uber Technologies to offer free rides (up to $20) to first time Uber users who key in the code MADDHI.

This code will generate $5 per ride to MADD Hawaii courtesy of Uber and has no expiration date.

The mission hits close to home for one Hawaii woman who lost her son six years ago to a drunk driver.

The loss of my son is probably the most devastating, heart-breaking thing any family can ever experience, said Karlotta Carvalho. Drunk driving is a 100-percent preventable crime if we can just plan in advance.

Meanwhile AAA Hawaiis free community service, Tipsy Tow will be available as a last resort during the Fourth of July holiday. The service is available from 6 p.m. Friday, July 3, until 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 4. Tipsy Tow is available in the areas served by AAA Hawaii. However, Tipsy Tow is not offered by all AAA clubs.

Motorists, bartenders, restaurant managers, party hosts or passengers of a drinking driver may call 1-800-222-4357 for a free tow home of up to five miles.

Callers simply tell the AAA operators, I need a Tipsy Tow, to receive the free tow and ride home. A regular AAA Hawaii-contracted roadside service truck will be dispatched.

Callers need to keep in mind that the service excludes rides for passengers, is restricted to a one-way, one-time ride for the driver and the destination is limited to the drivers residence. Reservations are not accepted.

Drivers can expect to pay the rate charged by the tow truck contractor for rides farther than five miles.

A high crash risk from drinking and driving is associated with the holiday and AAA Hawaii encourages all motorists to think twice about getting behind the wheel if they have been drinking, said AAA Hawaiis general manager Liane Sumida.

Fourth of July is a traditional time for home parties and barbeques, as well as outings to restaurants and bars, and other excursions. These activities contribute to a relaxed atmosphere and more drinking, according to Sumida.

It takes only one or two drinks to slow physical and mental skills and affect vision, steering, braking, judgment and reaction time, said Sumida. Drivers should be aware that the law enforcement agencies are likely to be using extra patrols to look for drinking drivers during the holiday.

Drinking drivers frequently dont plan for other ways to get home because they are concerned about retrieving their vehicle. They cite the expense of taxis and time inconvenience as the major reasons they dont use alternative transportation, according to AAA Hawaii.

People convicted of driving under the influence could lose many of the most important things in their lives, such as family, job, dignity and money. AAA Hawaii estimates that a first time DUI conviction can cost about $15,000 or more in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and insurance costs.

AAA Hawaii advises that motorists can avoid DUI arrests by keeping these safety tips in mind:

Before and at social events, designate non-drinking drivers who can get everyone home safely.Call a friend or family member for a ride if you have been drinking.Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol even after just one drink.Keep a cab company telephone number in your wallet so you can call for a ride home. There are also apps available to use to secure a ride home as well.As a party host and good friend or loving family member, offer a variety of non-alcoholic drink alternatives, serve food as well as dessert and coffee, and provide a gift to guests who volunteer to be designated drivers.Never serve alcohol to anyone under 21Have a back up plan to spend the night at the party instead of driving home under the influence.Take the car keys away from friends and relatives who have had too much to drink.If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 9-1-1 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself.)Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.

are tow truck companies liable for damages to a car thay have towed?

I think what you’re asking is, can I force them to pay for the damages? I doubt any lawyer would take your case, since they work on a contigency basis, and the cost of tracking this down would be more than they can make. At best, you would get what, $1000? Your lawyer would get $333.

Another option would be small claims court. Or Judge Judy. Or make an insurance claim (if you had full coverage) and let the insurance company track them down.

The only way to really get any money out of it is to get a judge to agree with you and order them to pay.

Back in business; Towing company survives tornado.

Byline: Brian Lee

BRIMFIELD – The tornado-devastated One Stop Car Care began light-duty tow jobs this week, said owner David Bell.

More than 200 cars at the automotive repair and service shop were smashed and totaled in the June 1 storm, and 10 tow trucks incurred the same fate. Only two trucks were covered by insurance, a frustrated Mr. Bell said this week.

“We put our own trucks together because the insurance company hasn’t paid me yet,” said the 52-year-old, who services AAA and police. He’s owned the business 26 years.

