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"National Archives Yes, it’s that time again, folks. It’s the first Friday of the month, when for one ever-so-brief moment the interests of Wall Street, Washington and Main Street are all aligned on one thing: Jobs. A fresh update on the U.S. employment situation for January hits the wires at 8:30 a.m. New York time offering one of the most important snapshots on how the economy fared during the previous month. Expectations are for 203,000 new jobs to be created, according to economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires, compared to 227,000 jobs added in February. The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 8.3%. Here at MarketBeat HQ, we’ll be offering color commentary before and after the data crosses the wires. Feel free to weigh-in yourself, via the comments section. And while you’re here, why don’t you sign up to follow us on Twitter. Enjoy the show. ||||| Employers pulled back sharply on hiring last month, a reminder that the U.S. economy may not be growing fast enough to sustain robust job growth. The unemployment rate dipped, but mostly because more Americans stopped looking for work. The Labor Department says the economy added 120,000 jobs in March, down from more than 200,000 in each of the previous three months. The unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, the lowest since January 2009. The rate dropped because fewer people searched for jobs. The official unemployment tally only includes those seeking work. The economy has added 858,000 jobs since December _ the best four months of hiring in two years. But Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has cautioned that the current hiring pace is unlikely to continue without more consumer spending."
"– The unemployment rate dropped to 8.2% last month, but the economy only added 120,000 jobs, when 203,000 new jobs had been predicted, according to today's jobs report. Reaction on the Wall Street Journal's MarketBeat Blog was swift: "Woah!!! Bad number." The unemployment rate, however, is better news; it had been expected to hold steady at 8.3%. But the AP notes that the dip is mostly due to more Americans giving up on seeking employment."
"LOS ANGELES (AP) — In her first interview since the NBA banned her estranged husband, Shelly Sterling says she will fight to keep her share of the Los Angeles Clippers and plans one day to divorce Donald Sterling. (Click Prev or Next to continue viewing images.) ADVERTISEMENT (Click Prev or Next to continue viewing images.) Los Angeles Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling, below, watches the Clippers play the Oklahoma City Thunder along with her attorney, Pierce O'Donnell, in the first half of Game 3 of the Western Conference... (Associated Press) Shelly Sterling spoke to Barbara Walters, and ABC News posted a short story with excerpts from the conversation Sunday. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Donald Sterling for making racist comments and urged owners to force Sterling to sell the team. Silver added that no decisions had been made about the rest of Sterling's family. According to ABC's story, Shelly Sterling told Walters: "I will fight that decision." Sterling also said that she "eventually" will divorce her husband, and that she hadn't yet done so due to financial considerations. ||||| Shelly Sterling said today that "eventually, I am going to" divorce her estranged husband, Donald Sterling, and if the NBA tries to force her to sell her half of the Los Angeles Clippers, she would "absolutely" fight to keep her stake in the team. "I will fight that decision," she told ABC News' Barbara Walters today in an exclusive interview. "To be honest with you, I'm wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there's 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in?" Sterling added that the Clippers franchise is her "passion" and "legacy to my family." "I've been with the team for 33 years, through the good times and the bad times," she added. These comments come nearly two weeks after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine for Donald Sterling on April 29, following racist comments from the 80-year-old, which were caught on tape and released to the media. Read: Barbara Walters' Exclusive Interview With V. Stiviano Being estranged from her husband, Shelly Sterling said she would "have to accept" whatever punishment the NBA handed down to him, but that her stake in the team should be separate. "I was shocked by what he said. And -- well, I guess whatever their decision is -- we have to live with it," she said. "But I don't know why I should be punished for what his actions were." An NBA spokesman said this evening that league rules would not allow her tol hold on to her share. "Under the NBA Constitution, if a controlling owner's interest is terminated by a 3/4 vote, all other team owners' interests are automatically terminated as well," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. "It doesn't matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team." Sherry Sterling's lawyer, Pierce O'Donnell, disputed the league's reading of its constitution. "We do not agree with the league's self-serving interpretation of its constitution, its application to Shelly Sterling or its validity under these unique circumstances," O'Donnell said in a statement released this evening in reposnse the NBA. "We live in a nation of laws. California law and the United States Constitution trump any such interpretation." If the league decides to force Donald Sterling to sell his half of the team, Shelly Sterling doesn't know what he will do, but the possibility of him transferring full ownership to her is something she "would love him to" consider. Related: NBA Bans Clippers Owner Donald Sterling For Life "I haven't discussed it with him or talked to him about it," she said. The lack of communication between Rochelle and Donald Sterling led Walters to question whether she plans to file for divorce. "For the last 20 years, I've been seeing attorneys for a divorce," she said, laughing. "In fact, I have here-- I just filed-- I was going to file the petition. I signed the petition for a divorce. And it came to almost being filed. And then, my financial advisor and my attorney said to me, 'Not now.'" Sterling added that she thinks the stalling of the divorce stems from "financial arrangements." But she said "Eventually, I'm going to." She also told Walters she thinks her estranged husband is suffering from "the onset of dementia." Since Donald Sterling's ban, several celebrities have said they would be willing to buy the team from Sterling, including Oprah Winfrey and Magic Johnson. Sterling remains the owner, though his ban means he can have nothing to do with running the team and can't attend any games. Silver announced Friday that former Citigroup chairman and former Time Warner chairman Richard Parsons has been named interim CEO of the team, but nothing concrete in terms of ownership or whether Sterling will be forced to sell the team. Parsons will now take over the basic daily operations for the team and oversee the team's president. Read: What You Need to Know This Week About Donald Sterling ABC News contacted Donald Sterling for comment on his wife's interview, but he declined."
"– Shelly Sterling plans "eventually" to divorce her estranged husband Donald, she tells Barbara Walters at ABC News. As for her stake in the Los Angeles Clippers, she plans to keep it, the AP notes. Sterling says she would "absolutely" fight any NBA decision to force her to sell the team. The team is her "legacy" to her family, she says. "To be honest with you, I'm wondering if a wife of one of the owners … said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in?""
"GAITHERSBURG, Md. (AP) — A small, private jet has crashed into a house in Maryland's Montgomery County on Monday, killing at least three people on board, authorities said. Preliminary information indicates at least three people were on board and didn't survive the Monday crash into home in Gaithersburg, a Washington, D.C. suburb, said Pete Piringer, a Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman. He said a fourth person may have been aboard. Piringer said the jet crashed into one home around 11 a.m., setting it and two others on fire. Crews had the fire under control within an hour and were searching for anyone who may have been in the homes. Television news footage of the scene showed one home nearly destroyed, with a car in the driveway. Witnesses told television news crews that they saw the airplane appear to struggle to maintain altitude before going into a nosedive and crashing. An FAA spokesman said preliminary information shows the Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 twin-engine jet was on approach at the nearby Montgomery County Airpark. The National Transportation Safety Board is sending an investigator to the scene. ||||| Gemmell family (Photo: Facebook) GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WUSA9) -- The investigations into a plane crash that left six people dead in Gaithersburg on Monday evening are just beginning. A mother and her two young children are three of the six lives lost in the crash. Marie Gemmell, 36, her three-year-old son Cole and her infant-son Devin were inside their home when a corporate jet crashed into it. Their bodies were found on the second floor hours after the crash. The father and a third child were not home at the time of the crash. Michael Rosenberg was on the jet that crashed (Photo: Health Decisions) Three people on the jet were also killed, according to Montgomery County fire officials. One of those victims has been identified as Michael Rosenberg, CEO of Health Decisions. You can read their statement here. An Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 crashed into a house in the 19700 block of Drop Forge Lane off Snouffer School Road in the neighborhood of Hunters Woods around 10:45 a.m., according to the NTSB. The plane was coming from Chapel Hill, NC and approaching the Montgomery County Air Park. The NTSB has sent a go-team to the site, where three homes were damaged. Firefighters used foam to battle fires all around the scene. The fuselage of the jet is parallel to a second house, and the tail of the airplane is at the front door. One of the wings was catapulted into the Gemmell's house, causing a huge fire and the majority of the damage, according to the NTSB. Senior Investigator Timothy LeBaron is leading the go-team. Investigators are looking at operations, including crew experience, training and procedures, the functionality of the engines, the weather, air traffic control and more, NTSB spokesperson Robert L. Sumwalt said at a press confrence. "Our mission is to find out not only what happened, but why it happened because we want to make sure something like this never happens again," Sumwalt said. MORE: Woman says community feared plane crash NTSB investigators are currently collecting perishable evidence, not determining the cause. They'll be conducting interviews and documenting the wreckage. Investigators could be on the scene for three to seven days for what they call the "fact-finding" phase. The black box, which has recordings from the crash, has been recovered. It is in good condition and has been rushed to labs, Sumwalt said. The first call about the crash came in at 10:44 a.m. from the National Guard Armory for the report of an explosion, and units were on the scene in approximately seven minutes, Montgomery County Fire Chief Steve Lohr said at an initial press conference. Utility crews were also on the scene and Lorh said it is safe for residents in the area. Electricity has been temporarily cut off. Recordings of the 911-calls from the crash were released on Monday evening. In the recordings neighbors and witnesses describe the scene where the plane crashed in the Gaithersburg neighborhood. Recordings of the 911 calls from the Gaithersburg plane crash were released on Monday evening. "We just heard a giant explosion we looked out the window and there's... it looks like a house is on fire, we've got some people running over there to see if people are okay," one caller described. RAW: Fire Chief Steve Lohr speaks on plane crash A woman who was traveling into the area after taking a test at Montgomery College tells WUSA9 that she could see the smoke from the crash from I-370. As she got closer, she saw all the emergency response vehicles and called her husband. He told her that the smoke was coming from the area where her mother and stepfather lived and she says she got worried. She discovered the house that was struck was their neighbors' house. She says there are "three little ones" who live in that house. One person reported seeing the plane "wobble" before it crashed into the house. Other neighbors reported hearing repeated booms and feeling their houses shake from the impact of the plane. Something went wrong with the jet heading to the Montgomery County airport and it went into a house in Gaithersburg WUSA9 spoke with an eyewitness named Jocelyn Brown who said she first heard the plane sputtering, making a sound that planes that go over the area normally don't make flying over the houses. She says she and her mother became concerned and went to investigate. They then saw the plane hit the side of a house. She reported seeing a "mushroom effect of smoke" and also hearing three explosions after the plane hit. Jocelyn says they also heard screams in the area of the home. She says she does not know whether they were coming from inside the house or behind them. Jocelyn lives in the area and says she knows the mother that lives there. She described her as a "sweet woman" who walks with her kids in the area all the time and speaks to everyone. He said the plane sounded like it was "puttering" and then saw fire A woman posted video from the ground of the scene of the plane crash on YouTube. . The FAA has released the following information: "This is preliminary information about an Embraer EMB-500/Phenom 100 twin-engine jet that crashed one mile north of the Montgomery County Airport, Gaithersburg, MD at 11am today. The aircraft was on approach to Runway 14 at the airport when the accident occurred. Please contact local authorities for information on passengers and the situation on the ground. The FAA will investigate. We will update this statement when new information is available. " Photo of plane from FlightAware (Photo: FlightAware) An FAA source says the jet was waiting for a much slower single engine aircraft, possibly a Cessna, to make its turn so it could make its approach. That information has not been confirmed by the NTSB. The Montgomery County Air Park is within 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile of the crash. The airport does not have a tower, so communication would have been with Washington Air Traffic Control Section, not the airport. The FAA registry shows that the plane was a corporate Phenom jet with tail number N100EQ. It's registered to Sage Aviation LLC out of Chapel Hill, NC which makes replacement parts for the aviation industry. MORE: Gaithersburg plane crash at Drop Forge Lane, 3 houses suffering some sort of damage, this one the worst — JimMacKayWNEW (@JimMacKayWNEW) December 8, 2014 Snouffer School Road was closed between Centerway Road and Goshen Road following the crash. Drivers and pedestrians are being urged to avoid the area. It is likely to remain closed throughout the night and possibly Tuesday. She says something has to be done about planes flying low directly over homes. Read or Share this story:"
"– A twin-engine Embraer jet that the FAA describes as "on approach to Runway 14" at the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, Maryland, crashed into a home this morning, engulfing that home in flames and setting two others on fire. Three people are dead, but the count could grow. A Montgomery County Fire rep says three fliers were killed in the crash, but notes the corporate plane may have had a fourth person on board, reports the AP. A relative of the owner of the home that was hit tells WUSA 9 that a mother with three children pre-school age and under should have been home at the time; there's no word on the family's whereabouts. The crash occurred around 11am on Drop Forge Lane, and the fire was extinguished within an hour. Crews are now searching the wreckage. A witness noted the plane appeared to "wobble" before the crash; the airport is no more than 3/4 mile from the crash scene. NTSB and FAA will investigate."
"Tucker Carlson Exposes His Own Sexism on Twitter (Updated) Tucker Carlson has done some good work in the past… His site, The Daily Caller, is a frequent stop of mine and many other Conservatives. They were responsible for exposing the Journolist scandal, which highlighted the planning and coordination of many members of the left-wing press. I will always be grateful to Tucker’s team for bringing that story to light. This is also why I am so angered by Tucker’s recent actions. I thought he was better than this. If you haven’t heard by now, Monday evening, Tucker Carlson posted a disturbing tweet about Governor Palin which said: Palin’s popularity falling in Iowa, but maintains lead to become supreme commander of Milfistan Aside from Tucker’s sheep-like response to warped poll numbers, he also failed to take ownership of his sexist comment. He deleted the original (which is why I had to link to a retweet) obviously aware that what he had posted was wrong. Unfortunately for him, many people had already seen it and responded. You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, Tucker. Is this the sort of treatment that Conservative women, who want to get involved in the process, are expected to put up with? Is it okay for male columnists (Conservative or otherwise) to continue objectifying women in the world of politics? No it’s not! The best thing Tucker Carlson could do, is admit that what he tweeted was wrong, apologize to Governor Palin, and urge his fellow colleagues to be respectful with their language and written word. What he did was demeaning and offensive, and there is no place for it in Conservative circles. Update: This is a poor attempt at an apology. Tucker Carlson tries to cover his tracks this morning by repeating the same mistakes he made last night. He wrote: Apparently Charlie Sheen got control of my Twitter account last night while I was at dinner. Apologies for his behavior. He didn’t take responsibility for his comment and he fails horribly at humor. Try again, and Tucker… you’re not funny. Update II: Almost a day later, he finally apologizes: I’m sorry for last night’s tweet. I meant absolutely no offense. Not the first dumb thing I’ve said. Hopefully the last. ||||| Tweet with a location You can add location information to your Tweets, such as your city or precise location, from the web and via third-party applications. You always have the option to delete your Tweet location history. Learn more ||||| I am not down with @karlrove @tuckercarlson misogynist mockery of @sarahpalinusa . Sick of it. ||||| On Monday night, while the rest of the world was watching Charlie Sheen flame out live on CNN, Tucker Carlson took to Twitter to make some impolitic statements of his own. "Palin's popularity falling in Iowa, but maintains lead to become supreme commander of Milfistan," he wrote. By the next morning, the tweet was deleted and he had apologized, writing, “Apparently Charlie Sheen got control of my Twitter account last night while I was at dinner. Apologies for his behavior.” But that wasn’t enough to spare him the ire of conservative women on the blogosphere and Twitter. On Tuesday, before Carlson’s first apology, Stacy Drake, writing on Conservatives4Palin, praised Carlson’s works at The Daily Caller, particularly the leaks of the Journolist emails, saying that’s why his tweet stung so badly. Aside from Tucker’s sheep-like response to warped poll numbers, he also failed to take ownership of his sexist comment. He deleted the original (which is why I had to link to a retweet) obviously aware that what he had posted was wrong. Unfortunately for him, many people had already seen it and responded. You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, Tucker. Is this the sort of treatment that Conservative women, who want to get involved in the process, are expected to put up with? Is it okay for male columnists (Conservative or otherwise) to continue objectifying women in the world of politics? No it’s not! She was unimpressed with his first apology, and called for him to apologize to Palin while continuing to denounce him for sexism on her Twitter account. Michelle Malkin joined the calls Tuesday, tweeting: “I am not down with @karlrove @tuckercarlson misogynist mockery of @sarahpalinusa. Sick of it.” Later Tuesday, Carlson obliged: “I’m sorry for last night’s tweet. I meant absolutely no offense. Not the first dumb thing I’ve said. Hopefully the last.” Some bros have come to Carlson's aid. Tuesday, Erick Erickson tweeted, "Maybe my sense of humor needs to be recalibrated, but when I heard @TuckerCarlson's MILFistan comment, I laughed then got out my passport." (Needless to say, Drake was not amused.) But by Wednesday, the thing had escalated into a full-blown war of the sexes within the conservative blogosphere, with Whitney Pitcher taking Carlson's tweet as inspiration for her post on Conservatives4Palin: "MILF–Misogynists (and Elites) I’d Like to Fulminate." Perhaps an additional reason that Governor Palin does not win the respect of the Elite and Establishment is that you cannot be praised for your “perfectly creased pants” if you often wear a skirt, right David Brooks? The continued line of attack from the Establishment and Elite men in the GOP have come as a result of Governor Palin’s genetic makeup. This post has been updated to correct the spelling of Stacy Drake's first name."
"– Tucker Carlson is in deep doodoo with conservative women after an ill-advised tweet referencing Sarah Palin that he posted, then removed, Monday night. "Palin's popularity falling in Iowa, but maintains lead to become supreme commander of Milfistan," he tweeted—and we probably don't need to tell you where that is. His first attempt at an apology, which he tweeted the next morning: "Apparently Charlie Sheen got control of my Twitter account last night while I was at dinner. Apologies for his behavior.” That wasn't good enough for many conservative women, Politico notes, rounding up reactions from bloggers to Michelle Malkin calling his behavior sexist and misogynistic. By late Tuesday, Carlson had offered up a more sincere-sounding apology: “I’m sorry for last night’s tweet. I meant absolutely no offense. Not the first dumb thing I’ve said. Hopefully the last.” But at least one man—Erick Erickson, editor of—was on Carlson's side, tweeting his reaction to the post in question: "I laughed then got out my passport.""
"A man accused of removing another man's testicle during a meeting in a Port Macquarie motel room has pleaded guilty to a string of charges. Allan George Matthews, 57, appeared in Port Macquarie Local Court on Wednesday morning for the first time since his arrest in Glen Innes, last month. SHARE Share on Facebook SHARE Share on Twitter TWEET Link A man has pleaded guilty after 'unauthorised' surgery to remove another's testicle. During the proceedings, Matthews' solicitor Douglas Hannaway entered pleas of guilty to removing tissue from the body of another without consent or authority. He has pleaded not guilty to the more serious charge of reckless grievous bodily harm. Magistrate Dominique Burns ordered police to compile a brief of evidence by next month and serve it on Matthews' defence before it returns to court in mid-August. The charges stem from an incident in a motel room in Port Macquarie on May 16. Advertisement Police allege Matthews met a 52-year-old man and surgically removed his left testicle. It is the crown's case that Matthews is not qualified or authorised to perform such a procedure, and is not a qualified or registered medical practitioner. The 52-year-old alleged victim attended the motel room after posting an advertisement online requesting assistance with a medical issue, police claim. After the alleged incident, the man then attended hospital a week later to repair the wound he suffered to his testicle. The hospital visit triggered an investigation by Mid North Coast police who raided Matthews' home in Glen Innes on June 23. They seized medical equipment, electronic equipment, seven firearms and four bottles of what they suspected to be amyl nitrate. In court, Matthews pleaded guilty to not keeping a pistol safely, possessing an unauthorised firearm, not keeping a firearm safely, and two counts of possessing or attempting to prescribe restricted substance. According to court documents, the 57-year-old did not enter a plea to the charge of causing grievous bodily harm. Matthews remains on conditional bail. The Port News ||||| AAP A DIY “doctor” accused of slicing off a man’s testicle in a NSW motel room has pleaded guilty to a charge of illicitly removing another person’s bodily tissue. Police say Allan George Matthews, 56, responded to an online advertisement posted in May by a 52-year-old man requesting help with a medical issue. The two men then met at a motel in Port Macquarie, on the state’s mid-north coast, where the younger man’s left testicle was allegedly surgically removed by Matthews, who police say was not a qualified doctor. A week later, the younger man showed up at hospital seeking help with a wound he had sustained during the illicit operation. Matthews faced Port Macquarie Local Court on Wednesday and entered a guilty plea to a charge of removing tissue from the body of another person without proper consent or authority. He has also admitted charges of possessing a prescribed restricted substance, unauthorised possession of a firearm and failure to keep a firearm safely, but will fight a charge of reckless grievous bodily harm, according to court records. He is yet to enter a plea to the charge of causing grie`vous bodily harm with intent. Matthews will remain on bail until his case returns to court on August 18. ||||| Image caption A man has admitted removing another man's testicle during an "unauthorised" surgery An amateur surgeon in Australia has pleaded guilty to removing the left testicle of a man who could not afford professional medical treatment. Allan George Matthews, 56, admitted to "removing tissue" from the man "without consent or authority" at a motel in Port Macquarie, north of Sydney. Police said the 52-year-old victim posted an online ad "requesting assistance with a medical issue". He had been suffering for years after being kicked in the groin by a horse. Police became aware of the case in June when the man attended hospital after the wound he suffered during the operation became infected. Officers raided Matthews' home and seized medical equipment, firearms and four bottles of what they suspected to be amyl nitrate. Prosecutors alleged that Matthews was not authorised to perform such a procedure as he was not a qualified or registered medical practitioner. He also pleaded guilty in court this week to illegally possessing a gun and two counts of possessing or attempting to prescribe a restricted substance."
"– What are the three most horrifying words in the English language? Wrong. The correct answer is "amateur testicle surgery." The BBC reports 56-year-old Allan Matthews pleaded guilty Wednesday to removing another man's left testicle at an Australian motel despite not being qualified to practice medicine. The unsanctioned surgery took place in May after a 52-year-old man posted an ad online seeking help for a medical issue, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The man was apparently still suffering after being kicked in the groin by a horse years earlier but couldn't afford an actual doctor. A week after Matthews allegedly removed the man's testicle, infection set in. The man went to the hospital, and the police launched an investigation. Authorities say a raid of Matthews' home last month turned up medical equipment, seven guns, and four bottles of what may be amyl nitrate. In addition to performing surgery without being a doctor, Matthews also pleaded guilty to gun and drug charges. He did not plead guilty to inflicting "reckless grievous bodily harm." AAP reports Matthews is out on bail until another hearing next month. (An Oregon man claimed surgery left him with an 80-pound scrotum.)"
"Suicide hotlines can provide free and confidential support 24/7. Here's what to expect when you make the call. [If you or someone you know is in immediate danger or having a medical emergency, call 911.] The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is a toll-free hotline in the US for people in distress who feel like they are at risk of harming themselves. But what actually happens when you call? D3sign / Getty Images / Via Suicide is complicated and sometimes hard to predict, but health experts say it can be preventable. That's why there are services like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the hope is that people will use them if they, or someone they know, are having a crisis. But for many people, there is still some mystery about what actually happens during these calls, and some misconceptions can keep people from picking up the phone. So we put together a step-by-step guide about what to expect when you call a suicide hotline. Keep in mind, however, that everyone who calls into a suicide hotline may have a slightly different conversation and experience. And there are also hundreds of different suicide and crisis-prevention hotlines and chat services. For the purposes of this post, we will focus on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and another line that you can text, called the Crisis Text Line. First, the basics: Lifeline provides free, confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for anyone of any age — including non-English speakers. Anyone can call the Lifeline, whether they are thinking about suicide or not, and get emotional support. There is no minimum age, and you can receive support at any time, even on holidays. As long as you have a phone, you can call the number and talk to someone. Lifeline is also available for non-English speakers and people who are deaf or hard of hearing. If you are a Spanish speaker, call the Spanish-language Lifeline at 1-888-628-9454. Si hablas español, llama a 1-888-628-9454. Lifeline ofrece 24/7, gratuito servicios en español. If you speak another language, call the main line and wait to be connected to a person at a local crisis center who can connect with a translator. According to Lifeline's website, the crisis centers work with a service that can translate calls in over 150 languages. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can reach Lifeline via TTY by dialing 1-800-799-4889 or use the Lifeline Live Chat service online. When you first call, you will get an automated greeting with additional options. A person does not come on the line immediately. After dialing 1-800-273-8255, you will hear the following automated message: "You have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, also servicing the Veterans service line. If you are in emotional distress or suicidal crisis or are concerned about someone who might be, we're here to help. Please remain on the line while we route your call to the nearest crisis center in our network." The automated message also provides additional options for Spanish speakers and veterans. If you speak Spanish, press two. If you are a veteran or an active duty member of the military or calling about someone who is, you can press one. "We work in partnership with the Veterans Crisis Line, so when you press one the call will be connected to a special center that's operated by Veterans Affairs," Shari Sinwelski, associate director for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, told BuzzFeed News. You can also reach the Veterans Crisis Line by sending a text message to 838255, or by clicking here to chat with a VA responder online. Then, the call is routed to a local crisis center. Music will play. Wait times are usually under one minute, but they can be longer depending on the center's resources. Lifeline is actually made up of a network of 161 crisis centers across the country, Sinwelski said. Most crisis centers are non-profit and are staffed by both professionals and volunteers. When an individual calls in, they will be routed to the crisis center located closest to them. "The reason why we do that is because we believe local crisis centers, ideally, are best able to help people in their own communities because the staff are aware of the resources in that community," Sinwelski said. There is also a backup network, so if your community doesn't have a crisis center or your crisis center is swamped with calls, you can still reach someone. According to Lifeline, they are able to answer 85% of calls within 30 seconds after the greeting, and 97% within 75 seconds or less. However, there are occasions where people have to wait to talk to a counselor. Wait times might vary depending on where the person is calling from, whether their local crisis center has enough resources and staff, and the volume of calls coming in. "We've seen a big increase in calls in the past year or two across the entire network," Sinwelski said. Some crisis centers are better staffed and larger than others, so they can answer calls more quickly. Regardless of the wait time, you will be connected with someone. "Lifeline strives to answer calls as quickly as possible," said Sinwelski. A trained crisis worker will answer the phone. The person you end up speaking to will be a skilled, trained worker from the crisis center — they may be a staff member, professional, or a volunteer. But everyone is required to go through the same training to answer the Lifeline, said Sinwelski. Crisis workers are trained to talk comfortably and calmly, use active listening, assess risk, and determine if a person is in danger. "They are able to listen to you and your emotions in a way that's non-judgmental and comforting so callers feel like they can trust the person on the other end of the line," Sinwelski said. They will answer with a greeting, but the worker won't immediately ask you a specific set of questions. You can start the conversation however you want. Roy Scott / Getty Images / Via The call can last as long or as short as you'd like — the goal is to help the caller feel supported and safe. All individuals and situations are different, so no call will look the same. You can share as much as you are comfortable with sharing, and talk about anything. People may call to discuss mental or physical illness, relationship problems, physical or sexual abuse, substance abuse, financial problems, sexual identity, or anxiety. Crisis workers do not follow a script, so the conversation will be open. But they might ask you some questions to better understand your problems so they can share the most effective resources to help. "There is no time limit, but volunteers will always try to make sure they use time wisely so they can talk to as many people in need as possible," Sinwelski said. Whether or not the call is effective or helpful depends on a variety of factors. In many cases, crisis workers are at least able to help the person feel better. "Finding a connection with someone is the first step in helping to feel better with thoughts of suicide — we're going to do everything we can to help a person feel safe," said Sinwelski. If you are calling about a friend or family member who is in distress, the person on the phone will walk you through how to help and provide resources. When you think someone you know is having a suicidal crisis, you might not know the best way to reach out to them or how to provide support. Or you might be nervous or afraid of saying the wrong thing. The Lifeline can also be a resource in these cases. "The crisis worker will give guidance on how they might help a friend or family member — we try to break it down in a very simple way and go through the steps," Sinwelski said. If you are concerned about someone, do not hesitate to ask if they are okay or thinking about harming themselves — this is one of the best ways you can help. Check out the Lifeline's "#BeThe1To" (Be the One to Save a Life) website for more resources. In higher-risk situations, crisis workers will do everything they can to work with the caller and come up with a safety plan without an intervention. Some callers may be higher risk if they are having suicidal thoughts or actively considering suicide. "Our imminent risk policy requires a counselor to work collaboratively with the person on the line to come up with a safety plan and that both can agree upon," Sinwelski said. In most cases, crisis workers are able to de-escalate the situation and help the caller feel safe without any intervention from, say, the police. Occasionally, the caller might still feel unsafe or want to hurt themselves even after talking with a counselor. In those situations, the crisis worker will try to brainstorm ways to help the suicidal person in ways that are acceptable to them. These might include having a counselor from the center come to their house, calling a family member or friend to help, or calling them back later to check in. "You recognize that it can be very overwhelming for someone in crisis to feel like their control is taken away, so we work together so they can feel good about the plans and we can keep them safe and alive," Sinwelski said. The Lifeline uses clinical policies created by both professionals and a committee of people who have survived suicide attempts, been suicidal, or lost someone to suicide. "That committee helps us stay aware of what the concerns and fears of individuals who are using our services," said Sinwelski. In rare cases, the crisis worker might need to alert the local police to make sure a person is safe. Some people may be afraid to call the Lifeline and talk about thoughts of suicide because they are concerned about losing autonomy. But it is rare for a crisis worker to contact police about a caller, and in most cases, they are able to de-escalate the situation or come up with a safety plan with the caller. "Sometimes there are situations where confidentiality might be broken in order to keep people safe, but that happens very infrequently — less than 3% of calls require any intervention," Sinwelski said. ||||| HOPE. LOVE. UNDERSTANDING. In a generation dealing with overwhelming issues like, depression, anxiety and relationship problems, the TheHopeLine is ready to meet you where you are, whatever your struggle. No judgement here. Just love. Through the Dawson McAllister Live Radio show, one-on-one chat with a HopeCoach, and resources on, hope is available to anyone searching for it. Things CAN get better. Start your search for hope today and download our free eBook! Understanding Hope ||||| CLOSE On average, there are 123 suicides per day in the United States. If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. USA TODAY Anthony Bourdain speaks during South By Southwest at the Austin Convention Center on Sunday, March 13, 2016, in Austin, Texas. (Photo: Rich Fury, Invision via AP) The deaths of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade this week have led to an uptick in calls to suicide prevention hotlines. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline saw a 25% increase in volume over the last two days compared to the same time period last week, said Frances Gonzalez, director of communication for the Lifeline. Gonzalez said that since the 1-800-273-8255 phone number has been shared widely by the news organizations and on social media, more people are "calling the Lifeline to get help," Gonzalez said. "The Lifeline has been proven to de-escalate moments of crisis and help people find hope." The high-profile deaths has led to an increase of about 25% to 30% in inquiries to crisis lifelines and text services from those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts as well as concerned loved ones, according to Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE). “We’re so extremely busy. Every time we put down the phone another call comes in. We are glad people are reaching out who are in need though. That’s what we’re here for," said Rachel Larkin, director of crisis prevention at EveryMind, a nonprofit in Montgomery County, Md., that operates a suicide hotline. “I think we’re all worried and it’s been very, very busy. Both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are people a lot of people related to.” In New Jersey, the NJ Hopeline received 49 calls between 6 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Friday. That's a 70% increase from normal call volume, according to Ellen Lovejoy, a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Health. "More people are calling out of concern about someone else. They are asking about warning signs and guidance on what to do," Lovejoy said. "Several callers specifically mentioned the news about Anthony Bourdain’s death." Bourdain, who was born in New York and raised in New Jersey, died Friday at age 61. CLOSE Anthony Bourdain's passion for food and travel inspired us to taste and see the world. The iconic chef, author and TV host was found dead of an apparent suicide in Strasbourg, France, where he’d been filming segments for his CNN show ‘Parts Unknown.' USA TODAY When asked if Reidenberg has seen a similar increase in calls following previous suicides of stars such as Robin Williams in 2014, "It's been even greater just this morning. From around the world I can see the level of interest and people wanting to help," he said. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found Thursday that suicide deaths in the United States have increased nearly 30% since 1999, putting a major spotlight on suicide prevention awareness among the American public. Reidenberg said that in times of tragedy, one of the main suicide prevention goals is to make sure that people have the right information as a means to prevent another death. "We need to have people understand that just because there was a high profile death by suicide it doesn’t mean it has to be your outcome, too," he said. More: Suicide warning signs: Here's what to look for when someone needs help Jane Pearson, chair of the Suicide Research Consortium at the National Institute on Mental Health, said that the suicide prevention community is on "high alert" with the close timing of the two celebrity deaths. "We’re concerned about how our crisis resources are responding," Pearson said. "We already know we could need more (prevention) resources." Reidenberg noted that despite the influx in volume of calls, people should know that if they reach out in a time of need that their calls will not go unanswered. "Everyone will get service. People are going to get help," Reidenberg said. "It may just take a little bit longer." In the case of celebrity deaths, those who identify with or admire that specific celebrity may also be at an increased risk for suicide. "When you’re talking about celebrity so many more people are going to know about that person, and that person is going to touch those peoples’ lives. Thus, more people are going to be affected," said Heather Senior Monroe, director of program development at Newport Academy, a rehabilitation center. Reidenberg encouraged those who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide or are impacted by the recent celebrity deaths to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or reach out to a local crisis center. "We know that one of the best ways to help in people feeling disconnected is allowing them to feel connection with other human beings," Monroe said. Jill Harkavy-Friedman, vice president of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said that these are teachable moments to educate the public about prevention. "What we want to make sure is that people struggling identify with suicide prevention options rather than the people who have died by suicide," she said. That's why an uptick in calls to a suicide prevention hotline can be positive because it means that those individuals are "showing up wherever they need to show up to get some help," Harkavy-Friendman said. Harkavy-Friendman believes people can make it through moments of suicidal thoughts. "If you’re thinking about taking your life, don't." she said. "Take a moment and reach out to somebody." Read or Share this story: ||||| The deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain in a single week have led to a sharp increase in calls to suicide prevention hotlines. Publicity around the suicides of famous people has been linked to increases in suicide, and the phenomenon is nothing new: Marilyn Monroe’s death in August 1962 was followed by a 12 percent increase in suicides nationwide, and 303 more people died than in August of the previous year, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. The thought of more people needing to call is upsetting, but at least indicates people are reaching out for help. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Also Read: What's the Future of CNN's 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown' After His Death? “We’ve definitely seen an uptick,” Lauren Foster, the executive director of HopeLine, a non-profit suicide hotline in Raleigh, North Carolina, told TheWrap. “We contacted our volunteers and made sure we had extra people on today.” Foster said the organization, which usually receives around 800 calls and texts a month, has already answered about 400 this month. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline, the largest in the country, told TheWrap it experienced a 25 percent increase in call volume over the past two days compared to the same time period last week. “The Lifeline phone number is being shared widely as a resource by the media and on social media platforms, resulting in more people being aware of the resource and calling the Lifeline to get help,” the hotline’s communications director, Frances Gonzalez, said. Also Read: Asia Argento 'Beyond Devastated' by Anthony Bourdain's Death: 'My Love, My Rock, My Protector' A third suicide hotline, REAL Crisis Intervention, which receives an average of 250 calls per day, had already fielded more than 200 calls by Friday afternoon. Last month was one of the busiest yet, with 8,146 calls — nearly 1,000 more than the month before. The death of Swedish DJ Avicii may have been a factor, Tracy Kennedy, the hotline’s assistant director, told TheWrap. Tuesday, the day Spade was found dead, was the busiest day of the year so far, with 333 calls. Kennedy said she also brought in extra staff on Friday. Foster said news of Bourdain’s death Friday led to fears of a “suicide contagion,” a phenomenon defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as an increase in suicides due to “the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one’s family, one’s peer group, or through media reports of suicide.” “When people who have suicidal thoughts see seemingly happy, famous and wealthy people dying of suicide, it makes them feel more hopeless,” Foster said. “They think if they died, what’s to stop me?” Also Read: CNN to Remember Anthony Bourdain With Tribute Specials This Weekend Robin Williams’ death by suicide in 2014 similarly caused a 10 percent increase in suicides in the five months after his passing, according to a recent study published in the journal, PLOS ONE. But increases in calls to suicide hotlines are positive, in that they indicate people are looking for help. “When someone we admire dies of suicide, it makes us reflect on our own lives and stresses,” Kennedy said, “and that helps people reach out, which is important.” If you or someone you care for needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24 hours a day, at 1-800-273-8255. ||||| As the world learned the news Friday that renowned chef and food writer Anthony Bourdain had died by apparent suicide, the same phone number flooded the internet. The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline—1-800-273-8255—was pinned to the bottom of memorial Instagram posts, shared in tweets and ran alongside news obituaries. Whenever..."
"– Calls to suicide hotlines have spiked dramatically since the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain—not an unusual phenomenon in the wake of celebrity suicides. The Wall Street Journal reports on a 25% uptick at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) since Spade's death, while USA Today attributed a similar rise to both celebs, and a New Jersey hotline experienced a 70% increase in calls Friday morning. "We're so extremely busy," says Rachel Larkin, who heads a crisis-prevention center in Maryland. "I think we’re all worried. ... Both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are people a lot of people related to." Celebrity suicides have been linked to suicide increases before. Marilyn Monroe's 1962 death, for example, preceded a 12% spike in suicides nationwide, the Wrap reports. "When people who have suicidal thoughts see seemingly happy, famous and wealthy people dying of suicide, it makes them feel more hopeless," says Lauren Foster, who heads a hotline in Raleigh, North Carolina. "They think if they died, what’s to stop me?" But suicide-prevention advocates are emphasizing that hotlines do help and people's calls will go through, despite the surge this week. Check out Buzzfeed to learn what happens on hotline calls and see what resources are available."
"Croatia swastika: Hosts apologise for Nazi pitch symbol The Croatian Football Federation has apologised after a swastika symbol was marked on to the pitch ahead of their Euro 2016 home qualifier against Italy. "This is sabotage and a felony," said Tomislav Pacak, a Croatian Football Federation (HNS) spokesman. "We expect police to identify the perpetrators. "This is a disgrace not just for the HNS but for the whole of Croatia." The game was played behind closed doors after Croatia were punished for racist chants by fans against Norway in March. Pacak added that Uefa had been told about the incident, which overshadowed the 1-1 draw between the two sides who are vying for top spot in Group H. The swastika - widely recognised as the symbol of Nazi Germany - was seen during the first half and although ground staff at the stadium in Split tried to cover it up at half-time they were not successful. It is unknown whether the symbol was mowed or painted into the grass, or who is responsible. "As far as we have learned, the symbol was imprinted into the pitch between 24 and 48 hours before the match so that it could be visible during the game," added Pacak. "We apologise to all fans watching the game on television, to both teams and to our guests from Italy for the Nazi symbol." November's reverse fixture in Milan was stopped twice for crowd trouble, with riot police involved. Croatia were forced to close part of their stadium for March's game against Norway as a punishment for their fans' behaviour at the San Siro. But the supporters who did attend the Norway game caused more problems, leading to the Italy game to be played in an empty stadium. "It's one of our problems and we are working to fix it,'' said Davor Suker, the president of the Croatian football association. "We'll speak about it on Saturday, but I'm very angry." ||||| ? A Brentwood homeowners association that threatened to sue a family over their wheelchair ramp has apologized. Last summer, Michael Broadnax, a popular Nashville pastor, suffered a debilitating stroke. A few months later, his family learned he could come home for rehabilitation, but they would need to install a wheelchair ramp in a few days before rehab officials would clear the move. The family hired a legal contractor and had the ramp installed at the front of their home at the Woodlands at Copperstone in Brentwood. For the last several months, they thought everything was fine. But last week, their homeowners association threatened to sue if they didn't remove the ramp because the family didn't get permission and approval first. Charlotte Broadnax, Michael Broadnax's wife, said since Channel 4's story first aired on Monday, she has received dozens of calls and letters expressing support for her and her husband. "I've had several people come to my door in support," Charlotte Broadnax said. Wednesday, Michael Broadnax came out of intensive care after his latest brain surgery. His wife has continued to battle her homeowners association, which mailed two letters demanding the wheelchair ramp be removed. "I called to let them know I am trying to work this out," Charlotte Broadnax said. "I am trying to work with them and I want them to work with me." After making several calls Wednesday to Ghertner and Company, which manages the HOA, Charlotte Broadnax received a hand-delivered letter of apology from the Woodlands at Copperstone Homeowners Association and its attorney, Alvin Harris. "Please accept the apologies from my previous letter, which should not have been sent," said Charlotte Broadnax, reading from the letter. "It was not approved by all board members of the association and did not contain all the information that the board had previously discussed." The letter explained the board's original intent was to bring to the Broadnaxes attention the ramp required a permit from the city of Brentwood and needed approval by the homeowners association's architectural review committee. The homeowners association manager Elecia Lewis explained that board members noticed a lot of visitors on Sundays and thought the ramp might be for guests. "She said, 'we did not know the owner of the house was the one that was in need,'" Charlotte Broadnax said. "I asked, 'Why didn't you come to the house and ask why the ramp was up instead of waiting seven and a half months?'" The Federal Housing Act "makes it unlawful for any person to refuse to permit at the disabled person's expense, reasonable modifications of existing premises or to be occupied by a person if such modifications may be necessary to afford that person full enjoyment of the premises." Beverly Watts, director of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, reached out to make sure the family was protected legally. "The homeowners association is responsible for contacting the individuals," Watts said. "The letter was a bit harsh, in our opinion. So they had already made a decision that there was no need to interact, that there was no need to talk with the homeowner about an accommodation. And that's what we were concerned about because that, in and of itself, is a violation of the law." Tracey McCartney with the Tennessee Fair Housing Council said in an emailed statement: "Homeowners or renters who are trying to modify their unit for the use of a person with a disability and who are running into roadblocks are welcome to call the Tennessee Fair Housing Council at 615-874-2344.” Charlotte Broadnax said she will be filling out the proper paperwork for the ramp. For now, her top priority is her husband's recovery. "My focus is on [going] from the hospital to rehab and from rehab back home," she said. The Broadnaxes no longer have a two-week deadline and will be working with the Brentwood Codes Department to make sure the ramp is in compliance. The Tennessee Human Rights Commission and Tennessee Fair Housing can both assist people with disabilities work are seeking legal or anti-discrimination help. Both services are free. For more information on housing modifications for disabled persons, click here. Copyright 2015 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. ||||| Tim Hunt, winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, made troubling comments at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File) Earlier this week at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Tim Hunt laid this on the audience during his remarks: “Three things happen when they are in the lab.... You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry." Hunt, who won the 2001 Nobel Prize in medicine for his work on cell division and now works for Cancer Research UK, wasn't talking about whiny, distracting lab puppies. He was talking about women. He went on to say that he thought people should work in gender-segregated labs but that he hoped such sentiment wouldn't "stand in the way of women." The reaction in the science and science journalism community has been, well, about what you'd expect. I'm not going to embed any tweets, but my favorite lighthearted takes on the subject have been to the effect of well to be fair, most female scientists have a 'no Tim Hunt' policy in their labs and but where will we get that male co-author we're supposed to have if the lab is all female?! [Sexism in science: Peer editor tells female researchers their study needs a male author] Outside the Twittersphere, the Royal Society distanced itself from Hunt's remarks, reiterating its commitment to help women succeed in the sciences. And why are Hunt's feelings so troubling? Well, there's this problem we've got where women are underrepresented in the sciences, math, technology and engineering. In fact, in Britain (Hunt's home country) only 13 percent of people working in STEM are women. In science academia, 84 percent of full-time professors in the field are men. The situation in the United States is perhaps a bit better, with women getting a share of science doctorates that hovers just above 25 percent. One recent study claimed the problem had been solved, but other scientists were quick to dismantle the flaws in its methodology and cast doubt on its conclusions. [Gender gap: Women welcome in ‘hard working’ fields, but ‘genius’ fields are male-dominated, study finds] This isn't to say that Hunt is the first Nobel laureate to use his elevated status to share some problematic remarks. James Watson is known for having some real zingers (of the racist and sexist variety) up his sleeve. What punishment did the politically correct hordes inflict on that soul? Well, he sold his Nobel Prize for $4 million, then had it returned to him by the Russian billionaire who'd bought it, as a gift. Rough, I know. Hunt has since apologized via the BBC, but he seems to be as much in need of a lesson on proper apologies as he is on one in gender equality. From the BBC: Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today program, he said he was "really sorry that I said what I said," adding it was "a very stupid thing to do in the presence of all those journalists." The British biochemist, who became a Royal Society fellow in 1991, said the remarks were "intended as a light-hearted, ironic comment" but had been "interpreted deadly seriously by my audience." He went on to say he stood by some of the remarks. "I did mean the part about having trouble with girls," he said. "It is true that people -- I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it's very disruptive to the science because it's terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field. I found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult. I'm really, really sorry I caused any offense, that's awful. I certainly didn't mean that. I just meant to be honest, actually." On his remarks about women crying, he said: "It's terribly important that you can criticize people's ideas without criticizing them and if they burst into tears, it means that you tend to hold back from getting at the absolute truth. "Science is about nothing but getting at the truth and anything that gets in the way of that diminishes, in my experience, the science." Honesty is obviously important, but -- really? These remarks were only troublesome because journalists were there to be offended by them? Obviously no one can force Hunt to be repentant for his personal belief that women are emotional time bombs, but a non-apology is never the answer. What's a non-apology? Here's a good summary from Pacific Standard Magazine: The term “non-apology” first appeared in 1971, but it wasn’t commonly used until the late '90s and then on into today. It’s when you apologize ... if you’ve offended anyone. “I’m sorry ... if you felt this way.” Or when you say you’re sorry because you didn’t mean to do whatever terrible thing you ended up doing. It’s a conditional apology. It’s an apology, plus more some words that make it into something that’s not an apology. As the PS Mag piece goes on to explain, a non-apology is the aggressive version of an apology. To not apologize is passive, but to come out with one of these non-apologies shows an active refusal to admit your wrongdoing. I've come under fire for being like "nah, that's sexist," before, so I decided to check my facts this time. So, okay: Hunt is revealing that he has trouble dealing with women. There are probably a lot of older male scientists who feel this way. I know, I know, we ladies totally crashed the party! We're so cheeky. If Hunt said he wanted single-sex labs because he couldn't help falling in love with female lab scientists -- well, that's kind of icky, too. But it's his insistence -- even in his apology -- that women, as a group, cry to get what they want that really sticks the landing. [Science columnist tells student bothered by breast-ogling prof: ‘Put up with it’] Maybe Hunt is guilty of hiring the wrong people all-around, if it's just inter-lab affairs and the howling lamentations of women in there 24/7. If Hunt has an HR problem, he should go ahead and fix it -- not use it as the basis for proposing that labs be segregated. (Also, how would that even work? Where would people outside the gender binary go? Would labs full of non-heterosexuals descend into the same weepy, chaotic interpersonal jumble that Hunt fears? I HAVE QUESTIONS.) But let's call this what it really is: Just the inescapable truth for countless women working in science. They have colleagues -- bosses in position of great power, even, with globally recognized accolades -- who seem to genuinely believe they just can't help but cry when they're criticized. They can't help it, mind, it's a lady problem. And that's no way to do science now, is it? [Sexism often comes with a smile, study finds] When men believe women are inherently less capable of handling the rigors of science and working professionally without falling over themselves to date their colleagues, they're not going to be considered for the jobs they should be considered for. They're not going to perform as well in those labs. They're not even going to make it to those labs, because someone earlier in their career pipeline has already hit them with this roadblock. No one expects another apology from Hunt: He's at peace with what he said. And that's the problem. Hunt's views are not outside the norm. They will not have him booted from his institution. No one wants his head on a platter. They just really really wish he could stop having these views, because they're incredibly harmful to women in a field that's already making women run up the down escalator. In some ways, Hunt is right in apologizing only for saying these things in front of an audience that took offense. If he said them in his lab, it's safe to say, none of the women under fire would disagree with him. That would just be a bad career move. Read More: Men (on the Internet) don’t believe sexism is a problem in science, even when they see evidence Cards Against Humanity releases science-themed expansion to benefit women in STEM Can science make you less sexist while you sleep? Sexism often comes with a smile, study finds Sexism in science: Peer editor tells female researchers their study needs a male author ||||| Follow @marymitchellcst Sen. Mark Kirk, 55, is a good example of why it never pays to try to keep up with the younger generation. Instead of looking cool, you wind up saying stupid stuff that makes you look lame. Kirk was caught on a live microphone Thursday referring to his Republican colleague and presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham as a “bro with no ho.” I didn’t even know what that meant. My adult son had to fill me in. “It just means he’s a single man,” my son explained. OPINION Follow @marymitchellcst In my day, a “bro” was a black man with a ‘fro. As for “ho,” well, the definition of that slur hasn’t changed. Coming from the senator, the “bro with no ho” comment is an embarrassment. But what was especially offensive was Kirk also saying, “That’s what we’d say on the South Side.” Wait a minute. Since when did Kirk become a South Sider? You can’t just proclaim yourself a South Sider. You’ve got to pay your dues by riding those overcrowded buses and trains, living in food deserts, traveling impossible distances to shop and navigating dangerous neighborhoods. Kirk is from Highland Park — the land of plenty. I know some people falsely claim to be from this side or that side of Chicago, when you’re really from the suburbs. That’s OK. But Kirk has repeatedly pretended to have a grasp on what’s going on in these communities. In 2013, he clashed with U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush, D-Illinois, when he called for the mass arrests of the Gangster Disciples, a gang he said numbered 18,000. Rush called Kirk’s proposal “a middle-class, elitist white-boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about.” The senator put his foot in his mouth again in an interview about economic development when he declared that black neighborhoods are the ones that people driver through faster. I have no doubt that some white people are afraid to drive through black neighborhoods. But there are a lot of white people who work, live and play in black neighborhoods, and I would argue that they are safer in those neighborhoods than the young black males who live there. A spokesman for Kirk dismissed his boss’ comments Thursday as a joke. Maybe he should have added that was a joke that was in poor taste and which could prove costly. The senator was engaging in the kind of bawdy banter some “bros” engage in when women aren’t a part of the conversation. That shows he really doesn’t get it. Kirk is up for re-election. And two fierce women — U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, and Andrea Zopp, the former head of the Chicago Urban League — are seeking the Democratic nomination to face him. Either one of these accomplished women could benefit from Kirk’s gaffe. I can’t wait to see how the “bro with no ho” soundbite ends up being used in campaign commercials. Meantime, Kirk owes the South Side an apology. While some African-American aldermen are still making an ugly fuss over New York filmmaker Spike Lee calling a movie he’s making in the city “Chiraq,” what Kirk’s doing is worse. He’s stereotyping the black community, casting it in a negative light and then crowing about it. Follow Mary Mitchell on Twitter: @MaryMitchellCST ||||| Diane Rehm, a Washington radio host whose show is widely syndicated on National Public Radio, apologized Wednesday for saying presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has Israeli citizenship, which Sanders repeatedly denied. "On today’s show, I made a mistake," read "An Apology From Diane" on the episode's website. "Rather than asking Senator and Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders whether he had dual U.S./Israeli citizenship, as I had read in a comment on Facebook, I stated it as fact." "I want to apologize as well to all our listeners for having made an erroneous statement. I am sorry for the mistake. However, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest." “I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest.” Diane Rehm Sanders, an independent Vermont senator who is running for the Democratic nomination for president, had talked about a variety of topics on Rehm's Wednesday's show, including foreign policy, when she declared, "Senator, you have dual citizenship with Israel." Sanders, who was raised Jewish, interrupted her. Sanders: No I do not have dual citizenship with Israel. I'm an American. That’s—I don't know where that question came from. I am an American citizen, and I have visited Israel on a couple of occasions. No, I'm an American citizen, period. Rehm: I understand from a list we have gotten that you were on that list. Forgive me if that is… Sanders: No, that’s some of the nonsense that goes on in the internet— Rehm: Interesting... Sanders: But that is not something that’s true. Rehm: Are there members of Congress that do have dual citizenship, or is that part of the fable? Sanders: I honestly don't know. Sanders then said he was "offended a little bit by that comment," and said, "I do not have any dual citizenship." Rehm apologized on the show again on Thursday, saying she had "made an erroneous statement," according to, a media blog. "This is an issue that has come up over the years in American politics," she said, according to Poynter. "One of our listeners suggested by Facebook that I ask Senator Sanders about Internet speculation that he has dual citizenship with Israel. But instead of asking it as a question I stated it as fact and that was wrong.""
"– Public apologies making headlines this week include a scientist and a senator trying to show how funny they are: Prize winner: "I'm really, really sorry I caused any offense, that's awful. I certainly didn't mean that. I just meant to be honest, actually."—Tim Hunt, Nobel-winning scientist, after he made light of "girls" working in labs. He added that it was a "stupid" thing to say in front of journalists, which is partly why a writer at the Washington Post calls this the "non-apology of the year." New name, please: "We are sorry that wording which could be considered offensive has been used, as this has not been our intention at all."—Lego, after it described a strange-looking new Lego model as a "window-licker," a derogatory term for people with learning disabilities. If it's on Facebook, it must be true: "I want to apologize as well to all our listeners for having made an erroneous statement. I am sorry for the mistake. However, I am glad to play a role in putting this rumor to rest."—Diane Rehm of NPR, after she informed Bernie Sanders that he had Israeli citizenship during an interview. He doesn't. She had seen it on Facebook. Unsportsmanslike: "We apologize to all fans watching the game on television, to both teams and to our guests from Italy for the Nazi symbol."—Tomislav Pacak, a Croatian Football Federation spokesman, referring to the faint but unmistakable imprint of a large swastika on a soccer field. He's a what? "(He) was joking with his colleague and immediately apologized to anyone offended by his remark."—Spokesperson for Sen. Mark Kirk, after he described his bachelor colleague Lindsey Graham as a "bro with no ho." (A Sun-Times columnist thinks he owes a specific apology to residents of Chicago's South Side.) All business: "Please accept the apologies from my previous letter, which should not have been sent."—Homeowners association in Brentwood, Tenn., after threatening to sue a family for putting up a wheelchair ramp. The homeowner, a pastor, just had brain surgery. The HOA had second thoughts when the story went public."
"WARCZone is a collection of outsider-uploaded WARCs, which are contributed to the Internet Archive but may or may not be ingested into the Wayback Machine. They are being kept in this location for reference and clarity for the Wayback Team, while also being accessible to the general public who are seeking any particular items they can regarding certain websites. ||||| November 21, 2016 An Open Letter to Local and State Educational Agencies & Policymakers: On behalf of the National Women’s Law Center and the undersigned organizations and individuals, we call on local, state, and federal policymakers to address the damaging use of corporal punishment against our nation’s schoolchildren. It is important to eliminate the use of corporal punishment in both public schools and private schools, which serve students receiving federal services, as well as assist in creating a safer learning environment for every child. Instead, we urge policymakers to ensure that our schools are places where students and educators interact in positive ways that foster students’ growth and dignity. More than 109,000 students were subjected to corporal punishment in public schools in the 2013-14 school year —down from 163,333 in the 2011-12 school year. Despite the decline in instances and the many problems associated with the hitting or paddling of students, corporal punishment is a legal form of school discipline in 19 states. Corporal punishment is often used for a wide range of misbehaviors; for example, 37 percent of corporal punishment used in North Carolina during the 2013-14 school year were for minor or subjective offenses like “bus misbehavior, disrespect of staff, cell phone use, inappropriate language and other misbehaviors.” Aside from the infliction of pain and physical injury that often result from the use of physical punishment, these violent disciplinary methods impact students’ academic achievement and long-term well-being. Harsh physical punishments do not improve students’ in-school behavior or academic performance. In fact, one study found that schools in states where corporal punishment is used perform worse on national academic assessments than schools in states that prohibit corporal punishment. Moreover, evidence indicates that corporal punishment is disproportionately applied against certain groups of students. In seven states in which corporal punishment was legal in the 2011-12 school year, Black children were three to five times more likely to be corporally punished than white students. Similarly, in several states in the 2011-12 school year, students with disabilities were over five times more likely to experience corporal punishment than students without disabilities. These students are often punished simply for behaviors related to their disabilities, such as autism or Tourette’s syndrome. Hitting any student should be an unacceptable practice, but the disproportionate application of corporal punishment against these populations further undermines their educational environment. Furthermore, corporal punishment of adults has been banned in U.S. prisons and military training facilities. And every state has animal cruelty laws that criminalize beating animals so long and hard that it causes injury—even while allowing students to be subject to corporal punishment. Eliminating the use of corporal punishment in schools will assist in ensuring the safety of all students and educators. Families should be allowed to protect their children and states should prohibit the use of physical punishment against students and ensure that a plan is in place to alert school personnel and parents of policies eliminating corporal punishment for students. In addition, policymakers should also give schools and educators new tools to foster a positive school climate by encouraging the use of school-wide positive behavior supports, an evidence-based approach to school discipline proven to reduce school discipline referrals and support improved academic outcomes. Local and state educational agencies should also take advantage of grants from the Every Student Succeeds Act, which provides funds to educational agencies to develop and implement restorative justice and positive behavioral supports and interventions in classrooms and schools and train teachers and staff in these methods. All local and state educational agencies have a significant interest in ensuring a positive learning environment for the nation’s students. By eliminating the harmful practice of corporal punishment and implementing positive, evidence-based policies, local and state leaders can help students achieve access to a safe and high-quality education. Sincerely, National Women’s Law Center, joined by the following organizations: Academy on Violence and Abuse ACLU American Academy of Pediatrics American Association of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry American Association of University Women American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO American Humanist Association American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children American Psychological Association American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee Americans Against Corporal Punishment in Public School Association of University Centers on Disabilities Attachment Parenting International, Atlanta Chapter Barton Child Law and Policy Center, Emory Law School Center for Civil Rights Remedies, Civil Rights Project at UCLA Center for Effective Discipline Champion Women Child Safe of Central Missouri, Inc. Children’s Advocacy Institute Children’s Defense Fund Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues Coleman Advocates for Children & Youth Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates Dane County District Attorney’s Deferred Prosecution Program Dignity in Schools Campaign Division 7: Developmental Psychology, American Psychological Association Education Law Center-PA Family Services Network Futures Without Violence Girls Inc. GLSEN Gundersen Health System Gundersen National Child Protection Training Center Gwinnett Parent Coalition to Dismantle the School to Prison Pipeline (Gwinnett SToPP) Integrated Clinical & Correctional Services Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law Lives in the Balance Massachusetts Citizens for Children Minnesota Communities Caring for Children, Home of Prevent Child Abuse MN NAACP National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) National Association of School Psychologists National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) National Autism Association National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools National Disability Rights Network National Down Syndrome Congress National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) National Education Association National Organization for Women National PTA NC Child NCLR (National Council of La Raza) Nollie Jenkins Family Center, Inc. Otto Bremer Trust Center for Safe and Healthy Children Parent Trust for Washington Children Partnership for Violence Free Families Prevent Child Abuse Illinois Project KnuckleHead PsycHealth, Ltd. Rights4Girls Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law SelfWorks SisterReach SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC) Southern Poverty Law Center StopSpanking.ORG TASH Tennesseans for Non Violent School Discipline The National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan The Parenting Network TNTP (formerly The New Teacher Project) U.S. Alliance to End the Hitting of Children University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic Upbring Women’s Law Project Youth Service, Inc. ||||| BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Education Secretary John B. King Jr. is urging governors and school leaders in states that allow student paddling to end a practice he said would be considered “criminal assault or battery” against an adult. King released a letter Tuesday asking leaders to replace corporal punishment with less punitive, more supportive disciplinary practices that he said work better against bad behavior. More than 110,000 students, including disproportionate numbers of black and disabled students, were subjected to paddling or a similar punishment in the 2013-14 school year, said King, citing the Education Department’s Civil Rights Data Collection. Corporal punishment is legal in 22 states. “The practice has been clearly and repeatedly linked to negative health and academic outcomes for students,” King said during a conference call with reporters. “It is opposed by parent organizations, teachers unions, medical and mental health professionals and civil rights advocates as a wholly inappropriate means of school discipline.” Coming toward the end of President Obama’s term, the push to end corporal punishment builds on the administration’s “Rethink Discipline” campaign to create safe and supportive school climates, King said. It also lines up with Mr. Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, meant to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color, he said. Eighty organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, NAACP, Association of University Centers on Disabilities and American Federation of Teachers, signed an open letter released by the National Women’s Law Center supporting an end to the practice. Students are regularly paddled for minor or subjective infractions like dress code violations, cellphone use or disrespecting staff, the letter said. “Corporal punishment of adults has been banned in prisons and in military training facilities, and it’s time we do the same for our nation’s schoolchildren,” said Fatima Goss Graves of the Women’s Law Center. Although its use has been diminishing, there are corners of the country where corporal punishment remains deeply woven into culture and tradition. School administrators say it has broad support from parents and preserves learning time that would be lost to a suspension. Fifteen states expressly permit corporal punishment: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming. In seven states, there is no state law prohibiting it. They are: Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire and South Dakota. “There are better, smarter ways to achieve safe and supportive school environment,” King said, adding that the education law passed late last year supports using funding for positive intervention and supports. President-elect Donald Trump has not yet announced his choice for education secretary. He met last week with Michelle Rhee, a former chancellor of the District of Columbia schools. “It doesn’t actually matter who the secretary of education is or what people’s view is about the election,” AFT President Randi Weingarten said on the call with King. “This is a moral matter. ... We must all be about safe and welcoming places for all students.” ||||| Education Secretary John King speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) (Photo: Susan Walsh, AP) U.S. Education Secretary John King is urging school districts nationwide to stop hitting and paddling students, saying corporal punishment is “harmful, ineffective, and often disproportionately applied to students of color and students with disabilities.” In a “dear colleague” letter being issued Tuesday, King asks educators to “eliminate this practice from your schools, and instead promote supportive, effective disciplinary measures. “The use of corporal punishment can hinder the creation of a positive school climate by focusing on punitive measures to address student misbehavior rather than positive behavioral interventions and supports,” King writes. “Corporal punishment also teaches students that physical force is an acceptable means of solving problems, undermining efforts to promote nonviolent techniques for conflict resolution." Recent research suggests that more than 160,000 children in 19 states are potential victims of corporal punishment in schools each year, with African-American children in a few southern school districts about 50% more likely than white students to be smacked or paddled by a school worker. The prevalence of corporal punishment in schools has been steadily dropping since the 1970s, according to findings published last month by the Society for Research in Child Development, a Washington, D.C.-based policy group. Half of states banned school corporal punishment between 1974 and 1994, but since then, researchers say, only a handful more states have followed suit. University of Texas researcher Elizabeth Gershoff and a colleague found that 19 states still allow public school personnel to use corporal punishment, from preschool to high school. The states are all in the south or west: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. In his letter, King says that more than one-third of students subject to corporal punishment in schools during the 2013-2014 academic year were black, though black students make up just 16% of public school student population. He also notes that boys overall, as well as students with disabilities, were more likely to be punished physically: boys represented about 80% of corporal punishment victims, and in nearly all of the states where the practice is permitted, students with disabilities were subjected to corporal punishment at higher rates than students without them. “These data and disparities shock the conscience,” King wrote. Follow Greg Toppo on Twitter: @gtoppo Read or Share this story:"
"– Education Secretary John King has a message for states where physical discipline is permitted in schools, per USA Today: Quit it. In a letter to governors and state school chiefs, King says 22 states—mostly in the South and West—still allow corporal punishment or don't forbid it. He implores them to stop the "harmful" and "ineffective" practice, saying it teaches kids that getting physical is OK to solve problems. He also points out that some corporal punishment taking place in schools would be considered criminal assault or battery in real-world settings. About 80 groups—including the NAACP—lent their support to a similar letter penned Monday by the National Women's Law Center, reports CBS News. "Corporal punishment of adults has been banned in prisons and in military training facilities, and it's time we do the same for our nation's schoolchildren," an NWLC rep says. King also notes that physical punishment isn't applied equitably to all students. For example, even though black students make up about 16% of attendees in public elementary and secondary schools, they're on the receiving end of one-third of the corporal punishment. Boys are subjected to 80% of such acts, while students with disabilities also tend to be victims more so than other students. "These data and disparities shock the conscience," King writes. (Alabama paddled 19K students in one school year.)"
"Vantage Energy operates the natural gas drilling site on the grounds of Lake Arlington Baptist Church. (Photo: WFAA) ARLINGTON — Two months ago, 100 homes in Arlington had to be evacuated as fracking fluid spilled out of a drilling site onto the city streets. Now we know officially what happened, why it happened, and why Arlington officials are blaming the drilling company for "unacceptable behavior." A series of video recordings obtained by News 8 shows the scene behind the walls of a fracking site 600 feet from a cluster of homes in the state's seventh largest city. In the incident, 42,800 gallons of fracking fluid — boiling up from thousands of feet underground — spewed into the streets and into Arlington storm sewers and streams. WFAA obtained this video that shows a leak of fracking fluid from an Arlington drilling site (Photo: WFAA) Four attempts and 24 hours later, experts were finally able to plug the natural gas well. Nearby residents and Arlington officials feared the worst. Now, two months later, fire officials have concluded their investigation. "Clearly there was a release of unpermitted materials into the stormwater system," said Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson as he addressed Arlington City Council members on Tuesday. The good news, according to Crowson: Despite numerous toxic substances being released into the environment, tests show it was not in amounts that did significant damage to the environment. The bad news? He said the drilling company mishandled the spill. "For my concerns, the main issue I articulated to you a few months ago was the delayed notification of 911," Crowson said. "It's not acceptable." According to the report, Vantage Energy first contacted 911 nearly two hours after fracking water first started to spill. What's more, the call to 911 came not from the site, but from corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania. "This is unacceptable behavior," said City Council member Robert Rivera. "The citizens of Arlington do not appreciate the lack of ability to control the site." LABC gas well leak (Photo: WFAA) The official causeof the spill at a site adjacent to Lake Arlington Baptist Church is listed as equipment failure. Vantage Energy was issued a citation and has agreed to reimburse the city $84,000. But this was not included in the city's report: Records uncovered by News 8 of another 1,500-gallon spill at the same site one month earlier. Despite numerous toxic substances being released into the environment, tests show it was not in amounts that did significant damage to the environment. Arlington Resident Kim Feil said the two incidents one month apart reinforce her fears that drilling so close to homes is not safe. "I just assumed this was a residential area and it would be free from industrial hazardous operations," Feil said. "Now we see it's not." In the meantime, drilling operations remain shut down and will not resume until the city does a final inspection and the folks across the street and those affected are given official notification. Read or Share this story: ||||| Arlington fire officials indicated the site of a gas well that leaked thousands of gallons of fracking fluid back in April could be close to reopening. (Published Tuesday, June 16, 2015) An Arlington gas well site that leaked thousands of gallons of fracking fluid in April could soon resume drilling. All operations at Vantage Energy's Lake Arlington Baptist Church site along Little Road have been suspended since that leak occurred. The company said a well head component malfunctioned, causing a back flow of fracking fluid to spill out. No natural gas leaked from the well, but the incident forced dozens of families in the area to evacuate their homes. On Tuesday, Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson gave the City Council an update on the cleanup efforts. 92-Year-Old Woman Arrested in Denton Fracking Protest A 92-year-old mother and son were the latest arrests in Denton’s fracking protests Tuesday; only that mother also happens to be a great grandmother. (Published Tuesday, June 16, 2015) ( Tue Jun 16 16:40:54 PDT 2015 $__output ) "I will give Vantage credit for this," said Crowson. "They've owned it. They've owned the responsibility for it." Through the course of their investigation, fire officials determined more than 42,000 gallons of fracking fluid escaped into the city's storm water system. They don't believe the city's water supply or the public are in any danger. "Arlington Environmental, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the EPA tested the water and soil samples in several locations and found pollutant material below levels that will require further remediation," said Assistant Fire Chief Jim Self. Crowson said Vantage has identified the faulty component that caused the well head to malfunction and has taken steps to fix the problem on that well and others. The company has also paid the city more than $82,000 to reimburse taxpayers for the response to the leak. That doesn't include additional fines Vantage had to pay for three citations the city issued following the incident. "Our relationship with Vantage has been very good historically," said Crowson. Crowson did not mince words, though, when he discussed Vantage's decision to wait nearly two hours before reporting the leak to 911. He called the company's actions "unacceptable" and said he's met with Vantage and other energy companies to make sure they understand that. "Call the fire department immediately," said Crowson. "That's been carefully and directly communicated." In an email to NBC 5, a spokesperson for Vantage said, "We've worked collaboratively with the fire department on revised notification procedures." Crowson said the site has to pass one last inspection before drilling can resume. When that happens, he said the public will be notified. ||||| The Fire Department has taken a gas well operator to task and imposed rules to make sure a leak like the one that occurred in southwest Arlington on April 11 doesn’t happen again, top fire officials told the City Council at an afternoon work session Tuesday. A pipe sprung a softball-size hole at the Vantage Energy well site at 3016 Little Road, allowing nearly 43,000 gallons of fracking water and chemicals to gush into the city storm-water system and sparking fears that natural gas would follow, Assistant Fire Chief Jim Self said. More than 100 families living within 1/8 mile were evacuated as a precaution. “Some were displaced as long as 21 hours,” Self said. Never miss a local story. Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access. SUBSCRIBE NOW No gas leaked, but Vantage employees, trying to fix the problem themselves, waited two hours to call 911. “That’s unacceptable behavior,” Councilman Robert Rivera said. Self and Fire Chief Don Crowson assured the council that they have taken steps to clarify the city’s expectations in such emergencies. Step 1: Call 911 before doing anything else. “We’re not kidding around about the 911 issue,” Crowson said during a break. “It was a very serious situation. It could have ended in a bad outcome. Two hours’ advance notice could have helped alot. Luckily, we were prepared and we worked well with [Vantage], and we were able to resolve the issue.” The pipe began leaking about 1 p.m. It was carrying water and solvents that had been used, under high pressure, to fracture shale and release its natural gas. At any moment, the frack-water leak could have become a gas leak. Stopping the leak took almost 24 hours. City officials praised Vantage officials for their cooperation. City Manager Trey Yelverton said Vantage hasn’t been the only focus. The city’s expectations have been communicated to all drilling operators in Arlington. In other business, the council told parks officials to work both a senior center and a “multigenerational” activities center into the ongoing update of the parks master plan. Parks Director Lemuel Randolph estimated the senior center’s cost at $25 million and the all-ages facility at $40 million. He said the master plan was virtually finished in November when a new senior center became a priority. About 25 older residents in red T-shirts attended the afternoon session to lend silent support for a stand-alone senior center. Then at the evening council meeting, they weren’t so silent. Several walked to the lectern at the end of the meeting to lobby. Elva Roy, head of Age-Friendly Arlington Action Brigade, asked that the city dedicate the last quarter-cent available in the city sales tax to raising money for a senior center, and put the issue on the November election ballot. Seniors now use portions of two aging activities center, called Eunice and New York. The seniors want something like the Summit, the $23 million 50-and-over senior center in Grand Prairie that opened in 2010, Roy said. “When you walk into the Summit, it’s just so tranquil,” she said."
"– A massive leak of fracking fluid poured into the streets of Arlington, Texas, two months ago and forced the evacuation of a hundred homes. Now city officials have taken Vantage Energy to task for its "unacceptable" handling of the 43,000-gallon spill, WFAA reports. During a city council meeting yesterday, it emerged that Vantage had taken nearly two hours to call 911 despite the risk of a gas leak. "This is unacceptable behavior," says an Arlington city council member. According to Fire Chief Don Crowson, the two-hour delay was no joke: "We’re not kidding around about the 911 issue," he tells the Star-Telegram during a break in city council. "It could have ended in a bad outcome. Two hours’ advance notice could have helped a lot." Still, officials say the environmental damage was not extensive and Vantage has been cooperative. So what happened, exactly? According to the city's report, a Vantage well site sprung a leak on April 11, which allowed fracking water and chemicals to boil up into Arlington's streets, storm sewers, and streams. Because the fracking fluid had been fracturing shale and freeing gas under high pressure, natural gas could have leaked at any time. Now WFAA says a 1,500-gallon spill occurred at the same location a month before, and NBC-Dallas/Fort Worth reports that the site is close to reopening. "I just assumed this was a residential area and it would be free from industrial hazardous operations," says a resident after hearing about the earlier spill. "Now we see it's not.""
"Photo: Roy Hsu In the low-down world of dining and dashing, there are classy thieves and then there are people like Paul Gonzales, an alleged “serial” check-skipper from L.A., whose method involves setting up a dinner date, then ditching the woman before the check arrives. CBS Los Angeles reports that his latest victim is a Bumble match he invited to the local BJ’s brewhouse, where he ordered a steak, a Caesar salad with a side of shrimp, a baked potato, and a glass of wine. Once he’d worked his way through most of that haul (“he left maybe half a baked potato,” the woman says), he said he needed to take a phone call. That’s the last anyone at the restaurant saw of Paul Gonzales. He’s reportedly swindled at least two other women with this same trick. One of them says he showed up “very complimentary” at a “romantic” restaurant in Long Beach, but things got weird really fast: He ordered more than $100 worth of food, including an extra entrée he claimed was necessary because he’s “a bodybuilder.” On that occasion, he disappeared during an alleged bathroom trip. Not surprisingly at all, Gonzales has a police record with multiple misdemeanors, two warrants out for his arrest, and once even committed something called a “snip and ditch,” which involved him fleeing a hair salon still wearing a smock. Amazingly, when it comes to online dating, women can somehow still do worse. ||||| LONG BEACH ( — A second woman has come forward to tell the tale of a romantic date gone wrong when the man she met on social media dined, dashed and stiffed her with bill. KCAL9’s Andrea Fujii on Thursday talked to the woman who didn’t want to be identified. She had no problem identifying her date — Paul Gonzales. She said they met on a dating website in May. The plan was a romantic first date at a restaurant in Long Beach. “[He was] very complimentary, very chatty, seemed to have similar interests,” she said. The woman said things got weird when he ordered over $100 worth of food for himself. “This guy is obnoxious,” she thought. “First of all, who orders two entrees? But he excused it by saying he was a bodybuilder.” She said when she didn’t reciprocate his advances, he took off and left her holding the check. “He says ‘I’m going to the bathroom, I’ll be right back’ and he never did,” she said. The woman acknowledges she is very embarrassed but said she came forward after seeing another women tell her similar story on Wednesday evening on the KCAL9 News at 10 p.m. “He had an appetizer, he ordered a steak. This restaurant is all ala carte,” said Diane Guilmette. Police said the alleged dine-and-dasher also did the same thing to a Burbank hair salon in February. RELATED LINK: Police Look For Man Who Allegedly Committed ‘Snip And Ditch’ At Hair Salon Security video allegedly caught Gonzales walking out of the salon still wearing his smock. Police told Fujii he was arrested on July 23 in that incident but it’s not clear if he’s still behind bars. The LA County DA’s Office says they have two pending petty-theft cases against him. The women he dashed out on in May said she didn’t file a police report but now says she will. “So, now is my retribution time,” she said. Fujii reports that since our story aired Wednesday evening, she also heard from another Burbank hair salon that said Gonzales skipped out on his bill. She said she tried reaching out to Gonzales via Facebook, but as of Thursday had not heard back. ||||| A woman said a man skipped out on a meal with her at an LA restaurant,; she later learned the same man had done this before, to at least two other women. (Source: KCAL/KCBS/CNN/social media photos/surveillance video stills) LOS ANGELES (KCAL/KCBS/CNN) - The dine-and-dash dater has struck again. A California woman came forward this week to say a man who’s been accused of dining and ditching on the bill with two other women also did it to her. As she scrolled through her text messages with Paul Gonzales, the woman, who asked to be identified as Beth, said she thought she was just going on a typical blind date. Gonzales asked if she was available for dinner over the weekend, and she said yes. Beth, who wanted to protect her identity, said she met Gonzales on the dating app Bumble. There, he called himself Dave Gonzales. He has since taken down his profile. She said when she met him at BJ’s in Pasadena, he ordered right away and after he scarfed down most of his meal, he got up. “Left maybe half a baked potato and then received a phone call and said, ‘Oh, I need to take this call. Make sure they don’t take the rest of my meal,'” Beth said of her date. But she said he never returned, leaving her with the bill. “I was shocked that anybody would do this. And I even texted him, ‘Is everything OK?’ And obviously he never responded,” she said. Beth said she went online and discovered previous stories about Gonzales - how he had dined and dashed last summer, leaving at least two other women with large bills. Police said he committed a snip-and-ditch when security video caught him leaving a Burbank hair salon with his smock on after getting a cut and color last year. Beth said the restaurant was nice enough to comp Gonzales’ meal. She only had to pay for his glass of wine. She now hopes this doesn’t happen again to another unsuspecting date. What she wants is “for him to stop doing this to people. It’s just disgusting.” Copyright 2017 KCAL/KCBS via CNN. All rights reserved."
"– Paul Gonzales' approach to dating is similar to that of many men. He meets women online and invites them out to dinner. But here's where he allegedly diverges: According to CBS Los Angeles, 44-year-old Gonzales has been dining and dashing at area restaurants, leaving behind unsuspecting women he's asked out on blind dates. CBS reported in August that Gonzales had left two women to pay the bill after walking out on restaurant dates last summer. One of the women described how he'd eaten $100 worth of food at a restaurant in Long Beach—explaining he had to order two entrees because he's a bodybuilder—before saying he was going to the bathroom. She never saw him again. Now, the man Grub Street identifies as perhaps "the world's worst dinner date" appears to have struck again. A woman, identified by WTOL as Beth, says she met "Dave Gonzales" on Bumble before agreeing to dinner at a restaurant in Pasadena. Gonzales ordered "a glass of pinot, a Caesar salad with a side of shrimp, a steak, and a baked potato" and ate most of the meal before excusing himself to take a phone call, Beth says. He never returned, a text went unanswered, and his Bumble profile was later removed, adds Beth, who soon after learned of Gonzales' alleged notoriety. She says she wants his "disgusting" ruse to stop. According to police, Gonzales has also walked out of a salon, still clad in a smock, without paying for a haircut and color. He's wanted on two bench warrants as a result of misdemeanor charges, including petty theft. (This blind date was more shocking.)"
"WTF?! Howard Stern recently completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and shared a video of the do-gooder act on YouTube. While Stern doing the bone-chilling charitable act is nothing out of the ordinary, you may be scratching your head when you hear who he nominates to undertake the challenge next. "Hey everybody, it's Howard Stern ready to take the Ice Bucket Challenge," a shirtless Stern says in the video. "I'm accepting the challenge of...who challenged me? Matt Lauer and Jennifer Aniston." ||||| After both Jennifer Aniston and Matt Lauer nominated him, Howard Stern finally accepted the Ice Bucket Challenge - and you won't believe who he nominated! Remember, all this ice bucket nonsense is for a good cause - donate to the ALS Association and help Strike Out ALS! And watch Beth Stern take the ice bucket challenge too!"
"– Howard Stern has nominated an interesting trio to complete the ice bucket challenge after him. Trouble is, one of them is dead, reports E! Online. In a bizarre video posted to YouTube yesterday, a bare-chested Stern plops an ice cube into a shot glass of water, then pours it over his head, immediately succumbing to mock shivers before hopping off camera. But first he challenges the very much alive Barbara Walters and Mark Consuelos, plus the quite dead Casey Kasem, to douse themselves with ice water next. Stern is aware of Kasem's death at age 82, E! notes, as he's discussed it on his radio show."
"What appears to be court stenographer’s note appears online after Mr Justice Peter Smith stands up for airline passengers everywhere A document appearing to be the full transcript of a judge’s bench badgering of British Airways over his lost luggage has emerged. Fleet Street last week cast the Chancery Court’s Mr Justice Peter Smith — whom The Times newspaper described as “one of the legal profession’s more colourful figures” — as the common air travellers hero after he castigated lawyers for the “world’s favourite airline”. But the bench-slapping had nothing to do with their submissions in the £3 billion lawsuit Smith was hearing — a spat in which BA was accused of colluding to fix air cargo charges. Instead it related to an entirely unrelated incident which had seen Smith’s luggage go missing on a BA flight during a recent trip to Italy. Legal Cheek cannot verify the authenticity of the document that is doing the rounds of legal London. However, it appears to be a comprehensive transcript of the court stenographer’s note. Emerald Supplies Ltd v British Airways Taking the brunt of Smith’s ire was Jon Turner, a silk of nine years’ standing from Monkton Chambers in Gray’s Inn. As BA’s lead counsel on the day, Turner came in for repeated questioning regarding the loss of Smith’s luggage during his recent trip Florence. At one stage the judge threatened to haul BA’s pugnacious Irish chief executive, Willie Walsh, before the court to answer some pretty searching questions on the missing luggage front. Sadly that didn’t happen, as it would have been one hell of a bout. Now, Smith is no stranger to courtroom antics. The judge once famously inserted his own coded message into a judgment he handed down on a copyright case concerning best-selling thriller novel “The Da Vince Code”. In the most recent case, according to the transcript, Smith repeatedly cross-examined BA’s lawyers about the lost luggage, while, in turn, they desperately tried to bring the proceedings back to the matter of the trial. In the end, frustrated lawyers, who included the airline’s law firm, Slaughter and May (whose partners presumably know a thing or two about international holiday travel), applied for Smith to recuse himself. The grounds were clear: anyone so arsed off with one of the litigants — no matter how legitimately in a customer service context — would not be able to hear case impartially. Smith adamantly disagreed, but he stood down nonetheless. He didn’t go quietly, telling the court: I do not believe for one minute that the reasonably minded observer … would think that merely because I have raised issues over the non-delivery of my luggage of itself should lead to the possibility of bias. I believe a reasonably minded observer would see a judge with a problem trying to resolve that issue and finding the parting question being obstructive and unwilling to address the issue and find a solution. A simple dispute as to the luggage cannot possible be grounds for recusal. However, BA and its solicitors have simply escalated the problem almost immediately. Nonetheless, Smith saw the writing on the wall in terms of public perception: I however cannot allow my presence in the case and its difficulties to distract the parties from this case. And therefore, regretfully, I feel that I have no choice, whatever my feelings about it, but to recuse myself from the case … BA’s legal team will be relieved. The rest of us will still shed a tiny tear as the case of Emerald Supplies Ltd v British Airways is destined to be a damn sight less entertaining than it was a week ago. Read the judgment in full below: Emerald Supplies Ltd v British Airways ||||| Mr Justice Peter Smith was furious at BA after his luggage went missing on a flight from Florence Tim Boyle/Getty Images The judge who stepped down from a £3 billion dispute involving British Airways after complaining about his lost luggage is being investigated by judicial conduct authorities. Mr Justice Peter Smith fired off angry emails to British Airways after his luggage failed to arrive at Gatwick after a trip to Florence — and then berated counsel when the dispute came before him in court. He agreed to step down from the case after BA’s legal team, led by Jon Turner, QC, raised questions of bias in court last week, and applied for him to stand aside. Another judge, Mrs Justice Rose, has now been appointed to succeed Mr Justice Peter Smith on the mammoth dispute which relates to a 2010 European Commission ruling that BA and… ||||| The behaviour of Mr Justice Peter Smith, who reluctantly agreed to step aside from the case last week after BA’s lawyers complained of “a real risk of bias”, has now been revealed in full after a transcript of the court exchanges was posted online. The document, which The Independent has confirmed is accurate, shows how the judge subjected the airline’s legal counsel Jon Turner QC to a barrage of questions about the whereabouts of his luggage, which had been mislaid during a trip to Florence with his wife. “Right, Mr Turner, here is a question for you. What happened to [the] luggage?” the judge asks a few minutes into the hearing. When the QC replies that his clients do not want to get involved in the issue, he shoots back: “In that case, do you want me to order your chief executive to appear before me today?” Justice Peter Smith emailed the BA chairman personally to complain about his lost luggage. File photo (Getty) After Mr Turner delicately suggests that doing so would be “an inappropriate mixture of a personal dispute” with the multi-billion pound case, the judge cuts him off. “What is inappropriate is the continued failure of your clients to explain a simple question: namely, what happened to the luggage? It has been two weeks since that happened now,” he says. A lengthy debate follows, culminating in Mr Justice Smith darkly suggesting that BA is fighting to have him recused because the airline is worried that the case is not going in its favour. “The next judge might not be on your solicitors’ acceptable judge list,” he says. After a break in which Mr Turner contacts his instructing solicitor – before regretfully informing the judge that “she does not know what has happened to your luggage” – Mr Justice Smith says he has “no alternative” but to recuse himself. A spokesman for the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, which handles complaints about the judiciary, said that Sir Peter was being “investigated under the conduct regulations”. Mrs Justice Vivien Rose has been appointed to hear the case in his place. The remarkable courtroom exchanges took place during one of the biggest competition battles to reach the UK courts. The case stems from a European Commission ruling that BA and a number of other airlines colluded to fix air cargo charges, with the firms now being sued by hundreds of companies for losses and damages. Will Gant, a reporter for the specialist legal magazine PaRR, witnessed the judge’s outburst. “I’ve been a court journalist for several years, and must have seen thousands of hearings, but frankly I was absolutely blown away by the unprofessional attitude that Mr Justice Peter Smith displayed at this one,” he told The Independent. “The room was packed with dozens of lawyers, and two or three reporters from specialist legal publications, and as this unfolded we all silently exchanged looks of complete amazement. I’ve never seen a judge allow their personal life to affect their work like this, and it was sad to watch. It was an embarrassment to British justice.” Another source familiar with the case added: “Frankly, it’s the sort of thing you might expect in other areas of the world, but not here.” In a parting shot, Mr Justice Smith then used a written judgment to chastise BA still further, suggesting that his luggage and that of his fellow passengers had been “deliberately bumped off for a more profitable cargo”. He had emailed BA’s chairman, Keith Williams, because he felt the incident “might be something that is strikingly similar to some of the allegations in this case”, he wrote. He continued: “I do not believe for one minute that the reasonably minded observer…would think that merely because I have raised issues over the non delivery of my luggage of itself should lead to the possibility of bias.” He also warned BA that he would continue his investigation into what happened to the bags “in a private capacity” and “with the vigour for which I am known”. Both British Airways and its legal advisers, Slaughter & May, declined to comment. Court records: Out of order According to a transcript, Mr Justice Peter Smith repeatedly harangued the British Airways barrister Jon Turner QC about what happened to his missing luggage. Here are some edited extracts: Mr Justice Peter Smith: Right, Mr Turner, here is a question for you. What happened to [the] luggage? Jon Turner: My Lord, the position remains that set out in the letter from Slaughter and May of 15 July, that we are not dealing with that as parties in these proceedings. PS: I am asking you: what has happened to the luggage? JT: My Lord, so far as the parties to these proceedings … are concerned, we have said, and we maintain, that we are not getting involved because we trust that that will be dealt with expeditiously, in the ordinary course of events. PS: In that case, do you want me to order your chief executive to appear before me today? JT: I do not wish your Lordship to do that; and I would say, if your Lordship will permit me to develop my submissions, that that would be an inappropriate mixture of a personal dispute ... PS: What is inappropriate is the continued failure of your clients to explain a simple question, namely, what happened to the luggage? It has been two weeks since that happened now.... JT: Our position, my Lord, is that where your Lordship initiates a personal dispute with British Airways… PS: I didn’t initiate a personal dispute. BA’s associated company retained my luggage. It is not my fault that that happened. I am the victim. I read the whole of your correspondence. The more I read it, I got the impression that BA was trying to portray itself of the victim of this case and being oppressed by wicked Mr Justice Peter Smith. It is just ridiculous... PS: As far as I am concerned, the key fact in this case is: what happened to the luggage; and your clients know what happened to the luggage and they are not telling me. And your solicitors and you are deliberately not asking... PS: If there is a perfectly understandable operational reason as to why the whole of the flight’s luggage was left behind in Florence ... then I will accept that. That has been my stance ever since I contacted the chairman. I contacted the chairman because the BA helpline is misdescribed. Because when I contacted them, they said, “It is nothing to do with us, it is down to Vueling [BA’s Spanish partner airline]”, despite the fact that I booked my flight with BA and BA took my money. The Vueling helpline was even worse. They couldn’t even tell me where the luggage was till it, without warning, spontaneously arrived at my house last Thursday. In those circumstances, I went to the BA website and the BA website says the chairman is anxious to have comments from customers, and there is his email address, so I sent him an email. Apparently he likes reading customers’ emails. It doesn’t appear to be necessarily he does anything about it, but he obviously likes reading them over his breakfast... PS: BA as a group, as a company in a group, clearly know what happened to the luggage, because ... they cannot have accidentally left the whole of the flight’s luggage off the plane, can they? I mean, I am intrigued. It might be for some reason they only had three gallons of fuel in the plane, it would run out unless they took everything off, which is a bit difficult because the plane was actually being refuelled when we got there. But equally, it is impossible to believe that the pilot, who has to sign the documentation as to what is the weight and composition of the weight in the plane, did not know that his hold was empty; and it is equally impossible for the ground staff not to know that the luggage was not there. These are things which, I accept, I am struggling to find a rational explanation for. ||||| A judge has agreed to step down from a case after complaining his luggage had gone missing during a BA flight while he was presiding over an unrelated dispute involving the same airline. Mr Justice Peter Smith, one of the country’s most senior judges, withdrew from the £3 billion case amid accusations of bias, after he raised the matter of his missing luggage in his own court room. A new judge will now be appointed to preside over the case, over a European Commission ruling that BA was guilty of colluding to fix air cargo charges. The High Court judge was hearing a dispute involving BA, tens of thousands of firms and 30 other airlines, which dates back to 2006, By coincide he had sent emails to BA’s chairman using his judicial title after his baggage went missing on a recent trip to Italy, in which he accused airline staff of deliberately leaving behind all the plane’s luggage and deceiving passengers. The judge’s bags ‘spontaneously’ turned up at his home last week. But Mr Justice Smith went on to raise the matter in court, threatening to order BA’s chief executive to appear in front of him to explain how a whole aeroplane’s luggage could go missing He told BA’s legal team, led by Jon Turner QC: “Right, Mr Turner, here is a question for you: what happened to [the] luggage?” But when the barrister replied that they were not dealing with that issue Mr Justice Smith persisted with his line of questioning, saying: “I am asking you – what has happened to the luggage?” Mr Turner again declined to address his request, at which point Mr Justice Smith warned: “In that case, do you want me to order your chief executive to appear before me today?” Despite being told it would not be appropriate to discuss a personal dispute, the judge persisted: “What is inappropriate is the continued failure of your clients to explain a simple question, namely, what happened to the luggage? It has been two weeks since that happened.” He added: “I do not believe for a minute that the reasonably-minded observer would think that merely because I had raised issues about the non-delivery of my luggage, that it should raise the possibility of bias.” But when BA’s legal team applied for the judge to stand aside Mr Justice Smith he agreed. One of the legal circuit’s more colourful characters Mr Justice Smith once hid a message in a High Court judgment relating to the Da Vinci Code copyright trial. In 2006, he ruled in favour of the novel’s author, Dan Brown, after rival authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh sued publisher Random House, claiming he had stolen their ideas. Italicised letters in the first seven paragraphs of the judgment spelt out ‘Smithy Code’ in a reference to his own name. Other apparently randomly italicised letters read: “Jackie Fisher, who are you? Dreadnought”. This appeared to relate to one of the judge’s own interests – Admiral Lord Fisher, who designed the battleship HMS Dreadnought. It was thought to be the first time that a message had been hidden in a formal High Court judgment. Mr Justice Smith refused to confirm that the letters were a code at the time, saying only: “They don't look like typos, do they? I can't discuss the judgment, but I don't see why a judgment should not be a matter of fun.” In May this year Mr Justice Smith blamed a father for the horrific injuries that led to the death of the man's baby daughter, even though the man was cleared by a jury. He lifted the normal anonymity rules that apply to family court judgments to name Martin Thomas, 30, as responsible for brutal attacks on four-month-old Evie Thomas from Wigan, Greater Manchester. The judge said the law would be “a screen to hide the truth” if the father was allowed to remain unnamed. In 2010 Mr Justice Smith was due to oversee a £100million trial over the controversial Chelsea Barracks development, but was replaced at the last moment after reportedly upsetting the Qatari royal family. He had overseen the pre-trial hearings involving Qatari Diar, the property arm of the Qatari royal family, which was sued by Christian Candy, a London property tycoon, for breach of contract. But the Qataris were said to be upset when a number of decisions went against them. It was later ruled that the royal family's property company had breached its contract when it withdrew a planning application for the £3bn Chelsea barracks development after the intervention of Prince Charles."
"– Anyone whose luggage has been lost by an airline now has a patron saint in the form of Justice Peter Smith in Britain. When lawyers for British Airways showed up in his court to argue a $4.6 billion price-fixing case, Smith had smaller fish to fry: He wanted to know why the airline lost his luggage on a recent trip to Italy, reports the Legal Cheek blog. The questioning of BA counsel Jon Turner is priceless, as relayed by the Independent: "Mr Turner, here is a question for you. What happened to [the] luggage?” When Turner replies that they're actually in court for a different matter, Smith won't be put off: “In that case, do you want me to order your chief executive to appear before me today?” Turner again tries to deflect the questioning, but Smith responds, “What is inappropriate is the continued failure of your clients to explain a simple question: namely, what happened to the luggage? It has been two weeks since that happened now." This goes on for a while, and the BA lawyers ask Smith to recuse himself from the case they're supposed to be arguing because he's biased. Smith reluctantly agrees to do so. Entertaining yes, but whether it was good judgeship remains to be seen—the Times of London reports that judicial conduct authorities are investigating. The same judge once inserted a secret message ("Smithy Code") into his ruling in a copyright case involving the Da Vinci Code, notes the Telegraph. (If you'd like to be berated by an American judge, try this.)"
"Slideshow: Tornadoes ravage Plains Sue Ogrocki / AP A monster tornado hit Moore, Okla., Monday afternoon, leaving scores dead as the threat for more storms continues. Launch slideshow About 9.5 million people remained under the threat of more "large and devastating" tornadoes Tuesday as the storm system that devastated the suburbs of Oklahoma City moved east, forecasters warned. Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth said early Tuesday that the threat area appeared to be east and south of Oklahoma City. "Tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and large hail are possible throughout the threat area," Roth said. More from The greatest tornado threat will exist in northeast Texas, far southeast Oklahoma, southwest Arkansas and northwest Louisiana. A few strong tornadoes are possible in those states. On Tuesday afternoon The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Bowie County, Texas, which borders Arkansas in the northeast part of the state. Michael Welch captures dramatic video of twister from a KFC parking lot in Newcastle, Oklahoma. Roth said that cities including Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Shreveport, Texarkana and Little Rock were among the cities "close to the the larger tornado threat." A tornado watch was issued for Dallas-Fort Worth as well as all of north and central Texas until 8 p.m. ET. The Dallas zoo closed Tuesday afternoon due to the forecast. Strong wind gusts have been reported in the area but so far no tornadoes. Areas of Arkansas were under a tornado watch until 11 p.m. ET. "Another day of large and devastating tornadoes is possible this time from central/east Texas into central Arkansas," Roth said. "Severe threat continues farther to the east Wednesday, although the overall severity appears to be lower." Weather Channel forecaster Bill Karins told MSNBC that 9.5 million people lived in the area at most risk of more tornadoes. He said the likely pattern for twisters was the same as in recent days, with the biggest risk being in the late afternoon. The National Weather Service said storms were expected Tuesday "from the Great Lakes across the Mississippi River Valley and into central Texas." The agency issued a tornado watch late Monday for portions of east central Illinois, western and central Indiana, western Kentucky and southeast Missouri. The watch was in effect until 5 a.m. local time (6 a.m. ET). According to Roth, severe storms appeared possible from southeast New York to east Maryland on Thursday. He added: "An early look at Memorial Day Weekend shows that most of the country should be quiet. The stormiest weather appears to be across the Plains and Midwest with scattered showers and thunderstorms." Related: NBC's Andrew Rafferty contributed to this report This story was originally published on ||||| (CNN) -- The storm system behind Monday's Oklahoma twister brought strong rainstorms to parts of the South on Tuesday evening before heading toward the Great Lakes and the Tennessee Valley. Tornado watches continued for portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. Those watches were set to expire by 10 p.m. CT Tuesday. What to know about tornadoes The threat of a few strong tornadoes, large hail and thunderstorm wind gusts remained in northeastern Texas, southwestern Arkansas, extreme southeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Louisiana, CNN Meteorologist Sean Morris said. "The threat for strong tornadoes will rapidly diminish in these areas after sunset, with the main threat becoming damaging straight line winds during the overnight hours," Morris said. "Isolated tornadoes will still be possible." Rainstorms pushed through the Dallas area on Tuesday afternoon. A ground stop at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was later lifted. Storms are expected to move east on Wednesday and will extend from the Great Lakes south-southwestward into the Ohio River Valley and into the Deep South. Primary threats will be damaging winds and large hail, according to the National Weather Service. Isolated tornadoes also will be possible. Storms weren't restricted to the Great Plains and Midwest. The National Weather Service said weather spotters on Tuesday afternoon reported a possible tornado near Copake, New York, near the Massachusetts border. Track the severe weather Mobile tools to help you survive tornado season 10 deadliest U.S. tornadoes on record"
"– The tornado threat isn't over: "Large and devastating" storms could continue today, forecasters say. "We could have a Round 3," says a CNN meteorologist. "Hopefully, it won't be as bad." But "tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, and large hail" could hit areas east and south of Oklahoma City, with cities from Dallas to Little Rock also at risk, says a Weather Channel forecaster. Some 9.5 million people could face further major tornadoes, a forecaster tells MSNBC, while CNN says 53 million could see severe weather today. Areas from Dallas to Shreveport face the biggest danger "from mid-afternoon to late evening hours," says another CNN expert. Storms could also strike "from the Great Lakes across the Mississippi River Valley and into central Texas," according to the National Weather Service. The threat moves further eastward tomorrow, "although the overall severity appears to be lower," adds a Weather Channel expert. Click for more."
"Weener said the bus was equipped with a new engine in 2005, which means it is likely that the engine's electronic control module has an event data recorder function. Such a device could provide information about how the vehicle was functioning, including its potential speed, the position of the accelerator pedal and even whether the brakes were applied. ||||| People gather at makeshift memorial at a tour bus stop in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016. The tread on four of the eight tires on a tour bus that slammed into a truck and killed 13 people on Interstate... (Associated Press) People gather at makeshift memorial at a tour bus stop in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct 25, 2016. The tread on four of the eight tires on a tour bus that slammed into a truck and killed 13 people on Interstate 10 were below government standards, an official said Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, though the cause... (Associated Press) LOS ANGELES (AP) — The treads on half the tires of a tour bus that slammed into a tractor-trailer on a desert freeway, killing 13 people, were worn down to an unsafe level, a federal investigator said as authorities worked to determine the cause of one of California's deadliest highway crashes. The condition of the four faulty tires meant the 1996 bus was out of compliance with federal standards and could have been taken out of service, Earl Weener, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said at a news conference Tuesday in Palm Desert, near the site of Sunday's crash that also injured 31 people on Interstate 10. Despite the discovery, the cause of the crash remained undetermined and the NTSB was expected to take about a year to complete its investigation. The California Highway Patrol has said there was no indication that the driver, Teodulo Elias Vides, applied his brakes before hitting the truck that was going about 5 mph because of utility work being done in the area. The bus was traveling at freeway speed, officials said. Vides was among those killed in the crash. Records kept by the CHP show that USA Holiday had been deemed unsatisfactory on several levels in the past, though it had not received that rating since 2010, when an unnamed company driver received an "unsatisfactory" rating overall and in relation to "controlled substance and alcohol testing results," the records show. An unsatisfactory rating could be a paperwork issue or a genuine safety concern, and because the CHP only retains records for four years, none of the original reports from 2010 and before on USA Holiday still exist, the agency said. Vides' overall inspection record was not alarming, a top CHP safety manager told The Associated Press. "This is not out of the norm. Commercial motor vehicle operation and the requirements that go along with that are complex and extensive," said Cullen Sisskind, manager of the CHP's motor carrier safety program. USA Holiday had past problems but then appears to have self-corrected "and has had a very good record" over the past few years, Sisskind said. From 2005 through 2008, the company received a cluster of unsatisfactory ratings for maintenance, equipment and issues involving a driver. In 2011, Vides was pulled over for going more than 80 mph in a 70 mph zone a few miles from the site where the crash occurred Sunday. He was also cited for driving with a suspended license but the charge was dropped when Vides later produced a valid license, according to court records. Vides, who is listed as the company's only driver in federal and state records, liked to joke with customers and playfully urged them during gambling excursions to casinos o save enough money for hamburgers, said Alba Martinez, a former customer. He told customers in Spanish as they returned to Los Angeles at sunrise from their weekend jaunts, "We've arrived at reality." Martinez, 43, once asked Vides why he joked with his customers and he replied: "It's so they have some fun." Martinez's friend, Dora Galvez de Rodriguez, was among the dead. On Tuesday, the CHP identified the 13th fatality — 50-year-old Tony Mai of Los Angeles. Rosa Ruiz was returning from her second bus trip to a casino within a 24-hour period when she was killed in Sunday's early morning crash, her daughter said. Jenny Ruiz said she last saw her mother on Friday evening before she boarded a bus for the Pala Casino, about 2 1/2 hours away in San Diego County. Before she left her apartment in Los Angeles for the evening, Ruiz turned to her daughter and asked as she often would "do I look pretty?" "You look gorgeous," Jenny Ruiz said she told her. "You're the most beautiful person in the world." A dozen people who had ridden with Vides gathered to share memories of those who had died and to leave candles, flowers and memories at a makeshift memorial on a street corner in Los Angeles where casino-bound passengers regularly boarded the bus with Vides. Tony Arceo, 31, said he was lucky his parents were sitting in the back of the bus when it crashed on Sunday. His mother, a candy factory worker, broke her jaw in three places after she was trapped beneath another passenger. His father, a retired car wash worker, was pinned between two seats. "I'm glad they're alive," said Arceo, who brought a candle. Elena Castillo, 68, said she began traveling with Vides in 2000 and recalled how the driver would chat with passengers sitting up front. She said he was friendly and took his work seriously. She remembered him offering her words of comfort when she was going through a divorce. Blanca Lopez said she had gone to gamble at another Southern California casino on Friday night and was headed out again Saturday with Vides' group when her sister stopped her, saying she was only going to lose more money. "I was going with my purse, and I just stayed, sitting on the couch," said Lopez, 70, a retired seamstress originally from El Salvador. "I would have died." ___ Associated Press writers Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles and Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report. Spagat reported from San Diego. ||||| Updates with name of 13th victim, Tony Mai All 13 people who died in a Palm Springs-area bus crash Sunday have been identified by the Riverside County Coroner's Office. They were killed when a tour bus crashed into a semi on Interstate 10 early Sunday. The bus was headed back to the Los Angeles area from Red Earth Casino in Thermal. Those identified by the Coroner's Office are: • Tony Mai, 50, of Los Angeles • Zoila Aguilera, 72, of Los Angeles • Conception Corvera, 57, of Palmdale • Dora Galvez de Rodriguez, 69, of Los Angeles • Ana Gomes de Magallon, 71, of Los Angeles • Milagros Gonzales, 72, of Los Angeles • Gustavo Green, 62, of Los Angeles • Isabel Jimenez Hernandez, 66, of Los Angeles • Yolanda Mendoza, 69, of Los Angeles • Rosa Ruiz, 53, of Los Angeles • Elvia Sanchez, 52, of Los Angeles • Aracely Tije, 63, of Los Angeles • Teodulo Vides, 59, of Los Angeles (who owned the bus company) All of the victims died at the scene, on the freeway about two miles east of the Highway 62 exit, according to the coroner. The CHP said Sunday that most of them were in the front of the bus and most were asleep when the bus plowed into the back of the semi. Another 31 people were injured, five of whom remained in intensive care Sunday evening. This story is developing. Check back for updates."
"– If tour bus company owner-driver Teodulo Elias Vides hadn't been one of 13 people killed in a horrific crash on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs, Calif., on Sunday, authorities would probably have some tough questions for him. Authorities say half the tires on the bus he was driving, including both steer axle tires, were worn down to an unsafe level, which would have been enough for inspectors to take the bus out of service, the AP reports. The bus, which was on its way to Los Angeles from the Red Earth Casino in Salton Sea Beach, plowed into the back of a big rig and it's not clear whether Vides attempted to brake first. The full National Transportation Safety Board investigation could take up to a year. Vides, 59, had been sued twice for negligence over incidents involving his USA Holiday company, which is listed as having just one bus, the Los Angeles Times reports. In a 2007 incident, three people died when a USA Holiday bus hit a Honda Civic on a freeway in Riverside, Calif. The company also received at least six "unsatisfactory" ratings from the California Highway Patrol for issues including maintenance, and Vides had several traffic citations on his record. The victims, whose ages range from 50 to 72, were mostly seated near the front of the bus, reports the Press Enterprise. Another 31 people were injured."
"As promised, The Simpsons‘ 26th season premiere saw the highly anticipated demise of a “beloved” Springfield resident on Sunday. So now, we gather here to mourn the loss of Krusty’s father, Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky (voiced by the great Jackie Mason), who’s been a part of the Simpsons universe since reuniting with his estranged, red-nosed son in 1991. RELATED Family Guy Meets The Simpsons: 14 Photos From the Crossover Episode Let’s begin with what I’m sure is the first question on all of your minds: Why Krusty’s dad? “I just thought it would be a good story about someone who’s had a tough relationship with his father — having Krusty’s father die without him ever getting that warmth or connection he really wanted, then finally finding it in a surprising way,” executive producer Al Jean explains to TVLine. “If we could get a sweet moment out of that, that’s all we wanted. We didn’t want a crazy death, or anything shocking, just true human emotion.” And even though The Simpsons doesn’t serialize things too often, Jean acknowledges that Krusty’s father’s death is likely to have an impact on the character moving forward. “One of the reasons Krusty’s been such a loose cannon is because his father disapproved of him, and he never felt like he got that sort of love that he wanted,” Jean says. “He might have a little more confidence now that he has that. … A little more.” RELATED The Simpsons EP on Season Premiere Death: ‘It’s An Emotional Story’ But fear not; despite this highly publicized death, Jean says the show is not going to go on a stunt-killing spree. In fact, as long as The Simpsons team is putting yellow pen to paper, your favorites are safe. “We’re never going to kill off Homer, or even Krusty,” he admits. “This show is always running in syndication, and we don’t want you to feel bad every time you see an old character that you loved. … Totally inadvertently, and very sadly, now whenever I see Mrs. Krabapel [her portrayer, Marcia Wallace, passed away in 2013], I’m always a little sad, where I never was before.” So… Were you surprised by the season premiere’s big death, or did you already guess the victim? Grade the episode below, then drop a comment with more of your thoughts. – ||||| No one from the immediate Simpson family met their maker. Nor did any of the beloved Springfield regulars, such as Apu, Police Chief Wiggum or Mr. Burns. The episode's title, "Clown in the Dumps," led many to speculate that Krusty the Clown would giggle for the finale time. Closer, but still not correct. ||||| It should come as no surprise that the much-ballyhooed decision to kill off an important character in Springfield on the first episode of the 26th season turned out to be a lame play for attention by a show desperate to stay relevant. Because the person who died was not Homer, Sideshow Bob, Grandpa or Krusty the Clown as some had guessed but … Rabbi Hyman Krustofsky. Who? It’s Krusty’s father, voiced by comedian Jackie Mason. You may or may not remember him, since he made nine, mostly minor, appearances on the show. Only four of those were voiced by Mason and only one of which was in the show’s golden era in the ’90s. His death isn’t exactly an “Itchy and Scratchy” bloodbath, either: After Krusty suffers through a brutal Comedy Central-style roast (featuring real-life roasters Jeff Ross and Sarah Silverman), he visits his father to get parental approval for his comedy. After telling Krusty he finds his humor very “eh,” the rabbi dies, sitting at his desk. And, boom, that’s it, he’s off to yellow heaven with Bleeding Gums Murphy and Maude Flanders. The episode tries desperately to milk this moment for some kind of emotional resonance with viewers, but the pathos udders are painfully dry. After the rabbi’s death, Lisa becomes fraught with paranoia that her own father, with his non-stop donut and Duff consumption, is in danger of dying. But instead of pulling out a humorously poignant moment (remember when Homer’s mother had to run away in Season 7?), the writers went slapstick, having her encase Homer in bubblewrap in case he should get hit by a bus or something. Krusty spends most of the episode trying to reconcile with his father’s disappointment, and the climax — where Krusty discovers a rabbi his father admired maybe stole some of Krusty’s lame jokes, I guess? — leaves you feeling kind of “eh” yourself. It does lead to one of the episode’s actual funny moments, when he hallucinates Jewish heaven, with a Joe Lieberman presidential library and “free egg cream” day at Ebbets Field, where the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants are still playing. But compare this to the mortality gut check that Lisa got when Bleeding Gums Murphy died in Season 6, and Krustofsky’s death seems like a pointless plea for attention. The show’s writers opened with an oh-we’re-so-clever moment by having Bart write on the chalkboard “Spoiler alert: unfortunately my dad doesn’t die.” Then it goes into a couch gag scene by Oscar-nominated artist Don Hertzfeldt that is both overly long and perhaps one of the strangest in the show’s history, reimagining the Simpson family as distorted microbial blobs from the future. Kelsey Grammer makes a brief cameo as the murderous Sideshow Bob, but strangely, David Hyde Pierce, Grammer’s co-star from “Frasier” who played Sideshow Bob’s brother in a classic episode from Season 7, also appears, though he’s playing himself. No one expects much of a creativity payoff from this long-running sitcom, but even the 1999 death of Maude Flanders — a frequent but largely unremarkable presence on the show — felt like it was worth the build-up, as we watched Ned Flanders deal with life when it’s not so okely dokely. So next time “The Simpsons” tries to get your attention by killing off a major character, you can simply shake your head and say, “Eh.” ||||| [SPOILER ALERT: Do not read until you have watched Sunday night’s episode of The Simpsons, titled “Clown in the Dumps.”] Say a prayer — Jewish, preferably—for Rabbi Hyman Krustofski, who passed away Sunday night on the season premiere of The Simpsons. The stern, principled father of Krusty the Clown (voiced by Jackie Mason, who won an Emmy in 1992 for the role), expired while telling his down-and-out son who was in the throes of a comedy career crisis, “If you want to know my honest opinion of you, you’ve always been… eh.” The poignant father-child story, which prompted Lisa to fret that Homer would be next to go, ended a yearlong mystery over which character would meet his/her demise. EW spoke with Simpsons executive producer Al Jean about the good rabbi’s demise, what this means for Krusty moving forward, the hype around the event, and yes, that eerie, unsettling, trippy couch gag by Don Hertzfeldt, who wrote and directed the Oscar-nominated short film Rejected. EW: Why was Rabbi Krustofsky marked for death? AL JEAN: I was just trying to think of a story and I thought, “It would be a good father-son story if the rabbi passed away and the last thing he said to his son was, “I think you’re eh.” That the last word that Krusty heard from his dad was “eh,” and that he had to try to reconcile himself with that, and try to find an answer for this lifetime relationship. I thought we did it in a way that I hope is touching but is real and is just the little ways that people make peace with their past…. Then [last fall, journalists] were asking me on a phone conference what shows we had coming up and instead of just saying that, I thought it would be a little sneaky to say that the character had won an Emmy and the next thing I knew it was a huge, worldwide story. So from that point on, we tried to tease it as best as possible but as you can see, there’s really about three clues you can give. It’s pretty obvious. What’s funny is at the [Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour in July], we said, “Okay, we’ll make the title kind of easy and it should be really obvious,” so I said, “Clown in the Dumps.” And then there were people going, “(gasps) You’re killing Krusty???” And I was like, “What? In the dumps doesn’t mean you’re dead. It means you’re sad.” I thought it was so obvious. I would be nuts to kill Krusty. Everybody loves that character. EW: What do you say to fans who might be disappointed that a bigger character didn’t die? Do you think the hype got away from you guys? JEAN: No, for three reasons. For about six months, I’ve been saying this is overhyped. People said it’s an iconic character [who dies], but I never said it’s an iconic character. I never used those words. EW: Right. You said “beloved.” JEAN: He is beloved. Jackie Mason is wonderful. And he’s still with us. Secondly, we’re not the kind of show that does these really horrific things to its characters. Everybody loves these characters, and I would never kill Krusty. I thought I was never even implying that. But people misinterpreted “Clown in the Dumps,” and then once I was tied into this craziness, I said, “Okay, I guess we should go with it.” But the third thing is I think it just works as a sweet show, which is most important. It was something that would be a good exploration of the characters. I thought it’d be good to say, “This is what people think of heaven but it’s not exactly what you’re going to get—it’s more what you do on Earth that matters.”…. If you look back at the clues we gave, everything adds up, so I would find that satisfying. I wouldn’t feel like I was misled. EW: Could Rabbi Krustofski still return in flashbacks or dream sequences? JEAN: Sure. We told the actor that didn’t mean the end of his part in the show. He certainly could come back as a memory of Krusty. EW: Are there plans for that? JEAN: We haven’t recorded him yet, but it’s likely. EW: How did Jackie take the news? JEAN: Our casting director, Bonnie Pietila, deals with the guest cast, so she called him and said, “Well, we’re going to kill the character, but this doesn’t mean it’s the end of you being on the show.” He’s great, and actually he’s a real rabbi too. [Mason was ordained as a rabbi before quitting to become a comedian.] As a character, being a rabbi and exploring death is a good thing to do, and I think we dealt with different traditions of death… He was fine [with it.] He was happy to do it. He found out about it a week after it all broke. Julie Kavner [who voices Marge] came up to me because she didn’t know, and she said “Who’s going to die?” And I said, “It’s Krusty’s dad and the last thing he says is, ‘Krusty, you’re eh,’ and she says “That’s a good story!” She might have been afraid that we were killing Selma or something—she didn’t know.” EW: Will we see a kinder, different Krusty in subsequent episodes? JEAN: Actually, yes. That’s one of the few changes that we would make is that he would actually be a little bit more of a generous person. He is who he is because he thought his father had never given him the respect that he wanted and actually [his father] did, so I think Krusty will be a little more confident and a little more generous. EW: The opening couch gag? That was so crazy. My mind melted. JEAN: That was all Don. And it turns out that it looks a little bit like a reference to the FXX marathon, which I thought was cool. It’s definitely the most insane one we’ve ever done. And it’s got so many layers. I give him all the credit. What an amazing thing to start the show off with. EW: Did you just say to him, “Go nuts and do whatever you want”? JEAN: We had seen his work. He was recommended to us by our director Mike Anderson and he did that Oscar-nominated short Rejected. We knew this was the kind of thing he would do. He said he wanted to do the Simpsons in the deep, deep future, so we had an inkling, but it was even crazier than we thought, which I thought was great. That guy’s really brilliant. I hope this exposes a lot of people to his work."
"– Fans of The Simpsons who thought they'd be yelling "Doh!" last night were ranting "Dud!" this morning. Viewers had been warned for months that what was rumored to be a major character would be killed off during the premiere of the show's 26th season last night, the Los Angeles Times reports. There was a character who kicked the cartoon bucket, but it wasn't exactly a major one: It was Rabbi Hyman Krustofski, Krusty the Clown's dad, voiced by comedian Jackie Mason, a character that only appeared in "a handful" of episodes, the Times notes. Reaction to the "Clown in the Dumps" episode ranged from mild, NPR-style disappointment to outright irritation: Tim Donnelly writes in the New York Post that the death (and preceding teasers) were "a lame play for attention by a show desperate to stay relevant." One Twitter user quoted in the Times complained, "Krusty's dad died... Um, Krusty had a Dad? Never heard of him. Wasted anticipation." Producer Al Jean insists he has always said the untimely death was "overhyped" and that he never promised it would be one of the more-popular characters. "I never said it’s an iconic character—I never used those words," he tells Entertainment Weekly. In fact, he assures fans that favorites will never be purposely annihilated before series' end. "We're never going to kill off Homer, or even Krusty," he tells TVLine. "This show is always running in syndication, and we don't want you to feel bad every time you see an old character that you loved.""
"Taiwan has been governed separately from the mainland since 1949, when the American-supported Nationalist forces retreated to the island after being defeated in the Chinese civil war by the Communists. Evan S. Medeiros, who until this year was the top official overseeing Asia at the National Security Council, said that the explicit threat of sanctions against companies differed from earlier sales, when the threat was more implicit. At the same time, Mr. Medeiros noted, earlier arms sales resulted in the suspension of meetings between the two militaries, which was not part of China’s initial response to the sale this time. Mr. Medeiros, who now leads the Asia practice for the Eurasia Group in Washington, said that the timing of the sale, coming before next month’s presidential elections in Taiwan, helped to reduce the diplomatic fallout. Video Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, has sought to improve ties with mainland China and met last month in Singapore with President Xi Jinping of China, the first time the leaders of Taiwan and China had ever held a summit meeting. But Mr. Ma’s party, the Kuomintang, is expected to lose the presidency to the Democratic Progressive Party, which favors a more distant relationship with the mainland and the assertion of Taiwan’s own identity. “The timing clearly was calibrated to avoid having to do it after the election,” Mr. Medeiros said, speaking in a telephone interview from Taiwan, where he was meeting officials. “That would have been particularly provocative.” The sale is significantly smaller than the $5.8 billion package approved by the United States in 2011, and it is not expected to alter the military balance across the Taiwan Strait, which has tilted in Beijing’s favor after years of large increases in military spending by the mainland, whose annual military budget is now more than 13 times greater than Taiwan’s. Absent from the arms package is any assistance from the United States to help build diesel-electric submarines, a top priority for Taiwan, which wants to replace its aging fleet. Newsletter Sign Up Continue reading the main story Please verify you're not a robot by clicking the box. Invalid email address. Please re-enter. You must select a newsletter to subscribe to. Sign Up You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services. Thank you for subscribing. An error has occurred. Please try again later. View all New York Times newsletters. The proposed sale includes two Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, ships first commissioned by the United States Navy in the 1970s; data link systems; surface-to-air missiles; antitank missiles; amphibious assault vehicles; and shipborne rapid-fire guns intended to counter missiles. Any sanctions against military contractors would most likely be limited because American weapons makers have been banned for more than a quarter-century from selling arms to mainland China. The United States and the European Union imposed arms embargoes on China after the deadly crackdown on student protests and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. Advertisement Continue reading the main story Still, some military contractors, such as Boeing and United Technologies, have extensive nonmilitary businesses in China. The companies that manufacture the weapons systems the United States government announced on Wednesday include Raytheon, which makes antitank missiles, a shipborne close-in weapons system and the shoulder-launched Stinger antiaircraft missile. Lockheed Martin makes the Javelin antitank missile with Raytheon, which was also part of the proposed sale. “The Chinese can react to this as they see fit,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the State Department, told reporters in Washington on Wednesday. “This is nothing new. Again, it’s a cleareyed, sober view of an assessment of Taiwan’s defense needs. And that’s what drove this. There’s no need for it to have any derogatory effect on our relationship with China, just like there was no need in the past for it to ever have that effect on China.” The weapons sale to Taiwan is subject to congressional approval. Members of both the Republican and Democratic parties have expressed support for the sale. ||||| The U.S. on Wednesday approved its first major sale of weapons to Taiwan in four years and shrugged off criticism that it had held up the proposed $1.83 billion deal to limit expected criticism from China. The State Department notified Congress of the long-discussed sale, which comes a month ahead of Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections and includes two decommissioned Navy frigates, air and ground missiles, amphibious vehicles and communications systems. ... ||||| WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration announced a $1.83 billion arms sale to Taiwan on Wednesday, drawing an immediate rebuke and threats of retaliation from Taipei's rival Beijing. FILE - IN this Sept. 10, 2015 file photo, Taiwan's military fire artillery from self-propelled Howitzers during the annual Han Kuang exercises in Hsinchu, north eastern Taiwan. China on Wednesday, Dec.... (Associated Press) The arms package is the first offered by the U.S. to the self-governing island in four years. Even before its announcement, Beijing, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory, demanded it be scrapped to avoid harming relations across the Taiwan Strait and between China and the U.S. That was followed by a formal diplomatic protest late Wednesday, although at a lower level than in previous such instances. "China resolutely opposes the sale of weapons to Taiwan by the U.S.," Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said in a meeting with Washington's second-highest ranking diplomat in Beijing. "In order to safeguard the nation's interests, the Chinese side has decided to take necessary measures, including the imposition of sanctions against companies participating in the arms sale to Taiwan," Zheng said, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website. Such sanctions have been threatened in the past, although there's no evidence they've had any meaningful effect. American and European Union companies are banned from selling military technology to China, and Chinese companies have extensive links with major overseas firms that often have weapon-making divisions. A U.S. Embassy spokesman, speaking on routine condition of anonymity, declined to comment on the meeting, saying, "we don't get into the content of our diplomatic discussions." The U.S. maintained there's no need for it to hurt the relationship, which has also been strained by China's island-building in the South China Sea and alleged cybertheft. The administration notified Congress that the proposed arms package includes two decommissioned U.S. Navy frigates, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles and Stinger surface-to-air missiles. There's also support for Taiwan's capabilities in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and a weapons system to defend against anti-ship missiles. Congress has 30 days to review the sale, but it's unlikely to raise objections. There's been mounting bipartisan concern that Taiwan is inadequately armed to defend itself against an increasingly powerful mainland China. U.S. lawmakers welcomed the announcement. There were calls from both parties for more frequent arms sales to Taiwan. New York Rep. Eliot Engel, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the sale would contribute to peace and stability across the strait. "I wish we would see them on a regular basis," he said. The committee's Republican chairman, California Rep. Ed Royce, said the administration had "needlessly dragged out" the approval process, and that other Taiwanese requests "have still not seen the light of day." Sen. John McCain, Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should avoid extended periods during which "fear of upsetting the U.S.-China relationship may harm Taiwan's defense capabilities." Taiwan's Foreign Ministry cheered the announcement as a sign of healthy ties between Taipei and Washington and rejected claims it would harm relations with Beijing. The sale will "help maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and increase our confidence as we engage in dialogue and improves relations across the Taiwan Strait," the ministry said in a statement. "It also highlights the fact that U.S.-Taiwan relations are indeed at their best ever," the statement said. However, a pro-Taiwan business group in the U.S. lamented the amount of time taken to process the sale and questioned whether it was adequate in the face of China's rapid military advancements. "While China has deployed new fighters, submarines, and missiles during the last four years, the U.S. has consistently refused to consider providing Taiwan access to similar platforms, or even aiding their indigenous development," Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council, said in a statement. The administration has announced more than $12 billion in arms sales to Taiwan since 2010, but none since $5.9 billion in sales in September 2011 that included upgrades for Taiwan's F-16 fighter jets. That drew a high-level diplomatic protest from Beijing, which suspended some military exchanges with the United States. It did not seriously impair ties. In the meantime, President Barack Obama has sought greater cooperation with China on issues such as climate change, and the two sides have increased military exchanges to reduce the risk of conflict. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. was in contact with both Taiwan and China about the sale, which he said was consistent with U.S. support for Taiwan's ability to defend itself under the Taiwan Relations Act. "There's no need for it to have any derogatory effect on our relationship with China," Kirby told reporters. "We still want to work to establish a better, more transparent, more effective relationship with China in the region and we're going to continue to work at that." Relations across the Taiwan Strait have undergone a steady improvement over the past two decades, especially under the China-friendly administration of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou. ___ Bodeen reported from Beijing. ||||| WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration formally notified Congress on Wednesday of a $1.83-billion arms sale package for Taiwan, including two frigates, anti-tank missiles, amphibious assault vehicles and other equipment, drawing an angry response from China. AAV-P7A1 amphibious assault vehicles of the Taiwan Marine Corps are seen as part of a parade during Taiwan's National Day celebrations in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei October 10, 2011. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang The authorization, which Reuters on Monday reported was imminent, came a year after Congress passed legislation approving the sale. It is the first such major arms sale to Taiwan in more than four years. The White House said there was no change in the longstanding U.S. “one China” policy. Past U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan have attracted strong condemnation in China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province. The White House said the authorization followed previous sales notifications by the administration totaling more than $12 billion under the Taiwan Relations Act. “Our longstanding policy on arms sales to Taiwan has been consistent across six different U.S. administrations,” a National Security Council spokesman, Myles Caggins, said. “We remain committed to our one-China policy,” he added. Although Washington does not recognize Taiwan as a separate state from China, it is committed under the Taiwan Relations Act to ensuring Taipei can maintain a credible defense. The sales come at a period of heightened tension between the United States and China over the South China Sea, where Washington has been critical of China’s building of man-made islands to assert expansive territorial claims. China summoned the U.S. charge d’affaires in Beijing, Kaye Lee, to protest and said it would impose sanctions on the companies involved, state news agency Xinhua reported. “Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. China strongly opposes the U.S. arms sale to Taiwan,” Xinhua quoted Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang, who summoned Lee, as saying. Zheng said the sales went against international law and basic norms of international relations and “severely” harmed China’s sovereignty and security. “To safeguard our national interests, China has decided to take necessary measures, including imposing sanctions against the companies involved in the arms sale,” Zheng said. The U.S. State Department said Raytheon (RTN.N) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) were the main contractors in the sales. Related Coverage China says no cooperation with U.S. firms selling Taiwan arms It was not clear what impact sanctions might have on the companies, although in 2013, Lockheed Martin signed a pact with the Thailand-based Reignwood Group to build an offshore plant to supply energy for a luxury resort on Hainan island in southern China. “U.S. companies participating in arms sales to Taiwan gravely harm China’s sovereignty and security interests,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. “China’s government and companies will not carry out cooperation and commercial dealings with these types of companies.” However, previous Chinese sanction threats have not been followed up by Beijing. China’s Defense Ministry said the sale would also inevitably affect military-to-military ties, but did not elaborate. Taiwan’s defense ministry said the new weapons would be phased in over a number of years and would enable Taiwan to maintain and develop a credible defense. U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the decision was based solely on Taiwan’s defense needs. “The Chinese can react to this as they see fit,” he said. “This is nothing new. ... There’s no need for it to have any derogatory effect on our relationship with China.” Kirby said Washington wanted to work to establish a “better, more transparent more effective relationship” with China in the region and had been in contact with both Taiwan and China on this on Wednesday. He declined to elaborate. David McKeeby, another State Department spokesman, said the arms package included two Perry-class guided-missile frigates; $57 million of Javelin anti-tank missiles made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin; $268 million of TOW 2B anti-tank missiles and $217 million of Stinger surface-to-air missiles made by Raytheon, and $375 million of AAV-7 Amphibious Assault Vehicles. The State Department said the frigates were being offered as surplus items at a cost of $190 million. The package also includes $416 million of guns, upgrade kits, ammunition and support for Raytheon’s Close-in Weapons System. Analysts and congressional sources believe the delay in the formal approval of the sales was due to the Obama administration’s desire to maintain stable working relations with China, an increasingly powerful strategic rival but also a vital economic partner as the world’s second-largest economy. U.S. Republican lawmakers said on Wednesday they were pleased the administration had authorized the sale but called for a more regular process for such transactions. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said this would “avoid extended periods in which fear of upsetting the U.S.-China relationship may harm Taiwan’s defense capabilities.”"
"– The US stands by the "one-China" policy, but that doesn't mean it can't sell weapons directly to Taiwan, citing ithe Taiwan Relations Act to ensure Taiwan can adequately defend itself—and China isn't happy about it. The Obama administration announced a $1.8 billion arms package sale to Congress on Wednesday, Reuters reports, including guided-missile frigates, anti-tank missiles, Amphibious Assault Vehicles, and $416 million worth of guns, ammo, and other supplies. The announcement came amid reports that the US had stalled the sale to avoid hearing about it from China, which still claims Taiwan as a territory, per the Wall Street Journal. Reuters notes the sale comes as US-China relations simmer over the latter's man-made islands in the South China Sea and US patrols in those waters. China notes it's going to sanction the companies involved in the sale (including Lockheed Martin and Raytheon), with a foreign ministry official telling Xinhua that the sale flouts international rules and "severely" damages China's sovereignty. "China's government and companies will not carry out cooperation and commercial dealings with these types of companies," a ministry spokesman says. A Pentagon spokesman gave the equivalent of an eyeroll Wednesday, per the New York Times, noting, "The Chinese can react to this as they see fit. … It's a [clear-eyed], sober view of an assessment of Taiwan's defense needs. … There's no need for it to have any derogatory effect on our relationship with China." Meanwhile, the AP notes that China has issued similar threats before, with "no evidence they've had any meaningful effect." (All this despite a lengthy handshake last month.)"
"James Holmes, the accused gunman in last Friday's midnight movie massacre in Colorado, mailed a notebook "full of details about how he was going to kill people" to a University of Colorado psychiatrist before the attack, and the parcel may have sat unopened in a mailroom for up to a week before its discovery Monday, a law enforcement source told "Inside the package was a notebook full of details about how he was going to kill people," the source told "There were drawings of what he was going to do in it -- drawings and illustrations of the massacre." Among the images shown in the spiral-bound notebook’s pages were gun-wielding stick figures blowing away other stick figures. The source said police and FBI agents were called to the University of Colorado Anschutz medical campus in Aurora on Monday morning after the psychiatrist, who is also a professor at the school, reported receiving a package believed to be from the suspect. Although that package turned out to be from someone else and harmless, a search of the Campus Services' mailroom turned up another package sent to the psychiatrist with Holmes’ name in the return address, the source told A second law enforcement source said authorities got a warrant from a county judge and took the package away Monday night. When it was opened, its chilling contents were revealed. The first source on Tuesday told the package had been in the mailroom since July 12, though another source who confirmed the discovery to could not say if the package arrived prior to Friday's massacre. It was not clear why it had not been delivered to the psychiatrist. The notebook is now in possession of the FBI, sources told The University of Colorado Denver issued a statement Wednesday evening confirming that a suspicious package was found, but called the July 12 timeline "inaccurate." The university said it was delivered Monday and found on the same day. When told of the university's statement, a source said the package may have been postmarked on July 12, but arrived before the massacre. On Tuesday afternoon, in response to’s request for comment prior to publication of this article, the same university spokeswoman, Jacque Montgomery, had said only that she was not aware of the contents of the package or who had sent it. The university also denied Wednesday that the package "sat on a loading dock," though there was no mention of a loading dock in the original story. The story reported the package was instead found in a mailroom. Both of's sources said the intended recipient of Holmes’ notebook was a professor who also treated patients at the psychiatry outpatient facility, located in Building 500, where the first suspicious package was delivered. It could not be verified that the psychiatrist had had previous contact with Holmes, who was a dropout from the school’s neuroscience doctoral program and had studied various mental health issues and ailments as part of his curriculum. Holmes is accused of killing 12 and injuring 58 at a midnight showing of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora. Agent Dave Joly, of the FBI’s Denver Division, declined to comment on the matter, citing a gag order issued Monday by Arapahoe County District Judge William Sylvester. Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers' office and Aurora police also could not comment due to the gag order. Police believe the July 20 attack was meticulously planned. Holmes allegedly tossed tear gas canisters into the crowded theater, and then fired his 12-gauge shotgun at the ceiling before turning it on the crowd. As panicked movie watchers raced for the exits, he switched to a .40 Glock pistol and a .223 Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic with a high-capacity drum clip, sources told Fox News. The gun jammed, likely preventing far more deaths. After the gun jammed, Holmes allegedly walked out of the theater through the door he'd entered and was removing his body armor beside his car when he was confronted by the officers who took him down, the source said, adding that the gunman seemed surprised authorities arrived so quickly. Before mounting the horrific attack, Holmes allegedly booby-trapped his apartment and left music blasting, possibly to create a diversion that would occupy police and rescue personnel several miles away from the theater, the source said. Fox News has learned that the door was wired with a booby-trap and a backup system that would have triggered an explosive designed to "cut in half" the first person through the door. After that, explosions and flames would have likely consumed the entire building, presumably with the intention of trapping other residents as they slept and forcing a massive response of police and rescue personnel. Holmes, who made his first court appearance Monday and looked disoriented and disheveled, could face the death penalty. Editor's Note: This story was updated Wednesday evening to include a statement from the University of Colorado Denver, and a response to that statement from a source. SEND TIPS TO NEWSMANAGER@FOXNEWS.COM ||||| CENTENNIAL — Prosecutors in the Aurora theater shooting case say they are "extremely unlikely" to accept an offer from suspect James Holmes to plead guilty unless they hear more details from him. In a court filing Thursday, prosecutors write that after Holmes offered to plead guilty, they asked him and his attorneys to provide "specific access to information that would allow them to fully assess the Defendant and his alleged acts for purposes of determining a just outcome to this case." They say Holmes and his attorneys have repeatedly denied access to that information. Because of that, prosecutors say Holmes' offer — which his attorneys disclosed in a court filing Wednesday — is not acceptable. "There is not — and has never been — an actual or unqualified 'offer' to plead guilty," they write in the Thursday filing. Significantly, the prosecution's filing was signed by 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler and not one of the deputy district attorneys more directly involved in the case. In the Wednesday court filing, Holmes' attorneys said Holmes has offered to plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence in prison without parole. His attorneys wrote that the only thing preventing the case from concluding as early as Monday — the date of the next scheduled hearing — is if prosecutors decide to press ahead seeking the death penalty. Advertisement "Mr. Holmes is currently willing to resolve the case to bring the proceedings to a speedy and definite conclusion for all involved," Holmes' lawyers wrote in their motion. Holmes' attorneys wrote that they would likely file numerous pretrial motions if the case goes forward and that they may present a mental-health defense at trial. In the lengthy response filed Thursday, Brauchler angrily denied Holmes' characterization of the plea offer and suggested that Holmes' attorneys are not acting in good faith by disclosing the offer in a public court filing. Brauchler called the defense filing "unusual and unprecedented" in revealing plea negotiations to the judge and suggested Wednesday's motion was a publicity ploy that violates the case's gag order. Holmes' lawyers had "no legitimate reason" to disclose the offer in court papers, Brauchler wrote. Brauchler also disputed arguments by Holmes' lawyers that the case would require many months of hearings before even getting to trial. And Brauchler took issue with apparent comments made by the head of the state Public Defender's office that were paraphrased in an Associated Press article Wednesday. That, too, he said, violated the gag order. "The misrepresentation — now published by media outlets throughout the world — appears to be an attempt to deliberately prejudice the public, witnesses and victims against the People," Brauchler wrote in his filing. "The People believe that this needs to be corrected." In recompense, prosecutors are asking that the judge deny a separate defense motion for sanctions against the prosecution — one that alleges law enforcement officials broke the gag order and leaked information to Fox News. That motion has dragged in the Fox News reporter who wrote the story, and she has been subpoenaed to turn over her notes and testify during Monday's hearing about her sources. The Fox News reporter, Jana Winter, has fought the subpoena, and the prosecution's request on Thursday has offered her an unexpected lifeline. The two court filings this week forecast a dramatic showdown during Monday morning's hearing, when Brauchler said he will announce if he will seek the death penalty against Holmes. The revelation of Holmes' plea offer — and Brauchler's furious response to that revelation — adds new complications to the death-penalty decision. Brauchler and his staff have been talking with victims of the theater shooting to gauge their feelings about pursuing execution for Holmes. Victims have expressed mixed feelings . Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 58 others with gunfire during the July 20 attacks at the Century Aurora 16 movie theater. John Ingold:, 303-954-1068 or"
"– Prosecutors have all but nixed James Holmes' reported offer of a guilty plea to dodge the death penalty. They're "extremely unlikely" to accept the proposal without "specific access to information" on Holmes that, so far, his team has refused to provide, they say, per the Denver Post. What's more, "there is not—and has never been—an actual or unqualified 'offer' to plead guilty," prosecutors wrote in an angry filing yesterday accusing Holmes' team of a misleading publicity stunt. The prosecutors' filing, signed by district attorney George Brauchler himself rather than a deputy, also took issue with defense suggestions about a lengthy series of pretrial hearings, among other concerns. Brauchler accused the defense of "an attempt to deliberately prejudice the public, witnesses, and victims against the People." Meanwhile, he called on the judge to reject a defense motion calling for action against the prosecution for allegedly leaking information to the press. Brauchler is poised to announce whether he'll seek the death penalty on Monday."
"VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis, starting Holy Week services leading to Easter, urged young people on Sunday to keep shouting and not allow the older generations to silence their voices or anesthetize their idealism. Pope Francis blesses faithful gathered to attend the Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 25, 2018 REUTERS/Tony Gentile Francis spoke a day after hundreds of thousands of young Americans and their supporters answered a call to action from survivors of last month’s Florida high school massacre and rallied across the United States to demand tighter gun laws. He did not mention the demonstrations. Catholic News Service (CNS) said Gabriella Zuniga, 16, and her sister Valentina, 15, both students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, where 17 people were killed in February, attended the service with their parents. CNS posted a photo of the two holding up signs in St. Peter’s Square, with one reading, “Protect Our Children, Not Our Guns.” The 81-year-old Francis led a long and solemn Palm Sunday service before tens of thousands in the square, many of them young people there for the Catholic Church’s World Day of Youth. Pope Francis holds palm as he leads the Palm Sunday Mass in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, March 25, 2018 REUTERS/Tony Gentile Carrying a woven palm branch known as a “palmurello,” Francis led a procession in front of the largest church in Christendom to commemorate the day the Bible says Jesus rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as a savior, only to be crucified five days later. “YOU HAVE IT IN YOU TO SHOUT” Drawing on biblical parallels, Francis urged the young people in the crowd not to let themselves be manipulated. “The temptation to silence young people has always existed,” Francis said in the homily of a Mass. “There are many ways to silence young people and make them invisible. Many ways to anesthetize them, to make them keep quiet, ask nothing, question nothing. There are many ways to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive,” he said. “Dear young people, you have it in you to shout,” he told young people, urging them to be like the people who welcomed Jesus with palms rather than those who shouted for his crucifixion only days later. Slideshow (10 Images) “It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders, some corrupt, keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?” The young people in the crowd shouted, “Yes!” While Francis did not mention Saturday’s marches in the United States, he has often condemned weapons manufacturing and mass shootings. Palm Sunday marked the start of a hectic week of activities for the pope. On Holy Thursday he is due to preside at two services, including one in which he will wash the feet of 12 inmates in a Rome jail to commemorate Jesus’ gesture of humility toward his apostles the night before he died. On Good Friday, he is due to lead a Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession at Rome’s Colosseum. On Saturday night he leads a Easter vigil service and on Easter Sunday he delivers his twice-yearly “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message. ||||| A view of St. Peter's Square filled with faithful as Pope Francis celebrates a Palm Sunday Mass, at the Vatican, Sunday, March 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (Associated Press) A view of St. Peter's Square filled with faithful as Pope Francis celebrates a Palm Sunday Mass, at the Vatican, Sunday, March 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (Associated Press) VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday urged young people not to be silent and let their voices be heard during Palm Sunday celebrations. The pope's message comes on the heels of a meeting of young Catholics who told the Vatican they want a more transparent and authentic church, and a day after tens of thousands of young people marched in the United States with others to demand greater gun control. Francis said "the temptation to silence young people has always existed," and cited the many ways to keep them quiet, "to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive. " But he told youths "you have it in you to shout" even if "we older people and leaders, very often corrupt, keep quiet.""
"– A day after hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets to call for gun control, an old man used his bully pulpit to urge them to keep shouting, reports Reuters. Speaking at his Palm Sunday Mass, 81-year-old Pope Francis warned that "the temptation to silence young people has always existed," along with ways "to sedate them, to keep them from getting involved, to make their dreams flat and dreary, petty and plaintive." But, reports the AP, he told young people that "It is up to you not to keep quiet. Even if others keep quiet, if we older people and leaders, some corrupt, keep quiet, if the whole world keeps quiet and loses its joy, I ask you: Will you cry out?" The response from the crowd: "Yes!""
"DENVER, March 24, 2015 -- Chocolate has many health benefits -- it can potentially lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce stroke risk. But just as connoisseurs thought it couldn't get any better, there's this tasty new tidbit: Researchers have found a way to make the treat even more nutritious -- and sweeter. They will describe their research here today at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world's largest scientific society. The meeting features nearly 11,000 reports on new advances in science and other topics. It is being held here through Thursday. Cocoa undergoes several steps before it takes shape as a candy bar. Workers cut down pods from cocoa trees, then split open the pods to remove the white or purple cocoa beans. They are fermented in banana-lined baskets for a few days and then set out to dry in the sun. Roasting, the next step, brings out the flavor. But some of the healthful polyphenols (antioxidants) are lost during the roasting process, so the researchers wanted to figure out a way to retain as much of the polyphenols and good flavors as possible. "We decided to add a pod-storage step before the beans were even fermented to see whether that would have an effect on the polyphenol content," says Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa, Ph.D., who is at the University of Ghana. "This is not traditionally done, and this is what makes our research fundamentally different. It's also not known how roasting affects polyphenol content." Afoakwa's team divided 300 pods into four groups that were either not stored at all or stored for three, seven or 10 days before processing. This technique is called "pulp preconditioning." After each storage period passed, fermentation and drying were done as usual. He reports that the seven-day storage resulted in the highest antioxidant activity after roasting. To assess the effects of roasting, the researchers took samples from each of the storage groups and roasted them at the same temperature for different times. The current process is to roast the beans for 10-20 minutes at 248-266 degrees Fahrenheit, he explains. Afoakwa's team adjusted this to 45 minutes at 242 degrees Fahrenheit and discovered that this slower roasting at a lower temperature increased the antioxidant activity compared to beans roasted with the conventional method. In addition, the beans that were stored and then roasted for 45 minutes had more polyphenols and higher antioxidant activity than beans whose pods were not stored prior to fermentation, says Afoakwa. He explains that pulp preconditioning likely allowed the sweet pulp surrounding the beans inside the pod to alter the biochemical and physical constituents of the beans before the fermentation. "This aided the fermentation processes and enhanced antioxidant capacity of the beans, as well as the flavor," he says. He adds that the new technique would be particularly useful for countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America where cocoa beans produce a chocolate with a less intense chocolate flavor and have reduced antioxidant activity. Looking to the future, he says the team will be studying in more detail the effects of roasting on the flavor of freshly picked compared to stored cocoa beans. They will be testing different temperatures and roasting and storing times to determine if even higher amounts of antioxidants can be retained through the process. The researchers acknowledge funding from the Belgium Government under the VLIR TEAM Cocoa Project between Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium, and the University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana. A press conference on this topic will be held Tuesday, March 24, at 11 a.m. Mountain time in the Colorado Convention Center. Reporters may check-in at Room 104 in person, or watch live on YouTube http://bit. ly/ ACSLiveDenver . To ask questions, sign in with a Google account. ### The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 158,000 members, ACS is the world's largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. To automatically receive news releases from the American Chemical Society, contact Note to journalists: Please report that this research is being presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. Follow us: Twitter | Facebook Title Roasting effects on phenolic content and free-radical scavenging activities of pulp pre-conditioned and fermented cocoa (Theobroma cacao) beans Abstract Polyphenols are phytochemicals responsible for the astringency, bitterness, green flavours and antioxidant activities in cocoa (Theobroma cacao) beans. These are degraded during fermentation, drying and roasting affecting the antioxidant activity of the beans. However, the extent of degradation of phenolics during roasting remains unknown. This work was aimed at investigating the changes in total polyphenols, anthocyanins, o-diphenols and antioxidant activity (free-radical scavenging activities) during roasting of pulp pre-conditioned and fermented cocoa. A 4×4 full factorial design with the principal experimental factors as pod storage and roasting time were used. Samples were analyzed for total polyphenols, o-diphenols, anthocyanins and antioxidant activity using standard analytical methods. Variable decrease in total polyphenols, o-diphenols and anthocyanins were observed with increase in pod storage and roasting durations. However, variable trends were observed for the % free-radical scavenging activities. The total polyphenols, anthocyanins and o-diphenols in the cocoa beans after 45 minutes roasting decreased from 132.24 to 57.17 mg/g, 6.71 to 1.07 mg/kg and 15.94 to 8.25 mg/g respectively for 0, 3, 7 and 10 days pod storage treatments. The total polyphenols for the fermented, dried and unstored cocoa beans was 132.25 mg/g which reduced to 122.14 mg/g (7.642% degradation), 116.721 mg/g (11.7% degradation) and 92.22 mg/g (30.3% degradation) for pod stored for 3, 7 and 10 days respectively. Increasing roasting time caused continuous decreases in the % free-radical scavenging activity from 89.10% to 74.31% after 45 minutes for the unstored pods. Pulp pre-conditioning by pod storage and roasting duration could be used to reduce the astringency and bitterness caused by polyphenols, o-diphenols and anthocyanins in cocoa beans whilst increasing the antioxidant activity imparted by cocoa. ||||| Polyphenols are phytochemicals responsible for the astringency, bitterness, green flavours and antioxidant activities in Theobroma cacao beans. Polyphenols degradation in cocoa beans during roasting is crucial to the flavour outcome and it is influenced by factors such as temperature, time and pod storage. Antioxidants are compounds that help to inhibit oxidation reactions caused by free radicals such as singlet oxygen, superoxide, peroxyl radicals, hydroxyl radicals and peroxynitrite thereby preventing damage to the cells and tissues. Their mechanisms of action include scavenging reactive oxygen and decreasing localised oxygen concentration thereby reducing molecular oxygen’s oxidation potential, metabolising lipid peroxides to non-radical products and chelating metal ions to prevent generation of free radicals in humans. The study aimed at investigating changes in total polyphenols, anthocyanins, o-diphenols and antioxidant activity (free-radical scavenging activities) after roasting of pulp preconditioned and fermented cocoa beans using standard analytical methods. A 4×4 full factorial design with the principal experimental factors as pod storage time (0, 3, 7 and 10 days) and roasting duration (0, 15, 30 and 45 minutes) at 120oC were used to study the changes in the total polyphenols, anthocyanins, o-diphenols and % free-radical scavenging activities of the cocoa beans. Variable decrease in total polyphenols, odiphenols and anthocyanins were observed with increase in pre-conditioning (pod storage time) and roasting duration. However, variable trends were observed for the % free-radical scavenging activities. The total polyphenols, anthocyanins and o-diphenols in the cocoa beans after 45 minutes roasting decreased in the range 132.24 to 57.17 mg/g, 6.71 to 1.07 mg/kg and 15.94 to 8.25 mg/g respectively at all pod storage treatments. The total polyphenols of the fermented, dried and unstored (freshly harvested) cocoa beans was 132.25 mg/g which reduced to 122.14 mg/g (7.6% degradation), 116.721 mg/g (11.7% degradation) and 92.22 mg/g (30.3% degradation) after storage for 3, 7 and 10 days, respectively. The optimum decrease in the % freeradical scavenging activity was 7 days and above of pods storage. Increasing roasting time caused a continuous decrease in the % free-radical scavenging activity from 89.10% to 74.31% after 45 minutes for beans from the unstored (freshly harvested) pods. However, pod storage caused an increase in the % free radical scavenging activities during roasting. Pulp pre-conditioning (pod storage) and roasting duration could be used to reduce the astringency and bitterness caused by polyphenols, o-diphenols and anthocyanins in cocoa beans as well as increase the antioxidant activity imparted by cocoa. Key words: Cocoa, pod storage, roasting, polyphenols."