Mr. Bell said he didn’t have insurance “that covers anything worth a damn,” and he hasn’t “got one dime yet.”

Adding insult to injury, two men who offered to help with damage took off with two of the company’s chain saws. Mr. Bell said he told the masquerading volunteers on Monday to move lumber for him and went back to his business. Five hours later, the volunteers and chain saws were gone.

“Right during the day,” he said.

But there’s been plenty of good, said Mr. Bell, a drummer who had kept a band room on the premises.

Band mates and other musicians have lent support, including planning an Aug. 6 fundraiser at the Wales Irish Club to help get back some of the lost instruments.

High school friends have come back to help. Customers have returned in droves because they want to see the business back, Mr. Bell said.

Volunteers from the First Congregational Church have been ”phenomenal,” he added.

But Mr. Bell was critical of the American Red Cross, NationalGuard, the governor and president for not doing more during suchdevastation.

“It’s all churches, volunteers and local people just coming out to help, because that’s what we do in a bad time. They’ve been great, but you can’t count on the people you pay taxes to.”

Mr. Bell scoffed at the president’s disaster declaration, which makes tornado victims in Hampden and Worcester counties eligible for federal assistance.

“So you can get a loan if you want a loan – big deal.”

He said the declaration was a public relations move so the general public, which doesn’t see the devastation firsthand, can say the state and federal governments are taking action.

“I would have voted for Ross Perot or Donald Trump,” Mr. Bell quipped. “Get a businessman who knows how to run something.”

Not one car at the business made it through the storm, said Mr. Bell, who doesn’t have anything left to drive for himself. He said he is driving a customer’s Jeep that he had taken for a test drive and was set to deliver.

“Luckily it was at my house when it hit,” he said. ”She said, `Keep it as long as you want.'”

The business was so hard hit the upper section of a three-story office trailer at the business was found in a backyard in Southbridge. The resident of the home saw the phone number on the cement wall and called Mr. Bell, who said he doesn’t know who the Southbridge resident is and doesn’t want the wall back.

Half of Mr. Bell’s checkbook blew to Falmouth. A woman from the Cape Cod town returned it to a post office box that Mr. Bell set up after the storm. Mail was also returned from Boston, Dedham, Newton and Wellesley, Mr. Bell said.

In addition to the damaged office trailer, a two-apartment trailer and a 40-foot-by-50-foot hut were destroyed.

Forty used cars kept out front wound up across the street in the woods.

“The night that the storm hit, we had to drag them back over here,” Mr. Bell said. “They’re all wasted junk. I’m waiting for the insurance company to come back on that, as there’s a $500 deductible on each car. They only paid me what I paid for the car, not what they were worth or for what they were selling. There are all these little loopholes.”

He also had personal cars on the property that were classics, as did his worker, Scott Murray.

“Thirty-thousand-dollar, forty-thousand-dollar cars totallywasted, and of course, you had them since you were kids, so it’sheart-wrenching,” Mr. Bell said.

Mr. Murray, who has worked at the yard off and on for 20 years, was in two YouTube videos that his co-worker Chris Mendreck made after the two pulled themselves from the wreckage.

On the day of the storm, Mr. Murray said, he was aware of the tornado warning, but did not think it was coming their way. He said Mr. Mendreck saw a pine tree at the top of the hill go up in the air and start twisting.

“He said, `Where are we going to go?’ I said, `Let’s go under the stairs (of the office building),’ the smallest area that’s enclosed with block.”

Mr. Mendreck got in first.

“I wasn’t under there very well,” Mr. Murray said. ”I tried to get the junkyard cat to come in. She said no.

“You could hear trees snapping and cars coming down the hill,” he said. “Then it got pitch black. I heard the roof rip off. Then it got light out.”

That’s when filming began.

And it’s been nonstop work ever since.

“We go from day ’til dark, 15 days straight,” Mr. Bell said.


CUTLINE: David Bell, owner of One Stop Car Care, 86 Holland Road, Brimfield, stands in front of his business, which was ravaged by the tornado.