"– One of your vices could one day be a little more virtuous: Scientists are today announcing that they've figured out how to make chocolate healthier. The findings will be detailed by researchers from Belgium's Ghent University and the University of Ghana at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Denver, and center around how antioxidant-rich the sweet is. As a press release explains, it all comes down to tweaking the process. Cocoa beans are removed from pods, fermented in baskets, sun-dried, and then roasted. It's during that last step, the roasting, that polyphenols, which act as antioxidants, are partially lost. In a bid to up the polyphenol content, researchers added a nontraditional step that "makes our research fundamentally different," explains Emmanuel Ohene Afoakwa: pulp preconditioning. That simply means they stored the pods—in the case of their experiments, for zero, three, seven, or 10 days—before removing the beans and beginning the fermentation process. A sweet pulp rests between the pod and the beans, and Afoakwa believes the preconditioning gives the pulp time to affect those beans. Indeed, the researchers found that those stored for a week showed the highest antioxidant activity after roasting—which they also adjusted. Rather than heat the beans for the typical 10 to 20 minutes at 248-266 degrees, they lowered the temp to 242 and upped the roasting time to 45 minutes, and discovered that slower and lower was also best in terms of antioxidant activity. The researchers' abstract notes another benefit: "Pulp preconditioning and roasting duration could be used to reduce the astringency and bitterness," improving chocolate's flavor. (Also presented at the ACS meeting: what's really in your pot.)"
"CLOSE President Donald Trump picks OMB director Mick Mulvaney to replace departing White House chief of staff John Kelly. USA TODAY CFPB Acting Director Mick Mulvaney (Photo: Alex Brandon, AP) WASHINGTON - Mick Mulvaney, who was tapped this week to replace Gen. John Kelly as the president's acting chief of staff, once called Donald Trump a "terrible human being." While campaigning to retain his South Carolina House seat during the 2016 election, Mulvaney denounced Trump, who is now his direct boss. Still, Mulvaney said he was forced to support the then-Republican nominee because the alternative was Democrat Hillary Clinton. "We have perhaps two of the most flawed human beings running for president in the history of the country," Mulvaney said during a forum with Democratic challenger Fran Person, according to the local newspaper, The State. "Yes, I am supporting Donald Trump, but I’m doing so as enthusiastically as I can, given the fact that I think he’s a terrible human being. But the choice on the other side is just as bad," Mulvaney continued. Video of his remarks was uncovered by The Daily Beast on Friday, just hours after Trump announced he had chosen Mulvaney as his acting chief of staff. More: President Donald Trump names Mick Mulvaney as acting White House chief of staff More: Key moments from John Kelly’s tumultuous tenure as White House chief of staff NEW: Trump's next chief of staff Mick Mulvaney called him a "terrible human being" just before he was elected president. — The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 15, 2018 Mulvaney ended up winning the election to retain his seat in the state's 5th Congressional District but was pulled into the Trump administration as the director of the Office of Management and Budget. He was promoted on Friday and given the daunting but high-profile position of acting chief of staff, taking over the task of managing a president who doesn't like to be managed. Mulvaney, 51, will take over the role from John Kelly, who is expected to leave by the end of the year. The president said in a tweet that Mulvaney will serve as acting chief of staff, though it's unclear how long he will remain in the role. More: White House departures: Who's been fired and who resigned The White House said he would not resign from the Office of Management and Budget. His deputy, Russell Vought, is to handle operations for OMB, a move that will potentially delay a confirmation hearing for a new director. "Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration," Trump said in a tweet on Friday, ending days of speculation about the position. "I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" CLOSE President Donald Trump’s administration continues to see turnover as he announced John Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff, will be leaving by the end of 2018. USA TODAY Mulvaney, a lawyer and former South Carolina congressman, will have to accommodate a boss who likes to stage events on a moment's notice, often overrides aides' advice, and makes policy and staff announcements by tweet. The selection process for a new chief of staff began Saturday after Trump announced that Kelly would be leaving. A day later, however, Trump's favorite for the job – Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence – turned down the presidential job and said he planned to leave the administration instead. Days later, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another potential candidate for the role, also pulled out of the running, saying in a statement: "Now is not the right time for me or my family to undertake this serious assignment." Trump will be the first president to have three chiefs of staff in less than two years, assuming Mulvaney starts before the Jan. 20 anniversary of his 2017 inauguration. Contributing: David Jackson Read or Share this story: ||||| Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget director who President Donald Trump tweeted Friday would serve as acting chief of staff after John Kelly departs in January, has been a loyal Trump supporter—but he didn’t always like him so much. During a debate with his then-congressional challenger, Democrat Fran Person, on Nov. 2 of 2016, less than a week before Trump was elected president, then-congressman Mulvaney was blunt with those gathered at York Middle School in York, South Carolina. After decrying the Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as a liberal who would take the country in the wrong direction, Mulvaney said he was supporting Trump, essentially by default. “Yes, I am supporting Donald Trump, but I’m doing so despite the fact that I think he’s a terrible human being,” he said, according to a report in The State newspaper. Mulvaney won his race by more than 20 points, with Trump carrying the same area by 19 points. A video of the debate remarks was obtained by The Daily Beast. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mulvaney is far from the first person in the administration to openly criticize Trump before signing on for a job in his administration, but he is certainly one of the most high-ranking. During the 2016 Republican presidential primary, Trump opponent Rick Perry called the future president’s campaign a “cancer on conservatism.” Perry now serves as President Trump’s Secretary of Energy. Before Kellyanne Conway became Trump’s 2016 campaign manager during the homestretch of the race, Conway had publicly criticized candidate Trump for refusing to release his tax returns and for his “vulgar” rhetoric. Conway currently serves as one of Trump’s most ardent defenders and as his White House counselor. Even if Mulvaney had never uttered a critical word about Trump, the chances he would last long in a chief of staff post would have likely been slim regardless. Two knowledgeable sources told The Daily Beast on Friday that Mulvaney has indicated in recent weeks that he definitely would not want the chief of staff position beyond a temporary, interim assignment. “Why would he? He's a sane man,” one administration source said, bluntly, referencing the routine humiliation, reputational damage, and backstabbing that Trump’s current and past chiefs of staff had famously experienced. ||||| “Do I like Donald Trump? No," White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said of President Donald Trump one week before the 2016 election. | Alex Wong/Getty Images White House Mulvaney called Trump a 'terrible human being' ahead of 2016 election Mick Mulvaney called then-candidate Donald Trump “a terrible human being” in a video from November 2016 that re-surfaced Friday, hours after the president named him as acting White House chief of staff. The remarks came one week before the presidential election during a debate between Mulvaney, then a Republican congressman from South Carolina, and his Democratic challenger at a middle school in York, South Carolina, according to The Daily Beast, which first published the footage. Story Continued Below Asked if he was supporting his party’s candidate for the White House, Mulvaney replied: “Sure. If I have any chance to accomplish what the majority of the Fifth District of South Carolina sent me to Washington to do, Donald Trump has to be president. Period. That’s it.” Revising America’s health care system, balancing the federal budget and other policy goals popular among his constituents could only be accomplished if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was defeated on Election Day, Mulvaney argued. “Do I like Donald Trump? No,” Mulvaney said, insisting that the real estate mogul and reality TV showman was “absolutely not” a role model for his two sons. But Mulvaney also said that Clinton was not a role model for his daughter, adding: “I don’t like her very much, either.” “We have perhaps two of the most flawed human beings running for president in the history of the country,” Mulvaney said. “So I have to step back and look and say, ‘OK, what do y’all, the majority of the folks who vote for me, want me to do?’ In order to accomplish that, I have to support Donald Trump, and he has to win.” Mulvaney warned that Clinton’s election would not be an extension of her husband’s time in office, but instead would amount to a third term for the more liberal agenda of former President Barack Obama. “That’s a four years we can’t take,” he said. “Yes, I’m supporting Donald Trump,” Mulvaney said. “I’m doing so as enthusiastically as I can, given the fact that I think he’s a terrible human being. But the choice on the other side is just as bad.” Trump, in a tweet Friday, announced that Mulvaney would take over as his top aide following White House chief of staff John Kelly’s departure in January. Mulvaney has served as the director of the administration’s Office of Management and Budget since the outset of Trump’s presidency. “I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration....” Trump wrote online. In another post, the president continued: “....I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! John will be staying until the end of the year. He is a GREAT PATRIOT and I want to personally thank him for his service!” Mulvaney, quoting Trump’s message later Friday evening, tweeted: “This is a tremendous honor. I look forward to working with the President and the entire team. It’s going to be a great 2019!”"
"– If you've ever called your boss a "terrible human being," it turns out you sort of have something in common with the president's next acting chief of staff. Mick Mulvaney, who was named as John Kelly's replacement on Friday, used those choice words in reference to Donald Trump one week before the 2016 election. Politico reports Mulvaney was up for re-election in the House (he won), and referred to Trump and Hillary Clinton during a South Carolina debate as "perhaps two of the most flawed human beings running for president in the history of the country" when asked whether he was throwing his support behind the GOP candidate. He zeroed in on Trump specifically, saying "Do I like Donald Trump? No" and noting he didn't see Trump as a role model for his sons. And there's this: "Yes, I am supporting Donald Trump, but I’m doing so as enthusiastically as I can, given the fact that I think he’s a terrible human being. But the choice on the other side is just as bad." USA Today reports it was only hours after the Mulvaney news broke on Friday that the Daily Beast posted video of those comments. Mulvaney himself had more positive words on Friday, tweeting, "This is a tremendous honor. I look forward to working with the President and the entire team. It’s going to be a great 2019!" (Mulvaney will hold onto his other jobs in the administration.)"
"Dow Jones Reprints: This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers, use the Order Reprints tool at the bottom of any article or visit ||||| North Korea vowed Tuesday to cancel the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War, citing a U.S.-led push for punishing U.N. sanctions over its recent nuclear test and ongoing U.S.-South Korean joint military drills. FILE - In this Dec. 12, 2012 file photo released by Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's Unha-3 rocket lifts off from the Sohae launch pad in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. The Cold War still rages in... (Associated Press) U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, center, is mobbed by journalists as he attends the opening session of the annual National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Tuesday, March... (Associated Press) Without elaborating, the Korean People's Army Supreme Command warned of "surgical strikes" meant to unify the divided Korean Peninsula and of an indigenous, "precision nuclear striking tool." The statement came amid reports that Washington and North Korean ally Beijing have approved a draft of a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for sanctions in response to North Korea's Feb. 12 nuclear test. The draft is expected to be circulated at the U.N. this week. Such heated military rhetoric and threats are common from North Korea as tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula, and Pyongyang's recent nuclear test and rocket launches, and the push for U.N. punishment that have followed, have increased already high animosity between the North and Washington and ally Seoul. The United States and others worry that North Korea's third nuclear test pushes it a step closer toward its goal of having nuclear-armed missiles that can reach America, and condemn its nuclear and missile efforts as threats to regional security and a drain on the resources that could go to North Korea's largely destitute people. North Korea says its nuclear program is a response to U.S. hostility that dates back to the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula still technically in a state of war. North Korea warned it will cancel the armistice agreement on March 11 because of ongoing U.S.-South Korean military drills that began March 1 which the statement called a "dangerous nuclear war targeted at us." North Korea said Washington and others are going beyond mere economic sanctions and expanding into blunt aggression and military acts. North Korea also warned that it will block a communications line between it and the United States at the border village separating the two Koreas. "We aim to launch surgical strikes at any time and any target without being bounded by the armistice accord and advance our long-cherished wish for national unification," the statement said. North Korea lays the blame for its much-condemned nuclear weapons programs on the United States. A rich vein of North Korean propaganda fueled by decades-old American threats holds that the North remains at risk of an unprovoked nuclear attack. Washington and others say brinksmanship is the North's true motive for the nuclear push. ___ Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim contributed to this report."
"– The US and China have settled on a new round of sanctions against North Korea, and Pyongyang is responding by ratcheting up its usual bluster, threatening to cancel the 1953 ceasefire that ended the Korean War if sanctions go forward and US-South Korean military drills that began March 1 continue. Specifically, the North is warning of "surgical strikes at any time" and a "precision nuclear striking tool" that will seek to "advance our long-cherished wish for national reunification," reports the AP. The US-China deal is aimed at punishing Pyongyang over February's nuclear test, in a joint deal that heads to the UN Security Council today. In addition to new sanctions—whose specifics aren't yet known—the planned resolution enforces current ones, the Wall Street Journal reports. Right now, sanctions include a ban on ballistic missile and nuclear tests and a ban on the import of arms and luxury goods; some in the country face financial and travel restrictions, and the new measures could expand them. China was expected, however, to refuse an oil embargo, believing that such a blow to the North Korean economy could bring refugees to China. The sanctions deal is expected to be adopted this week, says a diplomat."
"Samsung Electronics won a significant legal victory against Apple: a U.S. International Trade Commission ruling that threatens to halt U.S. sales of some older iPhones and iPads. The WSJ's Min-Jeong Lee has the story. Samsung Electronics Co. won a significant legal victory against Apple Inc. that threatens to halt the sale of some iPhones and iPads in the U.S. George Stahl explains the ramifications of a significant victory Samsung won over Apple in its patent case and how it is likely to result in a series of cross-licensing agreements between the companies. Photo: Getty Images. The U.S. International Trade Commission on Tuesday ruled that Apple violated a Samsung patent covering technology used to send information over wireless networks. Unless vetoed by President Barack Obama or blocked by an appeals court, the ruling would bar the importation of certain iPhones and iPads made to work on AT&T Inc.'s network. Among them are the iPhone 4, the iPhone 3GS, the iPad 3G, the iPad 2 3G and the iPad 3. The latest Apple products, including the iPhone 5 and the fourth-generation of the iPad, were unaffected. Once close business partners, Samsung and Apple have become increasingly intense rivals, sparring over the market for smartphones around the globe, with much of the momentum accruing to Samsung in recent months. The rivalry has spilled into the courts, where barrages of competing patent claims have been lobbed in both directions. Last year, Apple won a jury trial and $1 billion in damages against Samsung over iPhone patents. Tuesday's ruling, which Apple has vowed to take to a federal appeals court, raises the incentives for the two sides to reach a more comprehensive settlement. But so far, both sides offered no hint at a settlement. The ruling also came on the day Mr. Obama took steps to rein in companies that buy and enforce patents rather than make their own products and services—firms known as patent trolls by their detractors. He is also trying to reduce the growing use of the ITC to settle patent disputes. The ITC, which has jurisdiction over certain trade practices, is an appealing legal option for patent holders, particularly tech companies, because the trade body can issue orders banning the importation of products that infringe upon another company's patents. Legal observers say it is easier to win an import ban at the ITC than it is to win a federal court ruling that would block product sales. The ITC's decision against Apple was largely unexpected, particularly because the initial review by a judge at the agency had found Apple's products weren't infringing Samsung's patents. The patent itself is a highly technical one, described in patent documents as "an apparatus and method for encoding/decoding a transport format combination indicator (TFCI) in a CDMA mobile communication system." "We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal," said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. She said the decision "has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States." Apple doesn't detail sales for each individual product in its quarterly reports, but it has said that the iPhone makes up more than half of its global revenue. Sales in America, where the ban would take place, represented less than a third of overall sales. And aside from the iPhone 4S, which Apple said is popular with customers, the company hasn't detailed sales of its older models. Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, estimates that world-wide sales of the iPhone 4—which stands to be affected by the ITC order—brought Apple $3.4 billion in revenue in the quarter ended in March. That compares with his estimate of $14.9 billion for the newer iPhone 5, which isn't affected. The iPhone 4 has been marketed as a low-cost option alongside newer models. AT&T offers it for as little as 99 cents with a new contract. An AT&T spokesman didn't return a request for comment. Apple's Ms. Huguet added that "Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world." Adam Yates, a spokesman for Samsung, said the decision affirmed the company's patents. "We believe the ITC's Final Determination has confirmed Apple's history of free-riding on Samsung's technological innovations," he said. AP The Apple store in Santa Monica, Calif. The ITC ruled against a key Apple theory across its recent litigation, which seeks to limit plaintiffs from using a broad class of patents to win injunctions against sales of infringing products. Such patents are submitted to industry groups that are setting key technology standards, and are deemed as essential to create products in certain categories—such as creating handsets that can communicate using a particular generation of cellular networks. Apple has argued that in return for becoming part of an industry standard, companies usually promise those groups to license use of their patented technology under fair and reasonable terms. Apple says Samsung isn't doing that. But the ITC said Apple's argument wasn't valid, potentially hurting Apple's continuing efforts to change the way standards-based patents are used in legal cases. Brian Love, an assistant professor of law at Santa Clara University School of Law, said it was unclear whether Apple could find a technical workaround for the ruling. He said that companies are sometimes "overzealous" about labeling patents as essential parts of technology standards. Kevin Taylor, an intellectual property lawyer at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, said this is "a solid win for Samsung." But he said whether it would set any precedent would depend on the outcome of any appeal in federal court. He said it wouldn't be unusual for a court to temporarily delay the ruling from going into effect, allowing Apple to continue selling its devices during the appeal, which could take months or longer. But, Mr. Taylor said, if "upheld on appeal, Apple has a big problem." Lyle Vander Schaaf, an intellectual property lawyer at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, noted that it is rare for federal appeals courts to delay exclusion orders during appeals. And presidential vetoes are even more rare. There hasn't been a veto "since the Carter administration," he said. "On first blush, this seems like a really impactful decision." —Don Clark and Brent Kendall contributed to this article. Write to Ian Sherr at and Jessica E. Lessin at ||||| Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s first loss against Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) in a U.S. patent case could mean a ban on imports of some older devices including the iPhone 4 while lessening prospects of the largest smartphone makers ending their legal battles. The U.S. International Trade Commission’s decision, posted in a notice on its website yesterday, covers the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 3G sold for use on networks operated by AT&T Inc. (T), T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS) and two regional carriers, General Communication Inc. (GNCMA) in Alaska and CT Cube LP in Texas. With dozens of lawsuits spread across four continents in their battle for a greater share of the $293.9 billion market for smartphones, each side can now claim a victory in the U.S. With plenty of litigation remaining, Samsung’s victory probably won’t bring the two sides closer to settling, said Will Stofega, a program director at Framingham, Massachusetts-based researcher IDC. “There’s too much skin in the game now,” he said. “It’s almost so ugly I don’t think they’ll come to any agreement. Both companies have a lot of cash and are generating a lot of money. It’s not like they have to worry about paying the legal bills.” Obama Review The ITC’s import-ban order is subject to review by President Barack Obama. The president can overturn it on public-policy grounds, though that rarely happens. Apple can keep selling the devices during the 60-day review period. Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg A man uses a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy S III smartphone to record a video outside the Apple Inc. store in Sydney, Australia. Close A man uses a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy S III smartphone to record a video outside... Read More Close Open Photographer: Ian Waldie/Bloomberg A man uses a Samsung Electronics Co. Galaxy S III smartphone to record a video outside the Apple Inc. store in Sydney, Australia. “Historically, the president does not interfere in these sorts of things,” said Lyle Vander Schaaf, a patent lawyer with Brinks Hofer in Washington. “It shows the commission is a very bold agency that they are willing to take these steps despite the popularity of the Apple products.” Apple won a $1 billion verdict last year in California that has since been cut to about $600 million. It was based on a jury finding that Samsung devices copied the look and unique features of the iPhone and iPad. The commission is scheduled to release a final decision in Apple’s trade case against Samsung in August. Apple shares slipped 1.1 percent to 342.35 euros in German trading. The stock is down 16 percent in New York trading this year. Samsung shares declined 1.2 percent to 1,521,000 won in Seoul today as South Korea’s currency rose the most in more than six weeks. Samsung shares are little changed this year, compared with a 1.9 percent decline in the benchmark Kospi index. Hot Seller A new trial on some of the damages in the California case must be held and a second lawsuit, involving newer models by both companies, is scheduled for next year. An appeals court could hear arguments later this year on Apple’s request to halt sales of Samsung products found by the jury to infringe its patents. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg Apple faces U.S. import ban on some devices after Samsung win; Apple violates one Samsung patent, U.S. trade agency says. Close Apple faces U.S. import ban on some devices after Samsung win; Apple violates one... Read More Close Open Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg Apple faces U.S. import ban on some devices after Samsung win; Apple violates one Samsung patent, U.S. trade agency says. “We believe the ITC’s final determination has confirmed Apple’s history of free-riding on Samsung’s technological innovations,” Adam Yates, a Samsung spokesman, said yesterday. “Our decades of research and development in mobile technologies will continue, and we will continue to offer innovative products to consumers in the United States.” Apple pledged to appeal the ITC decision. The underlying findings will be reviewed by a U.S. appeals court specializing in patent cases. “We are disappointed that the commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal,” said Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman. “Today’s decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States.” ‘Copycat’ Reputation Park Hyun, a Seoul-based analyst with TongYang Securities Inc., said the ITC ruling may help remove the “copycat label” from Samsung. “It seems inevitable that the latest ruling will have a negative impact on Apple,” Park said. “Combined with rising branding power in the U.S., the ITC ruling may give Samsung a chance to narrow its market-share gap with Apple in the U.S.” The decision could mean fewer choices for AT&T and T-Mobile customers who want to get an iPhone without paying for the more expensive iPhone 5. Samsung told the commission that Cupertino, California-based Apple could drop the price of the iPhone 5 if it was worried about losing potential customers. All iPhones are made in Asia. The three-year-old iPhone 4 is still a hot-selling product, said Marcelo Claure, chief executive officer of Brightstar Corp., a mobile-phone distributor with operations in 50 countries. “Anytime you can’t sell your entire portfolio, it’s a big deal,” he said. Unlike Samsung, which sells dozens of models, Apple sells only the iPhone 4, 4S and 5. Mutual Destruction Together, Apple and Samsung make about half the smartphones sold in the world. Samsung is the biggest, while Apple dominates in the U.S. “It’s like Ford and GM -- they should approach some rapprochement or they’ll end up weakening each other’s market share,” said Scott Daniels, a patent lawyer with Westerman Hattori in Washington. “At some point they just need to resolve it because they just hurt themselves commercially if they don’t.” Samsung had been Apple’s biggest components supplier, though Apple has been trying to diversify its supply chain. It may take new innovations in devices to bring them back together, Stofega said. “There’s a big push into display technology, like flexible screens,” he said. “Samsung has proven it can do things no one else can, and that might bring them together. Apple would be a good partner, given their emphasis on display. It can be: ‘We hate each other, but we need each other.’” Patent Trolls In the ITC case, Apple was found to infringe a patent for a widely used way that phones transmit data. Apple argued that Samsung was obligated to license the patent on fair terms because it was part of an industry standard and, instead, the company demanded an unreasonable royalty. Obama’s administration and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in January urged the ITC to closely look at patents that relate to industry standards before issuing any import bans. “Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world,” Huguet said. “They’ve admitted that it’s against the interests of consumers in Europe and elsewhere, yet here in the United States Samsung continues to try to block the sale of Apple products by using patents they agreed to license to anyone for a reasonable fee.” Samsung, based in Suwon, South Korea, contended Apple infringes four patents, including two covering data transmission. U.S. trade Judge James Gildea sided with Apple in September, saying Apple didn’t infringe any of the patents and that one, for a way to detect movement on a touch screen, was invalid. Fair Licensing The fourth patent in the case is for a way to detect phone numbers in e-mails so they can be dialed or stored in the phone’s contact list. The commission agreed with the judge on the other three patents. Apple contends Samsung never made a fair offer and demanded that Apple pay 2.4 percent of the average sales price of every iPhone and cellular-enabled iPad, according to filings with the agency. The iPhone generated $78.7 billion in sales for the fiscal year ended Sept. 29, or about 50 percent of Apple’s revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its iPad brought in $30.9 billion, and the iPod generated $5.6 billion. In its filings, Samsung said it’s been offering Apple a license since November 2010 and “Apple has never been willing to take a license on any terms.” Samsung’s case against Apple is In the Matter of Electronic Devices, Including Wireless Communication Devices, 337-794, and Apple’s case against Samsung is In the Matter of Electronic Digital Media Devices, 337-796, both U.S. International Trade Commission (Washington). To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at"
"– A big win for Samsung in its long-running patent feud with Apple: The US International Trade Commission has banned imports of the AT&T models of older Apple products including the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 3G after deciding Apple violated a Samsung patent, the Wall Street Journal reports. Newer Apple products like the iPhone 5 are not affected by the ruling, which Apple says it is "disappointed" by and will appeal. The ruling will take effect in 60 days unless it is vetoed by President Obama, a move analysts say is nearly as unlikely as the two companies deciding to settle their difference amicably. "There’s too much skin in the game now," a spokesman for technology research firm IDC tells Bloomberg. "It’s almost so ugly I don’t think they’ll come to any agreement. Both companies have a lot of cash and are generating a lot of money. It’s not like they have to worry about paying the legal bills.""
"In June in 1986, Hans Riegel told one of the jokes for which he had become well-known. The Haribo CEO told a reporter he had just swallowed Maoam. All Riegel had to do was wait a second for a question in response: "The candy?" "No," he answered triumphantly. "The company. It was a lot of fun -- they used to be a competitor." It would be hard to find another executive in Germany as multifaceted as the former head of Bonn-based gummy bear empire Haribo. Riegel was equal parts tenacious businessman, jokester, workaholic and bon vivant. Above all, he was the man associated with Haribo -- few entrepreneurs have been as closely identified with their brands as he has been. In his 67 years at the helm, he transformed his father's small candy company into a global sweets giant with an estimated €2 billion ($2.7 billion) in annual sales of gummy bears and other candies in 110 countries around the world. Riegel died on Tuesday at the age of 90. He was the archetype of the old-school German capitalist from the Rhineland -- hardworking, responsible, persistent and full of business acumen. After having just returned from being a prisoner of war after World War II, Riegel and his brother Paul assumed responsibility for the family business, which at the time had 30 employees, 10 sacks of sugar and the secret recipe for gummy bears that still guarantees the company's success today. Paul, who was more behind the scenes, developed the machines used to make the company's liquorices. The more outgoing Hans worked on the company's first commercials. The Man Who Turned Warren Buffet Away The division of labor between the two brothers was a success, and it didn't take long before the company's motto, "Kids love it so," created by their father, was known by youth all across Germany. Although the company's gummy bears soon became a gold mine, financial success eluded the young entrepreneur. One day, when the local bank tried to seize bags of sugar at the Haribo plant because the company had been late on a loan payment, Riegel swore he would never borrow money to grow the company again. It's a position he stuck to for the rest of his life. When star investor Warren Buffett came knocking on his door in 2008, Riegel sent him away. "Money was never my motivation," he said at the time. "I don't even know when I made my first million." Riegel wanted to maintain control of his own company. Indeed, each gummy creation at Haribo had to be approved by the boss before it could go into serial production. He knew what customers wanted, too. Whereas other companies developed the products for the tastes of the masses, Riegel continued to stubbornly make his gummy candies according to his family recipe. He made a few name changes to his father's products here and there, but adding adults to the company's slogan was one of the few large additions. The company had a tendency to hang on to things that worked. An Eccentric Leader At times, though, Riegel's management could be a bit eccentric. Each morning he would read his executives' letters before personally sharing the details with them. Employee emails were also monitored if there was a reason. Riegel said he did such things out of concern for the company. "Otherwise troublesome letters would have just disappeared into people's drawers," he once said. "And I would also lose oversight." But "Hans II," as some liked to call him, was more a benevolent dictator when it came to his 6,000 employees. He paid them well and rented his properties to them cheaply. He also hired famous German bands to play at company parties and even sometimes played the saxophone himself. Riegel was never a cheapskate concerned only with his business. As a young man, he brought a badminton set back with him during a business trip to Denmark and became the first German champion in the men's double competition. Later, he discovered his passion for helicopters and for hunting deer on his 4,800 hectare property in Austria's Steiermark region. But work remained his greatest passion: "I'm at the office almost every day," Riegel proudly said not long ago. In the "pulpit," as he called his glass-covered command center overlooking the Bonn facility, he tinkered with new types of fruit gummies: lemon-ginger for adults, gummy pacifiers for children, marshmallow footballs for sports fans and gummy bears for everyone. 'He Who Retires Gets Older Faster' Even at an advanced age, he didn't lose sight of his core customers: Riegel remained a child at heart, watching cartoons and eating gummy bears from the package. Haribo was not only his life's work, but also his fountain of youth. He worked far beyond Germany's statutory retirement age and was fond of adages like, "He who retires early gets old faster." He liked to say that without the company, he would have fallen ill. One has to grant him that, because until the end he served his company well. When he had to have a tumor removed from his brain in July 2013, representatives took over marketing and sales for several months. The company's continued existence as a family business was guaranteed after the death of Paul Riegel in 2009. Hans Riegel and his nephew Hans-Guido led the newly formed holding company from that point on. Now Riegel is leaving a thriving business to the next generation. "I just wanted to make something of my father's life work," the billionaire once said. It was a simple wish -- and one Hans Riegel spent a lifetime fulfilling. ||||| German Gummi Bear billionaire Hans Riegel died Tuesday from heart failure, according to the Haribo candy company that Riegel spent nearly 70 years running. The candy entrepreneur had an estimated net worth of nearly $3 billion when he died at the age of 90. He was divorced and had no children. Riegel’s father -- Hans Riegel Sr. -- founded the confectionery company in Bonn, Germany, in 1920, and soon after created the chewy, fruit-flavored bear candies that eventually became a household name worldwide. He died in 1945. After being released from POW camps post-World War II, the younger Hans Riegel and his brother Paul took over Haribo, dividing the labor with Hans handling distribution, sales and marketing and Paul handling production. The set-up proved successful and continued thereafter, helping the two brothers build Haribo into the multi-billion dollar global empire it is today. Haribo is notoriously tight-lipped, but estimated revenues exceed $3 billion. Among Haribo’s current top sellers are the gummi bears, Happy Cola, twin cherries and raspberries. "We all mourn a unique entrepreneur and as an outstanding personality will remain many people as a friend and supporter, as a mentor, and last but not least as inspiring role model in memory," the company said in a statement. "With his pioneering spirit, he has created a worldwide unparalleled company and a brand which fame and popularity is second to none." Riegel is credited with inventing more than 200 sweets, including Vademecum sugar-free gum and Maoam fruit chewies, and has said he gets his inspiration from reading comic books and watching movies for children. Riegel earned a doctorate in business economics from the University of Bonn. Riegel was still running the company when he died, and had recently been recovering from surgery to remove a benign brain tumor. The heart failure was sudden and unexpected, according to the company. Hans and Paul Riegel each owned 50% of Haribo, though Paul died in 2009 and left his share of the company to his heirs. After Paul's death, brother Hans established a supervisory board shared by both halves of the family and dictated that his foundation would represent him after he passed away. The company is thus likely to remain controlled by the Riegel name that founded it more than 90 years ago, even if the relatives don’t inherit the riches. ||||| Hans Riegel, who made the rainbow-colored, fruit-flavored, teddy bear-shaped gelatin sweets known as gummi bears a global favorite, died on Tuesday in Bonn. He was 90. The cause was heart failure, Haribo, the company he led for nearly seven decades, said in a statement, adding that he had surgery to remove a benign tumor in his brain several months ago. Mr. Riegel transformed his family-owned company from a local candy maker with 30 workers into an internationally recognized brand with 6,000 employees around the world and annual sales of $2 billion to $2.7 billion. Mr. Riegel’s father, also named Hans Riegel, founded Haribo in 1920. (The name is an acronym derived from his first and last name and the city where it was registered, Bonn.)"
"– He was the world's first and surely last "gummi bear magnate," as the headline in Der Spiegel puts it. Hans Riegel, who ran Germany's Haribo candy company and made the chewy little bears a worldwide phenomenon, has died at age 90. The bears were a concoction of his father, the founder of Haribo, but it was the younger Riegel whose deft marketing turned them into a global hit. (Gummi trivia: The jellied bears were originally made of licorice, notes the New York Times.) Riegel and his brother first sold them as "gold bears" in 1960s before changing the name. They introduced them throughout Europe in the 1970s and then set up Haribo of America in Baltimore in the early 1980s. It all paid off: Forbes says the company's revenues are north of $3 billion today. "I just wanted to make something of my father's life work," Riegel once said."
"BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Globe has suspended columnist Kevin Cullen without pay for three months after inconsistencies were found in his remarks following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Newspaper publisher John Henry and editor Brian McGrory announced Friday an independent review found Cullen likely fabricated some anecdotes he shared in interviews after the bombing, which killed three people and injured hundreds more. The review also noted an uncorrected error in one of Cullen's marathon bombing columns but didn't find signs of fabrication in other works. Cullen, who was part of the Globe team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2014, didn't immediately comment, but Henry and McGrory say he has apologized. Cullen has been on paid leave since April, when Boston sports radio station WEEI noted inconsistencies in Cullen's work and the paper launched its investigation. ||||| The Boston Globe launched parallel reviews of the work of Kevin Cullen after issues were publicly aired on radio station WEEI in April. We are now making the results, including the full versions of both reports, public. The first review, performed by retired AP executive editor Kathleen Carroll and Boston University dean of the College of Communication Thomas Fiedler, is of Mr. Cullen’s column work and broadcast appearances in the aftermath of the April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombings. The second review, conducted by Globe assistant managing editor for projects and investigations Scott Allen, deputy projects editor Brendan McCarthy, and former Globe staff writer Joseph Kahn, is of a sampling of 100 randomly selected columns, checking for authenticity and accuracy. Advertisement The first review revealed significant problems, particularly a series of radio appearances by Mr. Cullen early in the morning of April 16, 2013, that, in the words of Ms. Carroll and Mr. Fiedler, “raise the concern of fabrication.” Specifically, the review found that Mr. Cullen details “scenes in which he was centrally involved but, to the best of our knowledge, didn’t occur.” Mr. Cullen described conversations he had with members of the Boston Fire Department that don’t appear to have happened. When asked about these radio appearances in two meetings in April and May, Mr. Cullen failed to provide an adequate explanation. In addition, Mr. Cullen appeared on a journalism panel in August 2013, broadcast on C-SPAN, in which he offered details of a scene on the night of the bombings that Ms. Carroll and Mr. Fielder conclude was a “complete fabrication.” Get Fast Forward in your inbox: Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email. Sign Up Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here The problematic assertions made by Mr. Cullen in broadcast interviews never appeared in the pages of The Boston Globe, which explains at least in part why editors did not learn about them until five years later, when they were publicly raised. But Mr. Cullen did make a key mistake in his first-day column that was never corrected – a violation of Boston Globe standards and practices. This was an editorial breakdown that should have been corrected by both Mr. Cullen and his editor, Jennifer Peter, when they became aware of the mistake on April 16. The second review was of a broader sampling of Mr. Cullen’s columns unrelated to the Marathon bombings. Approximately 100 columns were fact-checked, including calling sources who were quoted and people who were mentioned as well as comparing columns, when applicable, to other media accounts. The columns revealed the work of a diligent journalist who would very often go to the scenes of stories, personally meet the people involved, and make follow-up calls to confirm facts. The reviewers found no instances of fabrication in Mr. Cullen’s columns. The reviewers found Mr. Cullen’s writing to be “among the most appealing that appears in the Globe -- precise, well observed and often standing up for the forgotten man and woman with profound effect.” But they also found that his columns at times employed “journalistic tactics that unnecessarily raise questions about his accuracy” that “may open the door to providing seriously misleading information to the public.” Our review leads us to a conclusion that Mr. Cullen damaged his credibility. These were serious violations for any journalist and for the Globe, which relies on its journalists to adhere to the same high standards of ethics and accuracy when appearing on other platforms. Our review also leads us to believe that Mr. Cullen did not commit irrevocable damage. His long Globe career has been an exceptional one, from his start as a crime reporter to his role helping to uncover the protection Whitey Bulger received from the FBI, to his key contributions to Spotlight’s work revealing the Catholic Church pedophile scandal. He has written hundreds of highly read and often impactful columns about people from every walk of life without this organization receiving any complaints about the authenticity of his work. He has also acknowledged his failures and the issues they have created. “I own what I did,” Mr. Cullen said in a recent email, adding, “I accept responsibility for these shortcomings and I’m sorry that it has allowed some to attack the Globe itself.” Advertisement Mr. Cullen has been given a three-month unpaid suspension for his violations of our ethics policy, in addition to the two months of paid leave he has already served, for a total of five months. When he returns, he will work as a general assignment reporter for the first two months before returning to his role as a columnist. He will be barred from outside broadcast interviews for the first six months after his return, and subsequent appearances will be given heightened editorial scrutiny. In terms of the system breakdowns, when we fall short of accuracy, we must immediately fix what went wrong – and we do. While there was chaos unfolding the entire week of the Boston Marathon bombings, it’s in the most trying circumstances that we must perform at our very best. And on all other fronts in our coverage of the bombings, the Globe did just that, including correcting, immediately and transparently, another mistake in our coverage that week. I (Brian McGrory) have had a direct conversation about this breakdown with Ms. Peter, an otherwise very strong editor. While there’s no indication it was willful, it should not have happened, and she understands that. The column has now been corrected. Mr. Cullen’s primary oversight will shift from Ms. Peter to senior deputy managing editor Mark Morrow. I (Brian McGrory) also accept responsibility. While I can’t be aware of all mistakes, I am accountable for the system, and when it fails, I have as well. We owe a significant debt of gratitude to Ms. Carroll, Mr. Fiedler, Mr. Kahn, Mr. Allen, and Mr. McCarthy for their time and wisdom, as well as to former New York Times public editor Daniel Okrent, who has reviewed both reports and offered his guidance. In addition, Kelly McBride, vice president at The Poynter Institute with a specialty in journalism ethics, gave us her insight into the completed report. We are thankful to all. Finally, just to be clear, we are committed to accuracy and fairness at the Globe, hour by hour, day after day. That commitment is unyielding, and we apologize to our readers that we did not live up to it with these episodes. We have absorbed the lessons and renewed our commitment, even as we remain proud of the exceptional work performed by the entire staff in those days and weeks after the bombings. Advertisement John W. Henry, publisher Brian McGrory, editor ||||| The Boston Globe suspended its columnist Kevin Cullen for three months without pay on Friday after a review found fabricated details and inconsistencies in comments he made in radio interviews and at public appearances about the Boston Marathon bombings. “Our review leads us to a conclusion that Mr. Cullen damaged his credibility,” John W. Henry, The Globe’s publisher, and Brian McGrory, its editor, wrote in a statement. “These were serious violations for any journalist and for The Globe, which relies on its journalists to adhere to the same high standards of ethics and accuracy when appearing on other platforms.” Mr. Cullen, part of the Globe team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for reporting about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, will work as general assignment reporter for two months before returning to his role as a columnist. He will also be barred from giving outside broadcast interviews for six months, after which time his appearances will face “heightened editorial scrutiny,” the statement said."
"– The Boston Globe has suspended columnist Kevin Cullen without pay for three months after inconsistencies were found in his remarks following the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Per the AP, newspaper publisher John Henry and editor Brian McGrory announced Friday an independent review found Cullen likely fabricated some anecdotes he shared in interviews after the bombing, which killed three people and injured hundreds more. The review also noted an uncorrected error in one of Cullen's marathon bombing columns but didn't find signs of fabrication in other works. Cullen, who was part of the Globe team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2014, didn't immediately comment, but Henry and McGrory say he has apologized. Cullen has been on paid leave since April, when Boston sports radio station WEEI noted inconsistencies in Cullen's work and the paper launched its investigation. Per the New York Times, Cullen described in an interview the tale of a firefighter he claimed to have spoken with. He said the firefighter described rescuing a 7-year-old girl whose lower leg had been blown off. However, the firefighter denied having ever spoken to Cullen. The Times also says Cullen, while speaking on a panel in 2013, claimed he witnessed a firefighter outside a bar on the phone with a fellow firefighter, who was apparently traumatized by the bombing, to come out for the night. The Globe has called the account "problematic" and calls into question whether it occurred at all. "Our review also leads us to believe that Mr. Cullen did not commit irrevocable damage," the Globe said in a statement Saturday. "He has also acknowledged his failures and the issues they have created.""
"Breaking News Emails Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. May 20, 2014, 11:42 PM GMT / Updated May 21, 2014, 12:00 AM GMT Five men were convicted Tuesday in Moscow in the 2006 execution-style murder of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, Russian state media reported. Politkovskaya, a crusading reporter for the liberal newspaper Novaya Gazeta who worked almost full-time on documenting allegations of human rights violations in the breakaway province of Chechnya, was 48 when she was gunned down in the elevator of her apartment building in October 2006. The murder raised worldwide questions about freedom of speech and of the press under Russian President Vladimir Putin — especially after three of the defendants were initially acquitted in 2009. The Supreme Court overturned those acquittals and ordered a new trial. ||||| People hold portraits of slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya on the sixth anniversary of her death, next to her block of flats in central Moscow October 7, 2012. MOSCOW (Reuters) - Five men were convicted on Tuesday of murdering 2006 of investigative journalist and Kremlin critic Anna Politkovskaya, including three defendants who had been acquitted in a previous trial. Politkovskaya's killing drew attention to the risks faced by Russians who challenge the authorities and deepened Western concerns for the rule of law under President Vladimir Putin, who was then serving his second term. Another jury's 2009 acquittal of three of the men who were found guilty of murder on Tuesday embarrassed Russian prosecutors and was later thrown out by the Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial. The defendants were three Chechen brothers, one of whom was accused of shooting Politkovskaya in the lobby of her Moscow apartment building on October 7, 2006, as well as their uncle and a former police officer. The convictions are a victory for Russian prosecutors and the state, but rights activists and relatives of Politkovskaya say that justice will not be done until those who ordered her contract-style killing are identified and convicted. "The murder will only be solved when the name of the person who ordered it is known," a lawyer for Politkovskaya's family, Anna Stavitskaya, was quoted as saying by RIA news agency. She welcomed the jury's verdict but said the men found guilty "are only a few of the people who should be brought to justice", RIA reported. A spokesman for the federal Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, said the authorities were doing all they can to identify and track down the person behind the killing, Russian news agencies reported. Kremlin critics say they doubt that will ever happen because of suspicions the trail could lead too close to the government. Politkovskaya, a reporter for Novaya Gazeta who was 48 when she was shot dead while returning home after shopping for groceries, was best known for her dogged reporting on human rights violations in the North Caucasus province of Chechnya. Lawyers for the defendants - Rustam Makhmudov, his brothers Ibragim and Dzhabrail, their uncle Lom-Ali Gaitukayev, and former Moscow police officer Sergei Khadzhikurbanov - said they would appeal. Investigators say Gaitukayev organised the logistics of the killing while in jail for another matter, while Khadzhikurbanov was in charge of preparing for the slaying and Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov helped track her. Ibragim and Dzhabrail Makhmudov and Khadzhikurbanov were previously acquitted. The five men will be sentenced by a judge at a later date and could face life in prison. Prosecutors will recommend sentences at a court session on Wednesday, RIA reported. (Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Mark Heinrich) ||||| Five guilty of killing Russian journalist Politkovskaya Anna Politkovskaya was best known for her reports in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper Continue reading the main story Related Stories A court in Moscow has found five men guilty of the murder of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya in 2006. One man was found guilty of the shooting and the other four of organising the killing. Three of the men were brothers from Chechnya. Ms Politkovskaya, a 48-year-old investigative reporter and vocal critic of Russia's war in Chechnya, was shot in a lift in her block of flats. Three of the men had been acquitted of the murder in a 2009 trial. The initial verdict was overturned by Russia's supreme court, which ordered their retrial. One of the brothers, Rustam Makhmudov, was found guilty of pulling the trigger. His brothers were found guilty of acting as getaway drivers. The brothers' uncle and a retired policeman were also found guilty of organising the killing. Ms Politkovskaya's reporting for Novaya Gazeta newspaper won international renown for her dogged investigation of Russian abuses in Chechnya. But her pieces, which were highly critical of President Vladimir Putin, then serving his second term, and the Chechen leadership, angered many in authority. The five men, who face possible life terms, will be sentenced on Wednesday morning. A committee set up to investigate the shooting said it was still looking for the person who ordered the operation. Her family welcomed the verdict but also expressed disappointment that the mastermind of the killing had not yet been found. Last year a former police officer, Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for supplying the murder weapon. Magnitsky sanctions In a separate development, the US announced on Tuesday that it was imposing sanctions on a further 12 Russians believed to be involved in the death of a Moscow lawyer in 2009. Sergei Magnitsky found evidence of a $230m tax-refund fraud Sergei Magnitsky died in prison, allegedly because of torture and neglect, after accusing Russian officials of tax fraud. Following his death, the US passed the Magnitsky Act, aimed at punishing officials involved in his death, and last year published a list of 18 individuals banned from entering the country. Among the names added to the list on Tuesday are three doctors alleged to have withheld treatment from Magnitsky while he was in custody. One of them, Larisa Litvinova, was chief physician at Butyrka maximum security jail where Magnitksy died while another, Dmitry Kratov, was its deputy director. A judge involved in a posthumous prosecution of Magnitsky for tax fraud has also been added to the sanctions list. The US says the sanctions are "independent of Russia's actions in Ukraine"."
"– Five men have been found guilty in the 2006 slaying of 48-year-old Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, whose investigative reporting criticized President Vladimir Putin, the war in Chechnya, and Chechen leadership. Three of the men are brothers from Chechnya, one of whom has been found guilty of the shooting itself, which NBC News reports took place "execution-style" in the elevator of her apartment building. The other two brothers were found guilty of tracking Politkovskaya and acting as getaway drivers, and their uncle and a retired police officer were found to have organized and prepared for the murder, respectively. All face life in prison. Three of the conspirators now convicted were acquitted in 2009, but a retrial was ordered. Another ex-cop was convicted of supplying the murder weapon last year, the BBC reports. The defendants' lawyers plan to appeal the convictions, Reuters reports. Politkovskaya’s family is disappointed that it's still not clear who ordered the killing, saying in a statement that the men convicted "are only a few of the people who should be brought to justice." Though an investigation into the murder continues, critics suggest the mastermind will never be found because, as Reuters puts it, "the trail could lead too close to the government"—Politkovskaya's work angered quite a few important people."
"Portugal has joined Greece and Ireland on the casualty list of Europe's sovereign debtors after its prime minister, José Sócrates, requested a European Union bailout. The dramatic decision came in the middle of a political crisis that has left the country in limbo and with spiralling interest rates on its debt. "I want to inform the Portuguese that the government decided today to ask ... for financial help, to ensure financing for our country, for our financial system and for our economy," Sócrates said in a televised address. "This is an especially grave moment for our country," he added. "Things will only get worse if nothing's done." Sócrates said that the bailout, which analysts said could be between €70bn (£61bn) and €80bn was "the last resort". The move was immediately welcomed in Brussels. "This is a responsible move by the Portuguese government for the sake of economic stability in the country and in Europe," the European commission's economic and monetary affairs commissioner, Olli Rehn, told Reuters. Sócrates did not say how much aid Portugal had asked for, but promised to negotiate the best possible conditions. Analysts said Portugal was expected to need up to €80bn, an amount the EU's bailout fund, the European financial stability facility, can easily cover. The European commission's president, José Manuel Barroso, promised a swift response. Portugal's troubles differ from Ireland, which pledged to cover huge losses at its banks, and Greece, which lied about its debt. Instead, it had allowed debt to mushroom during a decade in which its economy grew at just 0.7% a year. The yield or interest on Portugal's 10-year bonds, which stood at 5.8% a year ago, was at 8.54% on Wednesday. Economists had said that anything over 7% was too high for Portugal, which has growing unemployment and is predicted to enter a double-dip recession this year. Ratings agencies had downgraded Portugal's bonds to a notch above junk level and even its own bankers warned they could not keep buying national debt as they tussled with liquidity problems of their own. The caretaker government immediately blamed opposition parties for rejecting an austerity package on 23 March, bringing Sócrates's socialist government down and forcing 5 June elections. It came on top of three earlier packages of cuts and tax hikes. "The country was irresponsibly pushed into a difficult situation in the financial markets," Portugal's finance minister, Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, told the Jornal de Negócios shortly before the announcement. The call for help comes from a weak caretaker government which may hand over the reins of the country to a minority centre-right government led by the Social Democrats after the elections. Teixeira dos Santos said that other political parties would have to fall into line with the bailout request. "Faced with a difficult situation that could have been avoided, I believe it is necessary to use the financial mechanisms that are available in Europe within the terms of the current political situation," he said. "That will need, as well, the involvement and compromise of the main political forces and institutions in the country." Social democrat leader Pedro Passos Coelho said his party supported the aid request. "This needs to be seen as the first step in not hiding the truth," he said. The government had admitted earlier on Wednesday that the political crisis was causing "irreparable damage" as borrowing costs rocketed. Portugal sold a billion euros in short-term debt yesterday but saw the yield on 6-month and 12-month bills hit spikes of over 5%. Portugal admitted last week that the 2010 budget deficit had been 8.6 percent of gross domestic product, far above its 7.3 percent target. The caretaker government still claimed this year's goal of 4.6% would be met. As Portugal became the third eurozone domino to fall, attention was expected to switch to Spain, though it has seen its debt yields improve recently as austerity measures bring down its deficit and growth returns. International Monetary Fund boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn told El País newspaper yesterday that Spain - a far larger and more important economy - was safe from a bail-out. ||||| BERLIN (Reuters) - Portugal's decision to seek international aid removes a cloud of uncertainty over the euro zone and has a good chance of ending the spread of debt market crises to fresh countries in the region. Investors had believed for months that a bailout for Portugal was almost inevitable, so the announcement by caretaker Prime Minister Jose Socrates on Wednesday is unlikely to hurt financial markets. The euro barely moved in the initial hours after the announcement. The expected size of the bailout, 60-80 billion euros ($86 billion - $115 billion) according to a senior euro zone source, will not strain the euro zone's 440 billion euro bailout fund, especially since the International Monetary Fund is likely to be involved. Based on past bailouts, it would contribute about a third of the amount. Many investors will see the request for aid as positive since it promises to avoid a worst-case scenario in which Portugal would have limped along under a minority government until general elections scheduled for June 5, refusing to seek help and digging an ever-bigger economic hole for itself. This would have continued to push up Portuguese bond yields and threatened a collapse of its finances that might have prompted markets to start attacking Spain, widely seen as the next potential domino in the euro zone. Other governments in the zone have therefore been pressing Portugal to request a bailout, and Lisbon's willingness to comply -- despite its bad memories of IMF-ordered austerity in the 1980s -- suggests the region remains able to summon enough political unity to address its debt problems. "This is good news. We've been saying for a while that Portugal's finances were not sustainable at these rates," Erik Nielsen, chief European economist at Goldman Sachs, told Reuters. "We think the contagion stops here." SPAIN As recently as the turn of the year, it seemed likely that markets would target Spain if Portugal followed Greece and Ireland in seeking a bailout. But the government of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has unveiled a series of reforms of the labor market, pensions and banking sector in past months. A stabilization of Spanish bond spreads shows many investors now believe it can avoid the fate of its smaller neighbor. Portugal will have to agree to tough austerity targets to obtain a bailout, and how quickly a deal can be negotiated is unclear. Socrates resigned abruptly last month after his latest package of austerity measures was voted down in parliament, and his caretaker government has said it lacks the authority to negotiate an economic adjustment program. European Union officials may also be loath to pursue an agreement before a new government emerges in the aftermath of the June 5 elections. In the case of Ireland, the EU sealed a bailout deal with a lame duck administration only to face demands for changes from a new government in Dublin. However, now that it is requesting aid, Portugal has much better prospects of obtaining some kind of bridging loan if that is necessary to tide it over until a full bailout deal. And unlike Ireland, where crumbling banks have been a black hole for state funds, and Greece, which is struggling against ingrained tax evasion and corruption, Portugal may be a relatively straightforward case for the EU and the IMF. The country already has an austerity plan in place which has received the blessing of EU governments and IMF officials. Also, Europe has learned lessons from the two previous bailouts. There is now a broad consensus in policymaking circles that the rescue terms for Greece and Ireland were too onerous, straining their economies and finances, so Portugal can hope to get somewhat softer terms in some areas. "Investors no longer seem to be worried about a full-blown euro zone crisis and the potential demise of the common currency because they assume mechanisms are now in place to prevent the crisis from escalating out of control," said Jane Caron, chief economic strategist at U.S. firm Dwight Asset Management. DEBT, BANK RISKS Still, while a Portuguese bailout may end the geographical spread of sovereign debt problems in the euro zone, it will not remove two big risks faced by the weakest countries: the possibility of sovereign debt restructurings, and the threat of deeper problems in the banking sector. Some senior government officials in the zone are now acknowledging for the first time in private that some form of debt restructuring for Greece may be inevitable, even though officials publicly deny it will happen. A number of economists believes the same fate may await Ireland and Portugal, although probably at a later date. Those fears are likely to keep market interest rates in all three countries very high for years, even if the countries do carry out the economic and fiscal reforms demanded by the EU and the IMF. Joao Leite, head of investment at Banco Carregosa in Lisbon, said international aid would solve Portugal's financing problems but that the country still faced a daunting task addressing its large deficits, competitiveness problems and weak growth. "Unfortunately, the solutions to these problems will only have an impact over the longer term. Until then the Portuguese have a hard road ahead." (Additional reporting by Andrei Khalip in Lisbon; Editing by Andrew Torchia)"
"– Portugal is biting the bullet and admitting that it desperately needs a massive bailout from its European Union partners to stay afloat. Caretaker prime minister Jose Socrates told the nation that the decision to seek a bailout was "a last resort" as interest rates on its short-term debt skyrocket, reports the Guardian. Analysts believe the bailout will cost the EU some $114 billion. Portugal, which will have to commit to an economic adjustment program in exchange for the funds, joins Ireland and Greece on the eurozone's casualty list. The bailout request was widely expected, and analysts see it as a positive move because it will prevent a Portuguese collapse that could have made Spain the next target for markets searching for signs of weakness. "This is good news. We've been saying for a while that Portugal's finances were not sustainable at these rates," a Goldman Sachs economist tells Reuters. "We think the contagion stops here.""
"Border Guards help Syrians cross the border into Jordan in this May 4 photo (Photo by Hassan Tamimi) AMMAN — Based on recent developments and upon further discussions with international agencies, Jordan will allow the delivery of aid to the berm through cranes, to be collected by the community leaders of the displaced Syrians near the border for distribution. In remarks to The Jordan Times on Sunday, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani said the distribution process will be monitored "in different ways". Asked if the new measures entail any change to Jordan’s policy regarding the berm, the no-man's land between the Jordanian and Syrian borders where the displaced Syrians are gathered, Momani said Jordan will maintain its sealed border policy, and this delivery of aid will not affect that. The injured and humanitarian cases will be allowed entry based on the assessment of agencies on the ground. According to the UN, more than 85,000 Syrians are stranded at Rakban settlement in the no-man’s-land between Jordan and Syria. Momani explained aid would be transported by cranes directly from the northeastern border to the other side. Community leaders in Rakban will receive the aid once lowered and distribute it to the refugees there. Members of the Tribal Council of Palmyra and Badia, a Syrian rebel group in charge of running the Rakban camp’s daily affairs, told The Jordan Times that the preliminary agreement entails the resumption of aid delivery as of next week. Jordan declared the northern and northeastern border areas a closed military zone in June in the aftermath of a terrorist attack that targeted a military post serving refugees near the border, killing seven troops and injuring 13 others. Since then, Jordan has agreed with international relief agencies to allow a one-off aid delivery to the area in August, while global stakeholders were expected to seek alternative solutions to continue the mission. ||||| FILE - In this Wednesday, June 22, 2016 file photo, Syrians walk through the Ruqban refugee camp in Jordan's northeast border with Syria. An official says Jordan will permit regular aid drops by crane... (Associated Press) FILE - In this Wednesday, June 22, 2016 file photo, Syrians walk through the Ruqban refugee camp in Jordan's northeast border with Syria. An official says Jordan will permit regular aid drops by crane to Syrian refugees stranded on its sealed border. The comments by government spokesman Mohammed Momani... (Associated Press) AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan is willing to allow regular aid drops by crane from its territory to tens of thousands of Syrians stranded on its sealed desert border, the government spokesman said on Monday. The comments by Mohammed Momani signaled an apparent shift in Jordan's position in talks with international aid agencies over access to the displaced. However, two aid officials said nothing has been finalized. They spoke on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing. The pro-Western kingdom sealed its border with Syria in June, after a deadly cross-border attack claimed by Islamic State extremists killed seven members the Jordanian security forces. This has left more than 75,000 Syrians stuck between a war zone and a sealed border, without regular access to food, water and medicine. The displaced live in two makeshift tent camps in an area where the frontier is marked by two parallel low earthen walls, or berms. Conditions have become increasingly dire, with aid officials reporting the spread of disease, including whooping cough and hepatitis. Before the border closure, aid was sent from Jordanian soil. In August, Jordan permitted an aid drop by crane, in what was described at the time as a one-off shipment. U.N. agencies have since proposed setting up an aid distribution center between five and seven kilometers west of the largest encampment, known as Rukban, within the strip marked by the two berms, an aid official said. This would presumably have drawn the Syrians away from a Jordanian military base that is close to Rukban. However, Momani told The Associated Press on Monday that this is no longer being considered. "The new mechanism will be delivering aid on the berm through cranes, and the aid will be given to community leaders of groups of Syrians so they can distribute it accordingly," he said, adding it would be up to the aid agencies to decide on the pace of shipments. Momani said the border will remain sealed, citing an ongoing security threat to Jordan. The camps at the berm have been infiltrated by criminals, smugglers and extremists, he said. "You can describe part of it as a Daesh enclave," he said, referring to the extremist Islamic State group by its Arabic acronym. The two aid officials said nothing has been agreed on. One of the officials, who has direct access to the talks, said he was not aware of an emerging agreement on crane drops. He said another meeting was set for Tuesday. The suffering at the berm has caused some friction between Jordan and the international community. Aid agencies have been pressing for a resumption of aid from the Jordanian side. Jordan has said the international community needs to take responsibility for those stranded at the berm, and that the kingdom has already done more than its share in taking in Syrian refugees. In the past, Jordan has argued that this aid needs to come from Syrian territory, not Jordan. Momani said Jordan has taken the "moral high ground" by offering to help. Close to 5 million Syrians fled civil war in their country since 2011, including close to 660,000 who settled in Jordan. ||||| More than 70,000 Syrian refugees who are stranded in dire conditions on the Jordanian border could be about to receive long-awaited aid after an announcement by Jordan’s government of plans to use a crane to deliver supplies. Epidemic warning over 'ghost' refugees stuck at Jordan-Syria border Read more Jordan first shut its border to refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war in mid-2014. About 75,000 Syrians have since been trapped in no-man’s land, unable to either enter Jordan or return to Syria. Aid groups managed to deliver food and supplies by lorry until June this year when Jordan sealed the border to all traffic after a car bomb in the area. In the four months since, refugees at the “berm” – as the border fortifications are known – have been virtually without humanitarian aid. Without formal shelter, refugees had dug holes in the ground to escape a Russian bombing raid. At the height of summer, when temperatures reached 50C (122F), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said those at the berm were experiencing “some of the most extreme conditions on Earth”. But there was a glimmer of hope on Monday when the Jordanian government said aid could be delivered without opening the border – by using a crane to regularly lift supplies over the berm, or sandy ridge. Aid groups in Jordan told the Guardian nothing had been confirmed. But Mohammed Momani, a government spokesman, said in interviews with the Jordan Times and Associated Press (AP) that a plan had been set in motion. “The new mechanism will be delivering aid on the berm through cranes, and the aid will be given to community leaders of groups of Syrians so they can distribute it accordingly,” he told AP. Aid was previously delivered using a crane once in August. If the plan goes ahead, the aid could alleviate a dire humanitarian situation on the border, where Amnesty International says disease is rife owing to the absence of medical care since the start of summer. Several people have died of hepatitis, and satellite footage obtained by Amnesty last month showed refugees had begun to create makeshift burial grounds in which to inter the corpses. “Many people have died,” one refugee at the border told the charity. “The humanitarian situation is very bad, the situation of children in particular is very bad. We have drinking water but hardly any food or milk … [it] is awful.” Amnesty cautiously welcomed Monday’s announcement, but warned that cranes were no substitute for allowing aid workers direct access to the 75,000 refugees. Khairunissa Dhala, a refugee researcher for Amnesty, said: “News that humanitarian assistance will be resumed to tens of thousands of refugees stranded at the berm comes as a welcome relief. However, Amnesty International is extremely concerned about reports that aid will be delivered by crane rather than through a response that would allow for organisations to have unfettered humanitarian access to refugees at the berm who continue to live in inhumane conditions. “Furthermore, this short-term solution must not distract the Jordanian government and the international community from finding a sustainable longer–term solution for the stranded refugees. Jordan, must allow refugees at the berm into the country while carrying out necessary checks in line with international standards, to allay security concerns. World leaders must also relieve the pressure on host countries like Jordan by assuming their fair share of responsibility and significantly increasing resettlement places offered.” The situation highlights the worsening prospects for displaced Syrians hoping to reach safety outside their home country. In the early years of the Syrian war, refugees could easily flee to neighbouring countries, with about 2.5 million escaping to Turkey, 1.2 million to Lebanon and more than 650,000 to Jordan. Syrian refugees now make up about a fifth of Lebanon’s population and a 10th of Jordan’s. But as the war dragged on, Middle Eastern countries gradually shut their borders, particularly once it became clear that western countries would not share the responsibility by resettling significant numbers in Europe and North America. Syrian refugees must now choose between living under regime rule; fleeing to refugee camps in rebel territory, which have at times been overrun by jihadis or bombed by the government; or risk being shot on the Turkish border as they smuggle themselves across. ||||| Shelters at the Jordan-Syria border by the Rukban crossing, in September 2016. (CNES 2016 Distribution AIRBUS DS) Over the past five years, Jordan has become one of the biggest recipients of refugees fleeing its war-torn neighbor, Syria. Almost 700,000 Syrians have been registered as refugees in the country, which has a population of just 6.5 million. Those are just the ones who have registered; Jordanian officials say the real number is far over 1 million. But Jordan's hospitality may have hit a limit. In the past year, as the trickle of new refugees entering the country slowed to a crawl, thousands of Syrian refugees have become trapped in an isolated no man's land between Syria and Jordan known as "the berm." Current estimates suggest more than 75,000 people are stuck in this area, but Jordanian authorities refused to allow access to the site for journalists and only limited access for aid groups. A report from Amnesty International published Wednesday evening shows just how dire the situation on the berm has become. Using information from satellite images, video footage and a number of first-person accounts, Amnesty was able to show not only a dramatic growth in the size of the settlement at the border, but also what may be evidence of death and disease at the site. The satellite imagery appears to show a dramatic growth in shelters at Rukban, one of two border crossings between Syria and Jordan, over the past year. While there were just 363 shelters at the site one year ago by Amnesty's count, by July 2016 there were 6,563. The most recent imagery released by Amnesty shows 8,295 shelters in September 2016. Graphic showing the approximate number of shelters at the Syria-Jordan border in September 2016. (CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS. Data via UNOSAT) A growing population that is increasingly isolated from food and medical treatment is creating serious health problems, the report noted. Sources told Amnesty researchers that poor hygiene and sanitation problems at Rukban had led to an outbreak of hepatitis that had killed at least 10 refugees, many of whom were children, since the beginning of June. Aid workers also say that there have been nine childbirth-related deaths since June 21. Video footage released by Amnesty appears to show graves and burial mounds. The organization also pointed to two separate sites in satellite images that look to be makeshift grave sites at the Rukban crossing. Amnesty said that it was not possible to get a fuller picture of a death toll at the site because of continuing issues with access. Possible grave site in displacement camp at Syria-Jordan border. (CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS. Image from video obtained via the Tribal Council of Palmyra) Image of what appears to be a grave site in displacement camp at Syria-Jordan border. (CNES 2016, Distribution AIRBUS DS. Image from video obtained via the Tribal Council of Palmyra) “The situation at the berm offers a grim snapshot of the consequences of the world’s abject failure to share responsibility for the global refugee crisis. The . . . effect of this failure has seen many of Syria’s neighbors close their borders to refugees,” said Tirana Hassan, crisis response director at Amnesty. While it has long been of concern, the situation on the berm appears to have deteriorated noticeably in recent months. Previously, aid agencies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross in Jordan and the U.N. refugee agency were allowed access to the site to distribute food and provide basic medical services. Refugees were often held up at the border because of stringent security checks by the Jordanian government, but people did get through. In March, The Washington Post interviewed a number of refugees at the Azraq refugee camp in Jordan, who gave varying accounts of their time there. Some said they had stayed for as many as five months. Often, the families allowed through include women who are in the late stages of pregnancy. The situation changed when a suicide bombing by the Islamic State killed seven Jordanian border guards near the Rukban crossing on June 21. Jordan had long warned that the Syrian refugees at the border had been infiltrated by extremists; after the bombing, it closed the border for good. Aid groups lost direct access to the berm. In early August, United Nations aid agencies were forced to use a crane to lower 650 metric tons of food and hygiene kits to the stranded refugees. It was unclear if Jordan would allow more deliveries in the future. "If this continues like it is now, we will soon see starvation, dehydration and we will be confronted with preventable deaths at the berm," Benoit De Gryse, operations manager for Doctors Without Borders, told reporters. The Jordanian government has acknowledged the situation at the berm a number of times over the previous year, but justified the tight control at the border because of security concerns about the Islamic State. However, there are also considerable tensions within Jordan over the Syrian refugees who have already arrived in the country. Some Jordanians say these refugees have pushed wages down and prices up. Others point to the considerable amount the government must spend on refugees. In an interview with the BBC in February, King Abdullah II of Jordan suggested that his country was reaching its limit with refugees, and other nations should not criticize unless they were willing to do more themselves. “If you want to take the moral high ground on this issue, we’ll get them all to an air base and we’re more than happy to relocate them to your country,” he said. Read more: Refugee camp is partially empty while thousands wait at Jordanian border"
"– Since mid-2014, about 75,000 Syrian refugees have been in limbo in the "berm"—what the Guardian describes as the "no-man's land" at the border between Jordan and Syria. And since June of this year, those refugees have been living in what Doctors Without Borders has called "some of the most extreme conditions on Earth," enduring temperatures over the summer that surpassed 120 degrees Fahrenheit and watching humanitarian supplies and food come to a halt in June after Jordan cut off deliveries following a car bomb. But government spokesman Mohammad Momani told the Jordan Times on Sunday that while the borders remain sealed, a new method of delivery will be used: cranes that will lower the goods from the northeastern side of the border to the other side (there was a one-off delivery like this in August). And it sounds like the aid is coming just in time. Per the AP, the refugees are living in tents and suffering not only from hunger and exposure to the elements, but also from serious illness, including whooping cough and hepatitis. Last month, Amnesty International released chilling video footage and satellite images that showed graves and burial mounds in the berm, per the Washington Post. "Many people have died," a refugee living in one of the camps told the group, saying conditions were "awful." "The mood among the people … is below zero." Two anonymous aid officials tell the news agency there's been no final confirmation, but Momani says the plans are being put in place to expedite the deliveries. "The aid will be given to community leaders of groups of Syrians so they can distribute it accordingly," he says, noting the aid groups will make the call on the pace of the deliveries. (One star offered comfort to refugees: Lindsay Lohan.)"
"(CNN) Want to launch a nuclear missile? You'll need a floppy disk. That's according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found that the Pentagon was still using 1970s-era computing systems that require "eight-inch floppy disks." Photos: Gadget graveyard Photos: Gadget graveyard Floppy discs – Eight-inch floppy discs became commercially available in the 1970s. They allowed up to 1.2 megabytes of storage capacity. Today, a flash drive can hold up to 1 terabyte and comes in all sorts of practical novelty designs. Hide Caption 1 of 10 Photos: Gadget graveyard Polaroid – Long before there was Instagram, Polaroid was king. The Polaroid celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2012. But by then most of us had no more need to ever shake a Polaroid picture again. Not entirely resurrected, Polaroids are retro-cool and often pop up at weddings and other celebrations. Hide Caption 2 of 10 Photos: Gadget graveyard CDs – CDs and Discmans may have fallen out of favor in the iTunes world, but creative minds always find new uses for the reflective music carriers. Hide Caption 3 of 10 Photos: Gadget graveyard Pagers – People slapped these suckers on their hips, feeling important whenever they beeped or vibrated. Then they'd frantically have to find a few coins to use a payphone. The RIM 850 (before it was called BlackBerry) pager could send messages and emails but never nailed the art of the selfie. Hide Caption 4 of 10 Photos: Gadget graveyard Pocket PC – The pocket PC and Palm Pilot brought your calendars, addresses, contacts and a calculator into one handy dandy tool instead of hand-scrawled notebooks. Downsides apart from the original green screen? They couldn't make calls. Worse than that, the pen/pencil/stylus/thingy would always vanish. Hide Caption 5 of 10 Photos: Gadget graveyard VHS – The clunky plastic cassettes would sometimes tangle in the machine and, over time, stretch to produce warped purple colors on the TV. But boy, did we love VCRs and video nights. And boy, did we hate programming them. Hide Caption 6 of 10 Photos: Gadget graveyard Walkman – The Walkman gave a valid excuse to shut out parents, oncoming traffic and most forms of social interaction. Various models included a waterproof Walkman, graphic equalizer, LCD radio screens, Mega Bass and, in original versions, two headphone jacks. The greatest invention since the Walkman -- and possibly sliced bread -- remains auto-reverse, saving users the hassle of having to eject and flip the cassette over. Hide Caption 7 of 10 Photos: Gadget graveyard MiniDisc – The MiniDisc was something of a hybrid of small CD and plastic cassette. Journos loved them, particularly if you worked in radio as editing was a breeze. These durable gadgets took up little space and were anti-skip, unlike (pre-memory) CD players. Per the original Walkman, it was a Sony product. The company laid the MD to rest earlier this year. Hide Caption 8 of 10 Photos: Gadget graveyard LaserDisc – Stalwarts of the LaserDisc player maintain the format offered higher-quality video and audio than the videocassette. But then the DVD came along. Hide Caption 9 of 10 Photos: Gadget graveyard Classic consoles – Atari brought the first in-home console to market during the 1970s with the addictive "Pong" and "Centipede." But Atari went from high score to game over, when it filed for bankruptcy in January this year. The rise of gaming on PCs and mobile devices has impacted the console videogame industry. Hide Caption 10 of 10 Such disks were already becoming obsolete by the end of that decade, being edged out by smaller, non-floppy 3.5 to 5.25-inch disks, before being almost completely replaced by the CD in the late 90s. Except in Washington that is. The GAO report says that U.S. government departments spend upwards of $60 billion a year on operating and maintaining out-of-date technologies. That's three times the investment on modern IT systems. Read More ||||| Image copyright ADAM BUTLER Image caption Eight-inch floppy disks date back to the early days of computer systems The US nuclear weapons force still uses a 1970s-era computer system and 8-inch floppy disks, a government report has revealed. The Government Accountability Office said the Pentagon was one of several departments where "legacy systems" urgently needed to be replaced. The report said taxpayers spent $61bn (£41bn) a year on maintaining ageing technologies. It said that was three times more than the investment on modern IT systems. The report said that the Department of Defence systems that co-ordinated intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear bombers and tanker support aircraft "runs on an IBM Series-1 Computer - a 1970s computing system - and uses eight-inch floppy disks". "This system remains in use because, in short, it still works," Pentagon spokeswoman Lt Col Valerie Henderson told the AFP news agency. The floppy disk - what is it? Image copyright Eyewire Also called diskette or disk, it became popular in the 1970s A standard 8in (200 mm) floppy disk had 237.25kB of storage space, enough for 15 seconds of audio You would need more than 130,000 8-inch floppy disks to store 32GB of information - the size of an average memory stick In the 1990s, the 3.5in floppy became the norm, with a 1.44MB of memory Dell stopped making computers with inbuilt floppy disks in 2003. Very few manufacturers still make them They are still in use in some 1990s technical equipment too valuable to scrap "However, to address obsolescence concerns, the floppy drives are scheduled to be replaced with secure digital devices by the end of 2017." She added: "Modernisation across the entire Nuclear Command, Control, and Communications enterprise remains ongoing." The report said that the Pentagon was planning to fully replace the system by the end of 2020. According to the report, the US treasury also needed to upgrade its systems, which it said was using "assembly language code - a computer language initially used in the 1950s and typically tied to the hardware for which it was developed". ||||| The Pentagon and other US agencies still rely on outdated technology to carry out important functions — including some nuclear operations — according to a new government report. The report, published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), shows that a command and control unit tasked with coordinating "the operational functions of the nation's nuclear forces" still uses 8-inch floppy disks and runs on an IBM / Series 1 computer — a model that was first produced in 1976. Other agencies, including the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Veteran Affairs, reported using IT systems that are at least 50 years old. The report once again raises concerns over the government's use of obsolete technologies, and the costs associated with them. According to the GAO, taxpayers spent $61.2 billion last year to maintain outdated systems, while just $19.2 billion went toward updating federal technology. The Pentagon says the nuclear command and control unit will phase out floppy disks by the end of 2017, and that it will fully modernize the system by 2020. "This system remains in use because, in short, it still works," Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson told the AFP. The Office of Management and Budget has launched an initiative to replace old IT systems, but it has not yet been finalized. Until it's put into place, the report says, "the government runs the risk of maintaining systems that have outlived their effectiveness." ||||| This crawl of online resources of the 115th US Congress was performed on behalf of The United States National Archives & Records"
"– To anyone born after 1995, the floppy disk is better known as that thing that resembles the "save" icon. To the Pentagon, it's the gizmo that controls America's nukes. A report from the Government Accountability Office finds US government agencies spend $60 billion a year operating and maintaining outdated systems—three times more than is spent on upgrades, per CNN. One such system: the Pentagon's IBM Series-1 computer which uses 8-inch floppy disks "in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation's nuclear forces," including intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear bombers. For youngsters, the big floppy disks were the precursor to the 3.5-inch ones, before the CD came around. "This system remains in use because, in short, it still works," a Pentagon rep tells the AFP, per the BBC, which notes you'd need 130,000 8-inch floppy disks to get the storage capacity of a 32GB memory stick. "However, to address obsolescence concerns, the floppy drives are scheduled to be replaced with secure digital devices by the end of 2017," the rep says. Other system upgrades are expected by 2020. "Maybe we'll have Nintendo Gameboys controlling our nukes by the next presidential election," quips CNN's Jake Tapper. The Treasury, Commerce, and Veteran Affairs departments should also look into upgrading. The report finds all three use computer code introduced in the 1950s, per the Verge. (Floppy disks are partly to blame for lost scientific data.)"
"Article Excerpt Europeans traded blame Monday over the source of a mysterious bacterial outbreak that has killed 14 people and sickened hundreds across the continent. The outbreak forced Russia to ban imports of some fresh vegetables from Spain and Germany out of fear they could be contaminated, while Austrian authorities sent inspectors to supermarkets to make sure Spanish vegetables suspected of contamination ... ||||| Two new deaths linked to a mysterious bacterial outbreak in Europe blamed on tainted vegetables were reported Tuesday, including the first outside Germany, as the number of people falling ill continued to rise. A market seller speaks on his cell phone behind a display of cucumbers and other vegetables in Malaga, southern Spain, Monday May 30, 2011. Vegetables from Spain are suspected of carrying the dangerous... (Associated Press) The deaths brought to 16 the total number of fatalities linked to the E. coli outbreak, with northwestern Germany the hardest-hit region. Hospital officials in Boras, Sweden, announced the death of woman in her 50s who was admitted on May 29 after a trip to Germany. In Paderborn, Germany, the local council said an 87-year-old woman who also suffered from other ailments had died. In Germany, the national disease control center said 373 people were sick with the most serious form of the outbreak _ hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, a rare complication arising from an infection most commonly associated with E. coli. That figure was up from the 329 reported Monday. Susanne Glasmacher, a spokeswoman for the Robert Koch Institute, said another 796 people have been affected by the enterohaemorrhagic E.coli, also known as EHEC, bacteria _ making a total of more than 1,150 people infected. Hundreds of people also have been sickened in other European countries, but until Tuesday Germany had seen the only deaths. Germany's Federal Institute for Risk Assessment is still warning consumers to avoid all cucumbers, lettuces and raw tomatoes as the outbreak is investigated. European Union officials have said that German authorities identified cucumbers from the Spanish regions of Almeria and Malaga as possible sources of contamination and that a third suspect batch, originating either in the Netherlands or in Denmark and traded in Germany, is also under investigation. They have also noted, however, that the transport chain is long, and the cucumbers from Spain could have been contaminated at any point along the route. The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration said Tuesday that no traces of EHEC bacteria were found in tests conducted over the weekend. "There is therefore nothing that indicates that Danish cucumbers are the source of the serious E.coli outbreak that has infected several patients in Germany, Denmark and Sweden," the agency said. In the meantime, Russia's chief sanitary agency on Monday banned the imports of cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh salad from Spain and Germany pending further notice. It said in a statement that it may even ban the imports of fresh vegetables from all European Union member states due to the lack of information about the source of infection. ______ Karl Ritter contributed to this story from Stockholm."
"– A deadly E. coli outbreak in Europe linked to tainted cucumbers and other vegetables is getting worse, report the Wall Street Journal and AP: The toll: Sixteen people are dead (15 in Germany and one woman in Sweden who had just traveled to Germany); more than 1,000 people are sick in Germany alone, with 373 having the most serious form of E. coli. Hundreds more cases are reported throughout Europe. The source: Germany blames cucumbers from Spain, specifically the Almeria and Malaga regions. A third batch from the Netherlands or Denmark is under investigation. Spain angrily denies being the source, and EU officials say the vegetables could have become tainted anywhere along the supply chain. The fallout: Russia has banned some imports from Spain and Germany (and may expand it to all EU nations); Italy, Austria, and other nations have stopped short of that but are ramping up inspections at supermarkets."
"These are the findings of a preliminary study presented at the British Psychological Society’s Annual Conference in Brighton on Wednesday 3 May 2017, by Dr Martin Graff from University of South Wales. A total of 340 participants recruited via Twitter and Facebook completed personality questionnaires. They were also asked to say how much they agreed or disagreed with 25 statements relating to the ways people appreciate being valued on social media. For example ‘the attention I get from social media makes me feel good’ or ‘I consider someone popular based on the amount of likes they get’. Analysis revealed that participants who said they went out of their way to get more likes (such as asking others or paying) were more likely to have low self-esteem and be less trusting. The same was true of those who admitted deleting posts or making a picture their profile picture on account of the number of likes it received. The results also showed that receiving likes didn’t actually make people feel any better about themselves or make them feel better when they were down. Dr Graff said: ||||| Adding more evidence to the fact that social media doesn’t make us feel better, a new study indicates those Facebook likes are pretty shallow. According to the preliminary research, receiving attention via likes on social media does nothing to improve mood or make you feel better about yourself. It turns out, those thumbs up or heart icons don’t make much of a difference when it comes to our happiness. The study also found that people who went to extremes to receive more love, going as far as paying or asking others to like their posts, were more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and to be less trusting. This assessment was also true for those who deleted posts or changed their profile pictures based on how many likes a photo received. Read: Why Your Mid-20s Is the Best Age For Making Random Choices Researchers enlisted 340 participants who completed personality questionnaires, in addition to answering how much they agreed or disagreed with 25 statements about self worth and finding value from social media. Examples included assertions like, “The attention I get from social media makes me feel good” and “I consider someone popular based on the amount of likes they get.” Pixabay "The proliferation of social media use has led to general concerns about the effects on our mental health,” said lead study author Dr. Martin Graff, Ph.D and psychology researcher at the University of South Wales, in a statement. “Although this is just a relatively small scale study, the results indicate that the ways we interact with social media can affect how we feel and not always positively." Graff will present this study Wednesday, May 3, at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference. This definitely isn’t the first time that social media has been found to be inadequate in making us happier. Previous research has shown that using social media can actually make us more depressed. A study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that those who spent more time on social media were likelier to suffer from depression. The team surveyed 1,787 adults from 19 to 32 years old. Dr. Brian Primack, MD, Ph.D, and co-author of that study told there were many factors causing foul moods. FOMO, feeling inadequate compared to others’ “perfect” lives and wasting time browsing the timeline are just a few influences driving that spike in depression. Read: Irregular Sleep Patterns Could Make You Less Creative And Attentive Maybe the realization that social media isn’t good for our egos is spurring people to break up with different platforms. A recent survey by the Associated Press found that most teens, about 60 percent of respondents 13-17 years old, have taken a break from popular apps like Instagram and Snapchat. See Also: Can Dairy Be A New Way To Treat Depression? Low-Fat Milk And Yogurt Linked To Lower Depressive Symptoms What's Up With The Freudian Slip, And Does It Reveal My Inner Desires? ||||| FILE - In this Monday, June 4, 2012, file photo, a girl looks at Facebook on her computer in Palo Alto, Calif. Most teenagers have taken a break from social media, according a new poll from The Associated... (Associated Press) FILE - In this Monday, June 4, 2012, file photo, a girl looks at Facebook on her computer in Palo Alto, Calif. Most teenagers have taken a break from social media, according a new poll from The Associated... (Associated Press) NEW YORK (AP) — The common stereotype has teens glued to their phones 24-7. But nearly 60 percent of teens in the U.S. have actually taken a break from social media — the bulk of them voluntarily, a new survey found . The poll, from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, surveyed teens aged 13 to 17 and found that most value the feeling of connection with friends and family that social media provides. A much smaller number associate it with negative emotions, such as being overwhelmed or needing to always show their best selves. The survey, released Thursday, found that teens' social media breaks are typically a week or longer, and that boys are more likely to take longer breaks. Teens were allowed to cite multiple reasons for their breaks. Nearly two-thirds of teens who took a break cited at least one voluntary reason. Amanda Lenhart, the lead researcher and an expert on young people and technology use, said she was surprised by this, as it counters the broader narrative that teens are "handcuffed" to their social media profiles. Today's teenagers might not recall a time before social media. MySpace was founded in 2003. Had it survived, it would be 14 years old today. Facebook is a year younger. Instagram launched in 2010. For an adult to understand what it might be like for someone who grew up with it to step back from social media, consider disconnecting from email — or your phone — for a couple of weeks. Among the teens who took voluntary breaks, 38 percent did so because social media was getting in the way of work or school. Nearly a quarter said they were tired of "the conflict and drama" and 20 percent said they were tired of having to keep up with what's going on. Nearly half of teens who took a break did so involuntarily. This included 38 percent who said their parents took away their phone or computer and 17 percent who said their phone was lost, broken or stolen. The involuntary break "is sort of its own challenge," Lenhart said. "They feel that they are missing out, detached from important social relationships (as well as) news and information." About 35 percent of teens surveyed said they have not taken a break, citing such worries as missing out and being disconnected from friends. Some said they need social media for school or extracurricular activities. "I like to see what my friends and family are up to," said Lukas Goodwin, 14, who uses Instagram and Snapchat every day. He said he took a break from Instagram "a few years ago" but not recently. Now, he says, "I wouldn't want to take a break from them." Among the survey's other findings: — Lower income teens were more likely to take social media breaks than their wealthier counterparts, and their breaks tended to last longer. The study points out that educators who use social media in the classroom need to understand that not every teen is online and connected all the time. — Boys were more likely to feel overloaded with information on social media, while girls were more likely to feel they always have to show the best version of themselves. — Teens who took breaks typically did so across the board, checking out of Facebook, Snapchat and all other services all at once. And they were no more or less likely to take breaks from social media based on the type of services they use. — Although they felt relief and were happy to be away from social media for a while, most teens said things went back to how they were before once they returned to social media. The AP-NORC poll was conducted online and by phone from Dec. 7 to 31. A sample of parents with teenage children was drawn from a probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Parents then gave permission for their children to be interviewed. The panel, AmeriSpeak, is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.6 percentage points. ___ Online: AP-NORC: ||||| Receiving 'likes' on social media posts doesn't make people feel better about themselves or improve their mood if they are down. These are the findings of a preliminary study presented at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Brighton on May 3, 2017, by Dr Martin Graff from University of South Wales. A total of 340 participants recruited via Twitter and Facebook completed personality questionnaires. They were also asked to say how much they agreed or disagreed with 25 statements relating to the ways people appreciate being valued on social media. For example 'the attention I get from social media makes me feel good' or 'I consider someone popular based on the amount of likes they get'. Analysis revealed that participants who said they went out of their way to get more likes (such as asking others or paying) were more likely to have low self-esteem and be less trusting. The same was true of those who admitted deleting posts or making a picture their profile picture on account of the number of likes it received. The results also showed that receiving likes didn't actually make people feel any better about themselves or make them feel better when they were down. Dr Graff said: "The proliferation of social media use has led to general concerns about the effects on our mental health. Although this is just a relatively small scale study the results indicate that the ways we interact with social media can affect how we feel and not always positively.""
"– Teens aren't necessarily as in love with social media as they're portrayed to be. The results of an AP poll released last week show that nearly 60% of teens in the US have taken social media breaks—most of the time voluntary ones that last at least a week. Now researchers at the University of South Wales have presented findings to the British Psychological Society that suggest even what are perceived to be straightforward perks of social media—such as getting attention via likes—may not exactly elevate the end user's mood. "Although this is just a relatively small-scale study, the results indicate that the ways we interact with social media can affect how we feel, and not always positively," one researcher says. To test this, the team reports in a Science Daily news release that it recruited 340 participants on Twitter and Facebook to complete personality questionnaires and then agree or disagree with 25 statements. Key findings include that people who go out of their way to rack up more likes tend to have low self-esteem and be less trusting of others, and that those likes don't actually lift their mood or how they see themselves. Previous research has looked not at more likes, but at more time, reports Medical Daily. It cites a study published in 2016 that surveyed 19- to 32-year-olds and found "individuals in the highest quartile of [social media] site visits per week ... had significantly increased odds of depression." (Young people average at least an hour a day on social media.)"
"A new North Korean propaganda video shows the U.S. Capitol being hit by a missile.'s Dara Brown reports. An image of the U.S. Capitol being hit by an explosion has been posted on a North Korean propaganda website. The video, published by the semi-official Uriminzokkiri agency and posted on its YouTube account, at first shows still images of North Korean artillery, missiles and soldiers. It then moves on to film of numerous missiles being fired, before showing what appears to be a gun sight zeroing in on the White House and then the U.S. Capitol. "The White House is caught in the panoramic sight of a (North Korean) long-range missile. This hotbed of war is in the scope of a nuclear bomb blow," a caption on the video says, according to a translation by the South Korean news agency Yonhap. An explosion hits the dome of the Capitol building, leaving a gaping hole. The four-minute film then continues with yet more images of rockets being fired. A video showing an American city that looked like New York engulfed in flames after a missile attack was posted on the same website last month. Yonhap via EPA An image taken from a North Korean propaganda website Monday appears to show the U.S. Capitol -- wrongly identified as the White House -- being hit by a missile. It was part of a dream sequence in which a photographer circles the earth in a fictional North Korea space shuttle. It was accompanied by an instrumental version of the song “We are the World.” "Black smoke is seen somewhere in America," text that accompanied the video said. "It seems that the nest of wickedness is ablaze with the fire it started." 'Petulant child' Tension has been high on the Korean Peninsula since the North carried out a rocket test in December and then a nuclear bomb test in February. It also took the opportunity to threaten South Korea with “final destruction” during a United Nations Conference on Disarmament last month. A propaganda video posted on YouTube by the North Korea government shows a missile launch and a city that appears to be New York, in flames. NBC's Brian Williams reports. And then on March 9, the North threatened to exercise its “right to a pre-emptive nuclear attack" as new sanctions were unanimously agreed by the United Nations Security Council. Heather Williams, a research fellow at the U.K.’s Chatham House website, said North Korea was “almost like a petulant child,” constantly wanting to remind people of its existence by acting out. She said images like the Capitol and New York explosions fitted the theme of previous propaganda from Pyongyang, but added “at the same time, it’s a more serious situation than we have seen in quite a while.” “It is a reminder of the situation and that things could escalate,” she said. Williams said Kim Jong Un was a “young, new leader” who still needed to “prove himself” to the country’s powerful military. “My take is that it is overwhelmingly bluster for domestic reasons, not international ones,” she said. Last week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress he was "very concerned" about North Korea's recent rhetoric as well as the rocket and nuclear bomb tests, The Associated Press reported. "These programs demonstrate North Korea's commitment to develop long-range missile technology that could pose a direct threat to the United States, and its efforts to produce and market ballistic missiles raise broader regional and global security concerns," Clapper told the Senate Intelligence committee. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Related: Kim Jong Un supervises North Korea artillery drills near disputed border with South Video: Kim Jong Un directs army to 'annihilate the enemy' North Korea's poets of propaganda stay true to their muse despite world's laughter ||||| Published on No description available. Category News & Politics License Standard YouTube License Show more Show less Loading... Loading... Loading... Loading... Ratings have been disabled for this video. Rating is available when the video has been rented."
"– Apparently New York in flames was not enough. Now a quasi-official North Korean news agency has posted a new video—this one of the US Capitol exploding, NBC News reports. Intercut with images of North Korean artillery and missiles, the video also shows a target homing in on the White House. "The White House is caught in the panoramic sight of a long-range missile," reads a caption. "This hotbed of war is in the scope of a nuclear bomb blow." The video comes after months of alarming moves by Pyongyang. The North has tested a rocket and a nuclear weapon, threatened to nuke the US, and announced the end of the armistice that has kept peace on the Korean peninsula. One analyst blames the escalation on new leader Kim Jong Un's need to "prove himself" to North Korea's military: "My take is that it is overwhelmingly bluster for domestic reasons, not international ones," she says. (Click to see the video of New York being firebombed, accompanied by an instrumental version of "We Are the World.")"
"He was born Shepsel Ber Nudelman on Dec. 8, 1930, in the Bronx, the son of Orthodox Jews who had emigrated from Russia. (He adopted the first and middle names Sherwin Bernard when he went to kindergarten.) His childhood was spent in a tiny South Bronx apartment with his parents, his older brother, his maternal grandmother and a maiden aunt, in an atmosphere permeated with sickness and death. A brother died before Dr. Nuland was born, and at age 3 he was hospitalized for diphtheria. His mother, the emotional center of his family, died of colon cancer when he was 11. In his memoir, “Lost in America” (2003), he recalled with striking vividness the bad smells and bloody pads that came from his mother’s room. Dr. Nuland’s adolescent years were dominated by his father, Meyer Nudelman, a garment worker who was incapacitated by chronic illness and physical infirmities; he could not walk more than a short distance without his son’s help. Resisting a new way of life, the father never learned to read or write English — Yiddish was the predominant language at home — and he terrified his family with explosive rages. Dr. Nuland regarded him with fear and shame, emotions that would take a deep psychological toll. While still in high school, Dr. Nuland and his older brother changed their names from Nudelman, separating themselves from a weak, angry man who, Dr. Nuland wrote, represented “everything I so desperately wanted to be rid of.” They chose a name first adopted by a cousin, Willie Nuland, a physician who looked after the boys’ parents when they were ill, and whose compassion and competence pointed Dr. Nuland toward his career. Dr. Nuland received his bachelor’s degree from New York University in 1951 and went on to study medicine at Yale, attracted by its distance — geographically and culturally — from the old-world Jewishness in which he grew up. Reading about spinal cord diseases as a medical student, Dr. Nuland discovered that his father’s crippling illness was tertiary, or chronic, syphilis. Dr. Nuland felt anger, and then pity. “I now had some perception of the tragedy of his life,” he wrote in his memoir. Dr. Nuland received his medical degree from Yale in 1955. Electing to specialize in surgery, he set his sights on becoming chief surgical resident at Yale-New Haven Hospital, entering a Darwinian competition for a position seldom occupied by Jews. In 1958, Dr. Nuland won the coveted appointment. Four days later, his father died of complications of syphilis, a condition Mr. Nudelman did not know he had. “I think that one time, before he was married, Meyer Nudelman was very unlucky,” Dr. Nuland said in a 2003 interview with The New York Times. ||||| HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) — Dr. Sherwin Nuland, the author of an award-winning book about death called "How We Die," has died at age 83. FILE - In this Nov. 16, 1994, file photo, The National Book Awards prize winning writers, William Gaddis, left, Sherwin B. Nuland, center, and James Tate greet each other after the awards ceremony in... (Associated Press) FILE - In this May 28, 1996, file photo, Dr. Sherwin Nuland sits on the desk in his home study in Hamden, Conn. Nuland, the author of 1994 National Book Award winner "How We Die," has died at age 83.... (Associated Press) He died of prostate cancer on Monday at his home in Hamden, said his daughter Amelia Nuland, who recalled how he told her he wasn't ready for death because he loved life. "He told me, 'I'm not scared of dying, but I've built such a beautiful life, and I'm not ready to leave it,'" she said Tuesday. Sherwin Nuland was born in New York and taught medical ethics at Yale University in New Haven. He was critical of the medical profession's obsession with prolonging life when common sense would dictate further treatment is futile. He wrote nature "will always win in the end, as it must if our species is to survive." "The necessity of nature's final victory was accepted in generations before our own," he wrote. "Doctors were far more willing to recognize the signs of defeat and far less arrogant about denying them." "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter" was published in 1994 and won a National Book Award for nonfiction, beating out a book about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and three other finalists. In it Nuland describes how life is lost to diseases and old age. It helped foster national debate over doctor-assisted suicide and end-of-life decisions. Nuland, a surgeon, said in a 1996 interview he hoped that when his time came he would go gently "without suffering and surrounded by loved ones." He said then, when he was 65, that if his death certificate were to read, "Died of Old Age," he thought that "would be very nice." His daughter said he and his family had talked all the time about his illness and his impending death. She said there were times when he was "very much at peace" and occasional times toward the end when he seemed scared and sad. "He wasn't scared of death itself, but he loved everything about his world and the people in his world and life and life," she said. "And he didn't want to leave.""
"– Dr. Sherwin Nuland, whose book How We Die sparked national debate over end-of-life decisions, has died from prostate cancer at his Connecticut home. The 83-year-old surgeon's award-winning 1994 book on death argued that death with dignity was rare and doctors too often tried to prolong life when further treatment was futile, the New York Times reports. "I have not seen much dignity in the process by which we die," he wrote. "The quest to achieve true dignity fails when our bodies fail." In a 1996 interview, he said he hoped he would go "without suffering and surrounded by loved ones" when it was his time. His daughter says he often spoke to his family about his illness and impending death and while he was very much at peace most of the time, there were times of sadness and fear toward the end. "He wasn’t scared of death itself, but he loved everything about his world and the people in his world and life,” she tells the AP. "And he didn’t want to leave.""
"Another new label has surfaced from the US in December 2017. This time it’s from Diageo and their Johnnie Walker brand. Jane Walker Edition. No information regarding Jane Walker can be found besides these new labels. Whether it’s Johnnie’s sister or not will be revealed in due time. However, already in 2016 during the presidential election campaigns there was a rumor about a Jane Walker Edition release and ad campaign. The whole project was scrapped, or mothballed for the time being as it now seems, since Diageo’s then current Johnnie Walker campaign was already seen by many as a celebration and support for the Democratic party. The outcome of the presidential election probably didn’t make things better for Jane Walker. Time has passed and 2018 seems to be Jane Walker’s year! ||||| Anomaly has made some significant changes to the Johnnie Walker “Keep Walking” work since winning the account away from BBH in December 2014. Its debut campaign was the liquor brand’s biggest ever, and it followed with a sequel to the “Gentleman’s Wager” ad starring Jude Law. The latest Walker ad “This Land” debuted the day before the election, and it was political, if not explicitly partisan, in nature. The spot celebrated American progress and diversity in the abstract without commenting directly on the upcoming vote, but some saw it as an endorsement. U.K. blog More About Advertising summed it up with the headline “Johnnie Walker Backs Clinton in Anomaly’s Election Ad.” Multiple sources told us this week that the planned sequel to that spot was supposed to be even more political. Its title was to be “Jane Walker,” which implies that its themes concerned gender equality and women breaking boundaries. This message would have been particularly timely if Hillary Clinton had won the election, but that didn’t happen. These sources claim that client and agency had to scrap the campaign as soon as the result became clear on Tuesday night. We have no idea what the alleged work would have entailed, and now it will almost certainly never be seen by the public. Anomaly has not responded to queries regarding the campaign. We also reached out to Johnnie Walker’s parent company Diageo earlier today but have yet to receive a reply. Comments ||||| Johnnie Walker Time's Up!!! Icon Gets Female Partner Johnnie Walker Company Prepping to Introduce Jane Walker Exclusive Details Behind every great man is a great woman -- and apparently the same goes for drunk men, because the folks at Johnnie Walker whisky are about to roll out his female counterpart. Diageo, the company that owns Johnnie, filed paperwork in early January to trademark the name Jane Walker for all alcoholic beverages except beer ... according to new docs. It's unclear exactly what the Jane Walker products would be, but in the midst of the #timesup movement ... gender equality and female empowerment seem like probable themes. This isn't the first time Jane's name has been tossed around either -- around the time of the 2016 election, Walker reportedly had an ad campaign titled "Jane Walker" in the works ... but scrapped it after Hillary Clinton lost. Apparently that wound has healed, 'cause Jane's ready to go. Bottoms up?"
"– Tarzan had his Jane, and so, too, will Johnnie. Thanks to the "Me Too" and "Time's Up" movements, gender equality is gaining new awareness in the workplace, and now perhaps in your whisky: TMZ reports that Diageo, parent company of the Johnnie Walker brand, put in the paperwork earlier this month for a Jane Walker trademark that would cover a bevy of unspecified beverages. A post at Drampedia notes that labels bearing the name "Jane Walker Edition" have turned up, but no details are available on any new products. "Whether it’s Johnnie’s sister or not will be revealed in due time," per the post. It appears this isn't the first time the female-monikered concept, which TMZ assumes will focus on "gender equality and female empowerment," has been broached by Diageo. Adweek noted right after the 2016 presidential election that a Jane Walker ad campaign was in the works, but it was apparently nixed after Hillary Clinton lost, sources said at the time."
"Cornell University LibraryArchive-It Partner Since: Mar, 2011Organization Type: Colleges & UniversitiesOrganization URL: Based on the number of volumes in its collections, Cornell University Library (CUL) is one of the ten largest academic research libraries in the United States. Within its 20 unit libraries, holdings number more than 7 million volumes and 7 million microforms. CUL subscribes to nearly 65,000 journals and serial publications, and provides access to more than 100,000 networked databases and other electronic resources. CUL collects web sites produced by affiliates of Cornell University, web sites from organizations or individuals whose records or papers are held in Cornell's archives, and web sites in subject areas corresponding to existing collection strengths. ||||| A pregnant woman was shot and killed in her sleep when someone opened fire on her southern Arizona home early Saturday, but doctors were able to deliver her baby, according to police. The Tucson Police Department said in a news release several people in the home were awoken at 4:30 a.m. to the sounds of 19-year-old Jasmine Vega screaming before becoming "unresponsive." Arriving officers found Vega unconscious and transported her to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Vega was six months pregnant at the time, according to police. "Hospital staff were able to successfully deliver her unborn child, who is currently being treated at the hospital," Tucson police said. The baby's father, Anthony Rivera, told Tucson News Now the baby boy is in critical condition and on life support. TEXAS WOMAN WHO HAD MISCARRIAGE STABBED FRIEND TO DEATH, TOOK INFANT, POLICE SAY Evidence at the scene, including "several projectile holes in the walls of the residence," indicates multiple gunshots were fired into the home, police said. It's not yet known if anyone was specifically targeted in the shooting. No one else was injured in the shooting, police added. Authorities have not identified any suspects, and are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact police. ||||| Jasmine Vega, 19, was 6-months-pregnant when she was shot and killed (Source: Anthony Rivera). A young Arizona family was shattered days before Christmas when a random shooting took the life of a sleeping pregnant woman. The Tucson Police Department said Jasmine Vega, 19, was shot early Saturday, Dec. 23, while inside a home in the 1500 block of West Calle Guadalajara. The TPD confirmed the shots were fired from outside the home and they are investigating the incident. There are no suspects in custody. Vega, who was 6 months pregnant, died at the hospital but staff were able to deliver her son. Anthony Rivera, Vega's boyfriend, said his young son is in critical condition and on life support. "All I was thinking was I wish your mom was right here to see you," Rivera said. "It sucks. It sucks seeing your baby like that." The family knows moving forward won't be easy, but remembering Vega does bring some relief on these dark days. "She was amazing, fun, loving, outgoing, big heart," Rivera said. Angelina Ruelas, Rivera's mother, said things will never be the same. "We were just wrapping presents last night," Ruelas said. "She was happy to be a mom, she wanted a baby so bad. "I'm not going to tell him it's going to be OK, because it's not." MOBILE USERS: Download our Tucson News Now app for Apple and Android devices. Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved."
"– Police say a pregnant teenager was shot dead while asleep in a southern Arizona home early Saturday, but that doctors were able to deliver her unborn child. 19-year-old Jasmine Vega was found unconscious by officers responding to a 911 call from inside the residence, Fox News reports. Vega was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead, but doctors managed to save her son. "Hospital staff [was] able to successfully deliver her unborn child, who is currently being treated at the hospital," Tucson Police Department wrote on Facebook. Per Tucson News Now, the child’s father, Anthony Rivera, says the baby boy is in critical condition and on life support. Vega was six months pregnant, and loved ones described her to Tucson News Now as “kind, compassionate, and so excited to be a mom.” No other other occupants were injured during the shooting. Authorities say multiple gunshots were fired toward the home from outside, and that there were several bullet holes found in the walls, but it is still unknown whether the gunfire was targeted specifically at anyone in the household. Tucson police are asking for anyone with information to come forward. “You can remain anonymous,” they said on Facebook. (Three St. Louis women were killed as they tried to escape a home invasion.)"
"Documenting Hate Tracking Hate Crimes and Bias Incidents The California man accused of killing a 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student earlier this month is an avowed neo-Nazi and a member of one of the most notorious extremist groups in the country, according to three people with knowledge of the man’s recent activities. The man, Samuel Woodward, has been charged in Orange County, California, with murdering Blaze Bernstein, who went missing in early January while visiting his family over winter break. Prosecutors allege that Woodward stabbed Bernstein more than 20 times before burying his body in an Orange County park where it was eventually discovered. The two men had attended high school together. Woodward, 20, is set to be arraigned on Feb. 2 and has not yet entered a plea. Orange County prosecutors say they are examining the possibility that the killing was a hate crime — Bernstein was Jewish and openly gay — and some recent news reports have suggested that the alleged killer might hold far-right or even white supremacist political beliefs. Now, three people with detailed knowledge of Woodward’s recent past have been able to shed more light on the young man’s extremist activities. They said Woodward was a member of the Atomwaffen Division, an armed Fascist group with the ultimate aim of overthrowing the U.S. government through the use of terrorism and guerrilla warfare. Stay Informed Get ProPublica’s Daily Digest. The organization, which celebrates Hitler and Charles Manson, has been tied to four other murders and an elaborate bomb plot over the past eight months. Experts who study right-wing extremist movements believe Atomwaffen’s commitment to violence has made it one of the more dangerous groups to emerge from the new wave of white supremacists. Two of the three people who described Woodward’s affiliations are friends of his; the other is a former member of Atomwaffen Division. ProPublica’s revelations about Woodward’s background add a new element to a murder case that has attracted considerable local and national news coverage. But they also raise fresh concerns about groups like Atomwaffen Division, shadowy outfits of uncertain size that appear capable of genuine harm. Woodward joined the organization in early 2016 and later traveled to Texas to attend Atomwaffen meetings and a three-day training camp, which involved instruction in firearms, hand-to-hand combat, camping and survival skills, the former member said. ProPublica has obtained photographs of Woodward at an outdoor Atomwaffen meeting in the scrubby Texas countryside. One of the photos depicts Woodward and other members making straight-armed Nazi salutes while wearing skull masks. In other pictures, Woodward is unmasked and easily identifiable. The young man is proficient with both handguns and assault rifles, according to one person who participated in the Texas training and watched him shoot. That person also said that Woodward helped organize a number of Atomwaffen members in California. Social media posts and chat logs shared by Woodward’s friends show that he openly described himself as a “National Socialist” or Nazi. He “was as anti-Semitic as you can get,” according to one acquaintance. ProPublica contacted Orange County prosecutors regarding Woodward’s alleged neo-Nazi activities. Michelle Van Der Linden, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office, said she couldn’t comment directly on the case, but said the investigation is ongoing, with detectives exploring all possible leads. Woodward told police Bernstein had tried to kiss him while they were in the park, according to a sealed affidavit obtained by the Orange County Register. Woodward’s defense lawyer, Edward Munoz, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. On Wednesday, Bernstein’s parents spoke to reporters about the loss of their son, but said they were not interested in talking about any information they had on the investigation of his death. Police Stood By As Mayhem Mounted in Charlottesville State police and National Guardsmen watched passively for hours as self-proclaimed Nazis engaged in street battles with counter-protesters. ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson was on the scene and reports that the authorities turned the streets of the city over to groups of militiamen armed with assault rifles. The Los Angeles Times quoted his mother, Jeanne Pepper Bernstein, as saying she had worried during her son’s life that he might be a target — because he was small, and Jewish, and gay. “I was concerned sending him out into the big world,” she said. “But at some point you have to let go and they leave the nest and fly. I couldn’t protect him from everything.” Atomwaffen started in 2015 and is estimated to have about 80 members scattered around the country in small cells; the former member said the group’s ranks have grown since the lethal and chaotic “Unite the Right” rally last summer in Charlottesville, Virginia. While many of the new white extremist groups have consciously avoided using Nazi imagery, Atomwaffen has done the opposite. The name can mean “Atomic Weapons” in German, and the organization embraces Third Reich iconography, including swastikas, the Totenkopf, or death’s head insignia, and SS lightning bolts. The group frequently produces YouTube videos featuring masked Atomwaffen members hiking through the backcountry and firing weapons. They’ve also filmed themselves burning the U.S. Constitution and setting fire to the American flag at an Atomwaffen “Doomsday Hatecamp.” Atomwaffen’s biggest inspiration seems to be James Mason, a long-time fascist who belonged to the American Nazi Party and later, during the 1970s, joined a more militant offshoot. During the 1980s, Mason published a newsletter called SIEGE, in which he eschewed political activism in favor of creating a new fascist regime through murder, small “lone wolf” terror attacks, and all-out war against the government. Mason also struck up a friendship with the late Charles Manson, who has become another hero for Atomwaffen. The organization first gained a measure of national attention in May of last year, when 18-year-old Devon Arthurs, one of Atomwaffen’s founding members, was charged in state court in Tampa, Florida, with murdering two of his roommates, Andrew Oneschuk, 18, and Jeremy Himmelman, 22. Both victims were Atomwaffen loyalists. The murders allegedly occurred after Arthurs traded Nazism for radical Islam. When police took Arthurs into custody, according to news accounts based on police reports, he claimed he had shot his former comrades because they had taunted him about his Muslim faith and plotted violent attacks to further their fascist agenda. Arthurs told investigators he killed Onsechuk and Himmelman “because they want to build a Fourth Reich.” While Arthurs initially confessed to the killings, he has pleaded not guilty and the case is ongoing. In early January, a judge ordered a psychiatrist to determine whether Arthurs is mentally competent to stand trial. When law enforcement searched the apartment in Tampa, Florida, where Arthurs and the others lived, they found firearms, a framed photograph of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, rifles, ammunition, and a cooler full of a highly volatile explosive called HMTD. Investigators also discovered radioactive material in the home. The bomb-making material belonged to a fourth roommate, Atomwaffen leader Brandon Russell, a Florida National Guardsman. Arthurs told authorities that Russell had been planning to blow up a nuclear power plant near Miami. Earlier this month Russell pleaded guilty in federal district court in Tampa to illegal possession of explosives and was sentenced to five years in federal prison. Atomwaffen surfaced again in connection with a double homicide in Reston, Virginia, in December 2017. A 17-year-old neo-Nazi allegedly shot to death his girlfriend’s parents, Buckley Kuhn-Fricker and Scott Fricker, who had urged their daughter to break up with him. The accused, who shot himself as well but survived and remains hospitalized, was charged as a juvenile in state court in Virginia with two counts of homicide. The 17-year-old was a big fan of Atomwaffen and James Mason, according to reporting by the Huffington Post, which examined his social media trail. The former Atomwaffen member in contact with ProPublica said that the teen was more than a fan: He was in direct communication with the group. “Their rhetoric is some of the most extreme we have seen,” said Joanna Mendelson, a senior researcher at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. The group, she said, views itself as the radical vanguard of the white supremacist movement, the frontline soldiers of an imminent race war. ||||| Documenting Hate Tracking Hate Crimes and Bias Incidents Late last month, ProPublica reported that the California man accused of killing a gay and Jewish University of Pennsylvania student was an avowed neo-Nazi and a member of Atomwaffen Division, one of the country’s most notorious extremist groups. The news about the murder suspect, Samuel Woodward, spread quickly throughout the U.S., and abroad. Woodward was accused of fatally stabbing 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein and burying his body in an Orange County park. The report, it turns out, was also taken up in the secretive online chats conducted by members of Atomwaffen Division, a white supremacist group that celebrates both Hitler and Charles Manson. “I love this,” one member wrote of the killing, according to copies of the online chats obtained by ProPublica. Another called Woodward a “one man gay Jew wrecking crew.” More soon joined in. “What I really want to know is who leaked that shit about Sam to the media,” a third member wrote. At least one member wanted to punish the person who had revealed Woodward’s affiliation with Atomwaffen. “Rats and traitors get the rope first.” Encrypted chat logs obtained by ProPublica — some 250,000 messages spanning more than six months — offer a rare window into Atomwaffen Division that goes well beyond what has surfaced elsewhere about a group whose members have been implicated in a string of violent crimes. Like many white supremacist organizations, Atomwaffen Division uses Discord, an online chat service designed for video gamers, to engage in its confidential online discussions. In a matter of months, people associated with the group, including Woodward, have been charged in five murders; another group member pleaded guilty to possession of explosives after authorities uncovered a possible plot to blow up a nuclear facility near Miami. Lucas Waldron/ProPublica The group’s propaganda makes clear that Atomwaffen — the word means “nuclear weapons” in German — embraces Third Reich ideology and preaches hatred of minorities, gays and Jews. Atomwaffen produces YouTube videos showing members firing weapons and has filmed members burning the U.S. Constitution and setting fire to the American flag. But the organization, by and large, cloaks its operations in secrecy and bars members from speaking to the media. The chat logs and other material obtained by ProPublica provide unusually extensive information about the group’s leaders, wider makeup, and potential targets, indicating: The group may have as many as 20 cells around the country, small groups of indeterminate size in Texas, Virginia, Washington, Nevada and elsewhere. Members armed with assault rifles and other guns have taken part in weapons training in various locations over the last two years, including last month in the Nevada desert near Death Valley. Members have discussed using explosives to cripple public water systems and destroy parts of the electrical power grid. One member even claimed to have obtained classified maps of the power grid in California. Throughout the chats, Atomwaffen members laud Timothy McVeigh, the former soldier who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168, including numerous children. Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof and Anders Breivik, the Norwegian extremist who massacred 77 people, also come in for praise. Woodward posted several messages in the days after Bernstein’s murder, but before he was arrested and charged. In one thread, he told his fellow Atomwaffen members that he was thinking about the “passing of life” and was “truly grateful for our time together.” An Atomwaffen propaganda flier Woodward, 20, has pleaded not guilty in the Bernstein case. Prosecutors have said they are exploring whether the murder constituted a hate crime and detectives are now investigating what role, if any, Atomwaffen might have played in the homicide. Woodward and Bernstein had known each other in high school in California, and appear to have reconnected somehow shortly before the killing. Law enforcement, both federal and state, have said little about what they make of Atomwaffen. But organizations dedicated to tracking and studying hate groups have been calling attention to what they regard as the group’s considerable threat. “We haven’t seen anything like Atomwaffen in quite a while,” said Keegan Hankes, a researcher who tracks the group for the Southern Poverty Law Center. “They should be taken seriously because they’re so extreme.” Jeffrey Kaplan, a historian, has studied racial extremists for decades and edited the Encyclopedia of White Power. In an interview, he suggested that Atomwaffen is dangerous, but that talk in their propaganda and private conversations of aims such as toppling the U.S. government amounted to what he called a kind of “magical thinking.” Kaplan said such groups often contain a handful of diehards who are willing to commit crimes and many more wannabes who are unwilling to do much more than read fascist literature. “It’s very hard to go from talking about violence to looking a guy in the eyes and killing him,” said Kaplan, a professor of national security studies at King Fahd Defense College in Saudi Arabia. Where We’ve Identified Atomwaffen Division Members Through interviews and internal records, ProPublica was able to identify Atomwaffen members in at least 23 states. Lucas Waldron and Rob Weychert/ProPublica “Politics are useless. Revolution is necessary.” ProPublica has identified five key Atomwaffen members through information provided by law enforcement investigators, internal Atomwaffen records, outside experts and a former group member. Those records and interviews make clear that John Cameron Denton is the leader of Atomwaffen. Denton, 24, grew up in Montgomery, Texas, a small town about 30 miles north of Houston. Public records show Denton currently lives in the nearby town of Conroe, a few miles to the south of Montgomery. ProPublica has obtained several photos of Denton. In one, Denton, who is short and wiry, has a bulky combat shotgun slung over his shoulder. He seems to favor camouflage pants and black T-shirts emblazoned with the logos of National Socialist Black Metal bands, a fringe subgenre of heavy metal music that mixes Satanic and Nazi themes. “Politics are useless. Revolution is necessary,” Denton said in a chat post expressing the Atomwaffen worldview. Records and interviews show Denton goes by the name Rape in the online conversations, and he appears to be involved in nearly every aspect of the organization. He shapes Atomwaffen’s ideology, chooses designs for its distinctive black-and-white posters and online propaganda, and selects the books that new recruits must study as part of their initiation, said a former Atomwaffen member interviewed by ProPublica. Denton’s younger brother, Grayson Patrick Denton, 19, is also a member, according to the chat logs and interviews; within the group, he goes by Leon, an homage to a Belgian fascist who fought with the SS. John Cameron Denton Alias: Rape John Cameron Denton is the leader of Atomwaffen Division. The 24-year-old grew up in Montgomery, Texas, and lives outside Houston. The leader’s identity was first revealed last month in a report by the Anti-Defamation League. Afterward, Denton was seething. “They think they can stop RAPE!? THEY THINK THEY CAN STOP ME!?!,” Denton wrote in one chat message. Neither Denton brother responded to messages seeking comment. Just how many people belong to Atomwaffen is unknown. The ex-member told ProPublica that the group has enlisted about 80 members across the country, many of whom joined after the deadly events in Charlottesville last summer. An internal Atomwaffen document obtained by ProPublica shows members scattered across 23 states and Canada. The group’s largest chapters are based in Virginia, Texas and Washington, according to a message posted in the chats by an Atomwaffen recruiter last summer. “Each chapter operates independently,” wrote the recruiter. “We want men who are willing to be the boots on the ground. Joining us means serious dedication not only to the Atomwaffen Division and its members, but to the goal of Total Aryan Victory.” A review of the chat logs shows messages posted by people using more than 100 different user names. Access to the discussions is tightly controlled, and it is unclear if some members post under multiple usernames. Denton has helped build the organization around the ideas expressed in an obscure, hyper-violent book: “Siege.” The 563-page book collects and organizes the monthly newsletters produced during the 1980s by an old-line neo-Nazi activist named James Mason. It is required reading for all Atomwaffen members and serves as the backbone for the organization’s ideology, worldview and training program. When Mason began publishing his newsletter in 1980, he was bitter and deeply dismayed. He had devoted his life to the fascist cause, joining the American Nazi Party in the mid-1960s, at the age of 14. But the movement had completely failed. For Mason, the way forward was obvious: He no longer wanted to convince the masses of the rightness of Nazism. They would never get it. Now was the time for true believers to go underground and launch a clandestine guerrilla war aimed at bringing down “The System.” “Siege” is essentially a long string of essays celebrating murder and chaos in the name of white supremacy. In Mason’s view, Dan White, the local politician who assassinated San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and gay civil rights leader Harvey Milk, was a hero. Mason proposed the creation of a White Liberation Front composed of small armed squads that would “hide in wilderness areas,” moving frequently from location to location while striking out in a string of “hit-and-run engagements.” Mason based this proposed organization on the short-lived National Socialist Liberation Front, a small splinter group of the American Nazi Party that formed in 1969 and espoused the strategic use of political terrorism. Grayson Patrick Denton Aliases: Nazgul, Leon Grayson Patrick Denton is the 19-year-old brother of Atomwaffen leader John Cameron Denton. He is a member of the Texas cell. The chat logs show that Denton and other Atomwaffen figures are in contact with Mason, who is 65 and is said to be living in Denver, Colorado; in one online conversation, Samuel Woodward wrote about meeting with Mason face to face along with other Atomwaffen members. In chats, members frequently post pictures of Mason and revere him as a brilliant, under-appreciated thinker. ProPublica was unable to contact Mason. Jeffrey Kaplan, the academic at King Fahd Defense College in Riyadh, interviewed Mason in the 1990s and spoke to ProPublica about Mason’s outlook and the groups he inspires, such as Atomwaffen. He describes Mason as “a true believer.” “Now he’s got a following, which he didn’t have for the last 30 years,” Kaplan said. “He’s got some kids who’ve rediscovered him. He must be in heaven.” As Kaplan sees it, groups such as Atomwaffen — would-be Nazi guerrillas devoted to white revolution in the U.S. — are “akin to cults,” and are propelled by a quasi-religious faith that they will ultimately prevail. He continued, “What else would sustain you when everyone hates you?” John Cameron Denton, based on interviews and the material obtained by ProPublica, comes across as something of a cult leader. Lately he has been pushing for Atomwaffen members to pool money and purchase land in rural areas so they can “get the fuck off the grid,” and begin implementing their revolutionary agenda. The former member said Denton envisions using this network of Atomwaffen compounds to launch attacks against targets in the U.S. The leader is already girding for a confrontation with law enforcement. “I do expect that one day I'll get raided,” wrote Denton in one chat message. “I'm not gonna have a shoot out or anything stupid like that, but I just dont rule out possibilities because I know the govt doesnt play by the rules." “You would want to target things like substations, water filtration plants, etc.” Late last month, Atomwaffen held a three-day training session — or “Hate Camp” in the group’s parlance — deep in the Nevada desert. The event was organized by an Atomwaffen leader, Michael Lloyd Hubsky, who calls himself Komissar, according to the chat logs. Michael Lloyd Hubsky Alias: Komissar Hubsky, 29, lives in Las Vegas and leads Atomwaffen’s Nevada cell. In online chats he discussed blowing up the U.S. power grid and natural gas lines. A 29-year-old resident of Las Vegas, Hubsky holds both a concealed weapons permit and a security guard license, and is a big fan of high-powered military-style firearms. In one post he discussed a favorite weapon: a Czech-made rifle called a CZ Scorpion that, Hubsky said, he’d converted to fully automatic and equipped with a flash suppressor. In another message, Hubsky wrote that he was planning on getting an “FFL” — federal firearms license — so he could “manufacture” guns. “I can literally become our armory in the event we need it,” Hubsky bragged. The former member said Atomwaffen has a rule: Don’t talk about the group’s terrorist ambitions in online chats or on social media. Those sorts of conversations are only supposed to happen in person. But Hubsky, at times, has been less than discreet outside the group’s confidential chats. “So in any war, you need to cut off your enemy’s ability to shoot, move and communicate,” Hubsky wrote in a September 2017 message posted in a discussion on white nationalism that occurred in a non-Atomwaffen chat room. “You would want to target things like: Substations, water filtration plants, etc.” ProPublica has obtained Hubsky’s statements from that online conversation. Hubsky wrote that he had “a map of the US power grid.” “West-coast only,” he added in the message. “Classified map. Had someone with special permissions get it.” John Cameron Denton, left, in an undated photograph with other white supremacists Hubsky also discussed blowing up natural gas lines. “You put a home-made thermite grenade on those,” he wrote. While other types of infrastructure — like water lines – figured in Hubsky’s discussions, hitting the power grid was, in his view, the most devastating and effective attack possible. Destroying electricity infrastructure, Hubsky wrote, “would by default take out the internet because it relies on power to operate.” In a telephone conversation and subsequent series of text messages with ProPublica, Hubsky at first denied being a member of Atomwaffen. But he later offered to discuss the group at length if his name was not made public, an arrangement ProPublica declined. Hubsky acknowledged that he owns a CZ Scorpion assault rifle — even sharing a picture of the weapon — but said it was not fully automatic. He concluded the exchange by saying he had retained a lawyer. Hubsky’s organization of the three-day Hate Camp in Nevada began with a proposal to the group late last year. He offered to arrange it so the group could hone its combat skills. There would be shooting and hand-to-hand sparring at a secret location on the edge of Death Valley. Atomwaffen had already held a Hate Camp in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois during the fall of 2017. At least 10 members from different states attended, with some driving in from as far away as Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and New Jersey. In the Pacific Northwest, cell members had converged on an abandoned cement factory, known as “Devil's Tower” near the small town of Concrete, Washington, where they had screamed “gas the kikes, race war now!” while firing off round after round from any array of weapons, including an AR-15 assault rifle with a high capacity drum magazine. The training sessions were documented in Atomwaffen propaganda videos. Kaleb J. Cole Alias: Khimaere Atomwaffen’s Washington chapter leader is Kaleb J. Cole. Cole, who owns an AK-47 assault rifle with a large-capacity magazine, helped organize arms training sessions in Washington and Nevada. He also works on the group’s visual propaganda. Members had also organized smaller training sessions, such as the one last year in Texas that had drawn Blaze Bernstein’s alleged murderer, Samuel Woodward. The Texas training attended by Woodward took place in the countryside outside San Antonio and involved 10 members of the Texas cell who took part in firearms, survival and weapons instruction. Hubsky scheduled his training camp during the last weekend in January. Atomwaffen’s Washington chapter leader Kaleb J. Cole, who uses the alias Khimaere, agreed to help organize the desert training session in Nevada, which the group started calling the Death Valley Hate Camp. “Bring your uniform, rifle/sidearm, and whatever camping gear you need,” he wrote. Cole, who is 22 and lives close to the Canadian border in the town of Blaine, is a National Socialist Black Metal enthusiast who holds a concealed firearms permit and owns an AK-47. In 2015, while Cole was living in Bellingham, police responded to a report that he had “Nazi memorabilia” in his residence, according to Lt. Danette Beckley of the Bellingham Police Department; he was also reported to police in the island town of Anacortes for allegedly harassing a Jewish grocery store owner by a waving a Nazi flag in front of the business, according to two law enforcement sources. The former Atomwaffen member told ProPublica that Cole wields a significant degree of influence over the organization’s propaganda, recruitment and organization. ProPublica could not reach Cole for comment. When the group got out to the desert, Hubsky made sure they shot photos and videos to be used in Atomwaffen recruiting clips. In one picture obtained by ProPublica, an Atomwaffen member is standing at the base of a sand dune showing off a military-grade weapon — an MCX Virtus rifle made by Sig Sauer — while holding a flag bearing the Atomwaffen insignia, a black shield bearing the symbol for radioactivity. Another member, clutching an assault rifle, is also in the photo. Hubsky returned from Death Valley enthused and eager to do more training. He uploaded a memo to the Atomwaffen chat. Members would now be required to join Front Sight, a “private combat training facility” outside of Las Vegas in the small desert town of Pahrump. Front Sight, the memo said, could provide classes in “Uzi and full auto M16 combat, as well as knife fighting, hand to hand combat,” and instruction in climbing and rappelling. “I don't know anything about this group,” Bill Cookston, Front Sight’s director of operations, said this week. “If anyone were to be doing something against the law or in a radical manner, we would look into that.” Shortly afterward, Michael Meacher, Front Sight’s CEO, said the training center had sent Hubsky a letter refunding his membership fees and informing the Las Vegas resident that he was banned from the facility for life. “Not that the faggot kike didn’t deserve to die.” Before Samuel Woodward was jailed on charges of murdering Blaze Bernstein, he frequently participated in the Atomwaffen chats. First he used the handle Saboteur. Later he posted under the name Arn. Often, Woodward sounded like a typical 20-year-old. He enthused about video games (BioShock, Skyrim) and TV shows (he liked the early seasons of “Trailer Park Boys,” a Canadian comedy series). He complained about not having a girlfriend. Read More About Woodward California Murder Suspect Said to Have Trained With Extremist Hate Group The 20-year-old man charged in Orange County with killing a gay Jewish college student earlier this month is said to have belonged to Atomwaffen Division, a neo-Nazi group. But Woodward also railed at “mongrels and jews” and gays. He praised Mein Kampf and seemed to regard “Siege” as something akin to divine revelation; from his perspective, violence and society-shaking mayhem were the only options for a true Nazi. That orientation attracted him to outlaw groups like the National Socialist Underground, a German organization that carried out a massive terror spree between 2001 and 2011, robbing 14 banks, planting bombs and murdering 10 people, most of them immigrants. “The NSU was pretty cool,” Woodward wrote. In one conversation, Woodward discussed the Bosnian Civil War of the 1990s, during which Serbian soldiers and paramilitary fighters raped thousands of Bosnian Muslim women as part of an infamous campaign of ethnic cleansing. “The only acceptable case of miscegenation is what the serbs did to captured bosniak women,” he wrote in November 2017. Woodward liked the idea of using rape to terrorize women of color, whom he saw as his foes. “Force them to carry around the spawn of their master and enemy,” he wrote. ProPublica sought comment on the chats from Woodward’s lawyer, Edward Munoz, but did not get a response. On Jan. 26, ProPublica published a story revealing Woodward’s belief in Nazism and exposing his involvement with Atomwaffen. While the article attracted the attention of Atomwaffen members, who promptly posted it to their online chats, no one in the group expressed any sympathy for Bernstein, the young man Woodward allegedly murdered. They made jokes about his slaying and used slurs to describe him. If there was worry, it was about Woodward possibly having to do time behind bars for the murder. “Sam did something stupid,” wrote one member. “Not that the faggot kike didn’t deserve to die. Just simply not worth a life in prison for.” Sean Michael Fernandez, an Atomwaffen leader in Texas, even saw an upside for the group. Fernandez, who used the alias Wehrwolf, believed that Atomwaffen actually stood to benefit from the increased notoriety stemming from Woodward’s affiliation with the neo-Nazi group and the Bernstein murder. “We’re only going to inspire more ‘copycat crimes’ in the name of AWD. All we have to do is spread our image and our propaganda,” Fernandez wrote on Jan. 30. Sean Michael Fernandez Alias: Wehrwolf Sean Michael Fernandez is a leader of the Texas cell. He continued: “The growing fear is what we set out to do and it’s working EXACTLY how I wanted it to since we took over ‘leadership.’ I couldn't have planned this better, seriously.” For his part, Denton, the national Atomwaffen leader, felt betrayed. ProPublica had interviewed a former member for the story; still, Denton believed that someone currently within the ranks was sharing information with the media. “Looks like AWD needs another purging,” he wrote. Members began speculating about who was talking to outsiders. Was it a current member? Was it someone they’d kicked out recently? Members also directed their rage toward the media. As they saw it, Woodward was the one being victimized. Now that his involvement with Atomwaffen had spilled out into the public sphere, Orange County prosecutors might hit him with hate crimes charges — charges that could potentially add years to a prison sentence. “We really owe those jews at ProPublica,” wrote one member. Woodward posted many hundreds of messages to the Atomwaffen chats. But on Jan. 5, he typed out a few lines that are quite distinct from all the rest. In them, the raging young man suddenly became highly sentimental. Two days earlier, according to prosecutors, he had buried Bernstein’s lifeless body in a park in Lake Forest, California. Now Woodward explained that he was reflecting on mortality. “hey everyone,” he wrote. “i just wanted to let you all know i love you so much.” ||||| It’s fact, not fantasy. In the last four years, at least 13 young men have inflicted tragedies after steeping their psyches in hate forums, websites and across social networking apps. Some have scythed into cultural consciousness. Millions know the name Dylann Storm Roof. But many millions more have never heard of neo-Nazi hate group Atomwaffen Division (AWD) and the Iron March forum — the online race-hate incubator where AWD met, recruited and congregated. Nevertheless, that forum and this group exemplify recent trends in the more youthful strains of online extremism and radicalization. Many eventual recruits appear to be joining online social networks before becoming members of an established hate group. And as organized hate groups recruit and centralize in relative obscurity online before ever manifesting “irl” (“in real life”), the void of domestic efforts to counter radicalization grows as fast as young potential recruits move across the web and transition between apps. In less than a year, AWD has proven how young men, some in their teens and early 20s, can steepen the arc of their own radicalization when they gather together. The group has also attracted peers via slick, sophisticated digital propaganda, much of which directed traffic to Iron March (IM) before that forum was taken offline in the fall of 2017. Though it has been in existence since at least October 2015, AWD is only now grabbing headlines, as five murders have been linked to either members, like Devon Arthurs, 18; alleged members, like Samuel Woodward, 20; or individuals, like Nicholas Giampa, 17, who associated closely with the group online. Giampa stands accused of executing his girlfriend’s parents, Buckley Kuhn-Fricker, 43, and Scott Fricker, 48. The pair intervened to remove Giampa from their daughter’s life when the depths of his support of violent race-hate became apparent. According to Huffington Post, his Twitter feed shows, “a 17-year-old who’d drifted beyond the trolling of his teenage peers on the internet far-right and was fully in thrall to the racist, apocalyptic fantasia of white nationalism ... [who] tweeted about his hatred of transgender people and his admiration for Adolf Hitler. He tweeted about using Jews as target practice.” But what nurtured these young men’s propensity for violence? In the case of AWD, much has been made of the group’s fetishizing of Charles Manson and their cherishing of an obscure neo-Nazi polemic called SIEGE, a work that stridently promotes terrorism. Behind such references stands James Mason, who produced SIEGE as a newsletter from 1980 until the summer of 1986. Mason’s presence in the organized neo-Nazi movement in this country stretches back to the mid-1960s, when he was just 14 years old. For AWD members, it’s not about “Helter Skelter” or the gory details of the Manson Family murders alone. It’s about racial terrorism, The Family and its murders – and their broader cultural impact. Here Mason serves as a philosophical totem and provides a template for action. To miss the significance of Mason’s influence in the dark, sensational luster of Manson is to lose a vital recognition; SIEGE and AWD are obsessed with a racial revolution, not a cultural one like Manson’s. AWD has only recently begun associating itself so synonymously with Mason and SIEGE, and that’s a dangerous development. Mason and his writings preach the praxis of leaderless, cell-structured terrorism and white revolution. Furthermore, there is a plethora of terrorists and fringe texts beyond Mason’s that motivate and inspire the group. Many of these texts are valued in other sectors of the far-right. Importantly, Mason “achieved” much within neo-Nazism before he was out of his 20s: This is important for young men who, sometimes literally, are gathering around Mason and steeping themselves in his revolutionary philosophy and polemics. They, too, hope to “achieve,” but understanding what that means is equally challenging and vital. “GTK! RWN!”: Iron March begins T he Daily Stormer’s creator, Andrew Anglin, recently claimed that his target demographic includes children as young as 11. Certainly, without the aesthetic, slang and meme-laden milieu of the Daily Stormer, the IM forum would not have developed the way it did. The forum is an extension of, and reaction to, how neo-Nazi influencers built a contemporary movement online over the last several years. Launched in September 2011 and July 2013 respectively, IM and Daily Stormer did not develop as counterpoints, but as complements to one another. IM’s slogan, “Gas the Kikes! Race War Now! 1488! Boots on the Ground!” was designed to inflame. The Iron March crest. IM became home base for those who were personally invested in neo-Nazism, fascism and organized white extremism on a global scale. There, they debated, debased and denigrated, sometimes even each other, and plotted securing a future for whites and their children –—violently if necessary. There, the canonical works of global fascism evolved into active discussion threads: “For My Legionaries/ Corneliu Z. Codreanu,” “The Doctrine Of Fascism/ Benito Mussolini,” “Excerpts From Speeches/ José Antonio Primo De Rivera.” One early thread was titled, “Fascist Bookstores, Blogs, Resources.” The creator of the thread “What is this Forum for?,” put forth the following: This forum exists for discussing human psychology and two specific issues that are very relevant to our political interests: 1. Propaganda, manipulation and influence. Giving speeches, making allies and turning enemy against enemy. The art of psychological warfare. 2. Miscommunication, Confirmation Bias and other afflictions that stand in the way of progressing our interests and how to overcome them. Knowing your enemy in order to destroy him and knowing your ally in order not to offend him because you understand the same word as different things. Other topics that still relate to both psychology and politics will also be welcome. Another thread, “American Futurism Workshop,” was dedicated to the exploration of how best to inject the tenets of Italian Futurism — an important social and artistic movement that helped inspire the rise of fascism in Italy — into contemporary American society. The fact that much of the “Futurism” thread has been reproduced on the SIEGE-Culture web site, one of AWDs new online hubs, evidences how the forum’s influence endures. IM was the incubator for U.S.-based hate groups like American Vanguard, formed in 2015, which eventually birthed Vanguard America in 2017. James Fields, before he allegedly killed Heather Heyer and injured many others, held one of Vanguard America’s shields in Charlottesville, Virginia. The United Kingdom-based neo-Nazi National Action (NA), whose youth-oriented aspirations and aesthetic helped inspire the founding of other groups internationally, including AWD and arguably Vanguard America, was also connected to IM. In December 2016, around three years after NA’s formation, it became the first-ever neo-Nazi group outlawed as a terrorist organization by the U.K. government. That was five months before the first Atomwaffen-linked murders occurred. Beyond Anglin and Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer — the hacker and dedicated neo-Nazi involved with Daily Stormer who encourages the mass-downloading of White Supremacy 2.0 into the minds of the young recruits — there are individuals like “Charles Zeiger.” “Zeiger” is the alias of a prolific writer at Daily Stormer and head editor of IM’s webzine, NOOSE, formerly hosted at Zeiger’s work was also featured on NA’s Wordpress blog. Amongst the aforementioned influencers and dozens of texts presented on IM, James Mason and his SIEGE found a new, young, niche audience, particularly among AWD members and sympathizers. After languishing in obscurity for decades, Mason has been rediscovered. By the time it was taken offline on September 24, 2017, 1,653 unique usernames had been registered on IM. The forum’s legacy demonstrates that for those who have moved on from the forum and are putting boots on the ground, memes are no longer their preferred ammunition — now, it’s bullets. “Powered by Hate”: Building the SIEGE-Pill Mill On May 19, 2017, Devon Arthurs allegedly murdered two other members of Atomwaffen Division, Andrew Oneschuk, 18, and Jeremy Himmelman, 22, in the suburban Tampa, Florida, apartment they shared with the group’s leader, Brandon Russell, 21. Russell was recently convicted of charges related to explosive materials found on the premises, and Arthurs awaits trial. Since Russell’s imprisonment, AWD and James Mason have become nearly synonymous. The result is an even more terrorist-minded version of the group than what existed under Russell, a cadre that fetishizes violence as its core doctrine. In late June, barely a month after the Tampa murders, AWD launched a new website and YouTube page. In December much of the same content was uploaded to a Bitchute account — a peer-to-peer video service favored by individuals and organizations banned from conventional video hosting services. Under Russell, AWD had announced itself primarily via fliering and stickering college and university campuses at night, mostly between December 2015 and April 2017. However, a new phase of AWD is now underway. Only one fliering incident has occurred since May 19. That’s when their YouTube page shifted away from campus exploits to footage of tactical training with assault rifles and other weapons, urging viewers to step out from behind their computer screens and take action. On October 24, 2017, another new website was registered and hosted via Cloudflare: SIEGE-Culture (S-C). With Russell in prison, AWD’s most influential member goes by the handle “Rape” in online forums, and calls himself “Vincent Snyder on the S-C site, Rape publishes under the pen name “Vincent Snyder.” On its “Staff” page, five of the eight individuals pictured evidence allegiance to, or membership in, AWD. Snyder’s photo appears next to Mason’s. Mason’s influence is evident on that site’s “Worldview” page: “What we are creating here is something that James Mason attempted to put into form but because of circumstance it never was implimented [sic] until the year of 2017 when Atomwaffen Division discovered and met James Mason. Ryan and Vincent Snyder both agreed to help him publish his works, but through the development of the website we have decided to take the proper course of action with SIEGE. Too long has the movement trapped people into a mindset of chasing their own tail. Those of you who are in here, perhaps, will create history. That is our intention.” The page’s banner features Mason and Charles Manson’s faces flanking either side of the Universal Order’s (UO) logo. UO is the terroristic neo-Nazi philosophy Mason launched in 1982 under the tutelage of Manson. As Mason describes in SIEGE and elsewhere, the ideas behind the Universal Order would not have been possible without his years of correspondence with Manson, who suggested the UO name and logo. James Mason, seated, with "Vincent Snyder." Mason’s association with Manson, and his interpretation of Manson’s ideas, developed after Mason spent years in the organized neo-Nazi movement. During that time, he gravitated toward increasingly radical, terroristic-minded figureheads and efforts. Mason wrote in SIEGE that his correspondence with the imprisoned Manson could be construed as cheap, mere shock value. But as the 560-pages of Mason’s text suggest, Manson is not the skeleton key for understanding AtomWaffen. Mason’s own neo-Nazi influences and beliefs in chorus with the Universal Order philosophy offer a more accurate portrait. Mason began reconfiguring his own sustained belief in the need for neo-Nazi terror cells willing to strike at American culture under the control of Jewish influences, which he dubs “the System.” Mason had already been moving toward that conclusion on his own for the better part of 15 years. During that time, Mason began networking. As an adolescent he idolized George Lincoln Rockwell, the leader of the American Nazi Party (ANP), which he first tried to join at just 14. Through Rockwell, Mason also met William Pierce — the eventual founder of the National Alliance, author of The Turner Diaries and this country’s most influential neo-Nazi to date. Pierce also helped shepherd young Mason into the ANP. After Rockwell was murdered by a former Nazi Party member in August 1967, Pierce and Mason joined its successor, the National Socialist White People’s Party (NSWPP). There, Mason came into contact with another Pierce protégé, Joseph Tommasi. Tommasi was still in his teens when Pierce convinced him to pilot a youth effort within the NSWPP, one that would flier college campuses, fight with leftists and liberals and mount a foreboding challenge to the radical left on campus. Although Pierce soon left the NSWPP, disgusted by leader Matt Koehl’s propensity for costume-oriented activism and pageantry, Tommasi and Mason stayed on. Despite Tommasi’s youth, his profile and influence grew and Koehl began to view him as a potential rival for party leadership. Tommasi’s speeches and writing, ideas about propaganda and desire for street-level confrontation further influenced Mason. In SIEGE, he calls Tommasi’s 1974 leaflet, “POLITICAL TERROR,” a “work of the most incredible genius.” In 1973, Tommasi was ejected from the NSWPP. Convinced that mass movement-oriented neo-Nazism was useless, he founded the National Socialist Liberation Front (NSLF) in March 1974. The Front modeled its name (taken from the Vietnamese Liberation Front), aesthetics, personality and doctrine on radical leftist groups, like the terrorist Weather Underground. The NSLF sought to announce itself above ground through its actions only, while existing otherwise as an underground, revolutionary terrorist cell, the first of its kind in American neo-Nazism. Mason eventually followed Tommasi out of the NSWPP, but Tommasi was murdered in August 1975 by an NSWPP party member standing guard at its headquarters in El Monte, California. After Mason started the SIEGE newsletter in 1980, he was increasingly adopting Manson’s ideas and perfecting the ideas Tommasi first catalyzed. “In the manner prescribed by Tommasi,” he writes, “‘Our most eloquent statements will not be made in courtrooms, but in the streets of Jew-Capitalist America.’” He continues elsewhere in the text, underscoring that “Tommasi's secret was that he essentially stopped talking and started doing. He said that all talk, all discussion, was counter-revolutionary. The situation has been talked to death and still they go on talking! Tommasi also knew the real difference between useless effort and effective action practically applied.” Political propaganda. After making his first Manson-centered propaganda poster while piloting a one-man effort, the National Socialist Movement, Mason decided to reach out to the Manson Family. He first wrote to Family members Sandra Good and Lynette, after learning they were imprisoned in Alderson, West Virginia. With their endorsement, Mason eventually made contact with Manson himself. Through this correspondence, Mason was convinced he had discovered a supreme template for a white supremacist revolution. He described the Manson Family and their captivating exploits as a model for the white race’s survival. By 1982, Mason fully embraces such ideas, introducing the Universal Order philosophy via the pages of SIEGE. Mason believed the Universal Order could encourage others to enact a Tommasi-esque program of terror with the level of notoriety that the Manson family achieved and enjoyed for decades. Only through such infamy could neo-Nazi terror cells accelerate the collapse of “the System.” After that, Mason and his acolytes could institute a balance and order by instituting a version of National Socialism that eschews left/right political binaries. This would solidify the existence of the white race over its enemies. “We don’t want to ‘hurt’ the System, we want to KILL IT [sic]!,” he writes. Thus, Mason installed Manson and the Manson Family into his canon of idols, alongside Rockwell, Tommasi and, to a lesser-but-important extent, William Pierce. Following after those “Crazy Men of Destiny,” Mason regarded Manson as “the more current and up-to-date” version of Tommasi’s terrorist doctrine. “Manson represents the great divide between those persons who imagine there are still are choices to be made casually on the basis of Establishment mores and those who have a profound, individual sense of ‘no going back.’ I believe it is this - and not the abstract idea of ‘realism’ - that is the great sustainer and inner-flame of all true revolutionaries.” Like Mason’s other idols, Manson represents equal parts philosopher and revolutionary, with an irrepressible desire for violent action. Mason recognized the Manson Family as a “racial-socialist colony” — a collective of like-minded individuals from the same race who coalesced for survival within and against a nation riddled with disorder. In Manson, Mason cultivates a totem for the revolutionary potential of the individual and the collective, where both disappear into one another. Throughout SIEGE, Mason is driven by an urgency rooted in one hope — if only National Socialists could come together like The Family and captivate the nation through action, which in practice means lone wolf racial terrorism. This is the danger that Atomwaffen Division poses, whether members act as individuals or as cells; forget the shock value of Manson. Behind Mason is an entire canon of terrorist doctrine. “Timothy McVeigh of Oklahoma City fame”: Distributing the SIEGE-Pill The SIEGE-Culture website presents a future for neo-Nazism through the lens of James Mason, in the hope that others will see the future the way he does. As Ryan Schuster, publisher of SIEGE’s second edition, writes in his introduction: SIEGE is to be used as a cookbook and guide. It is sincerely hoped this edition will prevail the vigilant(e) [sic] intelligence to heed a clarion call, wage battles of attrition, and act in a manner commensurate to Timothy McVeigh of Oklahoma City fame. With its “Library” page, S-C extends that guide through a trove of texts on racial terror. Many present ludicrous visions of the white race fighting epic battles against immense opposition. Texts from Völkisch and Nazi esotericists, like Guido von List and Savitri Devi, sit alongside the Bhagavad Gita, valued for its predictions of the Kali Yuga, or the “Age of Vice.” In online neo-Nazi circles, satanic texts are providing the most fodder for debate. Many are unsure and others angry about what Atomwaffen now represents. Two of the three texts in question are The Devil’s Notebook by Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, and Hostia: Secret Teachings of the Order of Nine Angles (O9A), a three-volume collection of manuscripts penned by O9A members. They comprise codices of O9A’s beliefs and practices. Decades ago, the O9A allegedly came under the control of infamous British neo-Nazi David Myatt, who converted to radical Islam, but renounced his conversion eight years later and returned to esoteric spirituality. The group holds an important position in the niche, international nexus of occult, esoteric, and/or satanic neo-Nazi groups. The third book is Iron Gates, written by a member of the U.S.-based Tempel ov Blood, a sub-sect of O9A describing itself as “a hybrid between a traditional satanic coven and a (religious) militant order.” The novel’s description on Amazon reads as follows: “IRON GATES is a sci-fi horror / post-apocalyptic novel, detailing a bleak view of the spiritual horrors of the world-to-come. Set seventy years after a worldwide nuclear conflagration, IRON GATES allows the reader a sight into a nightmarish landscape populated by even more nightmarish characters in a hideous future which leaves little to the imagination. Brutal and unsparing, it is not suitable for readers under 18. Readers should be advised of extreme graphic content.” Atomwaffen member with Iron Gates graffiti. One Amazon reviewer writes, “This is a great book. I'm glad my good comrade Ryan wrote this book. Give it a read if you're into Rape [sic] stories and post-apocalyptic child stabing [sic].” AWD’s turn to the occult and promotion of the hyper-sadistic is disturbing. Why would AWD push its members toward brutal, dehumanizing violence? Though many in organized neo-Nazism are not convinced their turn toward the occult is sincere, others are reaching for their long knives. Some are accused of being “Noctulains,” O9A-devotees who claim to infiltrate fringe political groups, neo-Nazis among them, to reorient them toward satanism. Whether AWD is morphing or being infiltrated is unclear. AWD’s turn, though, resembles occult neo-Nazi groups before them, like the O9A, that meld religious and political extremism — two powerful conduits for violence. With such a turn, AWD is moving beyond the quotient of the culturally forbidden, of fliers broadcasting hate and offensive memes, and down a path toward tragedy. “The future awaits…”: The Torch is Passed Charles Manson holds a certain appeal to those who are attracted to such forbidden ideas. That’s particularly true for young people who revel in transgressing against society’s restrictions. It’s not surprising that Atomwaffen Division — under the stewardship of Mason — courts those who embrace cultural taboos beyond neo-Nazism to pinpoint new recruits. In a 1987 videotaped interview with AMOK Press, Mason characterized his fascination with “the forbidden” as crucial to his own recruitment into neo-Nazism and acceptance of Manson’s influence: “I won’t try to deny, especially in connection with the current Manson connection, that there was the element of the forbidden, or the rebellious, involved there, and to me at that time [during his teen years] Commander Rockwell and certainly the image of Adolf Hitler embodied the furthest extreme of that. And so that just pulled me in like a magnet.” In SIEGE, Mason makes clear his intention to recruit youth, and acknowledges Manson’s magnetic power in such a capacity: “And YOUTH is the name to be applied to the group of people among whom you will find a majority of those who DEMAND RESULTS, not Right Wing bullshit. Manson explains that the older a person becomes, the more frozen they are in the programmed ways the System has inculcated them with. [....] The most adept social and political movers of all times have known that, in order to have a successful movement, you must get 'em [sic] while they are YOUNG! [....] It is Youth that has the most to lose, that has traditionally been the most idealistic and action-minded. Charles Manson exerts a fascination over Youth today, in the en- tire West, more so by far than anyone else even remotely attuned to what we're trying to do.” He also noted that “Young, wild, American, anti-Establishment” individuals might be more easily attracted to Manson than Hitler. “Manson scares people,” he writes, “but he does so in the way they LIKE [sic] to be scared. There is no huge, vague, ugly ‘thing’ attached to Manson as there is to Hitler.” He writes similarly about Tommasi as an emblem, whose revolutionary praxis he describes as “the very same thing as Adolf Hitler.” “In Joseph Tommasi I see represented a number of things. All of the martyred comrades I can see in Tommasi. The young, especially, from the rank-and-file. In him I can still see the hope for the future arising out of the ashes and the dust of the former Movement for which he served as a soldier. He represents the clearness of mind and hardness of spirit to not only abandon the past for lost but to attack the present as the only means for achieving a future. And that future is entirely in the hands of those National Socialists serious enough to be called revolution.” AWD members are getting SIEGE-pilled through total immersion in Mason’s teleology. Now, they are challenging the established far-right and far-left with their eagerness to perpetrate violence. Accused killer Nicholas Giampa submerged himself in this dark pool. Whatever his other troubles, his exposure to AWD’s fetishizing of mass murder and promotion of racial terrorism should provoke grave concern. Since his journey in organized white supremacy began, Mason is, perhaps more than ever, seeing his ideas realized “irl.” He has witnessed SIEGE-pilled young men push themselves to action through his designs. This new generation of men might remind Mason of his younger self. And they, in turn, are idolizing him, his writings and his actions with uncanny devotion — just as Mason himself idolizes Charles Manson. The logo for the Universal Order philosophy. Late in SIEGE, Mason expressed that, perhaps, he could push his philosophy of terroristic neo-Nazism no further: “I have done what I could to inject - subtlely [sic] and overtly - as many of Manson's ideas into Movement thought as possible. I have had limited success. But having accomplished this much, I can only hope that the seeds have been planted and the torch passed….” Among those who seeded Mason’s extremism, Rockwell and Tommasi were both killed by fellow white supremacists, years before Mason assumed lone control of the SIEGE newsletter. In the years since he ceased its publication and its first book edition was published, both William Pierce and Charles Manson have died. But Mason is alive. And with the inception of SIEGE-Culture and his collaboration with the young cell members that comprise Atomwaffen Division, his hands are on the torch along with theirs. An ouroboros wreaths the Universal Order’s logo (above), which Manson helped Mason conceive and design. With AWD and Mason’s discovery of one another, the snake is no longer eating its tail. Its tail and head have virtually disappeared into one another."