Trucks :: Trucks – new models for 2008

Trucks are highly practical are secure for the road because they are mainly manufactured to securely carry loads on a long distances and quality is always improving. A truck can be cheap but it all depends on the goods you want to transport, their importance, their quantity and the distance on which the truck has to go. They work on gasoline engines, for those for light medium duty, four stroke turbo intercooler diesel engines or V12 two stroke diesel engines for huge trucks. These are locomotive-type engines. The transmission is preferred to be automatic or semiautomatic, with gears from 5 to 12. This lowers fuel consumption and the trucks durability is considerably enhanced.

Drivers, as well, prefer automatic or semiautomatic transmission because it offers them better capacity to concentrate on the road, giving their long trips.The top largest manufacturers of trucks in Europe, United States and Japan are Daimler Chrysler, Volvo (Sweden), Man (Germany), Nissan (Japan), Scania (Sweden), Iveco (Italy) and Volkswagen (Germany) among others.The cost of insurance for a truck depends on the trucking operations, driving history and the region and it can reach a million dollars. The focus is the cargo being transported and its value this raises or lowers he risk and loses, thus changing the cost of insurance.

Pickup trucks are relatively basic but there can be a wide variety of choices if you look into it. If you dont know where to start you can lead your way by opting for a certain automaker and continue with your other needs. The inside has to be spacious, the engine has to suit your habitudes; you need to consider immediate or future towing needs and, of course, last but not least, your budge possibilities. You could be willing to pay more for a truck if intend on investing by using it for larger transport for a firm or company.

Understanding The Basic Car breakdown Cover Service

In the breakdown cover business, roadside assistance is the very first step that both clients and companies look to discuss. It is the one element that defines the whole breakdown cover industry as far as vehicles on the road are concerned. People who look to opt for a comprehensive breakdown cover always tend to opt for the best roadside assistance plan that the firm provides. Roadside assistance can rightly be called the very service that initiated the car breakdown cover business. Lets take a closer look in to what the most essential aspect of breakdown cover actually is.

What is roadside assistance in car breakdown cover?

Simply defined, roadside assistance means that when a driver, motorist or owners car breaks down and leaves them stranded, the breakdown cover firm will send a patrol team to get the vehicle running. This team varies from firm to firm and from vehicle to vehicle. Normally, the squad will have mechanics who will work to fix the broken down vehicle. The main goal of this crew will be to make sure that the car is able to take the road again.

What basic roadside assistance offers will vary from one firm to another. Usually, the car breakdown cover companies will have a variety of packages for roadside aid. The most common repairs that a roadside help group may need to fix are a flat tyre, petrol-less tank and a dead battery. If one is stranded and requires this assistance in a foreign country, then the team sent for the reparation will include a crew member that speaks the language of the person stranded.

Roadside assistance can be secured for the driver, the vehicle or both. In case of a personal cover, the roadside assistance will tail the driver or the person who has gotten himself/herself secured. This package is also available for more than one person. If the plan covers a vehicle, then the vehicle will be given roadside aid, no matter who the driver is.

Why is a complete car breakdown cover necessary?

Even though roadside assistance is a very comprehensive package to opt for, it does not guarantee that the drivers will be able to continue their journey, or that the vehicle will be fixed. In fact, when the deal of a car breakdown cover is signed, there is generally a clause that states that the firm only guarantees help, not recovery. If roadside help fails, the team might just leave the driver stranded only because their car breakdown cover does not account for anything but roadside aid. So, it is important to get a full cover plan.

In a car breakdown cover, what comes after roadside assistance?

Even though most car breakdown cover firms will work towards getting their clients on the road through simple roadside assistance plans to save time, it is also likely that this endeavor fails. If that happens, most breakdown covers offer back-up plans that will ensure the safety of the driver and/or the vehicle (depending who or what the cover protects). There are a number of steps that can be taken if roadside assistance fails.

The very first of these is towing. This is sometimes included in the roadside aid package, but it might be an added expense. This is where the vehicle that has failed will be towed on to the nearest garage for further repairs. After that, there is recovery. This is where either the owner of the car or the vehicle itself will be transported to a garage or a location of the owners choice. Onward travel will mean that the owner will be dropped off to their destination or will be given some means of conveyance to carry on with their journey by their car breakdown cover firm.