"– The body of a 19-year-old U of Penn student was found last month in a California park, and as details of Blaze Bernstein's murder continue to emerge, so, too, does a disturbing picture of suspected killer Sam Woodward, 20, and the white supremacist group he's said to belong to. ProPublica dives deep into Atomwaffen Division ("Atomwaffen" means "nuclear weapons" in German), whose internal message boards lit up after Bernstein's killing. Members both celebrated Woodward as a "one man gay Jew wrecking crew" and raged that one of their own may have leaked Woodward's AWD affiliation. Although the group is open about their hatred of minorities, Jews, and gays—and their love of Hitler and Charles Manson—it's a notoriously secretive bunch that doesn't take kindly to "rats and traitors." ProPublica got its hands on about 250,000 AWD messages from encrypted logs on Discord, a chat platform meant for gamers but popular with white supremacist groups, with startling revelations. The messages offer a frightening glimpse into the group's leaders, where members are located (as many as 20 cells may exist in several US states), and what "potential targets" may be, including water and electric utilities. "We haven't seen anything like Atomwaffen in quite a while," a Southern Poverty Law Center researcher says. "They should be taken seriously because they're so extreme." Others, though, think while some members may be dangerous, most just indulge in "magical thinking" about government overthrows and spend their time reading fascist lit. "It's very hard to go from talking about violence to looking a guy in the eyes and killing him," one expert says. ProPublica's in-depth take also includes details on AWD's supposed leader, who goes by the nickname "Rape," and the ire ProPublica itself received after it tied Woodward to AWD in a Jan. 26 article. "We really owe those jews at ProPublica," one member wrote in a chat message. More on AWD here."
"Its offices have been firebombed, its website hacked, its Facebook page suspended for 24 hours and its staff targeted with death threats, so you might have thought the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo would have tried – just for a while – to avoid upsetting anyone. Mais non! After provoking all the above with last week's special edition "guest edited" by the prophet Muhammad, entitled Charia Hebdo, which took pot-shots at radical Islam, the publication is set to raise a few more hackles with this week's edition, published on Wednesday. On the front page of the latest edition is a drawing of a male Charlie Hebdo cartoonist passionately kissing a bearded Muslim man, under the headline: L'Amour plus fort que la haine (love is stronger than hate). In the background of the cartoon, signed Luz, are the ashes of the magazine's offices, completely destroyed in the Molotov cocktail attack last week. Unlike the previous edition, which featured a front page carton of the prophet and a speech bubble reading "100 lashes if you don't die of laughter", there is no suggestion that the character on the magazine cover is Muhammad. After the firebombing, French Muslim groups who had been highly critical of Charlie Hebdo, condemned the destruction of its offices. Dalil Boubakeur head of the Paris Mosque, told journalists: "I am extremely attached to the freedom of the press, even if the press is not always tender with Muslims, Islam or the Paris Mosque". The editor of Charlie Hebdo, Stéphane Charbonnier, said at the time: "We thought the lines had moved and maybe there would be more respect for our satirical work, our right to mock. Freedom to have a good laugh is as important as freedom of speech." Since then, the magazine's staff have been given a temporary home in the offices of France's leading leftwing daily newspaper Libération, which has also been subject to threats from the Turkish hackers who are said to have pirated Charlie Hebdo's site. Luz, the cartoonist, refused to condemn extremists for the attack. "Let's be cautious. There's every reason to believe it's the work of fundamentalists, but it could just as well be the work of two drunks," he wrote afterwards. ||||| Last week, the editorial offices of French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo were firebombed after the release of an issue "guest edited" by Muhammed. ("100 lashes if you don't die of laughter!" said the cartoon Muhammed on the cover.) The magazine's website was taken over shortly after that by a Turkish hackers group, who left a threatening message reading, "You keep abusing Islam's almighty Prophet with disgusting and disgraceful cartoons using excuses of freedom of speech...Be God's Curse On You! We Will be Your Curse on Cyber World!" Politicians and the media came out in support of the magazine's right to free speech, while French Muslim groups decried racism. Amidst it all and against all odds, the newly homeless Hebdo got its next issue out on schedule. Yup! There it is, the new cover, right above us. This is not going to end well. As you can see with your own, God-fearing eyes, it features a cartoon likeness of the magazine's editor engaged in a sloppy, drool-y, open-mouthed kiss with — well, you know. We don't really need to say his name, do we? Fine — with Muhammed.* Above the two reads the headline: "Love is stronger than hate." Which is very true! But hate typically makes for more spectacular acts of retribution. We'll just wait this one out way over here, completing a word jumble in a perfectly uncontroversial issue of Highlights magazine. *Several of you have pointed out that the headwear/shorter beard/slight tweaks to the angle and scale of the hooknose might suggest that the figure involved in a passionate, man-on-frog liplock is in fact just a devout Muslim, and not Muhammed himself. It's a perfectly plausible theory, and we certainly didn't mean to fan the flames of controversy any further by misrepresenting it as such. Adjust your Holy War Fantasy League pools accordingly. [Business Insider, Image via Charlie Hebdo]"
"– Remember the boundary-busting French satirical newspaper that was firebombed for making the Prophet Mohammed a "guest editor"? Journalists toned down the controversy this time around—not. In fact, right on the cover, a Muslim is planting a big, slobbery kiss on a figure representing the publication, Charlie Hebdo. Above the embrace are the words: "Love is stronger than hate." The Guardian says the paper "isn't holding back," while Gawker—convinced the Muslim is a "gay Mohammad" (though he's not in the garb of the prophet)—calls it the "ballsiest paper in the world." Charlie Hebdo's editor said after the firebombing that "freedom to have a good laugh is as important as freedom of speech." The French, including some Muslim leaders, have strongly supported the publication, which is now operating out of the offices of the left-wing Paris newspaper Liberation. "I am extremely attached to the freedom of the press, even if the press is not always tender with Muslims, Islam, or the Paris Mosque," said the head of the Paris Mosque."
"Gaza residents buried their dead Tuesday as the death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces at the Gaza boundary fence climbed to at least 60 after several succumbed to injuries overnight, according to local health officials. Monday’s demonstrations, which coincided with the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, were marked by a level of bloodshed not seen in Gaza since the 2014 war with Israel. Israel’s use of live ammunition has drawn widespread condemnation, notably from Turkey, which expelled the Israeli ambassador Tuesday after recalling its envoys to Israel and the United States. Gunfire rang out over Gaza City on Tuesday as rounds were fired during funeral processions. Further protests were planned as residents attended funerals and prepared to mark the anniversary of Israel’s founding, known to Palestinians as the “Nakba,” or “Catastrophe.” More than two-thirds of Gaza’s population is descended from refugees who fled or were expelled at the time of Israel’s creation 70 years ago. However, crowds at the border were thin after the organizing committee for the demonstrations called for a day of mourning to bury the dead. Demonstrators were asked to go home early as the death toll climbed. Monday’s killings more than doubled the number of Palestinians slain in Gaza during six weeks of demonstrations, dubbed the “March of Return.” More than 2,700 people were injured, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said, about half of them from live ammunition. At least six of the dead were under age 18, the ministry said, including a girl whose family said she was 14. [Israeli gunfire taking severe toll on the limbs of Palestinian protesters] The Health Ministry also reported that a baby died after inhaling tear gas at the main protest area in Gaza. An unidentified doctor told the Associated Press on Tuesday that the baby, Layla Ghaben, had a preexisting medical condition and that he did not think her death was caused by tear gas. One more person was killed in demonstrations Tuesday, the Health Ministry said. Speculation was rife that crowds were thinner because Egypt had pressured Hamas to order people home. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was summoned to Cairo on a last-minute trip Sunday night, and senior leaders were noticeably absent from Monday’s demonstrations. Egypt controls Gaza’s southern border, which opens only sporadically, while Israel has blockaded its boundary with the territory for the past 10 years. Ahmed Yousef, a former senior adviser to Haniyeh, said it was likely that Egypt had warned Hamas to prevent an escalation. He said Hamas may have secured some short-term concessions from Egypt in return, such as a sustained opening of the Rafah crossing point with Egypt, which has been open in recent days. “This is the minimum they can ask,” Yousef said of Hamas. Israeli officials justified the military’s tactics as necessary to stop Palestinians from breaking through the border into Israel, which blockaded Gaza after Hamas took control of the enclave in 2007. Rupert Colville, spokesman for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Tuesday that while Israel has a right to defend itself, lethal force should be a last resort and was not justified against people who were simply approaching the fence. He condemned Monday’s “appalling deadly violence.” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned a continuing “massacre” of the Palestinian people. South Africa joined Turkey in announcing that it was recalling its ambassador from Israel. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called on Muslim countries to review their ties with Israel in the wake of the violence. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later attacked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter, saying that he “is one of the great supporters of Hamas, and there is no doubt that he understands terror and the massacres well, and I suggest that he not preach morality to us.” [Israel welcomes new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on ‘glorious’ day] Israeli newspapers Tuesday contrasted the upbeat inauguration ceremony for the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem with pictures of the violence on the border but characterized the Israeli response to the demonstrations in terms of self-defense. “Every country must protect its borders,” Netanyahu wrote in a tweet. “Hamas is a terrorist organization that states its intention to destroy Israel and it sends thousands of people to breach the border fence to realize this goal. We will continue to act firmly to protect our sovereignty and our citizens.” He was backed by the Trump administration, which blamed Hamas for the loss of life. Yaakov Amidror, Israel’s former national security adviser and a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, said people around the world condemning the violence need to understand that the Gaza demonstrations are not like protests in Europe. “They do not take into consideration that this is a cover for a terrorist organization that is attempting to stop Israel from building a system that would stop their underground terror tunnels,” he said. Asked if Israel could have used less-lethal methods to contain the protesters, most of whom were unarmed, Amidror said that such a question was a good example of those who “can sit in an air-conditioned office, drinking coffee, and give advice to the Israeli army that is facing off against many thousands of Palestinians.” Tens of thousands of Palestinians had gathered on the edges of the enclave from mid-morning Monday. Many came to demonstrate peacefully, but some protesters appeared to be more aggressive than in previous weeks. 1 of 30 Full Screen Autoplay Close Skip Ad × Gaza protests turn deadly as U.S. Embassy opens in Jerusalem View Photos Israeli soldiers killed dozens of Palestinians demonstrating along the border fence and wounded more than 1,600 in the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 war with Israel. Caption Israeli soldiers killed dozens of Palestinians demonstrating along the border fence and wounded more than 1,600 in the bloodiest day in Gaza since the 2014 war with Israel. Ibraheem Abu Mustafa Buy Photo Wait 1 second to continue. Israeli snipers opened fire, ostensibly to prevent any breach of the border fence, and protesters began to fall. No Israeli soldiers were injured. In Gaza, Hamas backed the demonstrations, called to protest the loss of Palestinian homes and villages when Israel was formed in 1948. Commenting in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, however, journalist Ben-Dror Yemini said the situation was “self-inflicted” and called on Palestinians to get over the events of 70 years ago. “There was a Nakba. The Arabs of Palestine underwent expulsion. Tens of millions of people throughout the entire world, including Jews, underwent similar expulsion. But only the Palestinians adopted an ethos of rejectionism, victimhood, suffering and death,” he wrote. “They aren’t looking to improve things for themselves.” Eglash reported from Jerusalem. Read more Trump’s embassy move has triggered deadly protests. These maps explain why. New U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem: A stone plaque and $400,000 in renovations Analysis: Trump’s ‘buy now, pay later’ foreign policy Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world Like Washington Post World on Facebook and stay updated on foreign news ||||| Israelis hold American and Israeli flags with the new U.S. embassy in the background in Jerusalem, Monday, May 14, 2018. Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested... (Associated Press) Israelis hold American and Israeli flags with the new U.S. embassy in the background in Jerusalem, Monday, May 14, 2018. Israel prepared for the festive inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner) (Associated Press) GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Latest on the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and Palestinian protest (all times local): 10 p.m. The White House says responsibility for dozens of deaths in Gaza coinciding with the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem "rests squarely with Hamas." White House spokesman Raj Shah was responding to reports of Israeli soldiers shooting and killing at dozens of Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border on Monday. It's been the deadliest day there since a devastating 2014 cross-border war. Shah says that "Israel has the right to defend itself" and is blaming Hamas for the "dire situation." He's also calling Monday "a great day for Israel and the United States." ___ 9:55 p.m. Israel says South Africa has recalled its ambassador amid violence along the Gaza border. Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the ambassador was recalled for consultations. He said that Sisa Ngombane returns home Monday night. South Africa's relations with Israel have long been frosty. The South African government is a fervent supporter of the Palestinian cause. The diplomatic move came after 52 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire along the Gaza border in mass protests led by the Islamic militant group Hamas that rules the territory. Israel says the level of violence at the border was "unprecedented" and that some Palestinians opened fire at troops and planted explosives. ___ 9:50 p.m. Thousands have gathered in Istanbul to condemn the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, burning American and Israeli flags, and protesting deadly clashes along the Israeli-Palestinian border. Demonstrators carried banners that read: "Al Quds belongs to the Muslims," the Arabic name of Jerusalem. They chanted "God is great" and slogans calling for holy war and martyrdom. One speaker called Americans "dogs" as people shouted "Jerusalem is ours, it will be ours." The rally was called by pro-Islamic Humanitarian Relief Foundation or IHH. In 2010, Israeli commandos stormed an IHH-organized aid flotilla to Gaza, killing nine Turks. Turkey has been vehemently critical of the U.S. and Israel for the embassy relocation. Speaking in Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim slammed the two countries for celebrating the move while "innocent and defenseless Palestinians are martyred." ___ 9:25 p.m. Syria's foreign ministry says it condemns "in the strongest terms" what it called "the brutal massacre" committed Israel against the unarmed Palestinians in Gaza. Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least 43 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border on Monday against the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. It was the deadliest day there since a devastating 2014 cross-border war. In a statement Monday, the Syrian foreign ministry held the U.S. administration responsible for the bloodshed, calling its decision to move the embassy "criminal and illegitimate." The ministry said the battle of the Palestinian people against Israel is "Syria's battle," adding that Israel also supports "terrorists" that operate in Syria. The statement said Syria support the Palestinians struggle to get back their legitimate rights, mainly its right to self-determination, refugees to return and establishing its independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. ___ 8:40 p.m. Kuwait is seeking an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on the violence along the Gaza border, where Israeli soldiers shot and killed dozens of Palestinians during mass protests Monday. Kuwait's U.N. mission is requesting a meeting Tuesday on the developments. Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour urged the council Monday to condemn the killings. Speaking to reporters, Mansour called the Israel military response a "savage onslaught" and an "atrocity." Gaza's Health Ministry says over 50 Palestinians were killed Monday in the deadliest day in Gaza since a 2014 war with Israel. Israel says it has the right to defend its border. The council held an emergency meeting when the protests began in March. Members then urged restraint on both sides but couldn't agree on any action or joint message. ___ 8:20 p.m. Iran's hard-line paramilitary Revolutionary Guard has condemned Israel's killing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. A Guard statement carried by the semi-official Fars news agency said the Guard also strongly condemned the U.S. over moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The Guard said the "harsh and vicious act ... could start a new wave of combating America, anger and hatred against the supporters of this vicious move beyond the region." Iran is a longtime opponent of Israel. Israel says it targeted Iranian positions in Syria recently. ___ 8:20 p.m. Qatar is condemning Israel for opening fire and killing Palestinians protesting in the Gaza Strip today. A statement Monday night quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lolwah al-Khater expressing the Gulf Arab nation's "condemnation and denunciation of the brutal massacre and systematic killing committed by the Israeli occupation forces against unarmed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip." She said Qatar "calls on all international and regional powers that have a voice in Israel to act immediately to stop the brutal killing machine." Since a 2014 war between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers, natural gas-rich Qatar has been a leading player in internationally backed reconstruction efforts in Gaza. ___ 8 p.m. The Lebanon's Hezbollah says the creation of Israel, just like the violence against Palestinians protesting in Gaza today, is "a mark of shame" for all humanity. Hassan Nasrallah was speaking Monday. He said the Palestinians and the region are facing a major challenge, which is that the U.S. plans to propose a new peace plan between Palestinians and Israelis. Nasrallah said the expected plan aims to erode Palestinians rights and urged them not to accept it. He said only the resistance axis, in reference to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, can change the "equation" and will hold on to the right of Palestinians to statehood and the right of return. Nasrallah said Israel and the United States are pressuring Iran, with sanctions and withdrawing from the nuclear deal, not only because of its use of nuclear energy but also because of its support for the Palestinians and resistance movements. ___ 7:40 p.m. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has lashed out after the U.S. moved its embassy to contested Jerusalem, saying he "will not accept" any peace deal proposed by the Trump administration. Abbas told PLO officials Monday that "this is not an embassy, it's a U.S. settlement outpost in Jerusalem," in a reference to Israeli settlements on war-won lands sought for a Palestinian state. The Palestinian president also urged the international community to condemn what he said were "massacres" carried out by Israeli troops. On Monday, 52 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,200 wounded by Israeli army fire in Gaza border protests. The high death toll and wall-to-wall Arab condemnation of Monday's U.S. Embassy move cast new doubt on the Trump administration's assertions that it can still broker a Mideast peace deal. ___ 7:35 p.m. The Israeli military says there were no border breaches during Monday's Gaza demonstrations, despite an "unprecedented" level of violence. The army says it used airstrikes and tank fire against Hamas targets in Gaza after squads of gunmen opened fire and tried to plant bombs along the border. "We saw more than five explosive devices. We saw shooting at forces," said Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, the chief army spokesman. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, another army spokesman, said hundreds of protesters carried out "concerted, coordinated" attacks on the border fence in an attempt to infiltrate. Palestinian health officials says 52 people were killed by Israeli fire — the deadliest day of violence since a 2014 war. The military accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to carry out attacks. ___ 7:30 p.m. The chief Palestinian negotiator is accusing the Trump administration of "burying" Mideast peace hopes by moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Saeb Erekat called the new embassy an illegal "settlement outpost." The Palestinians claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital and bitterly opposed the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Although President Donald Trump says Monday's opening of the new embassy does not prejudge the final borders of the city, the move was perceived as taking Israel's side. "We also witnessed today a ceremony of the Prime Minister of Israel and the administration of President Trump burying the peace process, burying the two state solution, killing the hope in the minds of the people of the Middle East as a whole with the possibility of peace," Erekat said. ___ 7:15 p.m. The U.N. human rights chief says on Twitter that "Israeli live fire in #Gaza must stop now," demanding respect for human life. Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein decried the "shocking killing of dozens" and the injury of hundreds by Israeli forces in the Palestinian areas amid a crackdown against protests over the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem on Monday. Zeid, a Jordanian prince who is leaving his post in August after a single term, said the international community needs to ensure justice for the victims. He added Monday on the U.N. human rights office's Twitter feed that perpetrators of "outrageous human rights violations" must be held to account. ___ 7:10 p.m. Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire has risen to 52, making it the deadliest day in Gaza since a 2014 war with Israel. It says 1,204 Palestinians were shot and wounded Monday in mass protests near the Gaza border fence with Israel. The ministry says this includes 116 who were in serious or critical condition. The statement says about 1,200 others suffered other types of injuries, including from tear gas. The steadily climbing death toll was bound to fuel international criticism of the military's open-fire policies against unarmed protesters. Rights groups have said the rules are unlawful. Israel says it is defending a sovereign border and accuses Gaza's Hamas rulers of trying to carry out attacks under the cover of the protests ___ 6:20 p.m. The world's largest body of Muslim-majority nations says it "strongly rejects and condemns" the White House's "deplorable action" to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation said it considers the U.S. move an "illegal decision" and "an attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people." The organization said the move Monday also represents "an affront to international peace and security." The OIC said the U.S. administration has "expressed utter disdain and disrespect to Palestinian legitimate rights and international law" and shown disregard toward the sentiments of Muslims, who value Jerusalem as home to one of Islam's holiest sites, the al-Aqsa mosque complex. The statement comes as at least 41 Palestinians, including five minors, were killed by Israeli forces Monday. More than 770 Palestinians were wounded in protests in the Gaza Strip ___ 5:45 p.m. A top Turkish official has condemned Israel for deadly clashes along the Israeli-Gaza border, while the foreign ministry blasted the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem. Taking to Twitter, the spokesman to the Turkish president called Monday's clashes that killed at least 41 Palestinians "another dark spot, another crime added to Israel's wall of shame." Ibrahim Kalin criticized the international community for its silence "in the face of this systematic barbarism." He tweeted: "Palestine is not alone. Jerusalem is not alone." The Turkish foreign ministry condemned in a statement the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem, saying it violated international law and damaged the peace process. It also slammed Israel: "We curse the massacre carried out by Israeli security forces encouraged by this step on the Palestinians participating in peaceful demonstrations." The foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, called Israel's actions "state terror." ___ 5:40 p.m. Egypt has condemned the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli fire near the Gaza boarder. Monday's statement by Foreign Ministry condemned what it said "the use of force against peaceful marches." It has also warned of the "negative repercussion of such serious escalation in the Palestinian occupied territories." The statement did not mention today's relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem. Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire amid mass protests near the Gaza border has reached 41, making it the deadliest day since a 2014 war with Israel. The violence made it the deadliest day in Gaza since the devastating cross-border war between the territory's Hamas rulers and Israel four years ago. ___ 5:30 p.m. The European Union's foreign policy chief is calling on Israel to respect the "principle of proportionality in the use of force," after Israeli soldiers shot and killed at least 41 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border. Federica Mogherini said Monday that all should act "with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life" and added that "Israel must respect the right to peaceful protest." At the same time, she insisted that Hamas must make sure demonstrators in Gaza are peaceful and "must not exploit them for other means." ___ 5:25 p.m. The pan-Arab satellite news network Al-Jazeera says one of its reporters has been wounded while covering demonstrations in Gaza. Qatar-based Al-Jazeera reported Monday afternoon that journalist Wael Dhadouh was "injured by live ammunition from Israeli forces." It did not elaborate in a tweet announcing Dhadouh's injury. ___ 5:20 p.m. Israel's prime minister says Jerusalem will always be the "eternal, undivided" capital of Israel. Addressing the opening ceremony of the new American Embassy in Jerusalem, Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "glorious" day. Netanyahu thanked President Donald Trump for showing the "courage" to keep a key campaign promise and says relations with the U.S. have never been stronger. He says Mideast peace must be founded on what he says is the "truth" recognized by the U.S. "The truth is that Jerusalem has been and always will be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state," he said. The Palestinians claim Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital and have strongly objected to Trump's move. ___ 5:15 p.m. Israel's military says it has carried out five airstrikes in Gaza after militants exchanged fire with soldiers. Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis said the military struck training camps of the militant Islamic group Hamas that rules Gaza and has been leading protests along the border with Israel. He said troops exchanged fire with militants on 3 separate occasions. Manelis said turn out by Monday afternoon was about 40,000. He said the army views that number as a "failure for Hamas." He said the army noticed there were more women at the front of the protest than in past rallies and accused Hamas of paying people to protest. At least 41 Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire Monday making it the bloodiest day there since a 2014 war with Israel ___ 5:10 p.m. Jared Kushner says Palestinians participating in Gaza border protests are "part of the problem and not part of the solution." Kushner, President Donald Trump's son in law and chief Mideast adviser, expressed hope for forging Mideast peace as he addressed the opening ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday. As he spoke, deadly protests continued along Gaza's border with Israel. With over 40 dead, it was the deadliest round of cross-border violence since a 2014 war and left Kushner's peace efforts in tatters. "As we have seen from the protests of the last month and even today those provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution," he said. He says the "journey to peace started with a strong America recognizing the truth." ___ 5 p.m. Hundreds of Arab citizens of Israel, including five members of parliament, are staging a protest near the site of a new U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem. The protest coincided with the inauguration of the embassy Monday afternoon, attended by a high-powered delegation from the Trump administration. Dozens of police blocked the street near the compound, preventing the protesters from getting closer. The demonstrators raised Palestinian flags and held signs reading "No to moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem." The embassy was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December. The decision infuriated Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital. In Gaza, at least 41 Palestinian were killed by Israeli fire Monday in a mass protest against the embassy move. ___ 4:50 p.m. President Donald Trump says the U.S. remains "fully committed" to pursuing a Mideast peace deal as it opens its controversial new embassy in Jerusalem. In a videotaped message to the opening ceremony Monday, Trump said the new embassy has "been a long time coming." Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv was one of Trump's key campaign promise that was welcomed by Israel. But the move has infuriated the Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as their capital and have said that the move disqualifies the U.S. as a Mideast peace mediator. Trump said his "greatest hope" is for peace. He said the United States "remains fully committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement." ___ 4:30 p.m. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri calls the U.S. decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem a "provocative" act that closes the doors for any attempts to reach peace between the Israel and Palestinians. Hariri in a series of tweets Monday said he regrets "this decision that is igniting the anger of millions of Arabs, Muslims and Christians." He said Lebanon denounces the "provocative" decision that is deepening the conflict and allowing the "Israelis to spill more blood of innocent Palestinians and increases the intensity of extremism that threatens the world community." The embassy move comes on day marking Israel's creation 70 years ago, a day Arabs call the "nakba" or catastrophe, in reference to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from what is now Israel. Lebanon was one of the Arab countries to receive many of the Palestinian refugees. Today, there are more than 170,000 Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon. ___ 4:25 p.m. Iran's foreign minister is calling today's opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem "a day of great shame." Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday wrote on Twitter: "Israeli regime massacres countless Palestinians in cold blood as they protest in the world's largest open air prison. Meanwhile, Trump celebrates move of U.S. illegal embassy and his Arab collaborators move to divert attention." Zarif likely was referring to Gulf Arab countries, which so far haven't commented on Israeli fire killing at least 37 Palestinians during mass protests along the Gaza border as officials marked the opening of the embassy. Zarif wrote the tweet as he's traveling abroad to try to keep other world powers in the Iran nuclear deal following Trump's decision last week to pull America from the 2015 accord. ___ 4:20 p.m. American and Israeli delegations have begun a festive ceremony to mark the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. U.S. Ambassador David Friedman welcomed the crowd. "Today we open the United States embassy in Jerusalem Israel," he said to warm applause. Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump, both top aides to President Donald Trump, are leading a high-powered American delegation that also includes the treasury secretary and four Republican senators. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also in the audience. The ceremony was taking place as Palestinians are holding a mass protest on the Gaza border with Israel. Some 37 people were killed on Monday, in the deadliest day of cross-border violence since a 2014 war. ___ 4:15 p.m. The head of the United Nations says he is worried about the news coming from Gaza, "with the high number of people killed." U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his concerns Monday in Vienna, as clashes were taking place along the Israeli-Palestinian border and senior aides to U.S. President Donald Trump were in Jerusalem celebrating the opening of the new U.S. embassy there. Guterres said, "I'm particularly worried about the news coming from Gaza with the high number of people killed." The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital. The Gaza Health Ministry announced Monday afternoon that the death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire had risen to 37. ___ 4 p.m. Pastor Robert Jeffress says "it's sad" that former presidential candidate Mitt Romney lashed out at him ahead of the inauguration of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Jeffress said "I think it's sad that Mitt feels the need to lash out in anger on such a historic day but it's not going to overshadow what is happening here." Speaking to The Associated Press before he was set to deliver the blessing at the opening ceremony Monday, Jeffress said things attributed to him have been taken out of context. Mitt Romney had previously denounced Jeffress as a "religious bigot." Jeffress, leader of a Dallas-area Baptist church and a spiritual adviser to President Donald Trump, has drawn criticism for calling Islam and Mormonism "a heresy from the pit of hell" and saying Jews "can't be saved." ___ 3:45 p.m. Amid deadly clashes along the Israeli-Palestinian border, senior aides to President Donald Trump are in Jerusalem celebrating the opening of the new U.S. embassy there. The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv has infuriated the Palestinians, who seek east Jerusalem as a future capital. As the Gaza Health Ministry announced that the death toll of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire had risen to 37, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Fox News that Monday was an "incredible, momentous day" and said it was "great honor" to lead the dedication ceremony on Trump's behalf. Mnuchin also said "it's not coincidental" that the opening of the new embassy coincided with Trump's announcement that he planned to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Mnuchin has repeatedly said of Jerusalem: "This is the capital of Israel." ___ 3:40 p.m. Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire amid mass protests near the Gaza border has reached 37, making it the deadliest day since a 2014 war with Israel. The ministry says at least 448 Palestinians were shot and wounded Monday, while hundreds more suffered other types of injuries, including from tear gas. The violence made it the deadliest day in Gaza since the devastating cross-border war between the territory's Hamas rulers and Israel four years ago, and clouded the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The deaths brought to 79 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers firing from across the border fence since mass border protests began in late March. More than 2,200 Gaza residents have been wounded in that time by Israeli fire. ___ 3:15 p.m. Several dozen Palestinian stone-throwers are clashing with Israeli troops on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Witnesses say that in one area, north of Jerusalem, soldiers are firing live bullets, tear gas and rubber-coated steel pellets. A second clash was reported between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. There were no immediate reports of injuries. Earlier Monday, several thousand gathered in the West Bank city of Ramallah to protest the inauguration of a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem later that day. Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as a capital and view the Trump administration's recognition of the city as Israel's capital as a show of pro-Israel bias. Palestinians are also marking the 70th anniversary of the "nakba," or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands were expelled or fled in the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation. ___ 3:10 p.m. European foreign ministers say the U.S. decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem is unwise and likely to exacerbate tensions. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said Monday that the move "is inflaming already a very tense situation, and the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians." His Dutch counterpart, Stef Blok, said "we don't consider it a wise decision to move the embassy." Their comments come after the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania blocked the full 28-nation European Union from publishing a statement about the U.S. move. The U.S. is to formally inaugurate the embassy later Monday. ___ 3:05 p.m. Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli army fire near the Gaza border has reached 25. This makes Monday the deadliest day in Gaza since the devastating cross-border war between the territory's Hamas rulers and Israel in 2014. The deaths brought to 67 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers firing from across the border fence since mass border protests began in late March. More than 2,000 Gaza residents have been wounded in that time by Israeli fire. The Hamas-led marches, fueled by growing despair in Gaza, are aimed at breaking a decade-long blockade of the territory by Israel and Egypt. Monday's march also protests the inauguration of a U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem later in the day. ___ 3 p.m. A senior figure in Gaza's ruling Hamas group says mass border protests against Israel will continue until Palestinians have achieved their rights. Ismail Radwan spoke as thousands rallied near the border fence Monday in the largest protest since his Islamic militant group launched a campaign in late March to break the decade-old blockade of the territory. By mid-day Monday, 18 Palestinians had been killed and close to 500 wounded by Israeli soldiers firing from across the border fence. Israel has said it will block a possible breach of the border at any cost. Despite the rising death toll, Hamas was doubling down. Radwan says "we will continue on this path until the rights of the Palestinian people are achieved." Since March, 60 Palestinians have been killed in the unrest along the border. ___ 2:45 p.m. The Israeli military says troops shot and killed three Palestinians who were trying to place an explosive device by the border fence in Gaza during mass protests. The shooting in the southern Gaza town of Rafah came as thousands of Palestinians protested at the border against the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and against a decade-long blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza by Israel and Egypt. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza says at least 18 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. In a separate incident, the army says an Israeli aircraft bombed a Hamas military post in the northern Gaza Strip after Israeli troops came under fire. No Israeli casualties were reported. The Israeli military says over 35,000 protesters are taking part in demonstrations at 12 points along the Gaza border. ___ 2:40 p.m. Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli army fire near the Gaza border has risen to 18. Monday's deaths bring to 60 the number of protesters killed since mass border protests against a decade-old blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory began in late March. The rising death toll is bound to overshadow the festive inauguration of a U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem later Monday. Palestinians say the embassy opening is a show of blatant pro-Israel bias by the Trump administration. Monday's bloodshed will likely revive international criticism of open-fire rules that allow soldiers to use lethal force against unarmed protesters. Israel says it has the right to defend its border and that it will block a border breach at any cost. ___ 2:30 p.m. The Arab League and the top Sunni Muslim religious authority have criticized the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem. The Cairo-based Arab League called on the international community to oppose what it considers an "unjust decision" and the ongoing "Israeli occupation" of the city. It called the move a "blatant attack on the feelings of Arabs and Muslims," and a "grave violation of the rules of international law" that would destabilize the region. The Palestinians, who claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, have called for an urgent meeting at the Arab League on Wednesday to discuss the matter. Egypt's Al-Azhar religious institution called on the international community to use "all peaceful means" to "dismiss positions of countries that sided with the Zionist entity," referring to Israel. The U.S. is to formally inaugurate the embassy in Jerusalem later on Monday. The Palestinians are holding mass protests along the Gaza border to condemn the move, and to try to break a decade-old blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory by Israel and Egypt. ___ 2:20 p.m. A top Russian diplomat has criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to move the U.S Embassy to Jerusalem, saying it will further fuel tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. The U.S. Embassy is due to officially relocate to Jerusalem on Monday, after Trump recognized it as the capital of Israel in December. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Monday described the relocation of the embassy as "short-sighted." Bogdanov said in an interview with the Interfax news agency that the decision "runs against the stance of most of the international community." He blamed the U.S. for "a sharp escalation around Gaza" and said the relocation of the U.S. embassy "could spark large-scale confrontations between Palestinians and the Israelis and cause a rising number of casualties." ___ 2:05 p.m. Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli army fire near the Gaza border has risen to 16. Monday's deaths bring to 58 the number of protesters killed since mass border protests against a decade-old blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory began in late March. Israel has said it will prevent a border breach at any cost. A growing casualty toll Monday was bound to revive international criticism of open-fire rules under which soldiers are permitted to shoot anyone approaching the border fence. Rights groups have said such rules are unlawful. Israel says it has the right to defend its border. ___ 1:40 p.m. Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group says the U.S. decision to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a unilateral step "that Palestinians will not accept and therefore it is worthless." The group's deputy leader, Sheikh Naim Kassem, made his comments in a speech in Beirut on Monday marking the 70th anniversary of what Arabs refer to as the "nakba" or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from what is now Israel during the 1948 war around Israel's creation. Kassem added that "God willing, the nakba that happened 70 years ago will be a motive for change and liberation." The U.S. is to formally inaugurate the embassy in Jerusalem later on Monday. The Palestinians are holding mass protests along the Gaza border to condemn the move, and to try to break a decade-old blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory by Israel and Egypt. ___ 1:30 p.m. Gaza's Health Ministry says the number of Palestinian protesters killed by Israeli army fire near the Gaza border has risen to seven. Monday's deaths bring to 49 the number of Palestinians killed during mass border marches that began in late March and are aimed at breaking a decade-old blockade of the territory. The ministry says 500 people were wounded Monday, including at least 69 by live fire. Israel has said it would prevent a potential breach of the Gaza border at all costs. It has drawn international criticism for what rights groups say are unlawful open-fire rules. Israel says it has the right to defend its border. Monday's protests also targeted the opening of the U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem later in the day. ___ 12:45 p.m. Texas Senator Ted Cruz says President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital will go down in history as a moment akin to President Harry Truman recognizing Israel when it was established in 1948. Trump's former Republican presidential rival says Monday that it was "the right decision" and had already inspired Guatemala, Paraguay and perhaps others to follow suit. Cruz is in Israel as part of a congressional delegation for the embassy's dedication in Jerusalem. Previous U.S. presidents of both parties, as well as nearly every other country, refrained from opening embassies in Jerusalem, arguing that the city's final status should first be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Trump has been lauded by Israelis and condemned by Palestinians for moving the embassy to the contested city. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. ___ 12:30 p.m. Gaza's Health Ministry says one Palestinian has been killed and 69 have been wounded by Israeli army fire in mass protests on the Gaza-Israel border. The ministry said Monday that nine of the wounded are in serious condition. It says the man who was killed was 21 years old and was shot near the southeastern town of Khan Younis. It says several dozen other protesters were overcome by tear gas. Thousands of Palestinians are protesting near Gaza's border with Israel, and the territory's Hamas leaders have suggested a border breach is possible. Israel has warned it would block such a breach at any cost. ___ 12:20 p.m. The Israeli military says it has set up several layers of security around the Gaza border in case of a massive breach by Palestinian protesters. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus says forces have been "massively reinforced" along the front lines of the border. But he says additional layers of forces have been stationed inside Israeli communities, and between communities, to defend Israeli civilians in case of a breach. Conricus said Monday that "even if the fence is breached, we will be able to protect Israeli civilians from attempts to massacre or kidnap or kill them." The Hamas organizers of the Palestinian protests have signaled that thousands of people may try to break through the fence. ___ 12:15 p.m. Israel's justice minister is calling President Donald Trump the "Churchill of the 21st Century" for relocating the American embassy to Jerusalem. Ayelet Shaked says Monday that with his move Trump has "reversed Chamberlain's policy of capitulation" and shown the world that "the landowner has returned." Previous U.S. presidents of both parties, as well as nearly every other country, refrained from opening embassies in Jerusalem, arguing that the city's final status should first be resolved through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Shaked appeared to be comparing that policy to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis prior to World War II, suggesting Trump was like his successor, Winston Churchill, who led the war effort. Shaked, from the pro-settler Jewish Home party, bashed Europe for not learning from history. She says it "closed its eyes to the strengthening of the Nazis, today it is choosing to close its eyes to the strengthening of Iran." Trump has been lauded by Israelis and condemned by Palestinians for moving the embassy to the contested city. The Palestinians seek its eastern sector as their future capital and say the move removes the U.S. as an impartial arbiter. ___ 11:15 a.m. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says it's a U.S. "national security priority" to relocate the Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Mnuchin was speaking Monday at an event in Jerusalem ahead of the opening ceremony for the new U.S. Embassy. Trump's decision in December to go forward with a campaign promise to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem was welcomed by Israel and condemned by the Palestinians. Previous presidents had signed a waiver postponing the move, citing national security. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community. The Palestinians seek the city's eastern half as capital of a future state and say the move shows the U.S. is not an impartial peace negotiator. ___ 11 a.m. Israeli troops firing from across a border fence have shot and wounded two Palestinians as a protest near the Gaza border gets underway. Gaza residents streamed to the border area Monday for what is intended to be the largest protest yet against a decade-old blockade of the territory. Israel's military says it will stop a possible border breach at all costs, warning protesters that they are endangering their lives. Near Gaza City, hundreds gathered about 150 meters (yards) from the fence. A reporter witnessed two people being shot in the legs. Protester Mohammed Hamami, 40, says the march is a "message to Israel and its allies that we will never give up on our land." Most Gaza residents are descendants of refugees from the Mideast war over Israel's 1948 creation. ___ 10:50 a.m. Turkey's president has once again condemned the U.S. decision to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem. In a statement published late Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the U.S. disregarded "rights and justice," ignoring the international community. The new embassy is to be officially inaugurated on Monday. Erdogan says the move serves to "reward" the Israeli government despite it undermining efforts to resolve the decades-long conflict, while it "punished" Palestinians. Erdogan says: "History and humanity will never forgive the injustices done to our Palestinian brothers." Erdogan has been vehemently critical of the U.S. decision and hosted an extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in December to condemn the move. The Turkish president called on Israel to act "responsibly and with moderation" during possible protests on Monday to ensure no one's killed. ___ 10:40 a.m. Two prominent newspapers in the United Arab Emirates are criticizing America's decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The English-language, government-aligned Gulf News called Monday "a sad day" in a front-page headline over a cartoon by the slain Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali of a crying Palestinian woman behind barbed wire. Al-Ali, a critic of both Israeli and Arab governments, was fatally shot in London in 1987. In an editorial, the Dubai-based Gulf News said: "This is a day when the United States and the administration of President Donald Trump should hang its head in shame." It called Trump's decision "a purely political move to appease his friends on the Manhattan party circuit" and said "Jerusalem's status is non-negotiable." The Gulf News regularly datelines news reports as being from "Occupied Jerusalem." In The National, an English-language, government-aligned newspaper in Abu Dhabi, editor-in-chief Mina al-Oraibi wrote: "Rather than ignoring history and historic rights, courage and immediate intervention is needed to save the heart of the Arab world.'" ___ 10:30 a.m. The speaker of Iran's parliament is reportedly warning that moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will inflame tensions in the Middle East. Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency on Monday quoted Ali Larijani as saying: "Definitely their measures on moving their embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and Iran's nuclear issue will not go unchallenged. These sorts of actions will increase tension in the region and the world." Larijani urged Muslim countries to take more serious measures in response to President Donald Trump's "wrong and unwise decision" to move the embassy to Jerusalem. The city's future status is one of the most divisive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Larijani's comments come nearly a week after Trump pulled America out of the nuclear deal Iran struck with world powers in 2015. ___ 10:20 a.m. Witnesses say Israeli drones have dropped incendiary materials, setting ablaze tires that had been collected for use in a planned Gaza border protest. They say the drones set tires ablaze in two locations early Monday, releasing large clouds of black smoke. In weekly protests since March, Gaza activists have been using the thick smoke from burning tires as a cover against Israeli snipers on the other side of the fence. On Monday, the largest turnout yet is expected in a campaign, led by Gaza's Hamas rulers, to break the decade-old blockade of the territory. Mosques called on people to head for the border. A general strike was observed, with shops and markets closed. Buses deployed outside mosques to pick up protesters. Israel's military says it will stop any border breach. ___ 9:50 a.m. Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has denounced the choice of a "religious bigot" to deliver the blessing at the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. Pastor Robert Jeffress, leader of a Dallas-area Baptist church and a spiritual adviser to President Donald Trump, is slated to deliver a blessing on Monday at the opening of the relocated embassy. Jeffress has drawn criticism for calling Islam and Mormonism "a heresy from the pit of hell" and saying Jews "can't be saved." Romney writes on Twitter that "Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem." ___ 9:15 a.m. A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sharply criticized President Donald Trump over his decision to open a U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem, saying the American administration is "based on lies." Saeb Erekat told the Voice of Palestine radio Monday that Trump violated a promise to hold off on moving the embassy to give peace talks a chance. Erekat says Washington "is no longer a partner." In December, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, infuriating Palestinians who seek the Israeli-annexed eastern sector as a capital. The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem opens Monday. Erekat says the Trump administration has "become part of the problem." He suggested Trump's Mideast team is unqualified, saying "the world needs real leaders, and those (White House officials) are real estate dealers, not leaders." ___ 9:05 a.m. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary has expressed concern that the relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel could escalate tensions in the Middle East. Yoshihide Suga said Monday that "Japan is concerned that the move could make peace process in the Middle East even more difficult or escalate tension in all of the Middle East." He says Japan will watch the development with great interest. Suga stopped short of criticizing the U.S., and said that Japan takes note of Washington's pledge that the issue of Jerusalem's status should be resolved between the concerned parties. He stressed that Japan's position is that the disputes and Jerusalem's status should be resolved via negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Suga added that Japan hopes to contribute in its own way to the region's peace by promoting trust and dialogue between the two parties through various projects. The relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem has been welcomed by Israel but condemned by the Palestinians, who want their capital to be in east Jerusalem and view the decision as a blatantly one-sided move on one of the thorniest disputes in the conflict. ___ 9 a.m. President Donald Trump's Mideast peace negotiator says moving the American embassy to Jerusalem is a "necessary condition" to a lasting peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. American officials are in Jerusalem for Monday's relocation of the embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city, a move the Israeli government has embraced but the Palestinians have condemned. Jason Greenblatt writes on Twitter that "the long-overdue step of moving our Embassy is not a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace deal." Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. They view the relocation as a blatant, one-sided move that invalidates America's role as an impartial peace broker. ___ 8:30 a.m. Israel has warned Gaza residents they will be risking their lives if they approach the border during a planned mass protest. The army says in the leaflets dropped by jets Monday that it will "act against every attempt to damage the security fence or harm IDF soldiers or Israeli civilians." Gaza's ruling Hamas says it expects tens of thousands to join Monday's march, suggesting a possible border breach. The march is part of a campaign to break Gaza's decade-old border blockade. It's also a protest against the inauguration Monday of a U.S. Embassy in contested Jerusalem. Since March, 42 Palestinian protesters have been killed and more than 1,800 wounded by Israeli army fire. With Israel and Hamas digging in, there has been concern about large numbers of casualties Monday."
"– The death toll from what Israel's critics are calling a massacre of unarmed protesters in Gaza hit 59 overnight with the death of a baby from tear gas inhalation, according to Palestinian authorities. The Palestinian Health Authority in Gaza says seven children under 18 were among the dozens of people killed when Israeli troops opened fire on protesters at the border fence Monday, the Washington Post reports. More than 2,700 others were wounded, the authority says, including 1,359 injured by live ammunition. Israel also dropped tear gas from drones in what was Gaza's deadliest day of violence since the 2014 war. The latest developments: South Africa, Turkey withdraw ambassadors. Israeli authorities say South Africa has recalled its ambassador to protest the shootings, the AP reports. Turkey is withdrawing its ambassadors from both the US and Israel. Kuwait drafted a United Nations Security Council resolution expressing outrage and calling for an independent investigation, but it was blocked by the US."
"In the hours after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, New York City’s hospitals braced for an onslaught that never came. On the morning of September 12, a sea of empty white gurneys sparkled in front of Manhattan’s St. Vincent’s Hospital. The building was already papered with pictures of people who had vanished forever. In Boston this week, the aftermath of violence looked different. Only three people died within 24 hours of the blast on Boylston Street. But like the improvised bombings that plague Iraq and Afghanistan, the attack left scores of civilians mortally injured, many with lower limbs hanging by threads. The incident may be remembered less for the deaths it caused than for the flesh and bone it ravaged. But the Patriots’ Day bombing reveals the tremendous strides that emergency physicians have made in the past decade. The assault occurred within blocks of what President Obama called “some of the best hospitals in the world.” A medical team was already working the finish line when the shrapnel started flying. And thanks to this country’s recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, physicians and emergency workers almost surely saved patients who would have died from the same injuries a decade ago. For all their failings, America’s recent foreign wars have driven medical breakthroughs that are now saving civilians at home. It’s hardly the first time this has happened. The need to keep wounded fighters alive has long been an engine of medical progress. Roughly one soldier died for every 1.7 injured in World War II. In Iraq and Afghanistan, one died for every seven wounded—a decline of more than 75%. The advances fueling that progress span fields as diverse as orthopedics, pharmacology and bandage design, and most are now common in civilian medicine. Some of the breakthroughs have been astonishingly low-tech. Take the tourniquet, for instance, a device that dates back at least to the second century BC. Blood loss is the leading cause of death among trauma victims. A tourniquet can stop bleeding cold when applied to an injured arm or a leg. But 20th century medical dogma said it should be used only as a desperate last resort, lest it starve the limb of sustenance. “We learned early in the Iraq War that we needed to test these assumptions,” says Dr. Andrew Pollak, a senior trauma surgeon at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. “So Congress has started funding research to compare and evaluate treatment protocols.” Researchers at the Army Institute of Surgical Research did just that, and their findings have transformed trauma care. In studies involving more than 2,800 trauma patients at a combat support hospital in Baghdad, they found that tourniquets dramatically improved survival following major limb injuries, especially when medics applied them quickly in the field. Patients died at more than twice the rate (24% versus 11%) when tourniquets were restricted to hospital use. Some 87% of patients bled to death if they didn’t receive tourniquets at all. Contrary to past fears, the tourniquets themselves didn’t cause any limb loss, even in the rare cases when patients had to keep them on for two to three hours. “We’ve rewritten all the text books to reflect this,” says Pollak. “Every paramedic is now trained to apply a tourniquet at the scene of a motor vehicle crash. The message is very clear and well accepted, even in the civilian environment.” Tourniquets figured prominently in the grim tableaus that followed Monday’s blast, and they no doubt kept some survivors alive. They’re no good for head or abdominal wounds (“If your scalp is bleeding, a tourniquet to the neck is not helpful,” says Pollak), but combat physicians have devised other ways to stem blood loss. Newly developed dressings can accelerate clotting when applied to an open wound or infused into a bandage. And military research has shown that synthetic clotting factors—the mainstay of hemophilia treatment—can quickly stem blood loss when administered to trauma victims. “We used to slowly transfuse platelets to help them,” says Dr. Don VanBoerum, director of Trauma Care at Salt Lake City’s Intermountain Medical Center. “Newer treatments like activated factor 7 work almost instantaneously. They carry some risk, but they definitely make a difference.” Blood loss isn’t the only threat bombing victims face. Improvised bombs drive debris and shrapnel deep into the body, shredding the soft tissues that support and nourish bones and seeding potentially deadly infections. Once they stabilize a trauma victim, emergency physicians aggressively excise damaged tissues. Debridement helps ward off gangrene, but it can also leave shattered bones fully exposed. “It’s hard to repair pulverized bone under the best of conditions,” says VanBoerum. “It’s impossible if the bone isn’t sheathed in soft tissue.” But even that challenge is sometimes surmountable. Borrowing from combat surgeons, trauma docs have learned to secure bone fragments with rods that are bolted to a frame surrounding the injured limb. And if a shattered bone lacks soft-tissue cover, a plastic surgeon can sometimes transfer live muscle tissue—blood vessels intact—from the back or the forearm to the site of the injury. “If it works,” says VanBoerum, “you end up with a blood supply that can keep the tissue alive and carry antibiotics into it while the bone starts to heal.” There are limits, though. Even when surgeons can reconstruct a leg this way, they can’t always salvage the nerves needed to preserve sensation in the foot. And as VanBoerum puts it, “an insensate limb isn’t a good outcome.” A foot that lacks feeling is prone to sores and injuries that can lead to infection and, ultimately, amputation. So trauma patients sometimes face a stark choice: give up the shattered limb at the outset, and learn to use a prosthesis, or embark on a long surgical odyssey that may ultimately fail. A wise surgeon may advise the patient to give it up and move on. That may sound harsh, but military research has greatly revolutionized prosthetic limbs in recent years, and studies suggest that wounded veterans often prefer them to salvaged but damaged limbs. Civilian research suggests that patients fare about equally well with amputation or limb-salvaging surgery. But in a study called METALS (for Military Extremity Trauma Amputation/Limb Salvage), researchers assessed outcomes among 317 U.S. service members whose legs were damaged by bombs in Iraq or Afghanistan. Though all of them were significantly disabled three years after their injuries, the amputees reported greater mobility and less emotional distress than those who had kept their limbs. These warriors’ experiences may tell us little about the folks now fighting for their lives in Boston hospitals. But they suggest that life and hope can survive even the most harrowing trauma. Improvised explosives don’t discriminate between soldiers and civilians. People who encounter them come home broken. But as trauma surgery improves, more and more of them will come home. ||||| O n Monday, two bombs ripped through crowds packed in to watch the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring at least 170 others. Fortunately for victims of the attacks, Boston and the surrounding metro area are home to a number of medical facilities, including some of the nation's top hospitals — and doctors. Perhaps more so than most cities, Boston had the resources on hand to deftly handle a crisis of that magnitude. With nearly 80 hospitals and a bevy of medical schools, the city has an expansive medical network that can absorb a heavy influx of patients, ensuring that patients receive treatment as quickly as possible. According to The Boston Globe, eight area hospitals had treated nearly 150 patients as of Tuesday afternoon. Massachusetts General, Boston Medical Center, St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Tufts Medical Center, and Beth Israel ­Deaconess all treated more than a dozen patients each. Boston Children's Hospital treated an additional eight patients. On scene, the wave of first responders converted a medical tent into a makeshift infirmary, treating victims and stabilizing those with more serious injuries before sending them off to the various hospitals. Those first responders reportedly included some doctors racing in the marathon who stopped to tend to victims on site. As the injury tally mounted, off-duty doctors rushed in to help; an additional 100 medical personnel headed to Beth Israel alone. That's all on top of the already-increased staff levels at area hospitals, which typically add more shifts to handle common race injuries on Marathon Monday. "I've never been prouder to work here," Dr. Andrew Ulrich, executive vice chairman of Boston Medical Center's Department of Emergency Medicine, told the Boston Herald. "The staff response was outstanding." As a medical hub, Boston's hospitals are renowned as being among the country's best. Last year, U.S. News & World Report named Massachusetts General (MGH) the top hospital in the nation in its annual "Best Hospitals" list. Brigham and Women's Hospital took ninth place, while 20 Boston hospitals received some kind of ranking. Only six cities — all of them considerably larger than Boston, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles — are home to more ranked facilities on that list than Boston. In a separate report, U.S. News also named Boston Children's as the best pediatric hospital in the nation, tied with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. And two other studies, released in 2009 and 2011, both named Boston as one of the top five medical cities in the country. "It is fortuitous that the Boston hospitals involved, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, and Tufts Medical Center, are among the country's best," says Marc Siegel in Forbes. "Trauma surgeons are trained in these kinds of injuries, and several Boston surgeons have experience in Iraq and Afghanistan that they can bring to bear." Given the high number and high caliber of hospitals in Boston, Massachusetts' medical centers routinely receive a huge share of federal health dollars. In 2012, state facilities received $2.4 billion in funding from the National Institute of Health, or roughly 11.3 percent of the NIH's entire state-level outlays for the year. Only California received more funding. Boston has also earned more NIH funding than other other city in the country for 17 years straight, according to the Globe. In that span, the city's medical institutions have been awarded a combined $23.4 billion. Boston's doctors may also have been particularly well equipped to handle a major disaster response effort. When the State Department evacuated Libyan rebels to the U.S. two years ago so that they could receive special treatment for their wounds, those patients went to a hospital just outside Boston. And at Mass General, Israeli disaster response experts have worked directly with the hospital to prepare for an urban attack like this one. "We ­obviously have a limited experience with explosions in an ­urban area," Dr. Alasdair Conn, MGH's chief of emergency services, told the Boston Globe. "The Israelis, unfortunately, have this several times a year, and we asked their disaster-response teams to come and help us upgrade our disaster response." "And I'm very pleased that we went through that orientation and additional training," he added. ||||| Treatments Boston Doctors Compare Marathon Bomb Injuries To War Wounds i i itoggle caption Elise Amendola/AP Elise Amendola/AP Boston hospitals always staff up their emergency rooms on Marathon Day to care for runners with cramps, dehydration and the occasional heart attack. But Monday, those hospitals suddenly found themselves with more than 100 traumatized patients — many of them with the kinds of injuries seen more often on a battlefield than a marathon. Like most big-city hospitals these days, Tufts Medical Center runs regular disaster drills, featuring simulated patients smeared with fake blood. So when word came Monday afternoon that there had been an explosion at the Boston Marathon finish line, staffers weren't sure what was happening. Robert Osgood, the hospital's emergency management chief, recalls those first moments. 'Is This Another One Of Your Crazy Drills?' "There was sort of this beat where everybody in the emergency department sort of stopped for a second. And it was almost like you could hear each other breathing. And everybody looked at me and said, 'Is this another one of your crazy drills?' and the first thing I said was, 'No, this is not a drill. This is for real. We need to huddle up.' " At first they thought it was something accidental, like a manhole cover explosion. "But once we actually found out that this was a man-made event, there's a certain mental toll that sort of hits a switch in some of the staff. And they say, 'Why would somebody do this?' " Osgood said. But soon there was no time for such thoughts. Terribly injured patients began coming through the emergency room doors of every big hospital in the city. 'A Lot Of Very Horrific Injuries' Across town at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, emergency room specialist Dr. Stephen Epstein described the carnage: "Limbs that were severed, limbs that, you know, we hope we can save, and some that we might not be able to save. A lot of very horrific injuries that we saw here today." He said some patients near the blasts had soot around their mouths and noses. That's a sign they'd breathed in scorching air. They needed to be put on ventilators right away, because that kind of burn causes rapid swelling that can shut down people's airways and suffocate them. Many had pieces of glass and metal embedded in their chests and necks. Ruptured eardrums from the blast were common. "The device that went off today, for lack of a better term, was an improvised explosive device. And that's exactly what a number of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have had to deal with," Epstein said. Just The Beginning For Many Victims And like those wounded troops, doctors say, many of those injured in the blasts Monday will require a lot of rehabilitation — both physical and mental. "These were very disabling injuries in that the blast caused a lot of soft tissue injury. But also the shrapnel just rips through the tissues," said Dr. William Mackey, chief of surgery at Tufts Medical Center. Mackey said his hospital quickly canceled all elective surgery as his colleagues tried to repair the damage as well as they could. Patients needed hours of surgery, but Mackey said it was just the beginning for many victims. "They will definitely need repeated operations," he said. It wasn't until 9 p.m. that Mackey could sit down in his office and try to absorb the events. He said it had been a very discouraging day. "Because you don't associate the Boston Marathon with anything but a great sense of pride in the city, pride in the athletes that trained so hard to run the marathon. And to have this happen ... yeah, it's very disorienting. It's been a very upsetting day in many, many ways," Mackey said. But jittery as this city is today, Mackey doesn't think the marathon bombings are going to intimidate Boston in the long haul. "I don't think Bostonians are going to be terrorized by this. I think they're gonna be motivated by this. I sure hope more people than ever turn out for next year's marathon," Mackey said. If they do, it's a safe bet all of them will be thinking about what happened at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. ||||| BOSTON — So many patients arrived at once, with variations of the same gruesome leg injuries. Shattered bones, shredded tissue, nails burrowed deep beneath the flesh. The decision had to be made, over and over, with little time to deliberate. Should this leg be amputated? What about this one? “As an orthopedic surgeon, we see patients like this, with mangled extremities, but we don’t see 16 of them at the same time, and we don’t see patients from blast injuries,” Dr. Peter Burke, the trauma surgery chief at Boston Medical Center, said. The toll from the bombs Monday at the Boston Marathon, which killed at least three and injured more than 170, will long be felt by anyone involved with the city’s iconic sporting event. For the victims, the physical legacy could be an especially cruel one for a group that was involved in the marathon: severe leg trauma and amputations. “What we like to do is before we take off someone’s leg — it’s extremely hard to make that decision — is we often get two surgeons to agree,” Dr. Tracey Dechert, a trauma surgeon at Boston Medical, said. “Am I right here? This can’t be saved. So that way you feel better and know that you didn’t take off someone’s leg that you didn’t have to take. All rooms had multiple surgeons so everyone could feel like we’re doing what we need to be doing.” The widespread leg trauma was a result of bombs that seemed to deliver their most vicious blows within two feet of the ground. In an instant, doctors at hospitals throughout the city who had been preparing for ordinary marathon troubles — dehydration or hypothermia — now faced profound, life-changing decisions for runners and spectators of all ages. Some victims arrived two to an ambulance, some with huge holes in their legs where skin and fat and muscle were ripped away by the bomb and with ball bearings or nails from the bombs embedded in their flesh. Others had severed arteries in their legs or multiple breaks in the bones of their legs and feet. The shock wave from the blast destroyed blood vessels, skin, muscle and fat. And at least nine patients — five at Boston Medical Center, three at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and one at Brigham and Women’s Hospital — had legs or feet so mangled they would need to be amputated. Some of the attendant medical professionals, said Julie Dunbar, a chaplain at Beth Israel, were faced with “more trauma than most ever see in a lifetime, more sadness, more loss.” There were only three fatalities, which doctors say was because the blast, low to the ground, mostly injured people’s legs and feet instead of their abdomens, chests or heads. And tourniquets stopped what could have been fatal bleeding in many. Dr. Allan Panter, 57, an emergency-room physician from Gainesville, Ga., was standing 10 yards from the blast near the finish line, waiting for his wife, Theresa, to complete her 16th Boston Marathon. Assisted by others, he said he used gauze wraps to apply tourniquets to several victims, including a man who appeared to be in his late 20s who lost both of his lower legs in the blast. He said he saw another six or seven victims with belts tied around their wounded legs. Tourniquets, once discouraged because they were thought to cause damage to injuries, have returned to favor and have been used to treat wounds inflicted by explosive devices in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Dr. Panter said. “With blast injuries to the lower extremities that we’re getting in the Middle East, you bleed out,” he said. Tourniquets “can help save lives. I don’t know if they helped in this situation, but it sure couldn’t hurt.” While there was some initial chaos in a medical tent near the finish line, and some screaming and moaning by victims, it was generally an orderly scene, Dr. Panter said. He assisted others in wheeling in a female victim who died, he said. He described 20 to 30 cots in the tent with IV bags that had been intended for dehydrated runners. At least eight doctors and what seemed to be 20 or more nurses were stationed in the tent. A man with a microphone stood in the center of the tent to coordinate medical care. Arriving victims were assessed and categorized as 1 for critical, 2 for intermediate, 3 for “can wait” and “black tag” for anyone who appeared to be dead, Dr. Panter said. An emergency medical technician outside the tent coordinated ambulance service to hospitals. Jess Bidgood and Richard A. Oppel Jr. contributed reporting."
"– As of this morning, 100 of the 183 people hospitalized in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing have been released, CNN reports, in a testament to how well area doctors have handled the crisis. Boston boasts nearly 80 hospitals, and they're regarded as some of the world's best, the Week points out, while MSNBC observes that trauma treatment has improved drastically since 9/11—in part because of America's war experience. The Marathon bombs were IEDs, "and that's exactly what a number of our troops in Iraq in Afghanistan have had to deal with," one emergency room specialist tells NPR. Techniques learned in those conflicts have now proliferated into civilian medicine. Tourniquets, for instance, have gone from being considered a dangerous last resort to a routine life-saver. Shrapnel extraction techniques have improved as well. It also helped that there was a medical tent at the finish line already, which quickly became a well-oiled triage center. "I've seen a lot worse," one emergency room physician tells the New York Times. "They were without question ready—not for those types of injuries, but they were prepared.""
"The parents of 15-year-old Carmen Johnson, who tragically died from electric shock drowning while swimming near her family’s Alabama lake house last April, are speaking out about the rarely reported phenomenon after it took the lives of two more local women this past weekend. The two women, 34-year-old Shelly Darling and 41-year-old Elizabeth Whipple, went missing after sunbathing on Lake Tuscaloosa Friday afternoon. Their bodies were retrieved from the lake early Saturday morning. Preliminary autopsies for the two victims show the cause of death as electrocution, the Tuscaloosa County Homicide Unit told CBS affiliate WIAT on Wednesday. “I’ve been around water all my life and I never thought that electricity in a huge body of water like that could do what it did,” Carmen’s father, Jimmy Johnson, 49, told CBS News. “It is something that even people like me now after all these years never had any idea that this even happened.” Jimmy Johnson Every day, about 10 people in the U.S. die from accidental drowning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But electric shock drownings are difficult to track. It’s known as a “silent killer.” Even a low level of electric current in the water can be extremely hazardous or fatal to a swimmer -- especially in freshwater, where experts say the voltage will “take a shortcut” through the human body. “There is no visible warning or way to tell if water surrounding a boat, marina or dock is energized or within seconds will become energized with fatal levels of electricity,” the non-profit Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association reports. In fact, Johnson says, he never would have known what happened to his daughter if he hadn’t felt the electric current himself while trying to jump in to save her. Carmen playfully jumped off the top level of the family’s boat dock into Smith Lake with her friend Reagan Gargis on April 16, 2016. Jimmy Johnson lowered a metal ladder into the water so the girls could climb out. Minutes later, he heard Reagan scream, “Help!” “My wife thought [Carmen] had done something to her neck, which paralyzed her,” Johnson said. “She started going underwater.” That’s when Johnson and his son, Zach, jumped in the water after the girls and immediately felt piercing electric shocks. “Cut the power off,” Johnson yelled to his wife as he started to go in and out of consciousness. Johnson, Reagan and Zach survived, but Carmen didn’t make it. “Carmen was grabbing [Reagan’s] leg and was getting the majority of the shock when I came over,” Johnson said. Jimmy Johnson Johnson later found a light switch at the dock that was half full of water. When he put the metal ladder into the water, the electrical current from the light switch traveled through the dock to the ladder and into the surrounding water, where the girls were swimming. “As they were swimming toward the dock, within somewhere between the 5-to-10-foot range, is when they started feeling like they couldn’t swim,” Johnson recalled. Johnson believes that if his family had been educated about electric shock drownings this might never have happened. Now he’s sharing Carmen’s story as a warning to others, along with tips to help prevent similar tragedies from occurring. His safety tips include: Use a plastic ladder, rather than a metal one, so it won’t help transfer electricity into the water. If you start to feel a tingle in the water, swim away from the dock, which is where most electrical issues occur. Check all of the wiring around your dock, including your ground fault circuit breaker. Purchase a Dock Lifeguard, a device that detects electricity on your dock and in the water around your dock. (Johnson works with the company to promote the product.) “It’s every homeowner’s responsibility to make sure water is safe around their dock before they start swimming,” Johnson said. “People think ‘Oh, this is a freak accident. It’s not going to happen to me.’ And here we are now — 3 dead in a year.” ||||| CLOSE President Trump rolls back Obama's Cuban policy in favor of negotiating new terms; Yearbooks to be reiussed after MAGA shirt was censored . (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto) The boat lift involved in the fatal electrocution of an 11-year-old girl had corroded and fallen into disrepair, Mayor Thomas Kelaher said. The girl, a Newark resident who was visiting friends in the township, died after she was electrocuted while swimming in a Toms River lagoon, police said. The girl and a friend were on a raft when they touched the metal boat lift, and an "electric current appears to have energized the equipment causing the injury," police said. Kelaher said authorities were at the Tobago Avenue home Monday to inspect the boat lift. The equipment was initially installed in 2001 and up to code, Kelaher said. Then the property, including the lift, was sold to its current homeowners, who do not own a boat and did not frequently check on the lift. Over the years, the electrical junction box under the dock corroded, Kelaher said, and the victim fatally placed her hand on the metal frame. "You can't really blame anybody; it's a tragic accident," Kelaher said. The incident happened when the girl and two of her friends were using an inflatable raft and swimming in the lagoon behind the home on Saturday. The girls were all wearing life jackets and in the presence of adults, police said. The two other girls were not injured. MORE: Stay out of ocean because of rip tides, weather service warns Though docks and boats are sources of electricity, few people are aware of the risk of electrocution when swimming nearby. Swimmers should never be in the water near a marina or a running boat, according to the nonprofit organization Electrical Safety Foundation International. Electric Shock Drowning can happen when an electrical current, even a low-level current, passes through the body, according to the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association. The current causes muscular paralysis, and majority of these deaths happen near docks or marinas, according to the association. MORE: Belmar drowning: Community raises $55,000 for families Only 1/50th of the energy needed to power a 60-watt light bulb can cause paralysis and drowning, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation. More than 70 deaths between 1986 and 2013 were caused by electrocutions near water, according to a 2014 report prepared by Quality Marine Services of Jacksonville, Florida, for the National Fire Protection Association. The company attributed an additional 38 "near misses" over that same time period to electric shocks by water. Boat lifts were responsible for some of those deaths and near misses. In 2012, a man in Minnesota died after three people were shocked in a lake by what was presumed to be a boat lift, according to the report. In 2012, a 13-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother were killed in Missouri while swimming near a private dock with a boat lift and water slide that had power supplies that were not properly grounded, the company found. TAXES: Democrats' school funding plan 'catastrophic' for Toms River Yet in New Jersey, these types are deaths are rare, said Dr. Robert Sweeney, chairman of the department of emergency medicine at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune. Overall, deaths by electrocutions are relatively rare, he said. Sweeney added that in 25 years of living by the Jersey Shore, he has never before heard of such an incident. "This sounds like a sad tragic accident," he said. The Boat Owners Association of The United States describes the risk of electric shock drowning in the below video. If someone suspects that a person in the water is being electrocuted, they should never jump in to help. They should throw in a life ring, turn off the power supply, and call 911, according to Electrical Safety Foundation International. Tobago Avenue was quiet Sunday afternoon. A woman at the home where the electrocution happened declined to comment. A neighbor said no one on the street knew the girl. The call to police came in at 8:12 p.m. Saturday. First responders took over CPR that had been begun by adults who were at the home, and then used an Automated External Defibrilator on the girl. The child was taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River, where she later died. The Toms River incident is under investigation by Toms River Police Detectives Louis Santora and James Carey, along with Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Detective Lindsay Woodfield and Ocean County Sheriff’s Department C.S.I. Sgt. David Deleeuw and Officer Jillian Menke. Amanda Oglesby: 732-557-5701; After the tragedy: The scene of the Belmar rescue effort after apparent drowning. More: Toms River man dies in Parkway crash in Tinton Falls More: Belmar drowning: Community raises $55,000 for families Read or Share this story: ||||| Get the latest from TODAY Sign up for our newsletter The sudden death of a teenage girl has inspired her family to speak out about the dangers of electric shock drowning, in the hopes of preventing future tragedies. “If I would have known this could happen, or heard about it before — I am not sure if this would have happened to my daughter,” Jimmy Johnson told TODAY. Carmen, Jimmy, and Casey Johnson pose for a family picture. A month ago, Carmen died of electric shock drowning; her family wants to raise awareness about the risk of electricity and water. Courtesy of Jimmy Johnson Electric shock drowning occurs when electricity from a dock, pool, boat, or marina leaks into the water, and people enter the water. The electricity shocks them, paralyzing their muscles making it impossible to swim, leading to the drowning. What's more, the electricity makes it difficult for people to rescue someone without suffering a shock, too. Always a daredevil The weekend of April 15 started like any weekend the Johnson family spent at their vacation home in Smith Lake in Winston County Alabama. Carmen, 15, invited some friends and they were having fun. That Saturday, they jet-skied, soaked in the hot tub, and sunbathed on the top of the dock. While they sunbathed, Johnson fixed a pathway nearby when he heard a splash. Carmen dove from the top of the two-story dock into the water. Johnson wasn’t surprised that Carmen dove off the dock — she was always a daredevil. As a flyer on the varsity cheerleading team at Priceville High School she wanted her teammates to toss her higher into the air. The lake was 68 degrees, but chilly water wasn’t going to stop her. Carmen Johnson stands on the top of the pyramid as a varsity cheerleader at Priceville High School in Alabama. Courtesy of Jimmy Johnson Johnson realized Carmen didn’t put the ladder in the water, so he lowered it. He had no idea it carried an electric charge from a faulty light switch. One of Carmen’s friends, Reagan, also jumped into the water. Reagan shrieked about the cold water, but soon uttered a cry for help that didn’t sound like a joke. RELATED: What to know about dry drowning and how to prevent it “I took off running between the two boat slips. I looked over to the right where the ladder was and [Reagan] was looking at me like ‘please help me.’ My daughter was three foot under like down to her knees,” Johnson said. Jimmy and Casey Johnson, son-in-law Evan Cleghorn, daughter Chelsey Cleghorn, and daughter Carmen Johnson pose for a family photo. The Johnson family wants to raise awareness about electric shock drowning after Carmen's tragic death from it. Courtesy of Jimmy Johnson He thought something was pulling Carmen under and he jumped in; that’s when he knew something else was wrong. “I could feel the electrical current and it was so strong I couldn’t swim in it,” he said. He started blacking out but when his son, Zach, jumped in, Johnson was able to scream: “Cut the power to the boat dock!" RELATED: 30 easy steps to take your kids swimming His wife, Casey, turned off the electricity, saving Johnson, Reagan, and Zach. By that time, Carmen slipped so far under Johnson couldn't see her. “You just never know when something unpredictable like that could happen,” he says. “I would never have thought electricity in that big of a body of water would be so strong — strong enough that I couldn’t swim in it.” The Johnsons practiced water safety, but they didn't know a dock could carry an electric current and cause a drowning. Since Carmen's death, they have been trying increase awareness of electric shock drowning. “We just need to get the word out there that this is a real danger that most people don’t know about,” Johnson said. Protecting swimmers Kevin Ritz, founder of the Electric Shock Drowning Association, understands the Johnsons' pain: In 1999, Ritz’s 8-year-old son died after grabbing the metal ladder to the boat, which had been leaking electricity into river. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think electricity was a concern until our son Lucas was killed,” Ritz told TODAY. It’s difficult to estimate the number of electric shock drownings, because it typically looks the same as other cases of drowning and the victims display no telltale signs. The only way to know is if someone feels the jolt. But, the association has compiled a list of 77 fatal cases of electric shock drowning, some of which involved the deaths of multiple people. “We believe that we just captured the tip of the iceberg,” Ritz said. “These type of things can happen anywhere there is a deadly combination of electricity and water.” Carmen Johnson was on the varsity cheerleading team at her high school and was often on the top of the pyramid. Last month, she died of electric shock drowning in a tragic accident. Courtesy of Jimmy Johnson How can it be avoided? Ground fault protection devices on the power sources that switch the power off if there’s a problem with the electrical flow. Or simply shutting the electricity off when people are swimming. “A ground fault protection device is as least as important as a seat belt,” said Ritz. As for the Johnsons, they hope to always remember Carmen as the vibrant young woman she was. "I am always living life to the fullest and she did the same thing," Johnson said. "She was an awesome person." This was originally published on May 20 ||||| Nearly a year after a 15-year-old Alabama girl was killed by electric shock drowning, two women died in Lake Tuscaloosa this past weekend. Shelly Darling, 34, and Elizabeth Whipple, 41 were found dead in the lake early Saturday morning after they were reported missing by family members. While authorities suspect electric shock may have caused Darling and Whipple to drown, an official cause of death won't be named until the Tuscaloosa County Metro Homicide Unit receives an initial autopsy report from a state forensic lab. Capt. Kip Hart said he hopes to release an official cause of death later today. About a year before Darling and Whipple died, Carmen Johnson, a 15-year-old Priceville High School cheerleader drowned after being electrocuted at her family's boat dock on Smith Lake in Winston County on April 16, 2016. Since then, Carmen's parents, Casey and Jimmy Johnson, have made it their mission to educate the public about electric shock drowning. The family lives in Morgan County but enjoys spending free time at the lake house. "We don't want anyone else to go through what we've experienced," Casey Johnson told "We could just not talk about it. But, we know Carmen would want us to talk about this and save another life." The Johnsons and friends were at the family's lake home in Winston County when Carmen and her friend Reagan Gargis dove into the water on April 16, 2016. Seeing the ladder wasn't down for the girls to climb out of the water, Jimmy Johnson placed it in the lake. Soon the father heard the girls cry for help and jumped in the lake hoping to save them. His son Zach also jumped in to help but they, too, were being shocked by an electric current that was transferring into the water through the metal ladder. Jimmy Johnson, who works in electronic repairs, realized they were being shocked and managed to shout for his wife to cut the power to the dock. But, Carmen Johnson didn't survive. "If my husband hadn't went into the water, we wouldn't have known what was going on," Casey Johnson said. Because electric shock drowning typically doesn't leave visible proof on victims' bodies, it's unlikely anyone would have known about the electrocution if others hadn't been in the water and felt the shock. The electrocution can paralyze swimmers, making it difficult for them to get out of the water. The current that shocked Carmen Johnson was caused by water seeping into a light switch box at the family's dock, according to her mother. When the metal ladder was put in the water, the electrical current from the switch traveled through the dock, down the ladder and into the water. "I think when Reagan touched the ladder and Carmen grabbed Reagan's legs trying to pull herself up, she got the full force of the current," Casey Johnson said. The story of Carmen's death made national news, including a segment on the TODAY Show. Her parents suggest these tips for ensuring safety while swimming near boat docks: Check wiring often -- even a couple of times each year. Something as simple as a round of bad weather can cause damage. Make sure there's a ground fault breaker at the dock Anyone who feels tingles or shocks while swimming, should move away from the dock, not toward it. Know where the power cutoff is and make sure others outside the water know, too Plastic or wooden ladders are preferable, rather than metal or aluminum ones "It can be any moment, anywhere that something happens," Casey Johnson said. "We have heard from several people about how they lost family members to electric shock drowning." Jimmy and Zach Johnson and Gargis survived the incident and haven't experienced any problems since, Casey Johnson said. The number of people who drown as a result of electrocution is difficult to track because death reports seldom name electrocution as a factor in drowning fatalities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 3,000 people typically drown each year in the United States, the CDC reports. It is unclear how many of those drownings are caused by electric shock. Authorities suspect electric shock played a role in the deaths of Darling and Whipple because an investigator was shocked during the search Saturday. Hart said other members of the search crew reported seeing a spark from the shock. The investigator was not injured. Family members found the Darling and Whipple's belongings on the dock and called police to report them missing. Whipple was the interim director of the domestic violence clinic at the University of Alabama School of Law. Darling, a native of Vestavia Hills, was a clinic staff attorney at the University of Alabama School of Law. ||||| Please enable Javascript to watch this video TOMS RIVER, N.J. –– An 11-year-old girl was electrocuted inside a lagoon behind a New Jersey home Saturday evening, police said Sunday. The Toms River Police Department says a 911 call was placed from 45 Tobago Ave. around 8 p.m. for a possible electrocution. Arriving officers performed CPR on the young girl before she was taken to a hospital, where she died. A preliminary investigation found that the child and her two friends were using an inflatable raft and swimming in the lagoon behind the home, police said. The girls were wearing lifejackets and in the presence of adults. Two of the girls touched the rail to a metal boat lift and the electrical current appears to have energized the equipment causing the injury, police said. The girl is a resident of Newark, New Jersey who was visiting friends at the Tobago Avenue address. The two other juvenile girls that accompanied her were evaluated at the scene and determined not to be injured. ||||| These crawls are part of an effort to archive pages as they are created and archive the pages that they refer to. That way, as the pages that are referenced are changed or taken from the web, a link to the version that was live when the page was written will be preserved.Then the Internet Archive hopes that references to these archived pages will be put in place of a link that would be otherwise be broken, or a companion link to allow people to see what was originally intended by a page's authors.The goal is to fix all broken links on the web . Crawls of supported "No More 404" sites."
"– Life vest, check. Adult supervision, check. She should have been safe, but a freak accident in a New Jersey lagoon took the life of an 11-year-old girl over the weekend. Police say the girl was electrocuted while swimming and playing on an inflatable raft behind a friend’s home in Toms River, reports the Asbury Park Press. The girl was with two friends when the incident occurred, and they were all wearing life vests as they swam and rafted in the lagoon under adult supervision, reports PIX11. A police statement says that after the girls touched the rail to a metal boat lift, an "electric current appears to have energized the equipment causing the injury." The girl was administered CPR on the scene, but died later at the hospital. It's not the first time such an accident has been in the news this year. Following the April death of Alabama teen Carmen Johnson, who was shocked while swimming near her family's boathouse, CBS News explained that small levels of electric current in water can serve as a “silent killer,” especially in fresh water, where voltage can “take a shortcut” through bodies. And two more Alabama women are also believed to have been shocked to death in lake water, reports The Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association advises against swimming in or near docks, marinas, and boatyards, while the parents of Johnson offered more tips on TODAY, like using plastic over metal ladders and making sure there is a ground fault breaker at docks."
"Story highlights "We will defend our sovereignty and independence," Foreign Minister Moallem says Four people are killed Tuesday, an opposition network says Aid workers not able to evacuate wounded and killed journalists in Baba Amr U.S. State Department spokeswoman constitutional referendum as "cynical" As the death toll from Syria's almost year-long uprising continues to climb, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem vowed to defend his country's "independence." "We are not happy to see brothers killing each other. But this is our country. But we will defend our sovereignty and independence," he told reporters. The minister said no one is dying in Syria because of hunger or sickness and that despite the "economic international boycott," his government is providing all necessary services. "Do you think there is a government in this world ... (that cares) about Syrian people welfare more than the Syrian government? I don't see this logic," Moallem said. As day broke on Tuesday, four people were killed across Syria, opposition activists said. At least 144 people were reported killed Monday, including 64 who died in a "horrifying massacre" at a checkpoint in Homs province. Those killed at a checkpoint in the Abel area were attempting to flee shelling in the Baba Amr neighborhood in the city of Homs, said the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists. "Reports said security members and thugs kidnapped the women among them," the network said in a statement. Residents found 47 corpses in one area and 17 in a second one, it said. A total of 68 corpses were found in the area, in farmland in western Homs province, said the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, apparently referencing the same incident. The bodies were found after an injured survivor reported the attack, the group said. All the bodies had been either shot or stabbed. JUST WATCHED Marie Colvin's family on her legacy Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH Marie Colvin's family on her legacy 02:51 In all, 104 people were killed Monday in Homs, an opposition stronghold, according to the LCC. They included four defected soldiers, three woman and three children. JUST WATCHED Discussing Syria, Iran and Michigan Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH Discussing Syria, Iran and Michigan 04:49 The deaths came on a day when Syrian officials announced that the nation's new draft constitution received approval and the European Union imposed new sanctions on the country amid ongoing clashes. JUST WATCHED Red Cross hopes to continue in Syria Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH Red Cross hopes to continue in Syria 03:56 JUST WATCHED Families killed attempting to flee Homs Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH Families killed attempting to flee Homs 02:08 The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said earlier explosions rocked Homs and shelling was occurring in Baba Amr. Twenty people were wounded when a large shell struck an anti-government gathering in Homs, the group said. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar announced that 89.4% of voters approved the draft constitution, and 57.4% of eligible voters cast ballots. President Bashar al-Assad's regime has touted the constitutional referendum as a move toward reform. Syria announced the referendum amid intense international cries to stop the bloodshed and open its regime to change. But analysts and protesters widely describe the effort as a farce, a superficial attempt to pacify al-Assad's critics. "We dismiss it as absolutely cynical. ... Essentially, what he's done here is put a piece of paper that he controls to a vote that he controls so that he can try and maintain control," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said of the referendum and al-Assad. Syria map She cited the ongoing violence in such cities as Homs and Hama and asked: "How could you possibly have any kind of a democratic process in conditions like that?" JUST WATCHED The role of Syrian National Council Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH The role of Syrian National Council 05:12 Aid efforts were under way in the midst of the violence. JUST WATCHED Syria votes on new constitution Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH Syria votes on new constitution 02:54 The Syrian Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross entered the province of Hama on Monday to provide aid to civilians, said Simon Schorno, spokesman for the Red Cross. A one-month supply of food, along with blankets and hygiene kits, were distributed to 12,000 people, he said. JUST WATCHED Wounded evacuated from Homs, Syria Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH Wounded evacuated from Homs, Syria 02:07 Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, the Red Cross' head of operations for the Middle East, said a handful of aid workers were also able to go into Baba Amr. "There were four ambulances that entered Baba Amr, belonging to the Syrian Red Crescent. They were loaded with medical goods. They indeed were not able to evacuate the two foreign journalists. I don't have the reasons why. They could evacuate an elderly woman, a pregnant woman with her husband," she said. The two journalists Megevand-Roggo was referencing were British photographer Paul Conroy and French reporter Edith Bouvier. Both were wounded in shelling. Red Cross spokesman Hicham Hassan said aid workers were also not able Monday to recover and evacuate the bodies of two journalists killed in Baba Amr last week. Marie Colvin, an American journalist who worked for London's Sunday Times, was killed in a shelling attack, along with French journalist Remi Ochlik. Colvin's mother, Rosemarie, said Sunday that aid workers have been trying for days to remove her daughter's body. JUST WATCHED Syrian refugees flee to Jordan Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH Syrian refugees flee to Jordan 03:42 CNN and other media outlets cannot independently verify opposition or government reports because Syria has severely limited access to the country by foreign journalists. But the vast majority of reports from the ground indicate that government forces are massacring citizens in an attempt to wipe out civilians seeking al-Assad's ouster. No attempts at getting al-Assad to stop his regime's crackdown on dissidents have stopped the onslaught. The Council of the European Union agreed Monday on new sanctions regarding Syria after foreign ministers met in Brussels, Belgium, said spokeswoman Susanne Kiefer. Seven ministers of the al-Assad regime will have their EU assets frozen and will be denied entry into the EU, Kiefer said. In addition, assets of the Syrian Central Bank in the EU will be frozen. Legitimate trade will be allowed to continue, she said, but must be authorized first. "Today's decisions will put further pressure on those who are responsible for the ruthless campaign of repression in Syria," Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, said in a statement. "The measures target the regime and its ability to conduct the appalling violence against civilians. As long as the repression continues, the EU will keep imposing sanctions." Elsewhere in Syria on Monday, two people were killed and eight wounded by government shelling on the village of Sarmeen in Idlib province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The shelling began Sunday night, and Syrian troops have entered Sarmeen, said Abu Mustafa al-Sayed, a Syrian opposition and community leader in the town of Binnish, also in Idlib province. The Syrian army has Sarmeen surrounded, and communications with the residents have been cut off, he said. And in Damascus, security forces fired on mourners at a funeral, according to the Local Coordination Committees. Clashes were also occurring in Deir Ezzor, the group said, and 14 students were arrested during a protest at Aleppo University. The opposition network estimates that 9,000 people have been killed since the government launched its crackdown in March. The Syrian government says that more than 2,000 members of its security forces have been killed by "terrorists" during that same period. Asked Monday whether Syria would be referred to the International Criminal Court, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said, "I hope the international community reflects on the conditions of referral. ... It's a difficult issue. Syria is not a participating state, so it's up to the Security Council to address this question. They must therefore continue to gather the elements that would permit an eventual referral." ||||| BEIRUT, Lebanon — Determined to tightly control political change in Syria in the face of an insurrection, the government announced Monday that nearly 90 percent of voters had approved a new Constitution. Western leaders and opponents of the government called the referendum a farce and its result a hoax, while Russia and China, two of Syria’s few remaining international friends, called it a step toward reform. The news came as activists said that scores of people had been killed across the country in the government’s violent crackdown on the opposition and in clashes between rebels and security forces. In a news conference broadcast on Syrian state television, Maj. Gen. Muhammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, the interior minister, said that 89.4 percent of voters, or nearly 7.5 million people, backed the new Constitution in the referendum on Sunday, while 735,000, or about 9 percent, voted against it. About 132,000 ballots, or 1.6 percent, were invalid, he said. General Shaar called the 57.4 percent turnout of eligible voters a good showing, “despite the threats and intimidation by armed terrorist groups,” as the government refers to its opponents. In Syria, referendums traditionally produce the results sought by the government, so the huge plurality reported in favor of the Constitution was not surprising. “For its entire existence, this regime has forged elections,” said Haithem el-Maleh, a Syrian lawyer and human rights activist, speaking by telephone from Cairo. “How can they hold a referendum in the shadow of war and tanks?” he said. “Aren’t they embarrassed?” Mr. Maleh said the people, and not President Bashar al-Assad, should have chosen the committee that rewrote the Constitution. With opponents of the government boycotting the voting, it was possible, some Syrians said, that the government did not need to manipulate the vote totals very much; most of the people who cast ballots may well have been genuine supporters of the government. “From the people around me, most of those who didn’t like the Constitution didn’t bother going to the polling stations,” said Amir Bitar, 29, a Christian resident of Damascus who said he voted for the change. “So it is understandable that the vast majority of those who did vote turned out to be in favor of the Constitution.” The biggest changes brought by the new Constitution include ending the ruling Arab Baath Socialist Party’s political monopoly and setting a limit of two seven-year terms for future presidents. Elsewhere in Syria, clashes continued Monday between the government and its opponents. Shells and rockets crashed onto the city of Homs, and activist groups said that more than 60 people were killed as they tried to flee besieged neighborhoods. It was impossible to verify the activists’ reports, which differed on some specifics, because Western journalists are unable to operate freely in Syria. One activist group based in Britain, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that 68 bodies were brought to the hospital in Homs on Monday, The Associated Press reported. Another group, the Local Coordination Committees, put the death toll in Homs at 64 and said that 135 people had recently been killed across the country, though The A.P. said the period in which the people were killed was not clear. The referendum widened the global diplomatic divide over how to deal with Syria. Russia and China castigated Syria’s critics for suggesting that Mr. Assad must go, and rejected American criticism of their own actions, while Western leaders sharpened their language against the Syrian government. “The referendum vote has fooled nobody,” the British foreign secretary, William Hague, said in Brussels. European foreign ministers meeting there on Monday tightened economic sanctions against Syria, adding limits on transactions by Syria’s central bank, banning Syrian cargo flights to Europe and imposing travel restrictions on several senior officials. “To open polling stations but continue to open fire on the civilians of the country has no credibility in the eyes of the world,” Mr. Hague said."
"– Syria's new constitution was backed by more than 89% of voters, the nation's Interior Ministry announced today, even as violence continues to rage across the country and the West decries the referendum as a sham. The Interior Ministry claims that more than 57% of Syria's 14 million eligible voters turned out, with about 9% voting no and 1.6% of the ballots being rejected as spoiled. The New York Times notes that the Syrian government controlled the voting, but may not have needed to manipulate the results, considering that much of the opposition boycotted the referendum. Across the nation, 33 people were killed today, many of them in continued government shelling in Homs, and 55 people died yesterday. The European Union has imposed new sanctions in the face of the continuing violence, CNN reports. Seven ministers of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, as well as the Syrian Central Bank, will have their EU assets frozen. The ministers will also be denied entry into the EU and Syrian cargo flights will not be allowed to use EU airports. Says the EU foreign policy chief in a statement, "As long as the repression continues, the EU will keep imposing sanctions.""
"These crawls are part of an effort to archive pages as they are created and archive the pages that they refer to. That way, as the pages that are referenced are changed or taken from the web, a link to the version that was live when the page was written will be preserved.Then the Internet Archive hopes that references to these archived pages will be put in place of a link that would be otherwise be broken, or a companion link to allow people to see what was originally intended by a page's authors.The goal is to fix all broken links on the web . Crawls of supported "No More 404" sites. ||||| Riviera Beach police are not investigating a March dare that started with a YouTube video and ended with the death of an 8-year-old girl, authorities said Friday. In fact, police were not called to the Riviera home where Ki’ari Pope reportedly drank boiling water from a straw on a dare, authorities said. The dare happened in March, but Ki’ari died early Monday after saying she couldn’t breathe. Her exact cause of death has not been released. On Thursday evening, a relative of the girl told reporters what happened that March day. Ki’ari was with cousins, all of whom were her age, watching YouTube videos when the little girl saw a “boiling water challenge,” Diane Johnson, Ki’ari’s mother’s cousin, said from the girl’s Boynton Beach home. According to state records obtained by The Palm Beach Post, Ki’ari burned her mouth and throat after her cousin dared her to drink the water. Johnson said Ki’ari was the kind of kid who, if you dared her, she wouldn’t back down. MORE: Boynton girl, 8, dead after dare to drink boiling water Ki’ari Pope died Monday, months after drinking boiling water out of a staw on a dare. The Florida Department of Children and Families is investigating the 8-year-old Boynton Beach resident’s death. (Family photo) (Palm Beach Post Staff Writer) Riviera police learned about the dare after the girl was taken to a hospital for her injuries. But authorities who contacted Riviera police referred not to the dare but of suspicions “of another matter,” according to authorities. Police would not specify the nature of that matter, beyond saying the allegations were unfounded. According to a GoFundMe page set up for Ki’ari’s funeral expenses, she received a tracheotomy (an incision in the windpipe) that reportedly left her unable to talk and with chronic respiratory problems. Doctors had told the family they expected the girl to recover from surgery. Ki’ari’s mother, Marquisia Bonner, chronicled her little girl’s time in and out of hospitals on her public Facebook page. A picture posted in March at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami shows someone holding Ki’ari’s hand, which is hooked up to monitors in a hospital bed. “Lords know I haven’t felt this kinda pain since my daddy died,” the post reads. “It hurts so much. Y’all pray from my baby Ki’ari and plz don’t ask what happened!” In May the mother posted a picture of a smiling Ki’ari captioned: “This last month my baby been thru so much. I didn’t realize how strong she was until that was her only option.” Johnson said Ki’ari did have trouble breathing some days, but she was still a happy and fun soon-to-be third-grader who loved basketball. “She was very spontaneous and liked to run and jump and say, ‘No, I’m not playing with a baby doll or painting my nails. No. Give me a basketball and let me go,’ ” Johnson said, giggling at the thought of the little girl. Late Sunday, Ki’ari told her mother’s boyfriend she was having breathing problems. Minutes later she was unresponsive. The boyfriend called 911, and rescue crews rushed her from her Boynton Beach home to a hospital, where she died at 12:15 Monday morning, according to records from the Florida Department of Children and Families. Johnson said they were shocked by her death. Ki’ari’s mother declined to speak with the media Thursday evening. “Our family is very close-knit, we’ve never experienced anything at this magnitude in my family,” Johnson said. “We’ve never buried a child.” The Department of Children and Families is investigating Ki’ari’s death, which is at least the 11th investigation into Ki’ari and her family since 2008, according to DCF records. MORE: Florida’s first responders to child abuse overwhelmed by workload Four of those investigations were within the past seven months, records show, the most recent of which stemmed from a June incident in which a relative was watching the girl. Five other reports looked into alleged violence between the mother and her “paramour,” a term used by DCF to classify the boyfriends or girlfriends of custodial parents. It is unclear whether that paramour is the same as the one who called 911 before Ki’ari died. At least one of those investigations — it is unclear which — yielded verified proof either of abuse or neglect. Family said Ki’ari and her siblings were never removed from the home, even after the boiling water incident. However, after Ki’ari’s death, the three other young children in the home were placed in relatives’ care, DCF authorities said. “The loss of this child is truly devastating and our condolences go out to all those who loved her,” department Secretary Mike Carroll said in a statement Wednesday. “We have opened a child death investigation to examine the circumstances surrounding her death and will deploy a Critical Incident Rapid Response Team to review all interactions this family has had with Florida’s child welfare system. “We will also continue to work closely with law enforcement to support their continued efforts.” Records indicate Boynton Beach police were notified about the girl’s death. The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an investigation into Ki’ari’s death."
"– In March, Ki’ari Pope drank boiling water through a straw after she and her cousin watched a video of someone appearing to do it on YouTube and her cousin dared her to try. Early Monday, the Florida 8-year-old was pronounced dead after months of medical issues related to the tragic stunt. Ki'ari underwent emergency surgery to clear scar tissue on her windpipe so she could breathe; after the tracheotomy, she continued to have difficulty breathing (requiring two trips to the ER) and also talking. She had a doctor's appointment set for Friday to be checked. But on Sunday night, she told her mother's boyfriend she was struggling to breathe; she lost consciousness within minutes and was pronounced dead about an hour later, at 12:15am Monday, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. The Medical Examiner's Office is still determining Ki'ari's cause of death, and Florida's Department of Children and Families is investigating the incident. There have been at least 10 other DCF cases related to the family since 2008, the Palm Beach Post reports, five of them involving alleged domestic violence between Ki'ari's mother and her boyfriend; it's not clear whether the boyfriend who called 911 after Ki'ari lost consciousness is the same one from those reports. At least one of the DCF cases resulted in verified proof of abuse or neglect, but details aren't available. DCF isn't saying whether the girl's mother or other family members are under investigation, but a woman identifying herself as the mother's cousin says DCF officials took Ki'ari's three siblings away Thursday. Ki'ari's family is raising money to go toward funeral costs on GoFundMe."
"Print Share + Aunt Zeituni: 'The System Took Advantage Of Me' President Obama's Aunt Speaks Exclusively With WBZ-TV BOSTON (WBZ) ― "If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen." Those are the words from 58-year-old Zeituni Onyango of Kenya in a recent exclusive interview with WBZ-TV.Onyango is the aunt of President Barack Obama. She lived in the United States illegally for years, receiving public assistance in Boston.Aunt Zeituni, as she has come to be known, first surfaced in the public light in 2008, in the final days of the Presidential election. Then-candidate Obama said that he was not against the possible deportation of his aunt. "If she has violated laws, then those laws have to be obeyed," he told CBS's Katie Couric. "We are a nation of laws."Onyango had violated the law, and she knew it."I knew I had overstayed" she told WBZ-TV's Jonathan Elias when the two sat down one-on-one.Zeituni Onyango said she came to the United States in 2000 and had every intention of leaving. Then, however, she says she got deathly ill and was hospitalized. When she recovered, she said she was broke and couldn't afford to leave.For two years Onyango said she lived in a homeless shelter, before she was assigned public housing despite thousands of legal residents also awaiting assistance. "I didn't take any advantage of the system. The system took advantage of me.""I didn't ask for it; they gave it to me. Ask your system. I didn't create it or vote for it. Go and ask your system," she said unapologetically.And she's right. The system provided her assistance despite her status as an illegal immigrant.In 2004 a judge ordered Zeituni Onyango out of the country, but she never left. She stayed, hiding in plain sight. In 2005 she attended her nephew's swearing in as the junior Senator of Illinois. In 2008 she was invited to, and traveled to D.C. for President Obama's inauguration.However her nephew, she says, never pulled any strings for her."Listen. Obama did not know my whereabouts."Onyango hired a top immigration lawyer from Cleveland to help fight her case. We asked how she afforded that lawyer, when she claimed poverty."When you believe in Jesus Christ and almighty God, my help comes from heaven," she responded.When asked about cutting in line ahead of those who have paid into the system she answered plainly, "I don't mind. You can take that house. I will be on the street with the homeless.""To me America's dream became America's worst nightmare," she said adamantly. "I have been treated like public enemy number one."She is still living in South Boston public housing, unemployed, and collecting about $700 a month in disability, she says. And now, Zeituni Onlyango is in this country legally.In May 2010, Onyango's case went back before the same judge who ordered her out of the country in 2004. This time she was granted asylum in the United States. The ruling said a return to Kenya might put Onyango in danger.Did her nephew, the President of the United States influence that immigration judge? "No influence at all, from nobody, from nowhere," Onyango said. (© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.) ||||| Print Share + Aunt Zeituni: 'Country Is Owned By Almighty God' President Obama's Aunt Speaks Exclusively With WBZ-TV BOSTON (WBZ) ― "President Obama, I'm his aunt, I'm the only person on earth allowed to pinch his ears and smack him. Not his father; not his mother; not his wife or brother - he'll fight with him. But Auntie is a much honored person in African culture." This may be the case in Africa, but in the United States the President's Aunt Zeituni Onyango hasn't been revered, but reviled by many. For years she lived illegally in Boston public housing. She's unemployed, receiving nearly $700 a month in disability, and for nearly ten years was in this country illegally. CARRYING HER OWN CROSS? Onyango sat down recently with WBZ-TV's Jonathan Elias, to set her side of the record straight. "I'm not the President's obligation. I carry my own cross." That's the problem; she hasn't been carrying her own cross. The taxpayers have, and many are angry that she has been able to live on public assistance for so long, while others who paid into the system are denied those same benefits. "It's a great country," she said. "It's nice to live here. You can do whatever you want when you live here." Despite what's she's been given, Zeituni Onyango said flatly that she owes this country nothing in return. "But, it's given you so much?" Elias asked. "So? It's a free country under God," was her terse response. ILLEGAL TO LEGAL The President's aunt arrived in Boston in 2000. When her visa expired she said she was too sick to leave. She stayed in a homeless shelter for two years, and was then assigned public housing, all along, violating the law. "I knew I had overstayed," she admitted. In 2004, Zeituni Onyango was ordered out of the country, but never left. After her nephew became President, the same judge that once ordered her deported changed his mind. In May 2010 she was granted asylum. One of the reasons the judge cited for the change is Onyango's relationship to Obama. He ruled that connection would make her a target in Kenya, writing, "she faces at least a 10 percent chance of future persecution in Kenya." TAXPAYERS' BURDEN When asked why the taxpayers should be burdened with her needs, the feisty Zeituni said, "This country is owned by almighty God. You people who preach Jesus Christ almighty God and the rest of it, you are here to help people, help the poor, help other countries and help women. That's what the United States is supposed to do? And you have to give me my right light, every person's right." "Do you want to become an American citizen?" Elias asked. "If I didn't why the hell would I have been here all this time?" she responded. RELATIONSHIP WITH OBAMA Onyango said her relationship with her nephew is close, but that she has not been invited to D.C. "I don't have any business in Washington D.C., in White House. Jesus, don't I have other things to do?" She said President Obama has not helped in her fight to gain asylum, nor has he helped financially, to get her off public assistance. The fact is, Zeituni Onyango now has the legal right to stay and she continues living in Boston public housing, and getting her monthly disability checks. 'GOD'S MIRACLES' Many in Boston have expressed anger that the President's aunt has been living off a system that she never paid for, and was never entitled to. To this day, she does not understand that anger, nor does she think anything she has received is unfair. "That's God's miracles," she said. "Don't you believe in miracles?" (© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)"
"– President Obama's aunt Zeituni Onyango, an illegal immigrant living in public housing, is unapologetic about her situation and says her nephew hasn't been helping her fight to stay in the US. An immigration judge granted her asylum this year. "Obama did not know my whereabouts," the Kenyan native tells WBZ, the CBS affiliate in Boston, where she lives. "If I come as an immigrant, you have the obligation to make me a citizen." In a rambling, sometimes combative interview, Onyango says, "I didn't take any advantage of the system. The system took advantage of me." She says she arrived in the US in 2000, fell ill, and couldn't afford to return home when she left the hospital. "I knew I had overstayed. " Asked whether she wants to become a citizen, she responds, " If I didn't why the hell would I have been here all this time? ""
"Image copyright WA Police Image caption Reg Foggerdy was reportedly severely dehydrated when he was found but is recovering A 62-year-old Australian man lost for six days in the Outback has been found alive after surviving without water and by eating ants, say police. Reg Foggerdy disappeared last week while pursuing a feral camel in a remote area of Western Australia state. Police trackers found him sitting under a tree on Tuesday morning around 15km (9 miles) from where he became lost. Media caption Christine Ogden said she was "relieved" her brother had been found after six days missing in the Outback His family described him as an experienced bushman but have now told him to buy a satellite phone. Mr Foggerdy's wife Arlyn told AP she had cried when she heard he had been found alive. "How you can survive without water and food is a miracle,'' she said. Wearing only a T-shirt, shorts, a cap and flip-flops when he went missing, Mr Foggerdy - a retired miner - apparently became disorientated in the fierce heat of the desert. Image copyright WA POLICE Image caption Police used a remote shack as a command base during their search He was discovered "extremely dehydrated, a bit delusional, but he's received treatment, first aid on the ground, and it's fair to say he's now sitting up and talking," Police Supt Andy Greatwood told ABC radio. Supt Greatwood also praised Mr Foggerdy's "fantastic" skills, saying that while more details of how he coped were likely to emerge, "most people would not have survived". "The amazing news is his last couple of days of survival were achieved by lying down under a tree and eating black ants, so that's the level of survival that Mr Foggerdy has gone to," he said. Mr Foggerdy's sister Christine Ogden told the West Australian she had not given up hope. "When I went to bed last night, I said: 'Tomorrow's the day, they're going to find him.' I didn't know which way it was going to go, but I just had this feeling." ||||| MISSING hunter Reg Foggerdy survived in WA’s Outback by eating black ants — and didn’t drink water for six days — before he was found alive in remote bush in the northern Goldfields early Tuesday. In a remarkable tale of survival, police confirmed the 62-year-old battler was found alive, six days after he vanished. Police revealed he had “taken off’’ into the bush after a feral camel he was trying to shoot and became disorientated. media_camera Missing hunter Reg Foggerdy as he was found by WA police and rescue crews. Mr Foggerdy was camping at “Shooter’s Shack”, 170km east of Laverton on Lake Ransom Road, on a hunting trip with a family member, when he went to hunt alone on Wednesday night, but failed to return. Specialist Tactical Response Group police trackers, who had been searching for Mr Foggerdy, followed his footprints and located him at about 6am. He was extremely dehydrated and in need of medical attention. media_camera Mr Foggerdy survived by eating black ants but didn’t drink water for six days. “Early indications suggest that Mr Foggerdy survived by sheltering under a tree and eating black ants,’’ a police spokesman said. He was treated at the scene by TRG medical officers and flown by helicopter to neaby Tropicana Mine Site for further medical treatment. A Royal Flying Doctor aircraft then met the group at Tropicana before he was flown out to hospital. media_camera Mr Foggerdy was flown to hospital, suffering dehydration. His wife Erlyn Foggerdy, 41, told PerthNow her husband’s survival was a “big miracle” due in part to a jungle survivor show he watched every day on Foxtel. Ms Foggerdy said she found out the good news after receiving a call early this morning from her sister-in-law, Christine media_camera Alive: Reg Foggerdy, 62, survived six days lost in remote bush in the northern Goldfields by eating black ants. Picture: Christine Ogden . media_camera Lifesaver: A black ant, which Reg Foggerdy ate to keep him alive during his six-day ordeal. “It was a big surprise for me. It’s been six long days so it’s a big miracle,” she said. “He has been on other trips but this is the first time he has been missing.” Phil Foggerdy, 11, said he “thought it was just a small thing” when his father first went missing. “When he was lost for a few more days I started getting worried. I’m so happy they found him,” he said. District Emergency Coordinator, Superintendent Andy Gratewood from Kalgoorlie Police told ABC News that Mr Foggerdy had spent his last days of survival eating black ants and resting under a tree. media_camera Footprints that helped WA Police find Mr Foggerty. Supt. Gratewood said Mr Foggerdy had been “chasing off after a camel” when he lost his bearings. “He only had shorts and a T-shirt, a cap and thongs with him. He didn’t have any equipment,” he said. “He had no water whatsoever for six days. He’s dehydrated and a bit delusional but he’s received first-aid treatment on the ground and he’s now sitting up and talking, so we’re looking very positive,” Supt. Gratewood said. He is now receiving medical treatment and will be flown by Royal Flying Doctor to the nearest hospital, most likely Kalgoorlie. media_camera Bush near remote Shooters Shack, where Reg Foggerdy spent six days lost in the Outback. Picture: WA Police Searchers and Mr Foggerdy’s family were given fresh hope when a search team found new tracks late on Monday afternoon, after nearly a week of land and air search for the 62-year-old. Supt. Gratewood said specialist operators from the tactical response group were brought in to track Mr Foggerty’s footprints. “They have the equipment and capability and they’re extremely fit. They tracked Mr Foggerdy for many days through the desert and at the end of the day they’d lose the footprints and find them again,” he said. “They’re very talented people and they’ve managed to continue that search and found him this morning.” There were grave concerns for Mr Foggerdy’s welfare, as police believed he was lost without access to food or water. This shooters shack was used as a command post for the search for Mr Foggerdy #polair #swaggingit — WA Police (@WA_Police) October 13, 2015 In an interview with 6PR News, Mr Foggerdy’s sister Christine Ogden said the family “never lost faith” he would be found despite what had been a “horrible” week. “It’s been absolutely horrible. It’s been full of emotions, up and down ... it’s just been awful,” Ms Ogden said. “He didn’t hear the helicopters or his name being called. The bush is so dense. Being lost in that would have been horrific.” Ms Ogden said she received a call from Laverton police at 6.15am on Tuesday saying they had found Mr Foggerdy, who had “stopped walking”. She said the tactical response team started at 5am and located Mr Foggerdy shortly after. “I’m so impressed with the service. They are just amazing people out there and the friends that I’ve got I love dearly. They are so special for what they’ve done,” she said. Ms Ogden said she hadn’t had the chance to speak to her brother yet, who was undergoing medical treatment for dehydration. “He’s been out there for quite some time — this is his sixth day. He would be so dehydrated he wouldn’t even be able to communicate with us,” she said. “They’ve got to pump him up with everything they possibly can. It’s up the medical team now.” media_camera Bush near remote Shooters Shack, where Mr Foggerdy had started out from. Ms Ogden said it was fortunate her brother was an “experienced bushman” who had lived in Kalgoorlie and surrounding areas for the past 20 years and worked as a miner. “Reg is an amazing man. He’s a father-of-four, a grandfather-of-two — he’s just your every day person,” she said. “He’s retired and he worked hard in the mining industry. He just wants to enjoy life as he could and hunting was one of those things.” media_camera The unforgiving terrain near WA’s Goldfields where the hunter became lost Nephew Brodie Hunter said he was ecstatic when his mother, Christine, called to tell him the good news early this morning. “The family were optimistic some days and some days it was a little bit less, but with new hopes of fresh tracks that really kept us going,” Mr Hunter said. “I’ve spoken to Reg’s other children and they’re very very pleased with the effort and so overwhelmed.” “I don’t know how he did it. I know he’s very fit and he can walk but I just don’t know how he was able to stay alive for so long.” WA Police acknowledged and the assistance provided by Anglo Gold Ashanti (Tropicana Mine Site), DFES, SES, Leonora Shire, Laverton Shire, media and the general public. “Police would like to stress the importance of remaining at your camp and not leaving unless you are fully equipped and prepared,’’ a spokesman said. “Personal locating beacons are readily available and should be carried by any person planning on travelling to remote locations.’’ ||||| Sorry, your browser is unable to play this video.Please install Adobe Flash ™ and try again. Alternatively upgrade to a modern browser. Perth man Reg Foggerdy has been found alive after six days lost in the desert in central Western Australia. The 62-year-old was found by police about 6am on Tuesday and has been flown to Kalgoorlie hospital for treatment. The ABC reported police search teams found Foggerdy after following a fresh trail of footprints, which were discovered on Monday, for 15km. Kalgoorlie police Superintendent Andy Greatwood told ABC radio that Foggerdy had “no water whatsoever for six days” and was “extremely dehydrated [and a] bit delusional” when he was first found, but was able to talk after receiving first aid. “The amazing news is his last couple of days of survival were achieved by lying down under a tree and eating black ants, so that’s the level of survival that Mr Foggerdy has gone to,” Greatwood said. Foggerdy had been missing since Wednesday when he left Shooter’s Shack campsite on the edge of the Great Victoria Desert, 1,120km east of Perth. He was armed with a rifle and planned to hunt the feral camels that roam the Australian interior. He left wearing shorts, a T-shirt, thongs and a baseball cap. Police believe he was not carrying food or water. When he had not returned by Thursday morning, his brother Ray drove 170km to Laverton, the nearest town, to get enough mobile reception to report him missing to police. Foggerdy, who has been described by his family as an experienced bushman, appears to have shot and killed a camel a short distance from the camp. The carcass was the central point of the police-coordinated land and aerial search. Bob Cooper, an outback survival expert who has written a book on the topic, told Guardian Australia that the combination of dehydration, which impairs brain function, and the panic of being lost was “probably the worst thing you can put people through”. “Fear turns a mishap into a tragedy,” Cooper said. “Just because your car won’t start, that isn’t a tragedy, particularly when it has probably got most of what you need in it. But people panic and start walking.” That is what appears to have happened to two men who died in January after abandoning their vehicles and trying to walk for help. On 4 January, a car driven by a 60-year-old man broke down between Wonganoo and Windidda stations, near Lake Carnegie on the edge of the Little Sandy Desert, about 1,000km north-east of Perth. According to an ABC report, the man camped next to the car with the woman he was travelling with for one night before setting off the next morning to walk the 48km to Windidda Station in 40C heat. His body was found on the roadside 2km from the station on 7 January. The woman, who remained with the car for an extra night before walking, was found alive by station workers the same day. Nine days later and about 400km away, Clayton Miller, a 39-year-old truck driver, became bogged on his way to Moorarie Station, 140km north-west of Meekatharra and 15km past the Mileura Station homestead. He started walking back to Mileura after trying and failing to dig the truck out, and made it 13km before doubling back. His body was found 1.1km from his truck, which was reported to be carrying ample water. Neither man had a satellite phone or an emergency beacon to call for help. Cooper said dehydration impeded rational thought, which was why so many people ignored survival rule No 1: stay with your vehicle if you have one, and stay with water. “The organ most affected by dehydration is the brain,” he said. “Your ability to think rationally is diminished by up to 30% and that can happen within an hour. “The combination of dehydration and fear is probably the worst thing you can put people through. People don’t know where they are going but they are running to it.” Cooper said reliance on technology should take second place to basic survival skills, like knowing how to use a compass. He said people travelling in remote country, even on routine journeys, should give an explicit itinerary to a trusted person and make sure that person raises the alarm the minute a check-in is missed – not hours later. People stranded with their car should stay with the vehicle, which in outback areas should contain at least 20 litres, or one week’s worth, of water. More could be collected as it condensed from the vehicle’s air conditioning unit. He also recommended people stranded start a large smoky fire – the black smoke sent up by a deflated spare tyre is a favoured option – and use mirrors and a foil survival blanket to attract attention from aerial patrols. ABC local radio broadcasts news of every search. “I have had people in our courses that have … heard their name come on the radio and said, ‘Oh, thank god – they are looking for me.’” If you are lost or stranded without a car, Cooper said, you should be carrying water, something to light a fire, snake-bite bandages and a foil blanket. “The police helicopters now have heat-vision cameras and night-vision cameras that can pick up the luminous numbers on a watch from 2km away,” he said. “Make things easier for the people who want to help you.” ||||| Lost hunter Reginald Foggerdy survived six days in remote bush by eating ants and lying under tree Updated A hunter who was lost in the remote West Australian Goldfields for almost a week without water survived by lying under a tree for days and eating ants. Reginald Foggerdy, 62, was found on Tuesday morning by Tactical Response Group (TRG) trackers who had been looking for him for the past six days. Mr Foggerdy had been on a hunting trip 170 kilometres east of Laverton on Rason Lake Road, when he left the campsite he was sharing with his brother last Wednesday. The alarm was raised by family members the next morning, sparking a land and air search. Superintendent Andy Greatwood said Mr Foggerdy was found 15 kilometres from his camp site and was not well. "[He was] extremely dehydrated, a bit delusional, but he's received treatment, first aid, on the ground and it's fair to say he's now sitting up and talking, so it's looking very positive," he told 720 ABC Perth. "His last couple of days of survival were achieved by lying down under a tree and eating black ants, so that's the level of survival that Mr Foggerdy has gone to. "[He had] no water whatsoever for six days." Superintendent Greatwood said Mr Foggerdy had been hunting a camel when he became lost. "He only had shorts and a T-shirt, a cap and thongs with him," he said. "He didn't have any equipment. It was just the circumstances of how he had gone out taking off after a camel and then became disorientated and lost. "[He had] fantastic survival skills. "Obviously it will emerge how it did that and how he achieved that, but it's fair to say it's been extremely hot, extremely remote and most people would not have survived so he's done a fantastic job." Last week local Indigenous trackers found a footprint of Mr Foggerdy's near the campsite which was the starting point for the initial search. Police trackers had a breakthrough when Mr Foggerdy lost one of his thongs on Monday afternoon and began leaving more distinct footprints for them to follow. The Royal Flying Doctor Service took Mr Foggerdy to a Kalgoorlie hospital this morning where he is being treated for dehydration and is in a stable condition. Wife cried after 'miracle' survival without food and water Mr Foggerdy's wife Arlyn said she cried when she heard he had been found alive. "How you can survive without water and food is a miracle," she said. His sister, Christine Ogden, said she was "over the moon" to hear her brother had been found. "He's not very well obviously, he needs a lot of medical intervention, but it's the best outcome we've had," she said. "My concern was up and down; I'd feel like they'd find him one day and then they wouldn't find him the next. "But I went to bed last night and said to myself they're going to find him today, and they did. "His son is overwhelmed, he doesn't know how to respond. It's amazing." Search crews looking for Mr Foggerdy found footprints in the area on the weekend and fresh tracks were discovered by the TRG trackers on Monday. Mr Foggerdy had taken a rifle on the hunting trip, but was not believed to have been carrying food or water supplies. However Mr Foggerdy's family described him as an experienced bushman. "He loves to camp and hunt, that was his recreational time," Ms Ogden said. "He retired from mining and his youngest son's 12, so he spends a lot of time with him, to and from school with his son, and just to get away on a holiday with his brother was the thing he loved mostly. "I'm going to get him to get a satellite phone." Topics: missing-person, police, emergency-incidents, laverton-6440 First posted"
"– Police searching for a 62-year-old man who disappeared in Australia's Outback on Wednesday say the grandfather has miraculously been found alive. Reg Foggerdy had been last seen near a campsite on the edge of the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia while on a hunting trip with his brother, reports the Guardian. He had left to shoot a feral camel but never returned, adds the BBC. Though an experienced bushman, he was wearing only a T-shirt, shorts, hat, and flip-flops and had no food or water, police say. Police began a land and air search after discovering a camel carcass and finally discovered fresh tracks on Monday, reports the West Australian. Foggerdy was found "extremely dehydrated, a bit delusional," under a tree Tuesday morning about 9 miles from his last known location. "He's received treatment, first aid on the ground, and it's fair to say he's now sitting up and talking," officer Andy Greatwood tells ABC Radio, adding Foggerdy's "fantastic survival skills" kept him alive when "most people would not have survived." After walking for miles, Foggerdy had spent his last two days in the Outback "lying down under a tree and eating black ants," Greatwood says. Foggerdy's wife, Erlyn, says he may have picked up that tip from a jungle survival show he liked to watch every day, reports PerthNow. Foggerdy's 11-year-old son says he initially wasn't too concerned when his father didn't return to camp, but "when he was lost for a few more days I started getting worried. I'm so happy they found him." Family members add they'll now force Foggerdy, who's recovering in a hospital, to carry a satellite phone. (A dad's survival tip kept this lost boy alive.)"
"Starting in 1996, Alexa Internet has been donating their crawl data to the Internet Archive. Flowing in every day, these data are added to the Wayback Machine after an embargo period. ||||| Treatments Experimental Malaria Vaccine Blocks The Bad Guy's Exit itoggle caption Gary D. Gaugler/Science Source For the first time in decades, researchers trying to develop a vaccine for malaria have discovered a new target they can use to attack this deadly and common parasite. Finding a target for attack is a far cry from having a vaccine. And the history of malaria vaccines is littered with hopeful ideas that didn't pan out. Still, researchers in the field welcome this fresh approach. Over the past four decades, researchers have developed about 100 potential vaccines for malaria. The best of the bunch is still only modestly successful in children, who are at greatest risk for the disease. The mosquito-borne parasite kills more than 600,000 children a year, mostly in Africa. So Dr. Jonathan Kurtis, at the Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, decided it was time for a fresh start. He had developed a severe case of malaria while he was an undergraduate studying abroad in Kenya. And he learned just how devastating this disease can be, not only killing young children but causing hundreds of millions of cases of debilitating illness every year. Kurtis and his colleagues started with samples of blood that had been methodically collected from children in Tanzania by Drs. Michal Fried and Patrick Duffy at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Kurtis' team carefully examined those samples to find small but crucial differences between children who got infected but didn't fall seriously ill and children who developed a severe case of the disease. "We're finding the rare needle in a haystack," Kurtis says. "We're finding the rare parasite protein that generates a protective immune response." Earlier vaccine efforts have produced antibodies that target proteins on the malaria parasite that it uses to break into red blood cells — the parasite reproduces inside those cells. But the particular parasite protein that Kurtis isolated from the blood of these children wasn't part of that invasion pathway. Our parasite protein is critical for the parasite's escape from the red cell. And it needs to escape from the red cell if it's going to go on and infect other red cells and multiply. "Our parasite protein is critical for the parasite's escape from the red cell," he says. "And it needs to escape from the red cell if it's going to go on and infect other red cells and multiply." When Kurtis looked at children who had been infected with the malaria parasite but didn't get seriously ill, he discovered that their young immune systems had produced antibodies that attack this escape protein. In this group of children, not one of them developed serious illness from malaria, "which is sort of astonishing, actually," Kurtis says. He and his colleagues report this result in the latest Science magazine. But this is just the beginning of the story. This is a long way from a vaccine that can be used in humans. But I do think this addresses ... one of the problems with the current malaria vaccine approach. "This is a long way from a vaccine that can be used in humans," says Dr. Dyann Wirth, at the Harvard School of Public Health. "But I do think this addresses what I feel is one of the problems with the current malaria vaccine approach," Wirth says. "And that is the field seems to be focused on molecules that were discovered decades ago." This really is a fresh idea, she says, championed by a scientist who is not personally invested in the molecules discovered long ago. Since even the best of those earlier molecules is only partially effective, the field could really use some new ideas. For his part, Kurtis isn't promising that his discovery will be the be-all and end-all for malaria prevention. "It would ludicrously fortuitous to think that this would be a stand-alone vaccine," he says. But if it works even partially, it could eventually be used in combination with other malaria vaccines to deliver a one-two punch against the parasite. There's a lot more testing to do. The potential vaccine will be tried in monkeys, and if it looks promising there, Kurtis can start the long and challenging process of testing it in people."
"– Researchers think they've found a promising new potential weapon in the fight against malaria in a fairly unlikely place: the blood of toddlers. In a paper published in Science today, researchers detail how they examined the blood of more than 750 children in Tanzania. They found that about 6% of those children had an antibody against one of the disease's key proteins, and that those children didn't suffer from severe malaria. Researchers think they can make a vaccine patterned on their blood, Paul Rodgers at Forbes explains. Until now, most malaria vaccines have focused on keeping the disease out of the red blood cells it reproduces in. But this antibody is unique in that it instead attacks the protein that allows the parasite to escape the cells. "We're sort of trapping the parasite in the burning house," says co-lead author Jonathan Kurtis—who suffered his own bout of malaria while studying in Kenya while in college, NPR reports. The team believes this approach could work in concert with existing vaccines. It's a refreshing, promising idea, one Harvard doctor says, though she cautions that "this is a long way from a vaccine that can be used in humans." It's been trialed in mice and will soon be tested on monkeys."
"WASHINGTON—Strong hiring and low unemployment are delivering U.S. workers their best pay raises in nearly a decade. Employers shook off a September slowdown to add 250,000 jobs to their payrolls in October, above monthly averages in recent years, the Labor Department said Friday. With unemployment holding at 3.7%, a 49-year low, and employers competing for scarce workers, wages increased 3.1% from a year earlier, the biggest year-over-year gain for average hourly earnings since 2009. ... ||||| FILE- In this Jan. 30, 2018, file photo, Loredana Gonzalez, of Doral, Fla., fills out a job application at a JobNewsUSA job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. On Friday, Nov. 2, the U.S. government issues the... (Associated Press) FILE- In this Jan. 30, 2018, file photo, Loredana Gonzalez, of Doral, Fla., fills out a job application at a JobNewsUSA job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. On Friday, Nov. 2, the U.S. government issues the October jobs report. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (Associated Press) FILE- In this Jan. 30, 2018, file photo, Loredana Gonzalez, of Doral, Fla., fills out a job application at a JobNewsUSA job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. On Friday, Nov. 2, the U.S. government issues the October jobs report. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (Associated Press) FILE- In this Jan. 30, 2018, file photo, Loredana Gonzalez, of Doral, Fla., fills out a job application at a JobNewsUSA job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. On Friday, Nov. 2, the U.S. government issues the... (Associated Press) WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added a stellar 250,000 jobs last month and raised average pay by the most in nearly a decade. The Labor Department's monthly jobs report, the last major economic data before Tuesday's congressional elections, also showed that the unemployment rate remained at a five-decade low of 3.7 percent. The influx of new job-seekers in October increased the proportion of Americans with jobs to its highest level since January 2009. Consumers are the most confident they have been in 18 years and are spending freely and propelling brisk economic growth. The U.S. economy is in its 10th year of expansion, the second-longest such period on record, and October marked the 100th straight month of hiring, a record streak. The resulting strength in customer demand has led companies to steadily add workers. Though economists predict that hiring will eventually slow as the pool of unemployed Americans dwindles, there's no sign of that happening yet. Still, the latest month of healthy job growth might not tip many votes in the midterm elections. Polls have suggested that while Americans generally approve of the economy's performance, that sentiment hasn't necessarily broadened support for President Donald Trump or Republican congressional candidates. In October, consumer confidence reached its highest point in 18 years, propelled by optimism about the job market. Last month's plunge in stock prices didn't dampen Americans' enthusiasm, though the survey was conducted in the first half of October, before the full market decline had occurred. In the July-September quarter, consumer spending grew by the most in four years and helped the economy expand at a 3.5 percent annual rate. That growth followed a 4.2 percent annual pace in the April-June quarter. Combined, the two quarters produced the strongest six-month stretch of growth in four years. Manufacturing output and hiring remain healthy, according to a survey by a private trade association, although increased tariffs have raised factory costs. By contrast, housing remains a weak spot in the economy, with sales of existing homes having fallen for six straight months as mortgage rates have risen to nearly 5 percent. But slower sales have started to limit home price increases, which had been running at more than twice the pace of wage gains. There are signs that pay growth is picking up. A measure of wage and salaries rose 3.1 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the best such showing in a decade. Although pay increases can help boost spending and propel the economy's growth, they can also lead companies to raise prices to cover their higher labor costs. That trend, in turn, can accelerate inflation. So far, though, inflation remains in check. The Federal Reserve's preferred price measure rose 2 percent in September compared with a year earlier, slightly lower than the year-over-year increase in August."
"– The last unemployment report before the midterms is a strong one. Employers added 250,000 jobs in October, above the forecast of 188,000, reports the Wall Street Journal. The unemployment rate itself remained at a five-decade low of 3.7%, per the AP. The influx of new job-seekers in October increased the proportion of Americans with jobs to its highest level since January 2009. What's more, wages rose 3.1% when compared to last October, the best such gain since 2009. It's the first time since the recession ended that wages rose more than 3% over a year. Average hourly earnings in the private sector increased 5 cents to $27.30."
"Speculations about the First Lady’s whereabouts have taken over social media as she has not been seen in public since before undergoing a procedure for what the White House has described as a “benign kidney condition.” (Susan Walsh/AP) ||||| Tweet with a location You can add location information to your Tweets, such as your city or precise location, from the web and via third-party applications. You always have the option to delete your Tweet location history. Learn more"
"– Melania watchers can relax. After endless speculation and wacky rumors about the first lady's whereabouts, she addressed the situation herself, posting to Twitter, "I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I'm doing. Rest assured, I'm here at the @WhiteHouse w my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!" The first lady’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, also sought to swat down rumors. "She is doing great," Grisham told the New York Daily News. "She has meetings throughout the day so will not be attending fitness day." Melania Trump had not appeared in public for 20 days."
"Play Facebook Twitter Embed Police: Evidence Suggests Escaped N.Y. Prisoners Heading for Canada 1:01 autoplay autoplay Copy this code to your website or blog The two killers who broke out of a New York prison three weeks ago may be headed for Canada, authorities said Friday. Maj. Charles Guess of the New York State Police said he could not go into specifics, but "based on what we know at this point, we have a high degree of confidence in our conclusion." David Sweat and Richard Matt were reported missing from Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, on June 6. Investigators believe the men are moving in the dark of night, and items that appear to belong to the men have been found in the northern towns of Belmont and Malone, according to Guess. Multiple law enforcement sources tell NBC news that DNA belonging to at least one of the escaped prisoners was found at a cabin in Malone, a town located about 35 miles northwest of Clinton Correctional and around 10 miles south of the Canadian border. Authorities believe Matt and Sweat have not yet crossed the Canadian border. The break-in at the cabin in Malone was reported to police sometime between Wednesday and 3 p.m. Thursday, sources said. Evidence was recovered and sent for processing, and DNA tests indicate one of the men was at the cabin. There were two reports of break-ins in Malone between Wednesday and 3 p.m. Thursday. State police records indicate those are "pending investigations." Two prison workers — Gene Palmer, a guard, and Joyce Mitchell, a seamstress — have been arrested in connection with the breakout. They are suspected of helping Sweat and Matt. ||||| MALONE, N.Y. (AP) — Searchers on the trail of two murderers who escaped from a northern New York prison three weeks ago edged closer to the Canadian border Friday after they found new evidence left behind by the pair. New York State Department of Corrections Officers and a forest ranger, right, patrol an area in Owls Head, N.Y. for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015. Police shifted... (Associated Press) New York State Department of Corrections Officers and a forest ranger, back, search a barn in Owls Head, N.Y. for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015. Police shifted... (Associated Press) New York State Department of Corrections Officers search a barn in Owls Head, N.Y. for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015. Police shifted a focus of their three week... (Associated Press) New York State Department of Corrections Officers search an area in Owls Head, N.Y. for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015. Police shifted a focus of their three week... (Associated Press) A New York State Department of Corrections Officer, left, and a forest ranger search an area in Owls Head, N.Y. for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015. Police shifted... (Associated Press) A New York State Department of Corrections Officer searches a wooded area in Owls Head, N.Y. for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015. Police shifted a focus of their... (Associated Press) Canadian Boarder Patrol Officers search a car crossing into Canada for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015 in Constable, N.Y. Authorities shifted a focus of their three... (Associated Press) New York State Police Major Charles Guess updates reporters on the search for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Malone, N.Y. Authorities shifted a focus of their... (Associated Press) New York State Police Major Charles Guess updates reporters on the search for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015, in Malone, N.Y. Authorities shifted a focus of their... (Associated Press) Authorities search an area in Constable, N.Y. for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015. Police shifted a focus of their three week search closer to the Canadian border.... (Associated Press) New York State Department of Corrections Officers and a forest ranger, left, search an area in Owls Head, N.Y. for convicted murderers Richard Matt and David Sweat, Friday, June 26, 2015. Police shifted... (Associated Press) Hundreds of officers looking for Richard Matt and David Sweat shifted the focus of their search slightly northwest to woods and fields around Malone, about 30 miles west of Clinton Correctional Facility. State Police Maj. Charles Guess said Friday the shift came after investigators developed evidence left behind by the escapees. Items were found Thursday at a cabin and Friday morning in a field, both in the town of Malone, he said. While Guess would not elaborate on the evidence, he made it sound like a break in the often-frustrating 21-day, around-the-clock search for the two killers. "They probably have every reason to keep going," Guess said. "The items that we have found have been significant." Guess said the searchers' goal was to get ahead of the inmates, who are believed to be moving mostly at night. He said the convicts had taken basic supplies from some of the area's many hunting camps. He said the stretch of the border a few miles north of Malone was being guarded by a "picket line" of officers. "We have no reason to believe they're in Canada yet," Guess said. Searchers converged a week ago on the heavy woods to the west of the maximum-security prison in Dannemora after developing DNA evidence in a hunting camp in Bellmont, a town just east of Malone. On Friday, a small contingent of New York state troopers was stationed along power lines in the Malone area, and motorists had to pass through a checkpoint. "I think these guys are going to find them," said Sonny Morales, as he sat on an easy chair in front of a house near the border in the town of Constable. "I know it's taken a long time, but there's a lot of freaking land to cover. The border's pretty tight." Sweat and Matt broke out of the prison June 6. Authorities say they cut through the steel wall at the back of their cells, scaled down a catwalk, broke through a brick wall, cut their way into and out of a steam pipe and then emerged from a manhole outside the prison. Sweat, 35, was serving a life sentence without parole in the killing of a sheriff's deputy. Matt, who turned 49 on Thursday, was doing 25 years to life in the kidnapping, torture and hacksaw dismemberment of his former boss. Meanwhile, New York state prison officials said Friday that a corrections officer facing charges related to the escape has been suspended without pay. Gene Palmer's suspension from his $72,644-a-year job comes after he was arrested Wednesday night on charges of promoting prison contraband, tampering with evidence and official misconduct. Palmer has told investigators he provided paint, tools and prison catwalk access to Matt and Sweat. But the veteran guard says he had no idea they were planning to escape. He is free on $25,000 bail. Another prison worker, tailor shop instructor Joyce Mitchell, is charged with helping them escape. Authorities say Mitchell smuggled hacksaw blades, a screwdriver and other tools into the prison by hiding them in frozen meat that Palmer delivered to the inmates. ||||| Surely, though, the chances of escape must improve over time? Perhaps: The longer fugitives are out of hand, the farther away they can get, the better they disguise themselves, and the less the media covers them, decreasing the chance a vigilant citizen will spot and report them. (Many of the U.S. Marshals’ 15 most wanted have been on the lam for a very long time, such as Raymond Abbott-Baerga , who escaped a maximum-security prison, amid a hail of gunfire, in 1992.) As with so many criminal-justice issues in the news this year , there aren’t reliable, comprehensive statistics on prison escapes. But Richard Culp , a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, surveyed the available data in 2005 and came up with some useful context. Combing various calculations and data sets, Culp calculated that about three-quarters of all escaped inmates were recaptured . Break those numbers out and the figures get even less favorable for Matt and Sweat: More than 92 percent of fugitives from medium- and high-security prisons were captured within a year (compared to less than 70 percent of work-release escapees). And that estimate is conservative. Monday’s discovery of DNA belonging to both men in a cabin only about 25 miles from the prison—DNA seemingly just a few days old—suggests that police may be getting closer to them. That’s very different from having the two men in hand. But statistics on prison escapees suggest that Sweat and Matt will have a very hard time avoiding recapture—though if they make it past the first month, their odds seem to improve. For days after Richard Matt and David Sweat’s June 6 escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, there seemed to be little concrete evidence of where they were. Reports had them heading toward Vermont or perhaps Canada. Then they were thought to be near the Pennsylvania border. As hundreds of law enforcement officers combed through roads and fields and forests, Matt and Sweat stayed out of sight. In a separate 2005 paper, Culp and Elizabeth Bracco looked at how quickly escapees were captured, and found that most were snagged within the first 24 hours after escape. Nine out of 10 of those who were caught were collared within the first month: Time Until Prison Escapees Were Captured Time of capture Frequency Percentage Cumulative Within 1 hour 7 9.6 9.6 Within 1 day 36 49.3 58.9 Within 1 week 15 20.5 79.4 Within 1 month 6 8.2 87.6 Data: Culp and Bracco. Created with the HTML Table Generator Chuck Jordan, president of the National Association of Fugitive Recovery Agents, estimated the magic number for escapees as being six months. After that, he said, “the fugitive has had a chance to acclimate to life on the run, establish a life somewhere, or establish a low profile. The long-term fugitive, who’s on the run for years—they tend to settle down. Some of these people have become well-regarded in the communities where they’re at.” Sometimes they get brazen: Jordan had heard of a fugitive who was caught after more than 20 years when he ran for local city council. And Jordan noted that law-enforcement agents had an edge over those who pursue a typical bail-jumper, since authorities knew within hours of the escape that Matt and Sweat were missing. More successful escapes are rare, but not unheard of. In May, an Akron, Ohio, man made headlines after he was captured by U.S. marshals in Florida. Frank Freshwaters, who was 79, had escaped a prison farm in Sandusky in 1959 and managed to elude capture for decades. Just how common is escape from prison? The Associated Press set out to figure out how many escapees there are on the loose right now and struggled to fully resolve the question. As its report noted, the Bureau of Justice Statistics tallies about 2,000 escapees in 2013, but some of those are people who left minimum-security prisons or disappeared while on work release. The AP surveyed states and came up 224 escapees; that number is incomplete, but also includes some fugitives who are almost certainly dead by now. If that 2,000 number is right, it’s a serious decline from the 1990s. For 1997, for example, Culp found estimates ranging from 4,500 to 8,500. In one particularly humiliating case, an inmate who was enlisted to role-play an escapee during a dog-training exercise slipped away. In some ways, Sweat and Matt are atypical fugitives. Not only have they been on the lam much longer than average, but most escapees are not violent offenders (both the New York escapees are murderers); Matt is older than the typical escapee; and of course, it’s very difficult to escape from a maximum-security prison. Like most escapees, however, both are white and male. Often, escapees depend on finding and exploiting weaknesses in staffing at a facility, as Matt and Sweat seem to have done. (Culp records one particularly humiliating case for authorities in which an inmate who was enlisted to role-play an escapee during a dog-training exercise slipped away.) But few escapes involve a sophisticated plan, as Matt and Sweat’s did, and few depend on the assistance of corrections staff, as they allegedly did by relying on Joyce Mitchell. Now, however, Matt and Sweat may be out on their own, while hundreds of police with night-vision binoculars, dogs, and helicopters scour New York for them. Chuck Jordan said he didn’t expect them to escape the cops permanently. “They’ve got to be lucky every day, and law enforcement only has to get lucky once,” he said. “Their time is going to run out.”"
"– If New York investigators are right, Richard Matt and David Sweat are probably sleeping right now—but they'll wake soon and continue picking their way through the woods and back roads toward Canada when darkness falls. At an update today on the hunt for the prison escapees, authorities say they're now pretty sure the men are trying to make the border, reports NBC News. "Based on what we know at this point, we have a high degree of confidence in our conclusion," says Maj. Charles Guess of the state police. Guess didn't provide specifics, but he said investigators found "significant" items from the men in a cabin and in a field in the town of Malone yesterday and this morning, reports AP. They've shifted their search accordingly in a bid to head the men off. Matt and Sweat have eluded capture for three weeks now, which is impressive, but it doesn't protect them from this damning stat cited by the Atlantic: More than 92% of escapees from medium- and high-security prisons are caught within a year. Their odds improve somewhat if they make it past a month, however. The search update comes after a second prison worker was charged in the escape. (He once likened the inmates at his prison in Dannemora to caged "puppies.")"
"Issa looks to ban Internet regulations By Brendan Sasso - Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is seeking input on a bill that would impose a two-year ban on new laws or regulations that affect the Internet. Issa released a draft of his Internet American Moratorium Act on Monday night and said that he would answer questions about the legislation on Reddit, a social news and discussion site, on Wednesday morning. The one-page draft bill would prohibit Congress and all regulatory agencies from enacting rules that affect the Internet for two years, with an exception for national security emergencies. Many Reddit users are fierce defenders of Internet freedom, and the site helped organize opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) earlier this year. Issa, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, was one of the leading opponents of the controversial anti-piracy legislation. But Gigi Sohn, president of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge, explained that Issa's bill would not actually prevent Congress from passing laws like SOPA. "Even if they pass this bill, Congress could pass another Internet regulation bill that would supersede the previous bill," Sohn said. Issa's bill would, however, prevent regulatory agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), from adopting new rules that affect the Internet. Sohn warned that prohibiting all government regulation of the Internet would "throw the Internet into corporate hands." Most Democrats support the FCC's net neutrality rules, which prohibit Internet service providers from slowing down or blocking legitimate websites. Supporters say the rules are critical for ensuring an open and free Internet. But Issa and other Republicans argue that net neutrality is an unnecessary burden on businesses. Sohn noted that Issa's bill wouldn't stop the net neutrality rules since the FCC already enacted them, but the bill could block other potential regulations, such as rules on broadband caps. The FCC isn't drafting any rules on broadband caps, but Sohn and other consumer advocates argue the agency should investigate whether providers should be allowed to limit their customers' Internet usage. Sohn said Issa's bill could also block future regulations on Internet privacy. The Federal Trade Commission is currently working on an update to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which restricts the ability of websites to collect information from children younger than 13. Sohn said that depending on how broadly the courts interpret the definition of the "Internet," the bill could also derail efforts to provide more radio frequencies for cellphone service providers, which are struggling to keep pace with the booming demands placed on their networks by smartphones and tablet computers. "This bill could have unintended consequences that even its proponents would not be happy with," Sohn said. The bill might also prevent the president from issuing an executive order on cybersecurity. President Obama is considering an executive order to pressure owners of "critical infrastructure" to meet cybersecurity standards after the Senate failed to pass legislation on the issue. A spokesman for Issa said the draft bill is not about trying to block any particular regulation, like net neutrality. Instead, the measure is intended to start a discussion about the appropriate role of the government in overseeing the Internet, the spokesman explained. He added that Issa hopes to formally introduce a more detailed version of the bill next year after reviewing responses on Reddit and on his own site for discussing legislation, Project Madison. Sohn said that while she has serious concerns with the measure, she agrees that it could be a "good conversation starter." ||||| Story highlights Rep. Darrell Issa proposes halt to federal Web regulations Issa, a Web-freedom advocate, posted draft of a bill online He was an outspoken critic of the Stop Online Piracy Act In an unusual step, a U.S. congressman is proposing a two-year ban on all new federal legislation regulating the Internet. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California who has been an advocate for Internet freedoms, has posted online a draft of his legislation, the Internet American Moratorium Act of 2012. The bill would "create a two-year moratorium on any new laws, rules or regulations governing the Internet." "Together, we can make Washington take a break from messing w/ the Internet," Issa said on Reddit, where he also invited users to suggest changes to the proposed bill. He said he will begin taking questions about it from Reddit users Wednesday morning. JUST WATCHED Internet takes 'round 1' in piracy fight Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH Internet takes 'round 1' in piracy fight 01:21 JUST WATCHED Hollywood 'got rolled' by the internet Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH Hollywood 'got rolled' by the internet 02:05 It was not immediately clear whether Issa's moratorium would apply to his own Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (OPEN) Act, which would seek to protect U.S. copyrights and trademarks from infringement by foreign websites. Initial reaction on Reddit to his proposed moratorium was mixed. Some users were confused about what point Issa was trying to make, while others saw the move as a stunt. "I have a problem with legislation that preemptively ties your hands for years at a time. You can't know what the internet or society will look like in six months, let alone two years, and making it harder to respond to emerging threats or opportunities is an abdication of your responsibilities as a member of Congress," wrote one Reddit user. "This just seems to me to be more cheap political theater, along the lines of Grover Norquist's 'We will never ever ever raise taxes for any reason' pledge." "The answer is NOT to ban new regulation. We need regulation," another said. "But, I don't believe ANYBODY in Congress has the vocabulary, is intelligent in knowing how the internet or computers work, or has the foresight to put current trends and future technologies together in a context to create those new regulation that protect the internet and it's users/consumers." Issa's Reddit post had drawn more than 2,000 comments by early Wednesday. "Open internet? That's a good thing. But a law that keeps congress from governing? That's not a good thing -- the internet is a big place, and the language of this law is very broad," she wrote. "As it stands now, IAMA is just a discussion draft, meaning it will be a very long time before it's even close to a vote. And while we're for an open internet, a blanket ban is a bad idea. Let's think about this one a little more, Rep. Issa." When asked why the congressman introduced the bill, a spokesman for Issa told CNN, "After SOPA and PIPA (the Senate's similar Protect Intellectual Property Act), it became very clear that we needed a cooling-off period to figure out a better way to create policy that impacts Internet users, job creators and all Americans." The spokesman, who asked not to be named, declined further comment Tuesday. ||||| Please enable cookies on your web browser in order to continue. 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"– Rep. Darrell Issa is proposing a bill that would "create a two-year moratorium on any new laws, rules, or regulations governing the Internet," reports CNN. It's been met with some controversy from fellow politicians and the public alike. The bill could block regulations that protect consumer privacy, says one lawmaker, and may stymie President Obama's efforts to bolster cybersecurity, reports The Hill. Issa is hosting a Q&A on Reddit today to discuss his bill, and plans to adjust it after receiving feedback. A separate battle is happening in Washington over the 'Do Not Track' initiative, which aims to give Internet users the ability to stop the collection of personal information for advertising purposes. It's a tough topic, since online ads are what pay for many free services, reports the Washington Post. The initiatives looked set to move forward after a successful White House event in February, but since then talks have grown bitter, in part due to opposition from advertising groups. The co-chair of the committee working on the initiative announced she'd be stepping down today, which could help revive talks."
"Looking for news you can trust? Subscribe to our free newsletters. Nine people were killed in the shooting at the historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday night. On Thursday afternoon, Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten officially identified all of the victims, some of whose names had leaked out over the course of the day. Here are brief sketches of their lives. State Sen. Clementa Pinckney Pinckney, 41, was a pastor at Emanuel AME and a widely respected state senator. “Sen. Pinckney was a legend,” said fellow state Sen. Marlon Kimpton on CNN. “He was the moral compass of the state Senate.” Pinckney’s desk in the statehouse was covered with a black cloth after news broke of his death: In SC, if a State Sen dies a black cloth is draped over their desk…this was Pinckney’s desk. — Ellison Barber (@ellisonbarber) June 18, 2015 During his remarks on Thursday afternoon, President Obama said he knew Pinckney personally, along with other members of the church. “To say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel,” he said. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton Coleman-Singleton, also a pastor at the church, was a coach at Goose Creek High School near Charleston. South Carolina’s high school sports governing body mourned her death on Twitter after it was announced on Thursday morning: She was a celebrated track and field coach for Goose Creek High School and revered as a “positive light” to all who knew her. — SCHSL (@SCHSL) June 18, 2015 “I saw her at work everyday and she always had a smile on her face,” Chris Pond, the baseball coach at Goose Creek, said to the Berkeley Independent. Cynthia Hurd Hurd, the manager of the St. Andrews branch of the Charleston County Public Library, was identified by her employer as one of the victims. County library system identifies St. Andrews branch manager Cynthia Hurd as slaying victim in #CharlestonShooting — Andrew Knapp (@offlede) June 18, 2015 “Cynthia was a tireless servant of the community who spent her life helping residents, making sure they had every opportunity for an education and personal growth,” the library said in a statement on Facebook. The library announced it would shut all of its branches on Thursday to honor Hurd. TYWANZA SANDERS Lady June Cole, the interim president of Allen University, said on Thursday that Tywanza Sanders, a 2014 graduate of the small historically black university in Columbia, S.C., was killed in the shooting. Cole called Sanders a “quiet, well-known student who was committed to his education” and who “presented a warm and helpful spirit.” MYRA THOMPSON Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church of North America wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday that Myra Thompson, the wife of the Rev. Anthony Thompson of Charleston’s Holy Trinity REC Church, was killed in the attack. Ethel Lee Lance The 70-year-old grandmother had worked at Emanuel AME for more than three decades. Her grandson Jon Quil Lance told the Post and Courier newspaper in Charleston that Lance was a hardworking Christian and “the heart of the family.” SHE HAS A NAME: Ethel Lee Lance, worked at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston for 30 years. She was killed last night. — Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) June 18, 2015 Susie Jackson The 87-year-old was a longtime church patron and Ethel Lance’s cousin, according to the Post and Courier. Daniel L. Simmons Sr. The 74-year-old was a ministry staff member at Emanuel AME and the former pastor of Greater Zion AME Church in the nearby town of Awendaw. His daughter-in-law, Arcelia Simmons, told ABC News that Simmons attended services at Emanuel on Sundays as well as weekly Bible study. Simmons died in the hospital after the attack.* I can’t believe that Rev. Dan Simmons is gone. This man baptized me, married my parents, and eulogized my granny — Sh’Kur Francis (@_shkurfrancis) June 18, 2015 Depayne Middleton The 49-year-old mother of four sang in the church choir. Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Allen University is located in Charleston. It is actually located in Columbia, S.C. Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the town of Awendaw. ||||| Breaking News Emails Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings. / Updated By Erik Ortiz, Emmanuelle Saliba, Euronews and Alex Johnson The nine victims of the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting were remembered Thursday as "kind-hearted" members of the community — six women and three men who shared a love of family and faith. They had gathered Wednesday night — as they did each week — at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church for a Bible study session. About an hour later, a 21-year-old gunman opened fire in a fit of rage, police said. Charleston County coroner Rae Wooten identified all nine victims in a press conference Thursday. "Immediately my heart started to sink because I knew this was going to mean a forever impact on many, many people," Wooten said about being called in for duty after the massacre Wednesday night. The oldest victim was 87 years old, the youngest, 26. Four of them were reverends. Here's what we know about the slain parishioners, all of whom died of gunshot wounds — eight at the scene, and one in a hospital operating room later. The Rev. Clementa Pinckney Pinckney was a pastor at Emanuel AME and began preaching in the church in his teens. The 41-year-old married father of two also served in the South Carolina Senate and was at one time the youngest member of the state House when he was first elected at 23."
"– The nine people shot to death in a South Carolina church last night ranged in age from 26 to 87, reports NBC News. Some details about them: The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41. The married father of two was a pastor at Emanuel AME and a state senator. "He was the moral compass of the state Senate," a colleague said on CNN, per Mother Jones Tywanza Sanders, 26. He had graduated from Allen University with a degree in business administration just last year. The school called him a "quiet, well-known student who was committed to his education." Cynthia Hurd, 54. She was a longtime employee of the Charleston County Public Library. All branches were closed today in her honor. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 49, worked at Goose Creek High School as a speech therapist and girls' track coach. She was also a pastor at the church. The Rev. Depayne Middelton Doctor, 49, a church singer who had worked for Charleston County providing services for the poor. She was a mother of four. Susie Jackson, 87, a longtime member of the historic church. Ethel Lance, 70, a church sexton who had worked at Emanuel AME for three decades. The Rev. Daniel Simmons, 74, was on the church's ministerial staff, attending Sunday services and a weekly Bible study. Myra Thompson, 59, was the wife of the vicar of Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church in Charleston. Suspect Dylann Roof was arrested after a woman spotted him driving.)"
"FILE- In this Tuesday, April 5, 2016 file photo, an employee sorts Legos in the the new LEGO flagship store unveiled as part of the new Les Halles shopping mall during the press visit in Paris. Danish... (Associated Press) FILE- In this Tuesday, April 5, 2016 file photo, an employee sorts Legos in the the new LEGO flagship store unveiled as part of the new Les Halles shopping mall during the press visit in Paris. Danish toy maker Lego said Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, it will cut 1,400 jobs, or about eight percent of its global... (Associated Press) FILE- In this Tuesday, April 5, 2016 file photo, an employee sorts Legos in the the new LEGO flagship store unveiled as part of the new Les Halles shopping mall during the press visit in Paris. Danish toy maker Lego said Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, it will cut 1,400 jobs, or about eight percent of its global... (Associated Press) FILE- In this Tuesday, April 5, 2016 file photo, an employee sorts Legos in the the new LEGO flagship store unveiled as part of the new Les Halles shopping mall during the press visit in Paris. Danish... (Associated Press) COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Danish toy maker Lego will cut 1,400 jobs, or about eight percent of its global workforce, after reporting a decline in sales and profits in the first half of 2017. The privately held company said Tuesday that its revenue dropped 5 percent to 14.9 billion kroner ($2.4 billion) in the first six months of the year, mainly as a result of weakness in established markets like the U.S. and Europe. Profits slipped 3 percent to 3.4 billion kroner ($544,000). It said it "now prepares to reset the company." "We are disappointed by the decline in revenue in our established markets, and we have taken steps to address this," said Chairman Joergen Vig Knudstorp. He said the long-term aim is to reach "more children in our well-established markets in Europe and the United States," and added there were "strong growth opportunities in growing markets such as China." The company, he said, needs to simplify its business model to reduce its costs. Since 2012, the group has built an increasingly complex organization to support global double-digit growth. However, "in the process, we have added complexity into the organization which now in turn makes it harder for us to grow further," Vig Knudstorp said. He told Denmark's TV2 that staff cuts would mainly affect administration and sales, not production. Last month, the maker of the famous colored building blocks appointed Niels B. Christiansen, who headed thermostat-maker Danfoss for nine years, as its chief executive to replace interim British CEO Bali Padda. Christiansen will start Oct. 1. Based in western Denmark, Lego does not release quarterly figures. The group currently has more than 19,000 employees around the world. ||||| COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Lego said it would lay off 8 percent of its staff and revamp its business after reporting its first fall in sales in more than a decade on Tuesday. The Danish toymaker announced a 5-percent decline in mid-year revenue a month after abruptly removing its chief executive, suggesting it is facing its biggest test since flirting with bankruptcy in the early 2000s. Lego said it could not promise a return to growth in the next two years, a jolting acknowledgement for a group widely admired for embracing the digital era and tying up lucrative franchises from Harry Potter to Minecraft. “We have now pressed the reset-button for the entire group,” executive chairman Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said, acknowledging the business had grown too complicated. He would seek a return to a leaner and more efficient organization to respond to “losing momentum ... which we think could ultimately lead to stagnation or even decline.” FILE PHOTO: The window of a Lego shop in Copenhagen, Denmark April 19, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo Lego said revenues had disappointed in its core markets of the United States and Europe, after a decade of double-digit growth and launches spanning Lego sets, video games, movie franchises, robotics and smartphone applications. Sales related to its Star Wars line declined slightly in the first half of the year, the company said. SHARP REVERSAL It marked a sharp reversal for a company that managed to expand and respond to rising demand in Asia when Knudstorp was CEO, even as the global toy market shrank after the 2008 financial crisis. Knudstorp, took the top job aged 35 in 2004, a year after Lego flirted with bankruptcy, and set about reviving Lego’s core business. That included firing consultants and hiring new designers to come up with higher-margin products that were up to date but still looked like Lego, an abbreviation of the Danish “leg godt”, meaning “play well”. Slideshow (7 Images) Bali Padda took over as chief executive in January, but the Briton was removed just eight months later and replaced by Danish industrialist Niels B. Christiansen. “I am very much accountable for the situation and for the results we’re sharing today,” Knudstorp said. Sales between January and June stood at 14.9 billion Danish crowns ($2.38 billion), still topping My Little Pony producer Hasbro Inc’s (HAS.O) sales of $1.82 billion and Barbie doll maker Mattel Inc’s (MAT.O) $1.71 billion. Last year, revenue growth slowed from 25 percent in 2015 to just six percent. Lego said it would cut approximately 1,400 positions - including up to 600 at its headquarter in Billund, Denmark - the majority of them before the end of 2017. The company currently employs 18,200 people. “We’ve been through a decade of very high growth and during those years we have invested a great deal,” Knudstorp said, noting that the company added more than 7,000 new positions between 2012 and 2016. “We have now realized that we have built an increasingly complex organization to a degree that makes it difficult for us to realize our growth potential,” he added. “What we have unfortunately recently seen is that despite the continued high level of investment, these have not materialized into a good harvest.” The unlisted company said in March that mid-single-digit growth rates were more realistic for the years to come, but revised those expectations downward on Tuesday. “We are not saying specifically whether we will grow the next two years or not,” Knudstorp said."
"– Danish toy maker Lego will cut 1,400 jobs, or about 8% of its global workforce, after reporting a decline in sales and profits in the first half of 2017. The privately held company said Tuesday that its revenue dropped 5% to $2.4 billion in the first six months of the year, mainly as a result of weakness in established markets like the US and Europe. Profits slipped 3% to $544 million. "We are disappointed by the decline in revenue in our established markets, and we have taken steps to address this," said Chairman Joergen Vig Knudstorp, per the AP. He said the long-term aim is to reach "more children in our well-established markets in Europe and the United States," and added there were "strong growth opportunities in growing markets such as China." The company, he said, needs to simplify its business model to reduce costs, though details weren't immediately available on what that might mean. Since 2012, the group has built an increasingly complex organization to support global double-digit growth. However, "in the process, we have added complexity into the organization which now in turn makes it harder for us to grow further," Vig Knudstorp said. The company has been lauded for embracing the digital era through smartphone apps and tie-ins with movies and video games, notes Reuters. The maker of the famous colored building blocks has more than 19,000 employees around the world."
" Rachael D'Amore, CTV Toronto The Toronto District School Board will join other schools in southwestern Ontario who have decided to cancel trips to the U.S., citing concerns over muddled U.S. border restrictions. John Malloy, the TDSB Director of Education, said that 24 trips to the U.S. already approved by the board will proceed for now, but that no new trips will be arranged. The pre-approved trips involve approximately 800 students, as well as 100 students headed to the DECA competition. “While already-approved trips are proceeding at this time, it’s important to note that should the Executive Order be fully implemented, resulting in any of our students being excluded from trips across the U.S. border, then the Board has asked me to cancel already-approved trips to the U.S. for the remainder of the school year,” he said in a statement published to the TDSB website Thursday. Malloy said the board is prepared to reimburse students, parents and staff of the trip costs should this occur. “We do not make this decision lightly,” he said, “but given the uncertainty of these new travel restrictions and when they may come into effect, if at all, we strongly believe that our students should not be placed into these situations of potentially being turned away at the border.” Though an executive order was handed down by U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month, banning travel from citizens of six Muslim-majority countries, it is currently not in effect. Federal court judges in Hawaii and Maryland blocked the order ahead of it being put in place, calling it a violation of the U.S. constitution. While the order does not affect permanent residents or citizens of Canada, Malloy said the board does not want to risk having any one of their students turned away at the border. TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird said Thursday that the board decided to allow the prearranged trips to go forward because they haven’t encountered an issue at the border with their students in the past. “Right now we’re staying no new U.S. trips. Having said that, if we get clarification or if we get more information that maybe changes that, obviously we’ll revisit these decisions,” he told CP24. Bird said that if a student does encounter an issue at the border on a pre-approved trip, the whole group will turn around. “It’s not about politics, it’s about our principles as a school board to be inclusive and equitable. It’s not who’s in change, it’s not where they’re going,” Bird said. “If our students can’t go somewhere for no legitimate reason, they’re being excluded from these trips. We don’t want them in those situations so that’s why we’re taking these additional steps.” The Greater Essex County District School Board made a similar decision in February, though it was only in effect for that month. Ryerson University also suspended trips to the U.S. earlier this month, citing similar concerns about border restrictions. More recently, the Girl Guides of Canada announced last week that it is cancelling any trips to the U.S. over similar uncertainties. ||||| Canada’s largest school board will not approve any new student trips to the United States in the wake of controversial travel restrictions proposed by President Donald Trump. However, 25 trips involving about 900 Toronto District School Board students that are already scheduled for this spring will go ahead as planned unless circumstances change, TDSB education director John Malloy wrote in a letter to principals Thursday. The Toronto District School Board has decided that director of education John Malloy will be able to cancel school trips to the U.S. if travel restrictions prevent students or staff from crossing the border. ( Lucas Oleniuk / Toronto Star file photo ) Given the uncertainty over the proposed travel restrictions, “we strongly believe that our students should not be placed into these situations of potentially being turned away at the border,” Malloy said. The board’s plan — approved unanimously by trustees at a board meeting late Wednesday night — was to strike a balance between ensuring safety and inclusion for students, without causing financial loss and disappointment by cancelling the spring trips kids had planned and fundraised for over many months. Ikran Jama, 17, says the decision is good news for her and fellow students at York Memorial Collegiate who have been planning a four-day trip to New York City since last September. Article Continued Below “Students have worked so hard for this,” says the Grade 12 student, adding they have been selling cookies and popcorn, and holding concerts to raise money for the May visit, which will include giving a musical performance at a retirement home. Jama’s parents are from Somalia — one of the six Muslim-majority countries whose citizens could be refused entry to the U.S. if Trump’s proposed travel restrictions are put in place. She and many of her friends whose families immigrated from the six countries affected are nervous about what will happen when the bus stops at the border, even though they have Canadian passports, she says. But hearing that the school board has a plan in place helps, she added. The plan means there will be no trips to the U.S. approved for the 2017-2018 school year. But still on track are 24 separate trips involving about 800 students, and plans for about 100 youth from different schools to attend an international business competition in California. In the event that any student or staff member on a trip this spring is refused entry at the border as a result of U.S. travel policy, everyone on the trip would return home and Malloy would be permitted to cancel remaining trips for this year, according to the motion approved by trustees. He could also cancel trips if travel restrictions are put in place in the next couple of months, with the board reimbursing students for costs that aren’t covered by insurance. Article Continued Below The TDSB is the latest to join the growing ranks of organizations altering travel policies amid concerns that members of their groups could be denied entry at the border. Earlier this month, Girl Guides of Canada cancelled trips to the U.S., citing safety concerns and uncertainty at the border, and to ensure all guides can participate in group travel. This week, Ryerson University and the Greater Essex County School Board followed suit and suspended trips. Other GTA boards have not announced cancellations. “Schools continue to be allowed to plan, but as always, know that these trips can be cancelled at any time if travel advisories change,” said Carla Pereira, spokesperson for the Peel District School Board. The Toronto Catholic District School Board has not suspended trips to the U.S. or abroad, however “we continue to monitor the situation,” said spokesperson John Yan. Malloy had originally been scheduled to provide TDSB trustees with an update Wednesday on a situation that board staff are watching closely. But Trustee Shelley Laskin, who has heard from concerned parents, moved a motion that his plan be approved on the spot to address uncertainty for students, their families and school staff. “It’s pretty clear there’s consensus that we’re not going to put our students at risk,” she said. The move was supported by student trustee Shams Mehdi, a Grade 11 student at Leaside High School, who noted that a substantial amount of time, money and planning resources have gone into trips already booked for this spring. The plan is “the appropriate decision to be made at this time,” he said. Read more about: ||||| (CNN) Canada's largest school system announced it will no longer allow student or staff trips to the US, citing uncertainty over the travel ban . Toronto District School Board expressed concern over how the US immigration policy could affect students on school trips. "We strongly believe that our students should not be placed into these situations of potentially being turned away at the border," the board's director of education, John Malloy, said in a statement. Under the travel ban, citizens from six different Muslim-majority countries may not be allowed in the US under certain circumstances. The ban affects people outside of those six countries as well, since citizens from those countries could be living elsewhere, like Canada. Trump's new travel ban: One thing to know Trump's new travel ban: One thing to know 01:25 Trump's new travel ban: One thing to know The US travel ban has not taken effect after rulings by two federal judges that temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's executive order. White House press secretary Sean Spicer has said the Trump administration plans to appeal The ongoing predicament left the Toronto District School Board with what it called a "difficult choice." The board decided that the 24 pre-approved trips to the US would continue, but it will not permit new ones. "We feel it strikes a balance between our equity and inclusion commitments as a school board, while not canceling already approved trips for which a financial loss would be incurred," Malloy's statement said. The board serves 246,000 students in 584 schools throughout Toronto. Its decision is similar to one made earlier this month by the Girl Guides of Canada, which is a Canadian version of the Girl Scouts. The Girl Guides had announced it would no longer authorize trips to the United States and that it would avoid connecting flights through the country. The group had called it a "very difficult decision to make," in a notice that didn't specifically mention Trump's travel ban, but the message directly referred to the current immigration situation. "While the United States is a frequent destination for Guiding trips, the ability of all our members to equally enter this country is currently uncertain," its statement read."
"– There will be no new trips to the Washington Monument for students within Canada's largest school system. The Toronto District School Board, which includes 245,000 students in 584 schools, will no longer green-light trips south of the border, citing uncertainty over border restrictions. "We strongly believe that our students should not be placed into these situations of potentially being turned away at the border" in light of President Trump's proposed travel restrictions, TDSB Director of Education John Malloy says, per the Toronto Star. Some 25 trips involving 900 students already scheduled for the spring will go on as planned to prevent financial loss, but the board says all students will turn back if any one student is refused entry into the US. Should Trump's executive order banning travelers from six countries "be fully implemented, resulting in any of our students being excluded from trips across the US border," those trips will be cancelled outright, Malloy says, per CTV News. "It's not about politics, it's about our principles as a school board to be inclusive and equitable," adds a TDSB rep. The Greater Essex County School Board in southwestern Ontario cited similar reasons when banning trips to the US for the month of February. Toronto’s Ryerson University has halted trips until further notice, as have the Girl Guides of Canada, the Canadian version of the Girl Scouts, per CNN. Other school boards say they could follow in the TDSB's footsteps "if travel advisories change.""
"SANAA/ADEN U.S. special forces stormed a walled compound in a remote Yemeni village early on Saturday in an attempt to free Western hostages held by an al Qaeda unit, but an American journalist and a South African teacher were killed by their captors, officials said. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and a Yemeni intelligence official said Luke Somers, 33, and South African Pierre Korkie, 56, were shot by their kidnappers shortly after the raid began in the arid Wadi Abadan district of Shabwa, a province long seen as one of al Qaeda's most formidable strongholds. It was the second U.S. attempt to free Somers in 10 days and Kerry said it had been approved because of information that Somers' life was in imminent danger. "It was our assessment that that clock would run out on Saturday," one U.S. official said. However, the Gift of the Givers relief group, which was trying to secure Korkie's release, said it had negotiated for the teacher to be freed and had expected that to happen on Sunday and for him to be returned to his family. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is seen by Washington as one of al Qaeda's most dangerous branches. The United States has worked with Yemen's government and via drone strikes to attack its leaders in southern and eastern Yemen. "The callous disregard for Luke's life is more proof of the depths of AQAP's depravity, and further reason why the world must never cease in seeking to defeat their evil ideology," President Barack Obama said in a statement. Obama said he had authorized the operation and said the United States would "spare no effort to use all of its military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to bring Americans home safely, wherever they are located." SHOOT-OUT A U.S. defense official said about 40 U.S. special forces troops, flown in by tilt-rotor CV-22 Osprey aircraft, had advanced to within 100 meters (yards) of the walled compound where the hostages were held before the defenders were alerted and a firefight started. About 10 people, including al Qaeda guards and some civilians were killed in the fighting, said Ali al-Ahmadi, chief of Yemen's national security bureau. The Pentagon said it was unaware of any civilian casualties. U.S. officials said they knew Somers was at the location, partly because of information gleaned during the earlier rescue attempt, and they were aware that a second hostage was there but did not know in advance who it was. As the fight began, an al Qaeda guard darted inside the compound and then exited through the back. Gunfire was heard. That’s when American officials believe Somers and Korkie were shot. They were each shot several times, said the U.S. officials, who declined to be identified. The men were treated by medics but one died during the flight out and another aboard a U.S. ship. No U.S. troops were hurt, they said. The raid lasted about 30 minutes. Gift of the Givers said on its website: "We received with sadness the news that Pierre was killed in an attempt by American Special Forces, in the early hours of this morning, to free hostages in Yemen." It added: "The psychological and emotional devastation to (Korkie's wife) Yolande and her family will be compounded by the knowledge that Pierre was to be released by al Qaeda tomorrow ... Three days ago we told her 'Pierre will be home for Christmas'." Yolande, who was kidnapped with her husband in mid-2013, was released in January after intervention by Gift of the Givers. A South African government spokesman declined to comment. Militants in the region often demand millions of dollars for the release of hostages, including in the Korkies' case, and Saturday’s incident was likely to again raise discussion about the wisdom of paying ransoms. The United States, which refuses to make payments as they could encourage more kidnappings, is reviewing its approach to such cases but has said the payment ban will remain in place. There was no new information about three other hostages, a Briton, a Turk and a Yemeni, who had previously been held alongside Somers and Korkie, a Yemeni security official said. Lucy Somers, the photojournalist’s sister, told the Associated Press that she and her father learned of her brother's death from FBI agents at 0500 GMT (12 a.m. EST) Saturday. "We ask that all of Luke's family members be allowed to mourn in peace," she said from London. Somers had been in captivity for 15 months. IMMEDIATE DANGER Kerry said the decision to mount the raid was based on fears that AQAP planned to kill Somers. "Earlier this week, AQAP released a video announcing that Luke would be murdered within 72 hours. Along with other information, there was a compelling indication that Luke's life was in immediate danger," Kerry said. U.S. officials on Thursday said American forces had already attempted to rescue Somers, without giving details. Yemeni officials had previously disclosed the release of six Yemenis, a Saudi and an Ethiopian hostage in a raid on Nov. 25. A senior U.S. official said Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi had given his support for Saturday's operation, which a U.S. official said took place at 1 a.m. local time. Yemen's government issued a different account of the incident. It said in a statement carried on state media that its security forces had led the raid. It said the security forces had surrounded the house and called on the kidnappers to surrender, but they instead shot the hostages. That led to an assault on the building in which four Yemeni security officers were also wounded, it said. The statement said the house belonged to suspected militant Saeed al-Daghaari, which another Yemeni security source told Reuters was in the village of Dafaar in the Wadi Abadan district of Shabwa. "It's a very small village with only 20-40 houses. There were very quick clashes with the gunmen and then it was all finished," a tribal source from the area said. AQAP on Thursday released a video showing a man it said was Somers saying: "I'm looking for any help that can get me out of this situation. I'm certain that my life is in danger." Reuters was not able to independently verify the authenticity of that video, which was reported by SITE Monitoring. (Additional reporting by Jeff Mason in Washington, Peter Salisbury in Sanaa, Yara Bayoumy in Manama, Phil Stewart in Kabul; Stella Mapenzauswa in Johannesburg; Writing by Angus McDowall and David Storey; Editing by Janet Lawrence, Mark Trevelyan, Grant McCool and Paul Simao) ||||| American photojournalist Luke Somers was killed by his al Qaeda captors during a failed U.S. rescue mission on December 5. Photo/Video: AP Under the cover of night, U.S. commandos approached the walled compound on foot, hoping to catch unawares the militants holding two hostages, including American Luke Somers. Then, less than 100 yards from their target, something went terribly wrong. A noise, maybe a dog bark, alerted the militants to the raiders, according to U.S. officials briefed on the operation. The rescue team’s biggest advantage—the element of surprise—was lost in that moment, and the shooting started. ..."
"– The US commandos who tried to rescue American Luke Somers in Yemen came agonizingly close to doing so, according to an account in the Wall Street Journal. It says that about 40 special-ops troops got to within 100 yards of the walled compound in silence about 1am local time. Then, "a noise, maybe a dog bark, alerted the militants to the raiders," writes Adam Entous, who spoke to US officials familiar with the rescue attempt. A 30-minute firefight ensued, during which officials think a militant from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula slipped into the building where Somers was being held and shot him and South African hostage Pierre Korkie. The US troops killed about 10 militants and managed to escape with the two wounded hostages, but one died in the military aircraft carrying him away and the other died on an operating table. "The callous disregard for Luke's life is more proof of the depths of AQAP's depravity, and further reason why the world must never cease in seeking to defeat their evil ideology," said President Obama, as per Reuters. Obama approved the raid, the second in two weeks to try to free Somers, after AQAP promised to kill the photojournalist later today."
"Lea Michele My New BF Is NOT A Gigolo He's A Dating Coach Is Lea Michele's Boyfriend A Gigolo... Or A Dating Coach? EXCLUSIVE is standing by her man ... TMZ has learned the "" actress has decided to keep dating new BFbecause she's convinced he's no gigolo -- he just coaches 'em.Sources close to the couple tell us ... Lea was PISSED after we broke the story about-- a website that offers male "companionship" -- and confronted him about it.We're told Matthew copped to going on a few dates with female clients ... but told Lea he only did it as research -- so he could understand what the gigolos go through and coach them through it.This guy is good ... 'cause we're told Lea actually bought it, and Matt promised he'd never do it again.Our sources tell us Lea's not getting the full story ... because Paetz has had more than just "a few" dates while working as a gigolo for almost a year. ||||| Who Is Lea Michele's New Man, Matthew Paetz? Lea Michele Talks About Peeing Her Pants It's been nearly a year since her longtime boyfriend Cory Monteith passed away , and Lea Michele is slowly dipping her toe back into the dating waters.The Glee star, 27, has been seeing aspiring actor and model Matthew Paetz, PEOPLE has confirmed. The pair reportedly met in April on the set of her music video for "On My Way.""For a long time, Lea wasn't close to even thinking about getting into a relationship," says a Michele insider. "Cory's death was and will continue to be a struggle for her."For now, it appears that Paetz is helping Michele gradually move on. The question remains how much the actress knows about his questionable past. TMZ reports that Paetz is a former gigolo, who once operated under the alias "Christian" on the escort website Cowboys4Angels. The profile has since been removed from the site.It remains to be seen how this relationship will develop, but for her part, Michele is taking it day by day. "You can literally lose yourself if you don't actually die from it," Michele told Ellen DeGeneres last year of the grieving process. "[Cory] would want me to live my life." ||||| Lea Michele is downright smitten with the new man in her life, Matthew Paetz. E! News has learned that the Glee star "has very strong feelings" for the aspiring actor and model and "thinks he's amazing." While the two have only been dating for the last couple of months, we're told that Michele "feels he's a great guy." Our insider adds, "He treats her really well, he's smart and fun. She's really happy." Another source tells us, "This is her first real relationship since Cory. She waited a long time before getting serious again and she likes him a lot." It appears that Paetz is the first real love interest Michele has taken to since Cory Monteith's tragic passing last summer. The good-looking duo met on the set of the 27-year-old's music video for "On My Way." ||||| Lea Michele's New Boyfriend Former GIGOLO Lea Michele's New Boyfriend Is A Former GIGOLO -- Slangin' Wang EXCLUSIVE is getting for free what other women pay good money for -- her new beau has been moonlighting as a gigolo.Lea has been quietly dating Matthew Paetz for the last few months ... she has very consciously kept the relationship on the down low.Sources close to the couple tell us ... Matthew has been a hired gun forunder the alias, Christian.Cowboys4Angels -- which offers male "companionship" to lonely women -- is featured on Showtime's, "."According to the website ... Matthew is a certified life coach, dating expert and massage therapist ... charging $350 for one hour and up to $6,000 for a weekend. For $17,500 you can get a whole week.Matthew's profile is now hidden on the site.We're told Lea and Matthew met on the set of her music video, "On My Way."Sources tell us ... Matthew most recently took on a client for a weekend during the Stagecoach music festival in April. He's gone on hiatus since he started dating Lea.Reps for both Lea and Cowboys4Angels had no comment. ||||| Add a location to your Tweets When you tweet with a location, Twitter stores that location. You can switch location on/off before each Tweet and always have the option to delete your location history. Learn more"
"– It appears Lea Michele is beginning to move on, almost a year after the death of her boyfriend Cory Monteith. The Glee actress met Matthew Paetz on the set of one of her music videos in April, and she's reportedly been seeing him, quietly, for a couple months. "For a long time, Lea wasn't close to even thinking about getting into a relationship," a source tells People. "Cory's death was and will continue to be a struggle for her." Paetz is an aspiring actor and model, People notes, and on his Twitter account he describes himself as a dating and lifestyle coach—but TMZ says he is, or was, also a gigolo who went by the name "Christian" on Cowboys4Angels, a site offering male "companionship" that's featured on Showtime's Gigolos. TMZ has a screenshot of "Christian's" profile, which described him as a life coach, dating expert, and massage therapist who charged $350 per hour or $6,000 per weekend, but the gossip site says the profile is now hidden or removed. Sources say Paetz last took a client in April, but has taken a break since he and Michele got together. She was apparently unhappy after TMZ's gigolo story, the site notes in a follow-up, but sources say Paetz told her he really just coaches gigolos, and had only gone out with a few clients, for research purposes. But a TMZ source says Paetz had been working as an escort for nearly a year, and had gone on more than a few outings. But Michele "feels he's a great guy," another source tells E!. "He treats her really well, he's smart and fun. She's really happy.""
"Publicity-mad glamour model Josie Cunningham has cancelled plans to sell tickets to her baby’s birth after discovering she’s expecting a girl. She has also vowed to quit drinking and smoking, and says she has huge regrets over her unhealthy lifestyle, which she blames on the disappointment of believing her third child would be a third son. “I want to enjoy my precious first few moments alone with my daughter and my mum – not share them with the world,” she said today. “It will be special.” Josie – who revels in being known as Britain’s most hated woman – last week found out medics were wrong about the sex of the baby she is expecting in October. She went back for a second opinion after using a DIY home scan kit, which indicated her new baby would be a girl. Doctors have now confirmed that this is the case. Noble Draper Demi Moore wannabe: Josie's baby isn't far off Josie, 24, shocked the nation by turning to booze and fags when she thought her baby would be a boy. But yesterday she said: “I have been such a silly girl and have lots of regrets. I can see that now I know I am going to have a daughter.” The former escort, who first gained notoriety last year for her boob job on the NHS, later threatened to abort her baby for a chance to appear on Big Brother. She then decided to go ahead with the pregnancy but revealed she would be selling tickets for £40,000 to be at the birth. She even planned to broadcast it on Skype, charging viewers £200 each to log on. Expecting: Josie is also known as Britain's most hated woman After changing her mind, Josie, of Leeds, also revealed: “I’ve really started looking after myself. I have never purposely put my child at any risk, but when I was originally told I was having a boy I just lost all willpower to avoid the cravings. Now all that’s changed. I’m ashamed of the way I have portrayed myself. “I’ve now cut down to just one or two fags a day. I’m about to get hypnotherapy to stop completely.” Josie – who has narrowed the possible fathers of her baby down to two men, a friend and a client she saw as an escort – caused outrage in July when she compared having another boy to getting a new ford and a girl to having a high-spec Range Rover. She explained her delight over expecting a girl, saying: “My two little boys will grow up, get married and start their own little family – but a daughter usually stays close to their mum for life.” ||||| Ken McKay/ITV/Rex/REX USA/Ken McKay/ITV/Rex/REX USA Josie Cunningham offered four tickets to strangers to watch her give birth. A woman who was offering tickets for strangers to watch the birth of her child has canceled the plan because she has found out she is having a girl. Four people had already paid around $15,000 each to watch Josie Cunningham give birth. But the British woman has had a change of heart after finding out she is having a daughter. "I want to enjoy my precious first moments alone with my daughter and my mum — not share them with the world," she told the Mirror. "I have been such a silly girl and have lots of regrets. I can see that now I know I am going to have a daughter." Ken McKay/ITV/Rex/REX USA/Ken McKay/ITV/Rex/REX USA Josie Cunningham changed her mind about seling tickets to her birth after she found out she was having a girl. Cunningham, 24, has two other children. She rose to notoriety in the UK when it was revealed she had a boob job paid for by the state. Cunningham said doctors had originally told her she was having a boy. ||||| Get daily news updates directly to your inbox Subscribe Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice Could not subscribe, try again later Invalid Email Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will start in 8 Cancel Play now Wannabe celebrity Josie Cunningham last night confessed the chance of appearing on TV’s Big Brother was worth more than her unborn child’s life. Puffing on a cigarette and rubbing her baby bump, the controversial model and call girl – who will have her abortion at a clinic this week – said: “I’m finally on the verge of becoming famous and I’m not going to ruin it now. “An abortion will further my career. This time next year I won’t have a baby. Instead, I’ll be famous, driving a bright pink Range Rover and buying a big house. Nothing will get in my way.” Josie, 23, is already 18 weeks pregnant by either an escort agency client or a Premier League footballer. But she claims her late life-or-death decision has nothing to do with who the father is. She says it is based on the breakdown of negotiations with Channel 5 to appear on the reality show. Josie – who caused outrage in 2013 when she demanded a £4,800 boob job on the NHS to become a glamour model – said: “Channel 5 were keen to shortlist me then they found out I was pregnant. “Then they suddenly turned cold. That was when I started considering an abortion. After the operation I will be going back to them and asking if they will still consider me. “I’ve also had loads of other offers to further my career – and I’m not willing to give them up because I’m pregnant.” Get the latest news and reaction on this shocking story here - or read on for the rest of Josie's interview. (Image: @JosieCOnline / Twitter) Yet only nine days ago Josie was excitedly tweeting a scan picture of her unborn child. She said: “At first I thought thank God it’s a footballer or a doctor and not a Big Issue seller and they have money. “Suddenly I was pregnant and I could get free dental work on the NHS, so I got a tooth straightened for cosmetic reasons, and it all seemed great. poll loading Would you boycott Big Brother if Josie Cunningham appeared on the show after an abortion? 14000+ VOTES SO FAR YES NO “But then I started to think. I didn’t want to be famous for having a ­footballer’s baby or for being the girl who had a kid by someone who paid for sex. “I want to be famous for being me – Josie Cunningham, a glamour model and celebrity in my own right. If I want to do that I need to put my career first. “I want the attention to be on me, not on who fathered my child.” (Image: Nicholas Bowman / Sunday Mirror) Josie’s reasons for going ahead with the abortion fall outside NHS guidelines and the 1967 Abortion Act. The law states terminations may be carried out if continuing the pregnancy would damage a woman’s physical or mental health. Career plans and fame-seeking are not valid reasons – but celebrity-obsessed Josie is determined. “I was excited at first but as soon as I noticed I was getting bigger, that was it,” she said. “I realised it would be at least a year before I could do any glamour modelling if I went through with it and, in my opinion, nobody wants to see a naked pregnant lady. “People will disagree with my actions. They always do, but I don’t care. “It’s not ideal situation and I wish I had never fallen pregnant. I’m not on the Pill and in December the condom split when I was sleeping with a client. “Then I had sex with a footballer and didn’t use contraception at all. I’d known him for years and we’d had sex before. I didn’t even think about the morning after pill.” (Image: Facebook) The footballer and the client – who is a high-flying surgeon – both offered to support Josie financially if she had the baby. But she said no. So the footballer agreed to pay for the abortion at a London private clinic. The Sunday Mirror has seen the documents but has decided not to name the clinic. Josie – already mum to boys Harley, six, and Frankie, three – said: “I’ve had five miscarriages so the one good thing about the pregnancy is that it has shown me I can still carry beyond 12 weeks. “I’m a good mum but this is ­something I have wanted for so long. I can’t give up my big break for anything.” The termination will cost £1,695. Josie did not to try to have this particular medical procedure to boost her career carried out on the NHS. But that didn’t stop her before. She begged NHS doctors for a breast enlargement in January 2013 to take her from a 32A to 32DD, claiming years of bullying over her flat chest had ruined her life. But she later revealed her ambition to become a glamour model was the real reason to go under the knife. Her idol is Katie Price and she revealed she longs to be the star of her own reality TV series. Now Josie – still smoking up to 10 cigarettes a day and drinking despite her bump – fears pro-life activists and online trolls will target her over her abortion decision. (Image: Nicholas Bowman / Sunday Mirror) So she is keen to point out what she is doing is for her two sons as much as for her. “I want it for myself but I want it for my boys,” she said. “I love them and I want to be able to buy them the most expensive toys and to give them nice holidays. People will criticise me but I’m a good mother.” She said doesn’t think she will be “particularly distraught” after the termination and is relieved she has made her decision. “To begin with I stopped drinking and started a super healthy diet but I’ve totally relaxed now,” she said. “The other night I treated myself to a couple of frozen Smirnoff ­cocktails and I can’t stop smoking. “People ask me what I’m craving and the answer is Smirnoff Ice! Once this is all out of the way I hope I can go back to my life and the opportunities will still be there.” Josie now hopes Channel 5 bosses will reconsider her for Big Brother – but she claims there is more in the pipeline. “If not, I have a documentary which will hopefully be done towards the end of the year and another reality TV show is ­interested,” she said. “It’s all happening and finally all the hate I’ve have from the public over the NHS boob job is worth it. “All those people who have trolled me and hated me for being me are going to be put in their place when I make it. Why should I give that up to have a baby?” The law An abortion can be carried out in the first 24 weeks under certain criteria. It must take place in a hospital or licensed clinic. Two doctors must agree it would cause less damage to the mother's health than going on with pregnancy. NHS guidelines say women severely impoverished or unable to provide care to the child, can have the procedure. An abortion should ideally be carried out before 12 weeks. There are rare situations when abortion may be carried out after 24 weeks: "to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman" or if there is "substantial risk the child would be born with physical or mental abnormalities". ||||| Shameless: Josie Cunningham now wants her boobs made smaller on the NHS A wannabe glamour model who was given a £4,800 boob job on the NHS now admits she regrets her decision and wants them out – for free. Josie Cunningham, 23, sparked outrage when she had her 32A bust boosted to a 36DD in March. But just six months later, the mum-of-two claims the implants are too big and wants them made smaller – at the cost of the taxpayer. Josie, from Leeds, begged the NHS for the operation because she was being bullied for being flat-chested. But she now claims her new boobs are making her feel self-conscious and are stopping her finding modelling work. Josie told Closer magazine: “They're making my working life difficult. “They're so big I find them embarrassing and I don't feel I can do any modelling because they've attracted so much negative attention." Shameless Josie now believes the NHS should cover the cost of going under the knife again after making her top-heavy to begin with. She added: “I'm thinking about having a reduction on the NHS. "I don't want to spend my life being known as the girl with massive NHS boobs, so having smaller implants is the only option. “I'm looking in to charities that could help, but I think it's down to the NHS because they made them so big." Josie boasted about her boob job in March in an attempt to launch a career as a glamour model but soon faced a huge public backlash. She told Closer: “People followed me in the street shouting 'We want our money back s***, it was so upsetting.” “It’s ridiculous that the taxpayer paid for this surgery in the first place, especially when the NHS denies others cancer drugs and delays hip operations. “Ultimately, the health budget should be spent on treating the sick, not wasted funding boob jobs purely for cosmetic reasons.” Read Josie’s story in full in this week’s issue of Closer, out today, or visit"
"– An aspiring model and former escort in Britain says she won't be selling tickets to her baby's birth after all, and has decided to quit smoking and drinking—all because she found out she was having a girl, not a boy. Josie Cunningham, dubbed "Britain's most hated woman," now says she's "ashamed" of her plans to offer tickets to the birth at around $66,000 a pop and charge Skype viewers $330 to watch via livestream, reports the Daily Mirror. At least four people had paid an apparently reduced price of $15,000 each per ticket, according to the Daily News. Why else don't the Brits like her? She had a breast augmentation paid for by the public health system, and told the Mirror earlier this year that she was being considered for Big Brother and would abort her baby if it would help her chances. Then she apparently got upset upon learning that her baby would be another boy (she already has two sons). So she coped by drinking and smoking, until doctors said last week that the baby will actually be a girl. "I have been such a silly girl and have lots of regrets," Cunningham says. "I can see that now I know I am going to have a daughter.""
"On Saturday, William Shatner took to Twitter to mourn the death of longtime Star Trek co-star Leonard Nimoy, ruefully confessing he couldn't "make it back in time" to attend the late actor's funeral on Sunday. "I am currently in FL as I agreed to appear at the Red Cross Ball tonight," wrote Shatner. "I feel really awful." "I loved him like a brother. We will all miss his humor, his talent, and his capacity to love." -William Shatner — William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 27, 2015 I am currently in FL as I agreed to appear at the Red Cross Ball tonight. Leonard's funeral is tomorrow. I can't make it back in time. — William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 28, 2015 I feel really awful. Here I am doing charity work and one of my dearest friends is being buried. — William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 28, 2015 Instead, Shatner suggested, fans could join him online tomorrow to remember Nimoy. So maybe tomorrow we come together here and celebrate his life. — William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 28, 2015 So let's spend some time tomorrow celebrating Leonard's life and remembering the man. — William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) February 28, 2015 Naturally, Shatner missing Nimoy's funeral over a seemingly minor scheduling conflict struck more than a few commenters as rather odd. Isn't there some Trek-loving billionaire out there who can charter Bill a flight? [Image via AP Images]"
"– One familiar face who apparently won't be appearing at Spock's funeral: Kirk. William Shatner tweeted today that he "can't make it" to Leonard Nimoy's memorial service tomorrow because he's currently in Florida doing charity work, Gawker reports. Noting that he had "agreed to appear at the Red Cross Ball tonight," Shatner added: "I feel really awful. Here I am doing charity work and one of my dearest friends is being buried." He suggested an online event tomorrow instead. "Maybe tomorrow we come together here and celebrate his life," he wrote."
"Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shares a laugh with President Obama after finishing up the first presidential debate at the University of Denver. Oct. 3, 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney shares a laugh with President Obama after finishing up the first presidential debate at the University of Denver. Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post President Barack Obama walks on stage during a campaign event on Thursday, Oct. 4, in Denver. Click here for photos from last night’s presidential debate. President Barack Obama walks on stage during a campaign event on Thursday, Oct. 4, in Denver. Click here for photos from last night’s presidential debate. A day after his subdued debate performance, President Obama delivered a feistier critique of Republican nominee Mitt Romney, telling 12,000 supporters on Thursday that his rival had misrepresented his positions because “he does not want to be held accountable.” Obama said the “very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney” onstage at the University of Denver was an imposter who suddenly was dancing “around his positions” on tax cuts, education and outsourcing. “It couldn’t have been the real Mitt Romney,” Obama told 12,300 supporters at Sloane’s Lake Park, “because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country all year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthy, but the fellow onstage last night did not know anything about that. The real Mitt Romney said we do not need any more teachers in the classroom, but the fellow onstage said he loves teachers, can’t get enough of them.” Obama added that Romney misled viewers during the debate because he “knows full well that we don’t want what he’s been selling for the last year.” The Obama campaign is hoping that by attacking Romney’s truthfulness, it can create a counter-narrative that while Romney might have won on style points, the president had offered more substance and consistency. The campaign has already produced a television ad with footage of Romney denying that his tax cut plan would cost $5 trillion and a tagline that says: “How can we trust Mitt Romney.” Obama’s more direct and combative approach Thursday contrasted with what many observers felt was the lackluster effort he gave during the televised debate. Republicans quickly declared victory after the debate, and even some Democrats criticized the president for failing to confront Romney over his positions and statements. Obama’s campaign aides began doing that early Thursday, making the rounds of morning cable television news shows and in a conference call with reporters. But they did acknowledged that it was not the president’s best performance and that changes could be made before the second presidential debate Oct. 16 in Hofstra, N.Y. “We’re going to take a hard look at this,” senior campaign adviser David Axelrod said in a conference call with reporters. He added that the campaign will “have to make some judgments about where to draw the lines in these debates” and how to allocate its time during the answers. Asked why the president had not attacked Romney on his time at Bain Capital and his dismissive “47 percent” remarks, Axelrod explained that the campaign did not think viewers wanted to hear Obama and Romney insulting each other. At the same time, he continued to make the case that Romney had not been forthright with the public on several issues. “He may win the Oscar for his performance last night, but he’s not going to win the presidency,” Axelrod insisted. The Romney campaign scoffed at the criticism. Spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said: “The Obama campaign’s conference call today was just like the president’s performance last night. The campaign, like the president, offered no defense of the president’s first term record or vision for a second term, and instead, offered nothing but false attacks, petulant statements and lies about Governor Romney’s record.” At the outdoor rally, Obama followed up on Axelrod’s line of attack, saying “if you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth.” The crowd appeared to appreciate the president’s directness. One man yelled out “Liar!” when the president said Romney was not coming clean on his record on outsourcing jobs while heading Bain Capital. And Obama even delivered a zinger, mocking Romney’s statement during the debate that he would eliminate government funding for PBS, even though he likes Big Bird. “Thank goodness someone is getting tough on Big Bird,” he said. “We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit.” “And Elmo!” someone shouted. “Elmo too,” the president replied. ||||| Looking for a quick recovery from a disappointing debate, President Barack Obama questioned the identity of the "real" Mitt Romney on Thursday, suggesting his Republican rival had not been candid about his policy positions while on stage. "Gov. Romney may dance around his positions but if you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth," Obama said at a post-debate rally. Romney's campaign dismissed the criticism as "damage control." Obama's aggressive stand came as his campaign conceded he will have to adjust his debate style. Wednesday's night event was widely viewed as a win for Romney and a lost opportunity for Obama to connect with the American people as national polls had showed him with a slight advantage heading into their first debate. Obama said that when he reached the debate stage "I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney," Obama said, adding that the "real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that." The president also accused Romney of misrepresenting past statements on education and outsourcing. In tough comments, the president said Romney "does not want to be held accountable ... because he knows full well that we don't want what he's selling." Obama panned Romney's suggestion during the debate that one way to pare back federal spending is to cut the subsidy for PBS, which airs "Sesame Street." Romney said he likes PBS and "I love Big Bird," but said the country couldn't afford to keep borrowing money from China to pay for things like that. "When he was asked what he'd actually do to cut the deficit and reduce spending, he said he'd eliminate funding for public television. That was his answer. I mean thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It's about time," Obama joked. "We didn't know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit. But that's what we heard last night. How about that? Elmo, too?" Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams responded to the accusations of dishonesty by saying Romney demonstrated in the debate why he should be president. "In full damage-control mode, President Obama today offered no defense of his record and no vision for the future," Williams said. "Rather than a plan to fix our economy, President Obama simply offered more false attacks and renewed his call for job-killing tax hikes." In a conference call with reporters, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said the president would make "adjustments" and would need to determine by the next presidential debate on Oct. 16 in Hempstead, N.Y., how best to counter what the campaign considers Romney's evasions on a series of issues. Comparing it to a playoff game in sports, Axelrod said: "You evaluate after every contest and you make adjustments and I'm sure that we will make adjustments. I don't see us adding huge amounts of additional prep times. There are some strategic judgments that have to be made and we'll make them." Axelrod sought to turn the questions about the debate into a matter of character, repeatedly accusing Romney of "hiding the truth and the facts" from the American people. "It was a very vigorous performance, but one that was devoid of honesty," Axelrod said of Romney. He said the Republican presidential nominee offered well-delivered but "fraudulent" lines that will be hard to hold up over the remainder of the campaign. Building on that narrative, Obama's campaign quickly released an ad questioning Romney's truthfulness, arguing that he didn't level with middle-class families on how his tax plan would affect them. "If we can't trust him here, how could we ever trust him here?" the ad says. It was airing in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. ||||| MADISON, Wis. — A fired-up President Barack Obama on Thursday threw the punches he pulled in his first debate against Mitt Romney. The president — as feisty as he was low-key onstage Wednesday night — spent 20 minutes in his first post-debate speech mocking the genial, centrist Romney of that debate as an imposter who misled the American people. Text Size - + reset “Gov. Romney may dance around his positions, but if you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth,” Obama told a crowd of about 12,000 in Denver. Later in the day, he addressed his biggest rally of the campaign so far — 30,000 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, according to the school’s police chief — in a major attempt to change the conversation. Thousands more lined the motorcade route. On stage at the first of three presidential debates, “I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney, but it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney,” Obama said in Denver. That person was not “the real Mitt Romney,” the candidate who has spent the last year “promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.” Obama seemed relieved to be in the more inviting environs of a pep rally at a lakeside park miles from the debate venue at the University of Denver. Appearing in a half-zipped windbreaker, he leaned forward on the lectern as he spoke, a sign that he was genuinely enthusiastic, according to his aides. By the time Air Force One made its way to Madison, some staffers were giddy — Valerie Jarrett was taking pictures of the crowd and joined David Plouffe on a hydraulic lift to get a better view of the scene. It was Obama’s largest rally in almost two years, when he drew 35,000 to Ohio State. In both speeches, Obama seized on the one gaffe committed by Romney during an otherwise commanding performance: Romney’s awkward joke about cutting funding for PBS. Asked how he would cut the deficit, Romney said he would end the federal government’s support for PBS. Then, he joked to moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS: “I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you, too.” Obama mocked that response on Thursday. “He’ll get rid of regulations on Wall Street, but he’s going to crack down on Sesame Street,” he said in Madison. “When he was asked what he’d actually do to cut the deficit and reduce spending, he said he’d eliminate funding for public television. That was his answer,” Obama said in Denver. “I mean thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It’s about time,” he said to laughter. “We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit. But that’s what we heard last night. … Elmo too?” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said Obama was “in full damage-control mode” after the debate and “offered no defense of his record and no vision for the future.” “Rather than a plan to fix our economy, President Obama simply offered more false attacks and renewed his call for job-killing tax hikes. Last night, Mitt Romney demonstrated why he should be president, laying out the clear choice in this election.” Before Obama’s morning rally, campaign senior adviser David Axelrod had previewed the new theme — “The Two Mitts” — in a conference call with reporters, suggesting that Romney “may win the Oscar for his performance last night, but he’s not going to win the presidency.” Glenn Thrush reported from Denver and Madison, Wis. Jennifer Epstein reported from Arlington, Va. ||||| Obama, the day after, slams Romney's claims By Jonathan Easley - Tweet President Obama didn’t repeat the mistake of his lackluster debate performance in his first post-debate appearance on Thursday, coming out swinging at Mitt Romney. “We had our first debate last night,” Obama said at an outdoor event at Sloan’s Lake Park in Denver on Thursday. “When I got onto the stage I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney, because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country all year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthy. The fellow onstage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.” Romney defended his tax plan after facing repeated claims from Obama that it would hurt the middle class and explode the deficit. The former Massachusetts governor said his plan to cut tax rates across-the-board would be paid for by ending tax preferences for the highest earners, and said that under no circumstances would he increase the tax burden on the middle class. One of the few moments of levity came when Romney said part of his plan to reduce federal spending would be to cut funding to public television. “I like PBS; I love Big Bird. Actually I like you, too,” Romney said to debate moderator Jim Lehrer, the host of PBS's "NewsHour." “But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for." Obama had a ready-made quip to play off the remark, and used it to hammer Romney over his tax plan. “When asked what he would do to reduce the deficit, he said he would cut funding to public television,” Obama said Thursday. “That was his answer. Thanks goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It’s about time. We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit. His math doesn’t add up, and I had to spend a lot of time last night trying to pin him down.” Obama also hit Romney over other instances from the debate in which he said the GOP challenger had flip-flopped. “The real Mitt Romney said we didn’t need more teachers in our classrooms,” Obama continued. “But the fellow onstage last night, he loves teachers, can’t get enough of them. The Mitt Romney we all know invested in companies that were pioneers in outsourcing. But the guy onstage last night said he doesn’t even know about laws that encourage offshoring. “He said that if it’s true he must need a new accountant. Now, we know for sure it was not the real Mitt Romney because he seems to be doing just fine with his current accountant. So you see, the man onstage last night — he doesn’t want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney and what he’s been saying for the last year, and that’s because he knows full well we don’t want what the real Mitt Romney has been selling for the last year.” Obama seemed to be knocked off message in the early stages of Wednesday’s debate, as taxes, and an aggressive Romney, dominated the opening segments.Romney defended his tax plan after facing repeated claims from Obama that it would hurt the middle class and explode the deficit. The former Massachusetts governor said his plan to cut tax rates across-the-board would be paid for by ending tax preferences for the highest earners, and said that under no circumstances would he increase the tax burden on the middle class.One of the few moments of levity came when Romney said part of his plan to reduce federal spending would be to cut funding to public television.“I like PBS; I love Big Bird. Actually I like you, too,” Romney said to debate moderator Jim Lehrer, the host of PBS's "NewsHour." “But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for."Obama had a ready-made quip to play off the remark, and used it to hammer Romney over his tax plan.“When asked what he would do to reduce the deficit, he said he would cut funding to public television,” Obama said Thursday. “That was his answer. Thanks goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It’s about time. We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit. His math doesn’t add up, and I had to spend a lot of time last night trying to pin him down.”Obama also hit Romney over other instances from the debate in which he said the GOP challenger had flip-flopped.“The real Mitt Romney said we didn’t need more teachers in our classrooms,” Obama continued. “But the fellow onstage last night, he loves teachers, can’t get enough of them. The Mitt Romney we all know invested in companies that were pioneers in outsourcing. But the guy onstage last night said he doesn’t even know about laws that encourage offshoring.“He said that if it’s true he must need a new accountant. Now, we know for sure it was not the real Mitt Romney because he seems to be doing just fine with his current accountant. So you see, the man onstage last night — he doesn’t want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney and what he’s been saying for the last year, and that’s because he knows full well we don’t want what the real Mitt Romney has been selling for the last year.” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams shot back in an email to The Hill, saying the president was in "full damage-control mode" from the debate. “In full damage-control mode, President Obama today offered no defense of his record and no vision for the future," Williams said. "Rather than a plan to fix our economy, President Obama simply offered more false attacks and renewed his call for job-killing tax hikes. Last night, Mitt Romney demonstrated why he should be President, laying out the clear choice in this election. We can’t afford four more years of the last four years. We need a real recovery – and Mitt Romney has a real plan to deliver it.” Tweet View Comments Source: The Hill Archives: Senate | House | Administration | Campaign | Business & Lobbying | Capital Living | Opinion View News by Subject: Defense & Homeland Security | Energy & Environment | Healthcare | Finance & Economy | Technology | Foreign Policy | Labor | Transportation & Infrastructure"
"– Obama fans might take heart. The man they wanted to show up at last night's debate finally surfaced at a rally in Denver today. Stories are using words like "feistier" (Washington Post), "aggressive" (the AP), "coming out swinging" (the Hill), and "fired up" (Politico) to describe the president's speech. Some examples: That "very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney" last night must have been an imposter, said Obama, because "the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country all year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthy, but the fellow onstage last night did not know anything about that." "The Mitt Romney we all know invested in companies that were pioneers in outsourcing. But the guy onstage last night said he doesn’t even know about laws that encourage offshoring." “I mean thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird. It’s about time. We didn’t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit. But that’s what we heard last night. Elmo, too?" “Gov. Romney may dance around his positions, but if you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth." The Romney camp dismissed it all as "damage control." The president adjusted to the altitude, apparently?"
"I. The operation of the HYSY 981 drilling rig On 2 May 2014, a Chinese company's HYSY 981 drilling rig started its drilling operation inside the contiguous zone of China's Xisha Islands (see Annex 1/5 for the locations of operation) for the purpose of oil and gas exploration. With the first phase of the operation completed, the second phase began on 27 May. The two locations of operation are 17 nautical miles from both the Zhongjian Island of China's Xisha Islands and the baseline of the territorial waters of Xisha Islands, yet approximately 133 to 156 nautical miles away from the coast of the Vietnamese mainland. The Chinese company has been conducting explorations in the related waters for the past 10 years, including seismic operations and well site surveys. The drilling operation carried out by HYSY 981 this time is a continuation of the routine process of explorations, and falls well within China's sovereignty and jurisdiction. II. Vietnam's provocation Shortly after the Chinese operation started, Vietnam sent a large number of vessels, including armed vessels, to the site, illegally and forcefully disrupting the Chinese operation and ramming the Chinese government vessels on escort and security missions there. In the meantime, Vietnam also sent frogmen and other underwater agents to the area, and dropped large numbers of obstacles, including fishing nets and floating objects, in the waters. As of 5 pm on 7 June, there were as many as 63 Vietnamese vessels in the area at the peak, attempting to break through China's cordon and ramming the Chinese government ships for a total of 1,416 times. The above-mentioned actions of the Vietnamese side were serious infringements upon China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, grave threats to the safety of Chinese personnel and the HYSY 981 drilling rig, and gross violations of the relevant international laws, including the Charter of the United Nations, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf. Such actions also undermined the freedom and safety of navigation in these waters, and damaged peace and stability in the region. While illegally and forcefully disrupting the normal operation of the Chinese company on the sea, Vietnam also condoned anti-China demonstrations at home. In mid-May, thousands of lawless elements in Vietnam conducted beating, smashing, looting and arson against companies of China and several other countries. They brutally killed four Chinese nationals and injured over 300 others, and caused heavy property losses. III. China's response The waters between China's Xisha Islands and the coast of the Vietnamese mainland are yet to be delimited. The two sides have not yet conducted delimitation of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf in these waters. Both sides are entitled to claim EEZ and continental shelf in accordance with the UNCLOS. However, these waters will never become Vietnam's EEZ and continental shelf no matter which principle is applied in the delimitation. In the face of Vietnam's provocative actions on the sea, China exercised great restraint and took necessary preventive measures. Chinese government ships were dispatched to the site for the purpose of ensuring the safety of the operation, which effectively safeguarded the order of production and operation on the sea and the safety of navigation. In the meantime, since 2 May, China has conducted over 30 communications with Vietnam at various levels, requesting the Vietnamese side to stop its illegal disruption. Regrettably, however, the illegal disruption of the Vietnamese side is still continuing. IV. Xisha Islands are part of the Chinese territory 1. Xisha Islands are an inherent part of China's territory, over which there is no dispute. China was the first to discover, develop, exploit and exercise jurisdiction over the Xisha Islands. During the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1126 AD), the Chinese government already established jurisdiction over the Xisha Islands and sent naval forces to patrol the waters there. In 1909, Commander Li Zhun of the Guangdong naval force of the Qing Dynasty led a military inspection mission to the Xisha Islands and reasserted China's sovereignty by hoisting the flag and firing a salvo on the Yongxing Island. In 1911, the government of the Republic of China announced its decision to put the Xisha Islands and their adjacent waters under the jurisdiction of Ya County of Hainan Island. Japan invaded and occupied the Xisha Islands during the Second World War. After Japan's surrender in 1945, in accordance with a series of international documents, the Chinese government sent senior officials boarding military vessels to the Xisha Islands in November 1946 to hold the ceremony for receiving the islands, and a stone tablet was erected to commemorate the handover and troops were stationed there afterwards. The Xisha Islands, which had once been illegally occupied by a foreign country, were thus returned to the jurisdiction of the Chinese government. In 1959, the Chinese government established the Administration Office for the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands. In January 1974, the Chinese military and people drove the invading army of the Saigon authority of South Vietnam from the Shanhu Island and Ganquan Island of the Xisha Islands and defended China's territory and sovereignty. The Chinese government enacted the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone in 1992 and published the base points and baselines of the territorial waters of the Xisha Islands in 1996, both of which reaffirm China's sovereignty over the Xisha Islands and the extent of territorial waters of the islands. In 2012, the Chinese government established the various departments of Sansha city on the Yongxing Island of Xisha Islands. 2. Prior to 1974, none of the successive Vietnamese governments had ever challenged China's sovereignty over the Xisha Islands. Vietnam had officially recognized the Xisha Islands as part of China's territory since ancient times. This position was reflected in its government statements and notes as well as its newspapers, maps and textbooks. During a meeting with chargé d'affaires ad interim Li Zhimin of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam on 15 June 1956, Vice Foreign Minister of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam Ung Van Khiem solemnly stated that, "according to Vietnamese data, the Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands are historically part of Chinese territory." Le Loc, Acting Director of the Asian Department of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry, who was present, specifically cited Vietnamese data and pointed out that, "judging from history, these islands were already part of China at the time of the Song Dynasty." On 4 September 1958, the Chinese government issued a declaration (see Annex 2/5), stating that the breadth of the territorial waters of the People's Republic of China shall be 12 nautical miles and making it clear that "this provision applies to all the territories of the People's Republic of China, including ... the Xisha Islands". On 6 September, NHAN DAN, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of Vietnamese Workers' Party, published on its front page the full text of the Chinese government's declaration regarding China's territorial sea. On 14 September, Premier Pham Van Dong of the government of Vietnam sent a diplomatic note (see Annex 3/5) to Premier Zhou Enlai of the State Council of China, solemnly stating that "the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam recognizes and supports the declaration of the government of the People's Republic of China on its decision concerning China's territorial sea made on September 4, 1958" and "the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam respects this decision". On 9 May 1965, the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam issued a statement with reference to the designation by the US government of the "combat zone" of the US armed forces in Vietnam. It says, "US President Lyndon Johnson designated the whole of Vietnam, and the adjacent waters which extend roughly 100 miles from the coast of Vietnam and part of the territorial waters of the People's Republic of China in its Xisha Islands as 'combat zone' of the United States armed forces ... in direct threat to the security of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and its neighbors ..." The World Atlas printed in May 1972 by the Bureau of Survey and Cartography under the Office of the Premier of Vietnam designated the Xisha Islands by their Chinese names (see Annex 4/5). The geography textbook for ninth graders published by Vietnam's Educational Press in 1974 carried in it a lesson entitled "The People's Republic of China" (see Annex 5/5). It reads, "The chain of islands from the Nansha and Xisha Islands to Hainan Island, Taiwan Island, the Penghu Islands and the Zhoushan Islands ... are shaped like a bow and constitute a Great Wall defending the China mainland." But now the Vietnamese government goes back on its word by making territorial claims over China's Xisha Islands. That is a gross violation of the principles of international law, including the principle of estoppel, and the basic norms governing international relations. V. Properly addressing the situation China is a staunch force for maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea and promoting cooperation between and development of countries in the region. China firmly upholds the purpose and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the basic norms of international relations and fundamental principles of international law. The least China wants is any turbulence in its neighborhood. China wants good relations with Vietnam, but there are principles that China cannot abandon. The channel of communication between China and Vietnam is open. China urges Vietnam to bear in mind the overall interests of the bilateral relations and peace and stability in the South China Sea, respect China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, immediately stop all forms of disruptions of the Chinese operation and withdraw all vessels and personnel from the site, so as to ease the tension and restore tranquility at sea as early as possible. China will continue its effort to communicate with Vietnam with a view to properly addressing the current situation. VI. Annexes Annex 1/5: Map of the operation locations of the Chinese company Annex 2/5: Declaration of the Government of the People's Republic of China on China's Territorial Sea published on 4 September 1958 Annex 3/5: The note sent on 14 September 1958 by Premier of the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam Pham Van Dong to Premier Zhou Enlai of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Annex 4/5: Cover of the World Atlas printed in May 1972 by the Bureau of Survey and Cartography under the Office of the Premier of Vietnam, and the page on the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Annex 5/5: The lesson entitled "The People's Republic of China" in the geography textbook for ninth-grade students published by Vietnam's Educational Press in 1974 ||||| Image copyright AFP Image caption Both sides have complained of harassment and intimidation Chinese officials have accused vessels from Vietnam of launching more than 1,400 ramming raids on its ships near a drilling rig in the South China Sea. The foreign ministry said in a statement the actions were illegal and called on Hanoi to stop "provocations". China moved the drilling rig on 2 May, helping to spark anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam in which four people died. Hanoi says the rig is within its waters and has called on China to stop its exploration in the area. The South China Sea is host to overlapping territorial claims by a number of countries. Beijing claims almost the entire sea, based on a mid-20th Century map with a line apparently delineating Chinese territory, and vague historical claims going back more than 1,000 years. Image copyright Reuters Image caption The seas are heavily patrolled by both Vietnamese and Chinese ships Image copyright Reuters Image caption Nationalist sentiment is running very high in Vietnam over the South China Sea dispute Image copyright Reuters Image caption Vietnam has shown images of its vessels being sunk by Chinese ships The drilling rig is near the Paracel Islands, a grouping claimed by both China and Vietnam. Hanoi argued that the rig was inside its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), usually defined as within 200 nautical miles of a country's coast. However, in its most detailed defence of the rig manoeuvre so far, China's foreign ministry said the drilling operation fell "well within China's sovereignty and jurisdiction". "The two locations of operation are 17 nautical miles from both the Zhongjian Island of China's Xisha Islands [Paracels] ... yet approximately 133 to 156 nautical miles away from the coast of the Vietnamese mainland," the statement said. Vietnam-China tensions Image copyright Reuters China backs North Vietnam during the Vietnam war 1974 : China and South Vietnam fight a war over the Paracel Islands; China seizes Vietnam-controlled islands. : China and South Vietnam fight a war over the Paracel Islands; China seizes Vietnam-controlled islands. After war, Hanoi moves closer to Russia, angered by Beijing's support for Khmer Rouge 1979: China and Vietnam fight a border war; thousands of troops die China and Vietnam fight a border war; thousands of troops die 1988: Two sides fight over the Spratly Islands; about 60 Vietnamese sailors killed The statement complained of "serious infringements upon China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction". "As of 5pm on 7 June, there were as many as 63 Vietnamese vessels in the area at the peak, attempting to break through China's cordon and ramming the Chinese government ships for a total of 1,416 times," it said. The statement goes on to give a lengthy justification of China's territorial claims. Among the authorities it cites are the fact that a Chinese flag was hoisted on the islands in 1911, and that a Vietnamese school textbook from 1974 allegedly referred to the Paracels as Chinese."
"– The dispute between China and Vietnam, fueled by the contentious location of a Chinese oil rig, is heating up: Now China is accusing Vietnamese ships of ramming its vessels well over a thousand times during the last month, the BBC reports. "As of 5pm on 7 June, there were as many as 63 Vietnamese vessels in the area at the peak ... ramming the Chinese government ships for a total of 1,416 times," China says in a statement, which notes the ramming began shortly after it moved the rig on May 2. And the country is defending that movement to a spot that it says "falls well within China's sovereignty and jurisdiction." China's drilling is occurring far closer to its own islands, the Paracels, than to Vietnam's mainland, China claims. Trouble is, Vietnam also claims the Paracel Islands. Among China's justifications for its claim: It raised a flag on the islands in 1911, and a 1974 Vietnamese 9th-grade textbook allegedly says they're Chinese, the BBC notes. For its part, Vietnam last week called on the US to "make further practical acts" to settle the disagreements "in accordance with international law.""
"The moment has arrived. Executives from Research in Motion have gathered for a six-city, simultaneous launch of BlackBerry 10, a mobile operating system that will power a new series of phones (and who knows what else). In one hour we’ll hear about the all-new BlackBerry 10 platfor, and two new phones, rumored to be called the Z10 and X10. Here in New York, hundreds of analysts, journalists and industry observers are bustling around the blue-tinted environs of Pier 36 in the Lower East Side for the launch which starts at 10am EST (7am Pacific). Some are skeptical about today’s launch. RIM’s global market share is down to roughly 6% from a peak of 20% just three years ago; its shares are down 80% in the same period. This is a story of how quickly even dominant players in the new world of telecoms can fall behind if they stall in development: take a breath and you’re king of the industry; let it out and someone’s just overtaken you. In RIM’s case, iPhones and Android phones became the devices everyone wanted for both work and play, crimping RIM’s marketshare after a peak in 2009. A trickier-than-expected transition from RIM’s purchase of QNX in 2010 didn’t help matters. QNX technology will now power BB10. Today is widely seen as the company’s last shot at relevance, a cliched Hail Mary Pass. It has laid off thousands of employees to save $1 billion in costs, but today RIM is pulling out the stops with a big launch venue. Stay tuned… 9.37 am EST: The main hall has opened for press, with Hot Chip thumping through the speakers. And some nice news for RIM’s shares: they’re currently up 4.2% after a two-day decline. 9.46am EST: The rest of the launch attendees are filling up the main hall – it’s getting loud and busy. Not long now. 10:06 am EST: Our MC has taken to the stage and we’re starting with video link-ups with the five other launch events around the world: London, Dubai, Toronto Paris and Johannesburg. The crowd in Toronto looks especially excited. 10:13 am EST: We’re seeing a couple of videos from industry and die-hard consumer fans of the BlackBerry. If you’re interested, you can watch them here. And here is a guy who has been growing his hair until the launch of BlackBerry 10 – a stage hand has just snipped off his pony tail in front of the cheering audience. That was cute. 10:14 am EST: And now, RIM’s chief executive, Thorsten Heins has taken to the stage. Looking relaxed in a grey suit with no tie. It’s been almost one year exactly since I was handed the reins of Research in Motion and it has easily bee the most challenging year of my career to date… but also the most exhilarating and rewarding.” 10:20 am EST: Heins: “We will soon give you more ways to connect your mobile experience to the world around you… We will be a leader in connecting you to your Internet of Things.” This is what RIM means when they talk about BlackBerry 10 being for hyper-connected consumers. 10:23 am EST: Heins says RIM had to make the tough decision to “go it alone” with its own software platform. He is publicly thanking RIM’s engineers and carrier partners. 10.27 am EST: Transitioning to RIM’s new phase it took heartfelt and brutal honesty with ourselves. We have transformed ourselves inside and out. Some big news: Research in Motion has rebranded itself as just BlackBerry. Now “Apple” isn’t the only fruit-theme tech moniker on the block. “ It all starts today with our renaming and our global launch of BlackBerry 10,” says Heins. 10.28 am EST: And here are the two new phones: the touchscreen Z10 and the Q10, a phone with a physical keyboard. The phones boast 1080p video recording. “Aren’t they beautiful?” asks Heins. (The rumors were almost right. Reports initially called them the Z10 and “X10″) 10:31 am EST: The devices have a “glass-weave” cover. Now Vivek Bhardwaj, head of BlackBerry’s software portfolio takes to the stage to demonstrate BlackBerry 10. The backdrop already refers to Bhardwaj’s employer as “BlackBerry.” He’s demonstrating BlackBerry Flow, and seamless transitions between apps like YouTube and the phone’s Hub. 10:33 am EST: Bhardwaj demonstrates watching a movie on the phone – the famous red LED on all BlackBerry phone flashes to indicate an email. He swipes the film slightly to the right to “peek” into the Hub and see what the email is. “We’ve move from content, straight into BlackBerry Hub.” RIM’s big idea is that checking notifications should not be disruptive, but seamless. Swipe down slightly and you can peek into your calendar to see what appointments you have coming up. 10:41 am EST: Bhardwaj shows off the predictive keyboard on the Z10, uses language algorithms to learn what sort of words its users tend to use over time. Unusually, predicted words appear *within* the keyboard – they’re small, but readable. Once you see a word you want to use, flick up to select it. There’s also “multi-language support,” meaning if you type “je” or “I” in French, the predictions suddenly go en Frances. 10:43 am EST: Now we’re looking at BlackBerry Balance, which separates work and personal apps on the phone as two different profiles. “Both applications co-exist, work and personal” says Bhardwaj. Heins adds that it’s a great solution for the CIO, because he can control the work aspect of the device, and the user, who can control the personal. 10:45 am EST: Heins says he has some exciting news about BlackBerry Messenger: it now has video calling capabilities. Bjardwaj does a video calling demo to Andrew in London, whose face we see pop up on the screen. In the middle of the call, they can sync screens in a feature called “screen share” to show images and screenshots. 10:50 am EST: We’re seeing some nifty tools for remembering appointments and tasks, part of a feature called BlackBerry Remember. 10:52 am EST: Now fror a demonstration of the Z10 camera. Bhardwaj takes a photo of Heins on stage. “What stands out is creating that perfect shot,” he says, focusing on Heins’ face. BlackBerry Timeshift, allowing you to take several photos in a row and zooming in to choose the best facial expression. There are Instagram-like filters for photo editing. 10:55 am EST: We’re talking about vacations – I’m sure both these guys could use one – and a feature called BlackBerry Story Maker. This appears to be an app that creates slide shows with transitions, effects, title and credit screens, from photos and videos in an album. Heins thanks Bhardwaj, who leaves the stage. 10:58 am EST: BlackBerry’s (formerly RIM’s) shares are down 4.6% despite showing off some nifty features. - And now Martyn Mallick, vice president of global alliances and business development, takes to the stage. “We are launching BlackBerry 10 with more apps than any first-generation operating system,” says Mallick. BB10 has more than 70,000 applications available. Among the committed developers: Skype, WhatsApp, Amazon Kindle, SAP, Rovio (Angry Birds). We have over 1,000 top applications from around the world committed to BlackBerry 10. 11.00am EST – Among the gaming partners: Electronic Arts and GameLoft. For Music: “all the major record labels and the independents.” No mention yet of Spotify, Netflix or Hulu. 11.07am EST - Now for timing: ”By end of February we’ll be completing testing with 110 carriers globally.” (That’s lower than then 150 carriers we’d heard about before. In the U.S., carrier partners AT&T, Verizon and Sprint and T-Mobile will announce pricing and availability today. We expect availablity for Z10 to be in March. In Canada it will be available on Feb 10. It will retail for $199 on a three-year contract. in the UK z10 will be available tomorrow from Everything Everywhere, O2, Vodafone, BT and Carphone Warehouse. 11.10am EST – BlackBerry is announcing a “global creative director” position – sounds like it will be a celebrity. Yep, it’s Alicia Keys. Wearing a black velvet blazer, she has taken to the stage to describe what she likes about the new platform, and describes BlackBerry as an ex-boyfriend. Not a bad analogy – a lot of smartphone started with a BlackBerry before switching to an iPhone or Android phone. She had once been an avid user, then “we broke up” and she went for more bling. “I was playing the field.” Now we’re “back together.” 11.15 am EST: So what is Keys going to do? “I’m going to work closely with the app designers, the carriers, to explore this BB10 platform,” she says. “I’m definitely going to start with other super women who also love BlackBerry, and work with people in the entertainment and music business to inspire creative projects. And I want to enhance this concept, or bridging the gap between the work phone and the play phone. I’m extremely excited to work with you and your team.” ||||| Summary: At events in major cities around the world, the BlackBerry maker rests its final chance of survival on the latest BlackBerry 10 platform, which the Canadian smartphone maker launched today. New York: Research In Motion (RIM) today launched two new devices running the long-awaited BlackBerry 10 platform at events around the world, including in London, Paris, and Dubai. And to illustrate how BlackBerry 10 is an all-or-nothing bet on the future, RIM has rebranded itself BlackBerry as a company. (Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET) The BlackBerry maker also announced two new devices: The touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 and the hardware keyboard-enabled BlackBerry Q10. (Credit: BlackBerry) The Z10 comes with a 4.2-inch display with 356 pixels per inch (ppi), along with a textured backing that makes it comfortable to hold. The Q10 comes with a fully fledged mobile QWERTY keyboard from a slightly smaller portrait display. It comes with a glass-weave cover, making it thinner and lighter, but also stronger than plastic. Both devices come with a 1.5Ghz dual-core processors with 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and an expandable memory card slot. Also included is a micro-HDMI output port on each device and near-field communication (NFC). And, as expected, both devices will connect to compatible 4G LTE and HSPA+ networks. (Credit: BlackBerry) The Z10 will be available from March in the US on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, but price will vary by carrier. Heins attributed the network testing phase as being the main reasons for the delay. It will be available in the UK tomorrow on all carriers--including EE, O2, Vodafone, BT, and Three--with pricing set by carrier. The Z10 will be available in Canada on February 5. The smartphone maker said the Z10 will retail for "around $149.99 on a three-year contract." The Q10 will be made available to worldwide carriers in April, and pricing will range between £36 and £45 per month for a two-year contract on most networks. In most cases, upfront fees should be expected. Today, BlackBerry chief executive Thorsten Heins said, "Finally, here we are." He noted that today was not the end point of more than two years' work; it was the "starting line" for a new wave of BlackBerry products. And then Heins dropped a surprise bomb on the audience by announcing that "Research In Motion" would become "one consistent brand that is recognized around the world." RIM will therefore become "BlackBerry," combining the name of the company and the platform together. "One brand, one promise," Heins said. RIM--sorry, I mean BlackBerry--has already garnered support from the three major carriers: Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. In total, BlackBerry has more than 650 carriers around the world. BlackBerry global creative director Alicia Keys--yes, the singer--also shows that the company formerly known as RIM is also targeting not just soccer moms, but also moms in the workplace, according to Heins' introduction. She said, almost too honestly, that she left the BlackBerry platform but came back after balancing two phones between work and home. Interestingly, BlackBerry has a solution to such a problem: BlackBerry Balance, which targets bring-your-own-device (BYOD) users. The software allows users to separate work and home lives with BlackBerry Balance, by splitting secure enterprise email and work apps with personal email accounts. Read this BlackBerry 10 launch: By the numbers BlackBerry, previously known as Research In Motion (RIM), launched the new BlackBerry 10 platform this morning. Here are the numbers you need to know. Read more Last week, BlackBerry released the back-end mobile device management service BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) 10, which powers the new BlackBerry's secure message service, along with policy management of the devices, along with both iOS and Android phones. The launch of the new platform and devices comes at a crucial time for the Ontario, Canada-based smartphone maker. BlackBerry has been under pressure to release the next wave of BlackBerry smartphones--its primary business focus--in a bid to reclaim a considerable quarter-on-quarter loss in mobile market share. BlackBerry 10 was also delayed by a whole fiscal quarter following poor first-quarter sales put the company's cash-flow situation in the spotlight. The company also cut 5,000 jobs as part of a major restructuring effort to refocus the company's efforts on the BlackBerry 10 platform. BlackBerry--which remains $RIMM on the Nasdaq--climbed by more than 4.6 percent in early morning trading, but dropped dramatically to more than 5 percent by the end of the launch event. ||||| BlackBerry has announced a new position, Global Creative Director, and hired its own in-house celebrity to fill the role: Alicia Keys. Keys was apparently chosen for renewing her "long-term relationship" with BlackBerry after straying during its bling-less doldrums, as she illustrated with a long anecdote about her romance with the newly "fly" platform. Though Keys says she'll be working closely with BlackBerry developers and is "fascinated by technology," her role is more similar to that of another celebrity:, who was previously named Director of Creative Innovation of Intel. All in all, it's quite the turnaround from calling herself an "iPhone junky" last year — how the heart does wander. BlackBerry is also trying to pull in some other big names: Neil Gaiman and Robert Rodriguez (referred to as the "world's most inspirational people") will be using the platform for a film and art/storytelling project, respectively. We're not quite sure yet what that will mean in practice — though BlackBerry's been pushing its typing chops pretty hard, so making somebody write a novel on their phone isn't out of the question. Keys, meanwhile, will be taking the BlackBerry on tour and will use it to create a music video for every city she visits. All these projects will involve collaborating with new BlackBerry 10 adopters, throwing some potential celebrity interaction in to sweeten the deal for anybody who's on the fence. ||||| Thorsten Heins, CEO of Research in Motion, introduces the BlackBerry 10. (Photo: Mark Lennihan, AP) Research in Motion -- now taking on the name BlackBerry -- has unveiled its latest line of BlackBerry smartphones. The BlackBerry Z10 features a full touchscreen and textured back, while the Q10 features the traditional design with physical keyboard. So far, Wall Street does not seem too impressed. The company's stock is down 6%. Miss the event? Scroll down for a look at the action as it happened. 11:26 a.m.: Heins wrap up. The Z10 dominated the presentation, but BlackBerry has more details on the traditional Q10 smartphone on its official blog. Beyond a physical QWERTY keyboard, the device features a 3.1-inch AMOLED touchscreen display. 11:19 a.m.: Based on a video, it looks like the Z10 will be available in either black or white. The video shows Keys, director Robert Rodriguez and writer Neil Gaiman handling various projects on the new BlackBerrys. Keys says she plans on taking the phone on tour and create videos from every city. 11:17 a.m.: Keys says she's particularly focused on maintaining the phone's vision for balance between personal and work tasks. "I really want to bridge the gap between the work phone and play phone," says Keys. 11:15 a.m.: Keys talks to Heins about why she split briefly from BlackBerry to choose other phones, comparing it to a long-term relationship. She cites "sexier" phones on the market, but appeared impressed with BlackBerry's new changes. "We're exclusively dating again and I'm very happy," she says. 11:13 a.m.: Heins creating a global creative director position at BlackBerry. The company's CEO announces Grammy winner Alicia Keys will fill the role. 11:10 a.m.: Heins says all four major U.S. wireless carriers -- AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile -- will carry the Z10. Price points will vary based on carrier. Device will start hitting stores worldwide next month. (Correction: AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile will carry the Z10. Sprint has committed to carrying the Q10 when it comes out.) 11:08 a.m.: Seeing a variety of music and film options, from Alicia Keys to Pixar movies. This looks like a real serious push to battle Apple and Google. 11:07 a.m.: Checking out montage of the apps and other media in BlackBerry World. Again, most of the heavy hitters are available, such as Evernote and Dropbox. 11:04 a.m.: One area where BlackBerry will need work is apps. Currently, BlackBerry World hosts 70,000 applications, much lower than competitors. However, the selection is pretty strong, including Skype, MLB and Amazon Kindle. It appears most of the major apps are available. Lots of games featured too, including Angry Birds and Where's My Water? 11:00 a.m.: Heins says all eight major studios and all major music labels have signed on to add music and video to BlackBerry World, the equivalent to the App Store and Google Play. 10:58 a.m.: Next up is BlackBerry Story Maker, software that lets users combine photos and video to create their own films. Users can also apply filters similar to Instagram. 10:55 a.m.: Picture Editor includes free transform, other editing options available in most smartphones. So far, investors do not seem impressed with the unveiling. Stock in the company formerly known as RIM is down 5%, and falling. 10:54 a.m.: Checking out the Z10's camera. Users tap anywhere to take a picture, or move reticle to change focus. Also includes feature to help users snap best image. 10:52 a.m.: BlackBerry Remember is the next feature, consisting of a series of folders users access to manage content such as messages, photos, browser bookmarks and other info. 10:50 a.m.: The video chat also includes Screen Share, which allows one user to share their BlackBerry screen with another. 10:48 a.m.: Heins shifting to BlackBerry Messenger, which has 60 million users. The service is now adding video calls. They're testing it out with a BBM call to reps at the London event. The user can flip between chat and video call easily. 10:46 a.m.: Now looking at BlackBerry Balance, which allows users to create custom home screens, such as Home or Work. Users can have multiple profile sets with different apps. It appears you get two. Also, if you like games, this demo just confirmed BlackBerry is getting Angry Birds: Star Wars. Looks like BlackBerry is beefing up their gaming options. 10:42 a.m.: The keyboard is really fascinating. It features a variation on predictive text where users can flick words from the keyboard. It recognizes the sentence structure and suggests words. 10:40 a.m.: The integration of social networks looks promising. Searching appears seamless. "The device adapts to you and what you need to know," says Heins. 10:38 a.m.: When managing messages, the user can hold down on an email or text and see a menu pop to the right side. Users then slide their thumb over to flag a messages, delete or perform other tasks. 10:36 a.m.: Also interesting: BlackBerry Peek. For example, while watching a video, the user can swipe from the left to quickly check email or their social network. It appears effortless. 10:35 a.m.: BlackBerry about to showcase the BlackBerry Hub, the interface for working with the Z10 smartphone. It features a series of rectangular tiles, slightly similar to Windows Phone. It appears zippy. The user taps on the window and quickly pops up their app or browser. 10:33 a.m.: The Q10 features a physical keyboard, added by user request. "We heard you loud and clear," says Heins. "We built this for all those people that said we just have to have a physical keyboarding experience." Time for a demo. 10:31 a.m.: The Z10 features a 4.2-inch touchscreen and textured back to make it easy to hold. Heins says the phone will boast super-fast browsing and integration with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. 10:30 a.m.: Heins unveils the first two BlackBerry 10 smartphones: The BlackBerry Z10 and Q10. The Z10 looks like a full touchscreen phone, while the Q10 looks like a traditional model with signature keyboard. 10:28 a.m.: Heins just revealed Research in Motion is now going by name BlackBerry. "We are a company that is united in our vision of a mobile company," Heins says of the name change. 10:26 a.m.: Heins introduces RIM founder and former CEO Mike Lazaridis, who receives a huge ovation from the crowd. 10:24 a.m.: "To say we have reinvented this company is simply not enough," Heins says of RIM's evolution. He says new operating system built from the ground up, with stronger emphasis on content and apps. 10:21 a.m.: Heins says focus for BlackBerry 10 is to help users stay hyper-connected socially as well as maintaining a balance between their personal and professional lives. "BlackBerry 10 will keep them moving," Heins says, adding devices make jump to "true mobile computing." 10:18 a.m.: "We have definitely been on a journey of transformation," says Heins, who took over as CEO nearly a year ago. "I know innovation is at the heart of RIM," he says of the opportunity to lead RIM. 10:17 a.m.: The "#1 BlackBerry Fanboy" just cut some of his hair off due to his enthusiasm for the device. I think we get it, RIM. Everyone is thrilled. Finally, Thorsten Heins, RIM President and CEO, takes the stage. 10:15 a.m.: Yet another video montage about the greatness of BlackBerry. If you're keeping score online, that's 3 video montages to zero phones unveiled. Rapper Lil E is apparently so excited for the launch that he created a song called "No Sleep 'Til BlackBerry 10." RIM might be a wee bit excited about this launch. 10:12 a.m.: Alec Saunders, RIM's vice president of developer relations, talks about the behind-the-scenes action on BlackBerry 10. He says company has seen "huge groundswell of support" for the operating system. 10:09 a.m.: We've got another montage, CEOs, entrepreneurs and others from around the world talk about BlackBerry 10's perks. Interface definitely looks sleeker compared to earlier models. It seems more in line with contemporary smartphones. 10:07 a.m.: A RIM host conducts a quick global roll call, checking in on launch events in London, Paris and Dubai. Let's see some phones! 10:05 a.m.: The video montage begins. "One device for work and play" is the theme. Re-designed and re-invented used often. Update at 10:03 a.m. ET: Naturally, RIM is running late. Hope to have updates soon. Our original story Research in Motion is getting ready to reveal arguably its most important lineup of smartphones: the BlackBerry 10 line. As competition heats up from companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Samsung, the maker of the former #1 smartphone seeks a rebound with its latest BlackBerry. What will RIM reveal? Stay here for the latest updates from the event starting at 10 a.m. ET. If you can access video, RIM is also hosting a webcast of their event."
"– The six-city launch of the new BlackBerry 10 phones and operating system is now complete. One of the biggest shockers from the event: Research in Motion is scrapping its name, and will now be known simply as BlackBerry. Other developments: CEO Thorsten Heins underscored the "heartfelt and brutal honesty" BlackBerry had to go through to get to this day, reports Forbes. It's been a long haul for the phone, which is debuting nearly a year late. Heins showcased two phones: the Z10, which has a full 4.2-inch touchscreen, and the Q10, which has a traditional keyboard set below a smaller touchscreen. Heins said the Q10 was created for customers "that said we just have to have a physical keyboarding experience," reports USA Today. The company also added some star power, announcing that Alicia Keys would be its new Global Creative director, a position created for her, the Verge reports. The company also boasted that Neil Gaiman and Robert Rodriguez will be using the phone for a film and art/storytelling project. On to the features. First up was BlackBerry Hub, the central interface for the Z10. It has a tiled layout not unlike Microsoft's latest Windows iteration. BlackBerry software honcho Vivek Bhardwaj also showed off BlackBerry Peek, the phone's notification system, which allows users to check emails and calendars without leaving the app they're using. Bhardwaj also discussed the hotly anticipated BlackBerry Balance feature, which aims to reinstate BlackBerry's dominance among business users. It allows users to maintain a personal profile on the phone, while a company can access the phone's professional profile. As for hardware, BlackBerry's camera now allows for face-to-face messaging. The Z10 will be available in black and white, and ZDNet notes prices will hover around $149 for a three-month contract, depending on the carrier. The phones will be available tomorrow in the UK, but the US will have to cool its heel until March."
"Mr. Delahunt, a six-term congressman, is the least prominent of the four but perhaps the funniest. More to the point, he is the only one willing to sleep in the living room with a close-up view of Mr. Schumer slumbering a few feet away in his boxers. Photo Mr. Miller began taking in weary lawmakers in 1982, but this is the first time in 12 years that four members of a Democratic majority have lived here simultaneously. The four men were once host to a fund-raiser for Senator Barbara Boxer of California at their divey dwelling, raising $80,000. Given the prevailing attire in the place on many nights, guests were given pairs of custom-made “Barbara Boxer shorts.” As a general rule, the abode is hardly fit for entertaining, or even for a health inspector. It is used for convenience: sleeping, ditching stuff, and fast-food consumption — the kinds of functions prized by vagabond politicians whose families are back in their home states and who generally spend only their working weekdays here. “Everybody in the world says they’re going to do a television series based on us,” said Mr. Durbin, who was collapsed on the couch on a recent Monday night. Still in a tie, he sipped ice water from a massive Chicago Cubs cup while waiting for the Chinese food to arrive. “But then they realize that the story of four middle-aged men, with no sex and violence, is not going to last two weeks,” he said. The prevailing topics of their discussions are grandchildren and Metamucil, he added. “Hey, speak for yourself, Durbin,” Mr. Delahunt said, protesting the claim of no sex and violence. “There is a lot of violence in here,” Mr. Schumer said. In fact, the roommates have never resorted to violence, at least with one another. (Crickets are another story.) Their weapons are verbal, and often aimed at Mr. Schumer, who admits to a serious dereliction of roommate duties, like grocery shopping. He is also prone to a blatant disregard for conserving a most precious household resource, cereal. Photo “I love cereal,” Mr. Schumer said, digging into his second bowl of granola, going a long way toward depleting a box that Mr. Miller had just purchased. Advertisement Continue reading the main story The night of the national championship football game between the University of Florida and Ohio State, Jan. 8, was a rare instance of the four roommates being home and awake at the same time. It had not happened since the election in November, and the neighborhood has changed considerably since then. Several Republicans on the block lost their race or left Congress (the latter category includes the disgraced Representative Mark Foley, who lived down the street). “This street was just devastated by the election,” Mr. Miller said. “Who says Republicans are good for property values?” He added that no Republican had ever set foot in the place, at least to their knowledge. “We just have to vote with them, not live with them,” he said. Mr. Miller bought the house in 1977 and started taking in renters a few years later. Early tenants included former Representative Marty Russo of Illinois and former Representative Leon E. Panetta of California, who was forced to move out when President Clinton appointed him head of the Office of Management and Budget. (Ethics laws prohibited a White House official from paying rent to a member of Congress.) Mr. Schumer joined them in 1982, and Mr. Durbin moved in a decade later on condition that he get one of the two bedrooms upstairs. Mr. Miller sleeps in the other, bigger bedroom, asserting his ownership privileges, and Mr. Delahunt began occupying the second living room bed four years ago, after a previous tenant, former Representative Sam Gejdenson, was evicted by voters in Connecticut. Photo Mr. Miller charges rent of $750 a month, which Mr. Durbin pays by direct deposit and Mr. Schumer’s wife pays by sending Mr. Miller six checks twice a year. Mr. Schumer says his wardrobe at the apartment consists of boxers and suits, nothing in between. Women rarely set foot in the place, excluding the Haitian cleaning lady who comes every week and who everyone promises is a legal immigrant. The common bathroom upstairs is stocked with supersize bottles of Listerine, CVS cocoa butter, Suave shampoo (with dandruff control) and a hair dryer. Advertisement Continue reading the main story Little thought is given to entertainment besides the big-screen television that Mr. Durbin recently purchased against the wishes of Mr. Schumer and Mr. Delahunt, who liked the old one. The refrigerator is mostly empty save for apples, grapes and about two dozen bottles of beer. “The icemaker is back on,” boasted Mr. Miller, pointing to the inside of what might be the most unseemly freezer in Washington this side of Representative William Jefferson’s. (F.B.I. agents found $90,000 in the freezer of Mr. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat, who is being investigated on bribery charges.) Once, Mr. Miller’s son shot a deer and presented the house with an abundant supply of venison. It remained in the freezer for 12 years, at which point it was deemed to have reached its term limit and was discarded. “Whatever happened to that venison?” Mr. Schumer wondered. “I think it just got up and walked away,” Mr. Delahunt said. The roommates then repaired to couches to watch Florida-Ohio State and to stuff their faces with Sichuan beef and kung pao chicken. Mr. Durbin began talking about meetings he had last month with the presidents of Bolivia and Ecuador on a Congressional delegation to Latin America. Then he and Mr. Schumer started arguing about Mr. Schumer’s refusal to make his bed. ||||| Okay, it’s been four months, no excuses — you should have finished “House of Cards” by now. If not, the clock’s ticking, because another online-only TV show set in Washington is officially on the way. “Alpha House,” a political satire about four Republican senators who live together in a rowhouse on Capitol Hill, has been ordered to series by Amazon Studios, the company announced Wednesday morning; 13 episodes will air this year and early next year. The studio, a production arm of, performed a nifty experiment about a month ago, posting more than a dozen television pilots — eight comedies and six children’s shows — to its consumer site. It called on customers to give feedback about which pilots they would like to see turned into full-fledged shows that would stream online. Apparently, viewers are fans of middle-aged men living like frat brothers and running the country in their spare time. “Alpha House,” created and written by “Doonesbury” cartoonist Garry Trudeau, was one of just two comedy pilots picked up for a full season. But does the popularity of Netflix’s “House of Cards” — which attempted to defy TV conventions in releasing all its episodes to its streaming site on the same day — hurt another Washington series on the Internet? Not at all, says executive producer Jonathan Alter. In fact, the Kevin Spacey drama was a huge benefit to the fledgling “Alpha House.” “It helped introduce people to the idea of watching online television, and especially online television about politics,” said Alter, a Washington-based writer for Bloomberg News who spent nearly three decades at Newsweek. The show, based on a real property in the District that has housed a rotation of various Democratic senators for years, has been the brainchild of Trudeau since about 2008. Inspired by a New York Times story about the house, Trudeau originally wrote the pilot for network television, but things didn’t pan out. Last January, Alter, a close friend of Trudeau’s, brought up the idea of resurrecting the abandoned pilot. Trudeau’s response, Alter said, was something along the lines of, “Well, be my guest.” Although Trudeau was unsure about pitching the script to Amazon Studios, Alter said, Alter convinced him that an online series was the way to go. Having Trudeau’s name attached to the project certainly helped it stand out, Alter said, especially above the thousands of scripts Amazon received when it announced an open call for ideas. But Roy Price, Amazon Studios director, insists that “once you’re on the development slate, it’s all about the material.” Even though certain projects come into the studio in different ways, he said, “I think we apply the same criteria to all the ideas that we look at.” Either way, Price added, studio execs were thrilled when they heard Trudeau, a known political satirist, wanted to do a show about the District. “When it comes to Washington and its foibles and what makes it unique, few people have been more insightful and more knowledgeable than Garry Trudeau,” Price said. Alter agrees that Trudeau’s voice was key to the show’s success, along with connections that helped land Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert in small roles in the pilot. “I do think it helped we got those cameos,” Alter said, then paused. “And then it really helped when we got John Goodman.” Goodman plays Gil John Biggs, a brash, unfiltered senator from North Carolina who seems to be the leader of the alpha house. When he’s not making fun of his roommate-colleagues, he’s on the phone with his wife, back in his home district, who’s telling him to step up his game, because the beloved Duke basketball coach is planning to run against him in the next election. Goodman is joined by Clark Johnson, Matt Malloy and Mark Consuelos, who also play Republican senators. (Trudeau went against the political affiliations of the actual house because, he said in a Washington Post interview, Democrats are currently pretty boring, while Republicans “are tearing themselves apart and will be for the foreseeable future.”) The pilot skewers various aspects of Washington, cracking jokes at the expense of both conservatives and liberals. In one exciting coincidence, Trudeau penned a scene about an epic filibuster years before the 13-hour speech in March by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). At first, the writers of the show were worried that an all-night filibuster might seem unrealistic; after Paul’s performance, truth proved stranger than fiction, and the scene stayed. Once the crew learned that filming on the Capitol grounds would be next to impossible, they wound up shooting most of the pilot in New York, with exterior shots of the District, including a rowhouse on Maryland Avenue that will stand in for the alpha house. While taking creative license for the comedy, Alter said, they try to keep everything as realistic as possible for eagle-eyed viewers. This means the little details: the bowl of tiny American flag pins the senators keep on hand, low-level staff members sitting against the walls — instead of at the table — in meetings. (It doesn’t stop there: Alter said they’ll be making adjustments in the future on set after he noticed on C-SPAN that the real Senate floor chairs differed slightly from theirs.) In the original article that inspired “Alpha House,” housemate Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) was quoted, saying that, in theory, everyone wanted to do a TV show about the unusual living situation, but “then they realize that the story of four middle-aged men, with no sex and violence, is not going to last two weeks.” Hearing that quote, Alter laughed. “We’ve addressed the question of sex,” he said, referring to a scene in the pilot in which the newest senator, played by Consuelos, is shown enthusiastically keeping busy during the all-night filibuster at the Capitol. “And,” Alter added, in case any viewers need more enticement about another political show, “there may actually be some violence that’s coming, too.”"
"– Amazon is ramping up its competition with Netflix: The latter has House of Cards, and now Amazon has its own original series set in DC ... with "House" in the title. Alpha House was created by Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who also writes the series about four Republican senators living together. The pilot (which features cameos by Bill Murray and Stephen Colbert) went online a month ago, along with 13 others, and Amazon looked at customer feedback to determine which to pick up for a full season. Alpha House was one of just two comedy pilots to make the cut. The Washington Post describes Alpha House as "political satire" in which the senators, played by John Goodman, Mark Consuelos, Clark Johnson, and Matt Malloy "live like frat brothers." It was inspired by a real Capitol Hill property in which Democratic senators have lived over the years, and it's been kicking around in Trudeau's brain since 2008. Notes the director of Amazon Studios, "When it comes to Washington and its foibles and what makes it unique, few people have been more insightful and more knowledgeable than Garry Trudeau.""
"Princess Mako will lose royal status when she marries Kei Komuro, a paralegal, whose mother is reportedly in debt over his education The parents of Japan’s Princess Mako have said that her marriage cannot go ahead until her fiance’s mother has resolved a reported financial scandal. Mako, the eldest grandchild of Emperor Akihito, caused a stir last September when she announced her engagement to Kei Komuro, whom she had met while they were studying at a university in Tokyo. Komuro has done some work as an assistant at a law firm in Tokyo, Okuno & Partners, and is soon to attend Fordham Law School in New York on a scholarship. The princess, who like all female members of the imperial family who marry a “commoner” would lose her royal status, was due to wed the 26-year-old paralegal in November this year, but in February their nuptials were abruptly postponed until 2020. Japan's Princess Mako postpones wedding until 2020 Read more The couple said they needed more time to prepare and to “think about marriage more deeply”. There were also concerns that preparations for the wedding, the first in the imperial family since Akihito’s only daughter married in a low-key ceremony in 2005, could overshadow his abdication on 30 April next year. The 84-year-old will be replaced on the Chrysanthemum throne the following day by his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito. “We have come to realise the lack of time to make sufficient preparations for various events leading up to our marriage this autumn and our life afterward,” Mako said in a statement at the time. “We believe that we have rushed various things.” Japanese media have reported, however, that Mako’s parents, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, were increasingly troubled by media reports that Komuro’s mother was experiencing financial problems stemming from a loan she received from her former partner to cover her son’s tuition. Mako’s parents reportedly told the Komuros at several face-to-face meetings that the wedding could be marred by the mother’s reported debts and that the wedding could not go ahead until the matter had been resolved. There are also concerns that the couple could invite public criticism, as they will receive a lump sum of about 100 million yen ($900,000) from the government to help ease Mako’s exit from the imperial family and into her new non-royal life. Komuro left for New York earlier this month to begin three years of study for the state’s bar exam. No date has been set for the wedding or the series of rituals that precede it, but Kyodo News, citing a source close to the couple, said Mako and Komuro were in regular contact and still intended to marry. • This article was amended on 9 August 2018 to correct a description of Kei Komuro as a lawyer, and to change a reference to Kako that should have been Mako. Kako is a sister. ||||| Princess Mako, the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and her fiancee Kei Komuro, a university friend of Princess Mako, smile during a press conference to announce their engagement at Akasaka East Residence in Tokyo, Japan. Reuters TOKYO - The parents of Princess Mako, the eldest granddaughter of Emperor Akihito, demanded her boyfriend Kei Komuro and his mother solve a financial problem before the imperial agency postponed in February ceremonies for their formal engagement and marriage, a source close to the matter said Wednesday. Prince Akishino and his wife Princess Kiko told the Komuros from late last year to early this year that a ceremony for their official engagement, which had been scheduled in March, could not be held without resolving his family's financial trouble, reported by weekly magazines. In September, the couple, both 26 years old, announced their engagement after receiving the emperor's blessing. But the Imperial Household Agency announced in February the postponement, citing a "lack of preparation." The abrupt postponement followed weekly magazine reports of a financial dispute between Komuro's mother and her former fiance over her son's educational expenses, which were shouldered by the mother's former partner. The princess' family was not notified beforehand of what was reported as a "debt problem," the source said. The Komuro family has told the princess' parents that they did not regard the money as a "debt" and are seeking to hold talks with the mother's former fiance, according to the source. Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko have also asked the Komuros to explain the matter publicly but so far no action has been taken, the source added. A series of court rituals, including the betrothal ceremony of "Nosai no Gi" that precedes the official wedding -- which was originally planned for November -- were postponed until 2020. Despite the postponement of their nuptial, Princess Mako and Komuro are staying in close contact with each other and their intention to marry is unchanged, according to the source. Komuro, a former classmate of Princess Mako from university days, left Japan on Tuesday to study in New York for three years with the aim of passing the U.S. state's bar examination. ==Kyodo"
"– Japan may be a losing a princess, but the imperial family sure isn't making the process an easy one: A proposed wedding between Princess Mako and her non-royal college sweetheart has hit yet another bump. As Kyodo News reports, the princess' family is worried about a money issue swirling around the family of her potential future husband, Kei Komuro. It seems that Komuro's mother used money from a former romantic partner to pay for her son's educational expenses. Now there's apparently a rift between the two former lovers about repayment, and Mako's parents, Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, want it publicly cleared up before any nuptials take place, according to Japanese media reports. This isn't the first sign of trouble for the impending nuptials. The couple initially announced plans to marry in November 2017, but abruptly postponed the wedding until 2020 and explained that they were rushing things. And when New York's Fordham University announced that the princess' "fiance" would be attending law school there, the Japanese royal family chafed at the term "fiance" as the couple's engagement ceremony has not taken place, prompting the school to issue a new release without it. Assuming Princess Mako goes through with the wedding, she will have to renounce her royal status, though the Guardian notes that the couple would get nearly $1 million from the government to help with that transition. (All this is unfolding as the princess' grandfather, Emperor Akhito, prepares to abdicate next year.)"
"WTF, TO? Not only am I a bit unclear on why Rob Ford still has the keys to the Mayor's office; I also have no idea why he's not in jail. For you or I, smoking crack would at least warrant a trip downtown. In Ford's case, it only caused Toronto to collectively exclaim, "That explains a lot!" Following the Rob Ford crack scandal (and we're not even talking about the alleged prostitute scandal... yet), Ford's handlers had one job. That job was to keep Ford out of the public eye, so Toronto's city government could let its black eye heal. (Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow has a particular nickname for Rob Ford, one for which I can find no counterargument.) What his staff should have done is insist Ford go only from home to work, chauffeured to and fro with a canvas sack over his head like Tom Cruise in the first "Mission: Impossible" film. Make sure he cannot screw things up more than he already has. Yet here we are. Rob Ford proves–– again–– that if you're rich and white and connected, you can do whatever the hell you want. That extends to making a horse's ass of yourself at a restaurant, putting on a Jamaican accent as your cohorts pretend not to know you. Google's autocomplete shows that many of you have been asking... The answer is because Ontario's provincial government would basically have to pass a special law to kick Ford to the curb, and Premier Kathleen Wynne lacks the political clout to make that happen. While Ford been stripped of some of his responsibilities, he still has a job, and it'll stay that way unless he gets charged with a crime and subsequently convicted. Until that happens, expect more of the same, because rewarded behaviour is repeated. At least now we know why Rob Ford hasn't been impeached; if it were too easy to get rid of a Mayor, they'd be getting turfed out every few months. Meanwhile, we're learning that racist, homophobic, drunken crackheads don't go to jail simply for being racist, homophobic, drunken crackheads, at least not in Toronto. However, do not try this at home. In the meantime, let us all join hands and pray that the next headline we read is not "Rob Ford sex tape revealed". Oh, and I don't care how authentic Ford's Jamaican accent is. ||||| Several prisoners shattered the teeth and broke the leg of Rob Ford's estranged brother-in-law in a jailhouse beating that was intended to keep him quiet about the Toronto mayor's abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs, it has been alleged in a lawsuit. The 2012 jailhouse assault of Scott MacIntyre was orchestrated by Aedan Petros, Mr. MacIntyre has alleged in a statement of claim. Mr. Petros is a 300-pound, violent criminal who played defensive tackle for Mr. Ford when he was the coach of the football team at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School. When Mr. MacIntyre was attacked in the shower on March 22, 2012, at the Toronto West Detention Centre, it came after several weeks of threats from inmates who urged the 46-year-old repeat offender to "do the right thing," Mr. MacIntyre said separately in an hour-long interview with The Globe and Mail. Story continues below advertisement "They wanted to know if I was going to do the right thing –– was I going to keep my mouth shut," Mr. MacIntyre told The Globe. The inmates and Mr. Petros – a 22-year-old who was jailed in connection with an armed robbery and home invasion and has since been sentenced to five years in a federal penitentiary – repeatedly approached Mr. MacIntyre with warnings, such as "there is no use in bringing Rob into this; what's done behind closed doors stays behind closed doors. … Stuff of that nature," Mr. MacIntyre said. The statement of claim, filed in Toronto on Wednesday, makes similar allegations about the threats. An official with the Ministry of Correctional Services, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to The Globe that Mr. Petros was housed in the same unit of the jail, known as 1B, as Mr. MacIntyre at the time of the assault. Brent Ross, a ministry spokesman, said an investigation into the beating had been launched, but he declined to release its findings, citing concerns about jail security. Mayor Ford did not respond to a list of questions that was sent to him by e-mail and in a letter. He did, however, speak about The Globe's inquiries with the Toronto Sun, telling the newspaper that any suggestion that he played a role in the beating is "far fetched" and "way out there." Mr. Ford's lawyer and close adviser, Dennis Morris, said the notion that the mayor had advance knowledge of the attack on Mr. MacIntyre was "insanity." Mr. Morris said the allegations in the lawsuit are "without fact or foundation." Mr. Ford has retained Gavin Tighe, a Bay Street litigator, to represent him in the civil suit. Mr. MacIntyre is being represented by Sean Dewart and Tim Gleason, who declined comment. None of the claims in Mr. MacIntyre's lawsuit, which lists Mr. Ford, Mr. Petros, another former football coach named Payman Aboodowleh, as well as the Minister of Correctional Services as defendants, have been proven in court. The lawsuit touches on one of the more enduring mysteries of the scandal that has engulfed Mayor Ford since he became the focus of a sweeping police investigation and admitted to smoking crack cocaine: what was an Ontario provincial court judge referring to in 2012 when he said he inferred that Mr. MacIntyre was beaten in jail because he was "a bother to Mr. Ford?" Mr. MacIntyre wound up in jail in January, 2012, after police were called to Mayor Ford's house because of a confrontation between the mayor and Mr. MacIntyre, which culminated with Mr. MacIntyre threatening to kill Mr. Ford. (In his statement of claim, Mr. MacIntyre alleges that the argument stemmed from a debt that was owed to him by his then common-law spouse, Kathy Ford, the mayor's older sister.) Mr. MacIntyre eventually pleaded guilty to threatening the mayor with death, as well as possession of cocaine and heroin. But when he was sentenced in June, 2012 – several months after the jailhouse attack – the judge presiding over the case, Mr. Justice Paul French, called the attack a case of "so-called jailhouse justice." Story continues below advertisement Story continues below advertisement "I infer that it was visited upon Mr. MacIntyre because of his being a bother to Mr. Ford," Judge French said. Judge French's comments were widely reported in the media, though he never elaborated on what led him to this conclusion. Mr. MacIntyre's lawsuit and his interview with The Globe are his first public description of the beating that his statement of claim says left him with a severely fractured tibia and fibula, and at least four teeth that were "sheared at the gum line." Mr. MacIntyre is familiar with the confines of the Toronto West Detention Centre. He is a convicted drug trafficker who has served prison stints in both Canada and the United Kingdom. He has suffered from a drug addiction that he says he has kicked over the past two years. So, when he was jailed again in January, 2012, he says he repeatedly asked to be placed in a range of the jail, unit 3A, that typically houses older and calmer inmates. But his requests were denied, his statement of claim alleges, and he continued to be kept in the general population. "I have been incarcerated many times and I could feel the tension," Mr. MacIntyre said in the interview. "Plus [the story of the arrest] was all over the news and everybody from the Rexdale area and I was getting bombarded with questions. I just had a bad feeling," he said. Story continues below advertisement About two weeks after he was admitted to jail, on Jan. 27, Mr. MacIntyre sent a letter to Kathy Ford, which the court later called a violation of his no-contact order with the mayor. He threatened to cause "a shitstorm." "You and your family have one chance to leave me the fuck alone and stop this shit!," he wrote in the letter. "You and your family think I should play nice! Fuck you." But the letter was intercepted by jail officials. As punishment, Mr. MacIntyre was placed in segregation. After his stint was over, jail officials returned him to the general population, the claim alleges. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Petros, said there would be "dire consequences" if he did not remain quiet about the mayor. Mr. Petros was constantly "in my ear," Mr. MacIntyre said in the interview. "He was boisterous, overbearing. He was always on me. No matter where I turned, he seemed to be there, like a shadow, constantly," Mr. MacIntyre told The Globe. "I would just cut him off and say get lost, leave me alone. And then I would sit down to play cards and if I'd stand up, he'd be right on me, in my ear… He was trying to push himself on me, to intimidate me." In his interview with The Globe, Mr. MacIntyre said he had no recollection of Mr. Petros before his incarceration, except for a phone call that he says the mayor made to Kathy Ford in the summer of 2011, shortly after Mr. Petros was arrested coming out of the home that they had invaded in a search for money and drugs. The mayor was concerned for his former player and he wanted to know whether Mr. MacIntyre had any insight into the implications of Mr. Petros "ripping somebody off that was supposedly to do with the underworld," Mr. MacIntyre said. "I said I didn't know the guy and didn't want to get involved." Mr. Petros invoked the name of Mr. Aboodowleh, a former assistant coach on Don Bosco who is a friend of Mr. Ford, Mr. MacIntyre said in the interview. Mr. MacIntyre said he has never met Mr. Aboodowleh, who has an extensive record for crimes of violence. The claim also alleges that a video of the mayor ranting about wanting to kill someone, released in November, was filmed at Mr. Aboodowleh's house and was referring to Mr. MacIntyre. Mr. Morris, the mayor's lawyer, said on behalf of Mr. Ford: "He denies he was going to kill anybody." Mr. MacIntyre said jailhouse culture prevented him from asking for Mr. Petros to be moved – "No, you don't do stuff like that" – and that his only choice was to try to get himself removed from the unit. But before he could, he says he was attacked. On March 22, as Mr. MacIntyre was drying his head with a towel outside the unit's showers, he was assaulted, his lawsuit alleges. He said he could not identify his attackers because of the towel, but he told The Globe he was struck and then brought to the ground with either a tackle or a kick to the leg. "I heard the snap and I fell on my back," he said. "It felt like forever, but a good minute and a half in real time. It felt like 10 minutes, but probably a minute, minute and a half." His statement of claim alleges that the attack was executed by "Petros and another unknown inmate or inmates, or some combination of the foregoing." In his interview, he said he could not definitively identify Mr. Petros as the attacker because of the towel but that he is certain Mr. Petros was the mastermind behind the beating. "I'm not saying he was the one that assaulted me, because I'm not sure. But I am saying that he was part and parcel of what happened – because I don't have enemies," he said. "But to have this guy in my ear constantly? One plus one equals two." The area outside the unit's showers where the attack unfolded is normally monitored by a video camera, but the "video surveillance had been inexplicably disabled" before the assault, the claim alleges. Immediately after the attack, a guard thrust papers into his face and asked him to explain what had happened, Mr. MacIntyre said. He indicated that he had "slipped" in the shower, an explanation that he acknowledges was not true. (Another source from the Toronto West Detention Centre said it was "implausible" that Mr. MacIntyre's injuries were the result of falling in the shower.) He was kept at the jail for 36 hours after the assault, a delay that caused complications in treating his injuries, the claim alleges. At the hospital, where he resided for about two weeks, his leg fracture was repaired with several screws, he said. To this day, Mr. MacIntyre, who has no dental coverage, has been unable to replace his front teeth, he said. A source with knowledge of the attack on Mr. MacIntyre said the alleged role of a former Don Bosco player, or players, was something that was discussed in at least one court proceeding in the lead-up to Mr. MacIntyre's sentencing. Mr. MacIntyre alleges that Mr. Petros, Mr. Ford and Mr. Aboodowleh conspired to have him attacked. When Globe reporters asked what evidence existed that Mr. Ford played any role in the attack, Mr. MacIntyre declined to answer, saying he did not want to discuss such evidence in advance of examination for discovery proceedings. In his interview with The Globe, Mr. MacIntyre said that he was never interviewed by anyone from Toronto police. In an e-mailed statement, the Ministry of Correctional Services said police were not contacted because "the individual in question refused to co-operate in any investigation." Mr. Petros did not reply to written requests for an interview, including a letter with detailed questions that was delivered to him through the Correctional Service of Canada. More than a year before Mr. Petros was incarcerated, he appeared on stage in his Don Bosco jersey at Mr. Ford's 2010 mayoral campaign kickoff at the Toronto Congress Centre. In a video recording posted online by Mr. Ford's campaign team, he is shown standing in the background while Nicholas Swaby, another one of the mayor's former players, described Mr. Ford's contributions. Since that video was put online, Mr. Swaby was charged with aggravated assault in connection with the 2009 murder of Christopher Skinner. When Mr. Petros was sentenced to five years in prison in April 2012, the assistant Crown attorney who prosecuted him described how his victim was bound, stabbed and threatened with a sawed-off Winchester rifle. His victim, the owner of the home Mr. Petros invaded, "suffered injuries to virtually every part of his body, in addition to extensive swelling and bruising." In his interview with The Globe, Mr. MacIntyre declined to answer many questions about Mr. Ford's use of illegal drugs and alcohol. "I have kept my head down, per se, in regards to all this, you know. I'm not talking about personal stuff." With reports from Jill Mahoney, Ann Hui and Elizabeth Church Statement of claim in the lawsuit against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Jan. 29, 2014"
"– Just another day in the life of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: He's being sued by his sister's ex-boyfriend for allegedly conspiring to have the man beaten in jail. A lawsuit submitted by Scott MacIntyre alleges the mayor was behind an assault at a Toronto jail in March 2012 that was intended to keep MacIntrye quiet about Ford's abuse of alcohol and drugs. The lawsuit alleges MacIntrye knew about Ford's alcohol and drug use and claims he was threatened with "dire consequences" if he did not remain quiet. "They wanted to know if I was going to do the right thing—was I going to keep my mouth shut," MacIntyre tells the Globe and Mail. He got attacked in a jailhouse shower and ended up with a broken leg and shattered teeth. Ford's lawyer, Dennis Morris, said today that the allegations are "without fact or foundation." Ford offered no comment when reporters asked him about the lawsuit. "Remind me again, how the hell is Rob Ford still in office?" asks Jordan Yerman at the Vancouver Observer."
"Article Tools Font size – + Share This Peter Butera Peter Butera -- the valedictorian and class president of Wyoming Area’s Class of 2017 -- did an interview with Jimmy Kimmel about having his microphone silenced mid-speech during Friday’s graduation ceremony. The interview will air tonight at 11:35 p.m. on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Butera said. He did the interview via Skype around 7:30 p.m., and it lasted one or two minutes, he said. "I thought it went pretty well," Butera said. He said he also did interviews with the Washington Post and CNN. National and international media picked up the story after an article about his graduation speech appeared Monday in The Citizens' Voice. Butera had just started to criticize his school's administration when he was approached by Wyoming Area Secondary School Principal Jon Pollard to leave the stage at Sobieski Stadium. "Peter provided me a copy of his speech on Thursday via email, and we reviewed it in my office the morning of graduation after the final practice," Pollard said in a statement he released after Tuesday's school board meeting. "Protecting the students and staff are my number one concern. When he veered off of the speech he had practiced, I was obligated to act to ensure the remainder of Peter's speech was not demeaning or derogatory to his classmates, the underclassmen, faculty, staff or administration." Pollard also said he, his wife and children "have been subjected to abusive social media posts, text messages, emails and phone calls from across the nation both at work and home." He said he "would make the same decision again because it was the right one on Friday" and will be the right decision "the next time a student attempts to hijack the ceremony for their own agenda." Right before the sound was cut during Butera’s speech, he noted that those involved in student government — from class president to student council — really have no influence in how the school operates and that will hold graduates back in the real world. “Despite some of the outstanding people in this school, a lack of real student government — and the authoritative nature that a few administrators and school members have — prevents students from developing as true leaders. Hopefully, this will change ... ” At that point, the audio was turned off. ||||| Peter Butera veered off the preapproved speech at his graduation ceremony on June 16, to criticize Pennsylvania's Wyoming Area School District for its handling of the student government. (Wyoming Area School District) Peter Butera, class president for the entirety of his life as a high school student — all four often-frustrating years of it — took the stage at Friday’s graduation ceremony after the recital of the class poem, which had offended no one. When the principal of Wyoming Area Secondary Center in Exeter, Pa., had finished applauding the poem, Butera walked up and laid his speech on the podium: the lines he’d dutifully cleared with administrators, and those he had not. Butera was 18, bound for Villanova University in a few months. He was his class valedictorian, and he was beginning to get nervous about his plan to go rogue at the last possible minute. “Good evening, everyone,” Butera began, innocuously enough. “The past four years at Wyoming Area have been very interesting, to say the least.” [The valedictorian who was kicked off stage for an unapproved speech got to finish it — on Kimmel] Across the field, by the running track, Butera’s family watched with his girlfriend, who was taking video. In front of the stage sat nearly 200 classmates, nearly all of whom Butera said he knew well, for he had lived here his whole life. On the chair to Butera’s left sat the principal, Jon Pollard, who barely looked up at him. “To everyone here today, we cannot thank you enough for everything you’ve done for us,” Butera said. Pollard scratched his face. So far so good. Butera kept thanking people for a while: Teachers he was close to, “a couple great administrators as well.” He did not name Pollard among them — an omission not lost on one of the few people there who knew exactly how his speech would end. “It was always Dr. Pollard,” Albert Sciandra, Butera’s friend and vice president in the student government, told The Washington Post. “He was the one who kept shooting everything Peter wanted to do down.” The day before the ceremony, Sciandra said, the school had put on a talent show. Butera wanted to do a comedy skit: poke fun at the only teacher who ate the cafeteria lunch, stuff like that. But such jokes were deemed too extreme, Sciandra said. “Peter rewrote them so many times. Pollard said, ‘You’re not doing it because I said so.’ ” [A teacher’s decision to be ‘visibly queer’ in his photo with President Trump] All of high school had been like that, Sciandra told The Post. No matter that they’d both been in student government every single year, he said — any idea that went beyond decorations for some school-approved event got shot down. So when, a week or so before the ceremony, Butera told his friend that he’d written a secret end to the approved speech — that he planned to expose a system he saw as a sham — Sciandra understood it had to be done. Though as he sat on the field Friday, Sciandra still doubted his class president would go through with it. Butera’s speech was now nearing its end. “I have pursued every leadership opportunity available to me,” he told the crowd. He’d been repeatedly elected class president. An honor each time. “I would like to thank you all for that one final time,” he said. “It really means a lot.” But it hadn’t meant much to the school, he was thinking, Butera later told The Washington Post. He was remembering the past summer, when he and Sciandra organized protests of a proposed dress code. “Me and Peter, we went to every council meeting and school-board meeting,” Sciandra said. They packed the seats with students and parents and made speeches, and filled a petition with signatures. And none of it mattered, the students said: The dress code passed anyway. “It really means a lot,” Butera continued from the stage. “However …” Pollard still was not looking at him, but Sciandra braced in his seat. “At our school, the title of class president can more accurately be class party planner,” Butera said. “Student council’s main obligation is to paint signs every week.” At that moment, from his chair, Pollard made what may have been a grimace and finally turned to watch the valedictorian as he hit the climax of his speech. “Despite some of the outstanding people in our school,” Butera went on, “a lack of a real student government combined with the authoritative attitude that a few teachers, administrators and board members have …” The principal mouthed something to someone offstage. ” … prevented students from truly developing as true leaders …” A mechanical bang interrupted his words as the microphone shut down. When Butera spoke his next line, his voice was naked. He had not expected that. “Hopefully this will change,” he said, speaking louder, trying to be heard. “Hopefully, for the sake of future students, more people in this school — ” [A radio host was warned not to criticize President Trump. So he quit.] Butera would have said more. He would have said he hoped future classes would have more educators who valued empowering students as much as they valued educating them. That leadership is a hard thing to learn within the strictures of a public school system. “It is not what we have done as Wyoming Area students or athletes that will define our lives,” he had written on the paper his principal had not seen, “but what we will go on to do as Wyoming Area Alumni.” Butera didn’t get to say the last lines. Now Pollard was on his feet, tapping the student’s elbow, mouthing something above a dead microphone. “He said, ‘Alright Peter. You’re done,’ ” Butera told The Post. But neither man could be heard now. The field was erupting with cheers, boos and screams: “Let him speak! Let him speak! Let him speak!” In the back, by Butera’s mother, father, girlfriend, grandma, aunt and uncle, someone said: “I’m so proud.” The rest of the ceremony would go more or less as officials had planned. The faculty would take turns making speeches. Pollard would give the Class of 2017 his advice: “Read good books and watch bad movies,” and “Clean your room and learn to do you own laundry.” And “watch what you put on social media.” Irony. A few days after the ceremony, a grainy video of Butera’s speech spread wildly across the Internet — more than 75,000 endorsements on Reddit alone. Then came the news stories. While Pollard didn’t immediately respond to The Post, superintendent Janet Serino defended his silencing. “The young man submitted his graduation speech to his principal and delivered a speech different from the speech that was submitted,” she wrote. But she had since reached out to Butera, requesting a meeting to discuss his concerns. Wyoming Area Secondary Center’s valedictorian for 2017 had not called out his principal or superintendent or anyone else in his speech — not the approved version, or the rogue ending, or even the part he didn’t get to read. And Butera declined to criticize any school authority by name when he spoke to The Post. He said that hadn’t been the point of his final act as class president. “I’m supposed to represent the students,” he said. And on his last day of high school, when the principal cut off his microphone and waved him off the stage and he walked back to his seat through a standing ovation, he felt that he finally had. More reading: The story behind a powerful photo of a Czech girl’s contempt for neo-Nazis How one man’s pause became a haunting symbol of Aleppo’s destruction Terrorists are building drones. France is destroying them with eagles."
"– When Peter Butera got up to begin his valedictorian speech at his high school graduation ceremony in Exeter, Pa., on Friday, he probably never dreamed he'd be finishing it on Jimmy Kimmel Live! four days later. But on Tuesday night the 18-year-old class president appeared via Skype on the late-night talk show to recite the tail end of a speech that had been cut off by Wyoming Area Secondary Center administrators the week before. CBS Philly reports that administrators shut off Butera's microphone after he veered off his pre-approved script to condemn what he called the "authoritative attitude" of some of the school's faculty and staff, an attitude, he said, that "prevents students from developing as true leaders. Hopefully, this will change." At which point his mic went silent. The Wilkes-Barre Citizens' Voice quotes a statement from principal Jon Pollard in which he explains he felt obligated to stop Butera's speech in order to "ensure the remainder of [it] was not demeaning or derogatory to his classmates, the underclassmen, faculty, staff or administration." The Washington Post talks to a friend of Butera's who says Butera was frustrated by having numerous ideas turned down by Pollard during his four years as class president. (Other off-script lines from Butera: "At our school, the title of class president can more accurately be class party planner. Student council’s main obligation is to paint signs every week.") The Villanova-bound Butera doesn’t think his speech could have gone any better: "I got my point across and them cutting the microphone proved my point to be true." (Valedictorians have had issues before.)"
"An unverified report claims Apple has begun placing orders for a 4.6-inch Retina Display bound for the next-generation iPhone that could launch as early as "around the second quarter." Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone has a 4.65-inch screen Reuters issued the report on Wednesday , citing South Korea's Maeil Business Newspaper. An unnamed industry source reportedly told the Korean publication that Apple has chosen the larger display and has already begun ordering the part from suppliers.The rumor suggested that domestic Korean suppliers have received the orders, making Samsung and LG likely candidates as suppliers. Both companies have supplied displays for Apple's mobile products in the past.The original report also claimed that the new display would be a Retina Display, which Apple specifies as having a pixel density of 300 pixels per inch when used at a distance of 10-12 inches.If accurate, Wednesday's report signals a break by Apple from its past practice, as the company has elected not to change the 3.5-inch screen size of the iPhone since it launched in 2007. However, the likelihood that the rumor is indeed accurate appears to be relatively low. Rumors of a 4-inch iPhone screen have persisted for some time now, but claims of a 4.6-inch screen size are some of the largest yet.In addition, the rumored second quarter launch is highly questionable, as it would mean a new iPhone arriving between six to nine months after the iPhone 4S. A machine translation of the original report has the article claiming the new handset will come out "this summer" with no mention of the second quarter. The astronomical definition of summer most closely aligns with the third quarter of the calendar year. Multiple reports have pointed to a September or October launch for the next-generation iPhone.A number of Wall Street analysts expect the sixth-generation iPhone to incorporate 4G LTE. Investment firm Barclays said on Wednesday that Apple is reviewing components for the next iPhone and is likely to utilize the Qualcomm "MDM9615" chip that supports voice and data connections over LTE. Speculation has also arisen that Apple will revert to a simpler naming scheme for the iPhone as it has recently done with the iPad. ||||| A woman takes a video with her iPhone as Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum addresses supporters at a Get Out The Vote rally in Mandeville, Louisiana March 21, 2012. A woman takes a picture of U.S. President Barack Obama with her iPhone upon his arrival at Hickam Air Base near Honolulu, Hawaii, December 23, 2011. SEOUL Apple Inc's new iPhone will have a sharper and bigger 4.6-inch "retina" display and is set to be launched around the second quarter, a South Korean media reported on Thursday. Sales of the iPhone, first introduced in 2007 with the touch screen template now adopted by its rivals, account for around half Apple's total sales. Apple has decided on the bigger 4.6-inch display for its next iPhone and started placing orders to its suppliers, the Maeil Business Newspaper said, quoting an unnamed industry source. Its major display suppliers LG Display and Samsung Electronics Co declined to comment. Samsung, which is also the biggest challenger to Apple in smartphones, uses 4.6-inch OLED display for its flagship Galaxy S II smartphone, introduced in April last year. The high-definition "retina" display--containing several times as many pixels within the same area-- is used in the latest iPad released earlier this month. The latest iPhone 4S was introduced in October last year. (Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Michael Perry)"
"– Apple has started placing orders for screens for its next iPhone, and this time it's going big, according to a South Korean newspaper report picked up by Reuters. The new displays will be 4.6-inch "retina" displays, and the updated phone will launch sometime around the second quarter this year, the paper said. While Apple started the trend of smartphones with large touchscreens, its 3.5-inch screen has started to look diminutive next to offerings like Samsung's Galaxy Nexus' 4.65 inches. But MacRumors is dubious about the report, noting that numerous previous whispers put the new screen at 4 inches, and that many companies making iPhone cases seem to be betting on that. One source with a good track record said the new iPhone would have a longer, 4-inch display and an aluminum casing, but was "still in the engineering phase, not early production." Apple Insider is also dubious of the second quarter launch date; previous reports have always put it in September or October."
"Two dead, seven in custody after drug sting in Greater... Two men are dead and seven others were arrested after undercover Houston police officers conducted a drug sting in the Greater East End on Wednesday night. A Houston police narcotics team, the Drug Enforcement Administration, federal agents and SWAT officers arrived at a warehouse on Harrisburg and 77th streets at 10:30 p.m. By the end of the night, one would be killed in a shootout with police, authorities said, and another would die in police custody. The undercover officers had arranged for the meeting, and nine men showed up in two cars. Eight of the men moved to go inside the warehouse, most of them showing guns, Chief Art Acevedo said. GANG WAR: How to recognize the signs, symbols and tattoos of Houston's gangs But when SWAT officers identified themselves, one of the men pulled out a gun and fired at an officer who was in full uniform, the chief said. One of the officers fired off defensive shots, hitting the gunman, Acevedo said. He died at the scene. Another man took off in a car, which crashed during a short pursuit. He then hid in a rock quarry at the Houston Ship Channel. A K-9 unit found the man, and he was taken into custody before he went into cardiac arrest, Acevedo said. Paramedics immediately started CPR, and he was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where he died. The remaining seven men, who are believed to be documented gang members, surrendered without incident and will face unknown federal charges, Acevedo said. “They’re obviously known to be a pretty violent crew,” he said. The officer who fired the shot will be placed on administrative leave. “I can just say that based on everything we’ve seen so far, the officers acted appropriately and in a reasonable manner,” Acevedo said. NEWS WHEN YOU NEED IT: Text CHRON to 77453 to receive breaking news alerts by text message | Sign up for breaking news alerts delivered to your email here. ||||| Two people are dead after a major drug sting involving Houston police, SWAT and the DEA at a warehouse in east Houston.This happened just before 10 p.m. Wednesday at 77th Street and Harrisburg, where authorities said nine people, known to be violent and carry weapons, were expected to meet at the warehouse.Authorities said eight of the suspects, all carrying guns, went into the warehouse in what they thought would be a drug deal.After a couple of minutes, two of the suspects came out of the warehouse. One of them took off running and at that point, SWAT officers came out of a staging area and identified themselves. That's when police said one of the suspects opened fire."One of the SWAT officers immediately deployed defensive shots toward the suspect, striking the suspect. That suspect went down and the other suspect that fled before him jumped into a vehicle and took off," Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo said.Police said the suspect crashed the car, and ran into a rock quarry. He was eventually found by police dogs. When he was brought back to the scene, he started complaining about chest pains. Police said medics tried to revive the suspect but he died at the scene.The suspect who was shot to death has not been identified.There's no word yet on what charges the suspects will face."
"– It was a scene that could have been taken from countless TV dramas: Nine armed gang members arrived for a drug deal at a warehouse Wednesday night, only to discover they had been set up by undercover officers in a sting operation. Police in Houston say two of the suspects managed to flee the warehouse. One of them was shot dead after opening fire on SWAT officers who emerged from a staging area and identified themselves, KTRK reports. The other man fled in a vehicle then hid in a quarry at the Houston Ship Channel when the vehicle crashed after a short chase, Houston Chronicle reports. Police say he died of a heart attack in custody after being found and bitten by a K-9. The other seven suspects, who were targeted by a months-long police and DEA operation, were arrested without incident and will be charged with federal crimes, police say."
"Travel News Travel Incidents The Lion Air passenger jet at Gorontalo airport on northern Sulawesi island after it crashed into a cow and skidded off the runway as it came into land. Photo: AFP An Indonesian passenger jet crashed into a cow and skidded off the runway as it came into land at an airport in the centre of the archipelago, officials said Wednesday. No one was killed or seriously injured when the Lion Air plane carrying 110 passengers collided with one of three cows wandering on the runway as it arrived late Tuesday in Gorontalo, on Sulawesi island. The cow, however, was crushed to death under one of the Boeing 737-900's middle wheels, head of Jalaluddin airport Agus Pramuka said. The pilot, Iwan Permadi, told state-run Antara news agency he could smell "burning meat" as the jet ran over the animal. Advertisement He said he thought there were dogs in front of the plane as it came into land, "but it turned out there were three cows wandering in the middle of the runway". Pictures showed the dead cow under the aircraft's wheel in a field. The plane, which suffered minor damage, had skidded into the field next to the runway, with its tail still on the runway. All the passengers managed to disembark safely, transport ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said. The plane had started its journey in Jakarta and also had a stopover in Makassar, on Sulawesi, according to local media. The airport was closed following the incident, disrupting travel plans for people heading home for the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Muslim-majority Indonesia. One small jet managed to take off Wednesday, but the Lion Air plane was still at the edge of the runway, Pramuka said. Indonesia, which relies heavily on air transport to connect its more than 17,000 islands, has one of Asia's worst aviation safety records. In April, a Lion Air passenger jet carrying 108 people crashed into the sea after missing the runway as it came into land on the resort island of Bali. No one died but dozens were injured. Lion Air, Indonesia's biggest private carrier, has placed orders for more than $US45 billion ($A50 billion) with Airbus and Boeing in the past two years and has the world's biggest order backlog for 559 narrow-body aircraft. It aims to have 1000 planes in 10 years. AFP/Bloomberg ||||| A Lion Air jet carrying 117 people hit a cow while landing and skidded off a runway in eastern Indonesia, an official said. No injuries were reported, but the incident forced the cancellation of flights, stranding hundreds of passengers travelling for the Eid holiday. The incident occurred on Tuesday night as the Boeing 737-800 plane was landing at Jalaluddin airport in Gorontalo, on Sulawesi island, with 110 passengers and seven crew members on board, transportation ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said. There were three cows on the runway, Ervan said, and the plane hit at least one of them and careened off the runway before coming to a stop. The condition of the cows was unclear. Several flights were cancelled on Tuesday, but lanes resumed landing on Wednesday. The incident is under investigation. This is not the first near-miss suffered by a Lion Air jet this year. In April, a plane belly-flopped into the ocean just short of the runway off the resort island of Bali. All 108 people aboard survived."
"– No black box data needed for this plane accident: Blame the cow. An Indonesian passenger jet with more than 100 people aboard skidded off the runway after hitting a cow upon landing, reports the Guardian. Luckily, all the humans were fine. The cow didn't make it, however, reports the Age, which includes an unfortunate quote from the pilot about smelling "burning meat" as the plane touched down on the island of Sulawesi. Indonesia has a lousy aviation safety record, notes the Aussie paper. The last big mishap came in April when a jet from the same airline skidded into the sea. Dozens were injured."
"Hugo Correia / Reuters Justin Bieber performs in Lisbon on March 11, 2013 Thieves broke into a South African stadium early Monday, opened the safe and made off with a lot of loot — 3 million rand ($330,000) in cash. Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium was particularly well stocked with cash after both Justin Bieber and Jon Bon Jovi played shows there over the weekend, and police believe that’s why the crooks targeted it. “The intruders broke through the roof of the bathroom nearby and there is evidence that they gained entry by abseiling down to gain access to the strong room,” Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale, a spokesman for Gauteng police, told CNN. The crime was not discovered until Monday morning. A Soweto-based police officer, who declined to be named, told Reuters, “We don’t know how many people were involved as we are still gathering evidence.” Police are studying the stadium’s closed-circuit TV footage for clues to the crime. (MORE: New Study: Americans Dislike Justin Bieber, Would Vote Justin Timberlake For President) Trouble seems to have followed Bieber on his Believe tour. The 19-year old Canadian pop mega star had his pet monkey quarantined by German customs officials, caused an uproar in Amsterdam when he stopped by Anne Frank’s house, and was tackled by a fan while performing on stage in Dubai. Soccer City is the largest stadium in Africa with a seating capacity of almost 95,000. In addition to concerts, the stadium hosted the finals of the 2010 World Cup. MORE: Justin Bieber Hopes Anne Frank Would Have Been A ‘Belieber’ – and the Internet Explodes MORE: Watch: Justin Bieber Attacked By Fan On Stage In Dubai ||||| Justin Bieber's world tour has generated its share of unexpected headlines, but the strangest was saved for last. A massive Ocean's 11-type heist took place during Bieber's show in Johannesburg, South Africa, according to local news reports. TMZ estimates the alleged thieves made off with roughly $330,000 in cash. According to South Africa's Eyewitness News, the suspects used ropes and chisels to break into a safe room. Stadium officials believe the break-in was an inside job, according to another local publication, the Independent Online. FNB Stadium, the concert venue, has a capacity of 94,000 people, and any thieves would've had to get past as many as 900 security guards. TMZ reports that Bieber tweeted at the gossip site, "It wasn't me," though any such tweet is no longer online. The Believe singer has taken an astonishing amount of flak, some of it deserved, on his recent overseas trek. In Dubai, his security guard deflected a teenager who rushed the stage. In Sweden, police said they found drugs on Bieber's tour bus. In Amsterdam, Bieber started a firestorm with his comments in the Anne Frank House guestbook. In Los Angeles, police have been investigating Bieber for allegedly spitting on a neighbor. In London, Bieber showed up late for a show and was later hospitalized after collapsing backstage, prompting him to deny ridiculous talk he might benefit from rehab. In the coming months, he'll be performing back in the good ol' U.S. of A., where people of all political stripes can agree one one thing: He sucks. Aww. His next show is at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday in Las Vegas, and then his North American tour kicks off June 22 in San Diego, California, crisscrossing the continent through an August 10 gig in Atlanta. We're gonna go out on a limb here: No way this guy organized an Ocean's 11-style heist. ||||| The seed for this crawl was a list of every host in the Wayback Machine This crawl was run at a level 1 (URLs including their embeds, plus the URLs of all outbound links including their embeds) The WARC files associated with this crawl are not currently available to the general public."
"– The latest crazy headline to come out of Justin Bieber's world tour: Thieves broke into a South African stadium early Monday and stole $330,000 from the safe, which had quite a bit of cash in it thanks to a weekend Bieber concert, Time reports. Police think that's why the thieves went for it, and they also believe it was an inside job. Spin calls the crime "a massive Ocean's 11-type heist," because the suspects used ropes and chisels to get into the safe room and were likely chiseling for several days, South Africa's Eyewitness News reports. (This comes, of course, after headlines involving Bieber's monkey, Anne Frank, and marijuana, among other things.)"
"This is the first time I have seen June Steenkamp smile. She is sitting at the far side of a long wooden table overlooking a swimming pool in the shady courtyard of a guesthouse, which has become her second home in Pretoria. The avenues outside are flush with jacaranda blossoms. Pupils from Pretoria Boys High School, which is just across the road, are trickling through the gates in their old-fashioned uniforms: short-sleeved khaki shirts and ties, matching khaki shorts and tan socks pulled up to their knees. It was as a pupil there that her daughter’s killer, Oscar Pistorius, first discovered he could run. June Steenkamp has stayed in this small, discreet guesthouse many times since March, when South Africa’s national hero went on trial… ||||| REUTERS Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. File photo: Thembani Makhubele Johannesburg - Oscar Pistorius and his law-graduate girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp did not have sex, her mother June Steenkamp wrote in her book, the Sunday Times reported. In “Reeva: a Mother's Story”, June Steenkamp wrote that her daughter confided in her that although they spent nights together, they did not have sex because she “was scared to take the relationship to that level”. Speaking about the athlete, she wrote: “To look at him now, he's a pathetic figure. He looks haunted. He's already been punished in a way. “Whatever is in his head is in his head forever. He will have to live with that.” Pistorius was sentenced to prison for five years for the culpable homicide of Steenkamp. He shot her through a locked toilet door in his Pretoria home on February 14, 2013, thinking she was an intruder. Sunday Times reported that June Steenkamp wrote that she did not believe Pistorius's version. “He said pulling the trigger was 'an accident'. What? Four times an accident? He said Reeva did not scream, but she would definitely have screamed. I know my daughter as she was very vocal,” she wrote. “There is no doubt in our minds that something went horribly wrong, something upset her so terribly that she hid behind a locked door with two mobile phones.” In the book, June Steenkamp dissects every text, tweet and email in the three month relationship, looking for hidden meaning, according to the report. Steenkamp, 68, and her husband Barry Steenkamp, 71, will feature in Monday’s edition of UK celebrity magazine Hello. The British media reported that June Steenkamp believes Pistorius “would have killed someone sooner or later” and that her daughter’s “bad luck” conspired against her. In the seven-month trial, Pistorius was cleared of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva, but found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison. In an interview with The Times magazine, June Steenkamp describes Pistorius as: “moody”, “volatile”, “arrogant”, “combustible”, as well as “trigger-happy”, “possessive”, “gun-toting”, “vague”, “shifty” and “evasive”. The newspaper said Steenkamp claimed that Pistorius had shot her daughter “in a jealous rage, then finished her off with three more bullets so she ‘couldn’t tell the world what really happened’.” She said her daughter’s death haunts her at night – she regularly wakes up around 3am, the time Reeva died at Pistorius’s home. “Why decide to say sorry to me in a televised trial in front of the whole world? I was unmoved by his apology,” she writes. “I felt if I appeared to be sorry for him at this stage of his trial on the charge of premeditated murder, it would, in the eyes of others, lessen the awfulness of what he had done.” Meanwhile a snippet and photos have been published on Hello’s website, announcing the magazine had the “world exclusive interview moments after the trial ended in South Africa” on Tuesday. June Steenkamp told Hello the court’s decision to send Pistorius to jail “was the best sentence we could have expected”. Steenkamp said she “believe(s) Oscar expected to go to prison” by the time his seven-month trial concluded. She told the magazine: “It’s been a terrible, long journey”. “He was almost resigned to what was coming. It was obvious in the court from his manner; he was calm and wasn’t performing,” she said. She said she and her husband were still coming to terms with “the vision of Reeva suffering this terrible trauma”. Blood-splattered images of the crime scene were exhibited during the Pistorius trial. Steenkamp added: “We’re not looking for vengeance or for him to get hurt; we’re just happy because he’s going to be punished for what he’s done. “He may come out early on good behaviour, but by the time he’s served that time, it will have taught him that he can’t go around doing things like that.” His five-year sentence has been criticised by some as too lenient. But Reeva’s parents told ITV’s Good Morning Britain they accepted the sentence and “don’t want revenge”. They said their daughter’s Valentine’s Day death last year remained shrouded in mystery, and “only Oscar knows” the truth. After sentencing, Pistorius was sent to the hospital section of the Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria. He reportedly cried himself to sleep on his first night in jail. The athlete’s fans meanwhile have written supportive messages on his website. One fan, Noluthando, wrote: “Oscar you made us proud in the world by your courage. Please keep strong.” Another, Carina, wrote: “I feel so sorry for Oscar. He really doesn’t deserve to spend the rest of his life in jail. He’s a great guy… ” Weekend Argus and Sapa Related Stories ||||| POOL/REUTERS June (l.) and Barry Steenkamp seen during the sentencing hearing of Olympic and Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius in October. POOL/REUTERS Pistorius was given a five-year sentence for Steenkamp’s death, but could serve as little as 10 months. Previous Next Enlarge Reeva Steenkamp never had sex with Oscar Pistorius and was about to leave him when he gunned her down through a bathroom door, her mother claims. June Steenkamp told the Sunday Times of London magazine that her daughter "was scared to take the relationship to that level" and had avoided getting physical with the Paralympian known as the Blade Runner. “She wouldn’t want to sleep with Oscar if she wasn’t sure,” she said. “I believe their relationship was coming to an end. In her heart of hearts, she didn’t think it was making either of them happy.” In her memoir, "Reeva: A Mother's Story,” June says the couple had spent several nights together but never had sex. The 68-year-old believes the rocky, three month-old relationship was over and that Reeva planned to leave him Valentine’s Day 2013, the night she was killed. "Her clothes were packed. There's no doubt in our minds: she decided to leave Oscar that night," she said. FRENNIE SHIVAMBU/EPA Reeva Steenkamp (l.) with Olympian Oscar Pistorius, who was convicted of culpable homicide for shooting her to death on Valentine’s Day 2013. STR/EPA June Steenkamp's book goes on sale Nov. 6. Previous Next Enlarge She added that if Pistorius — whom she described as “volatile”, “combustible” and “trigger-happy” — hadn’t killed Reeva, the 27-year-old would have killed someone else "sooner or later." Reeva, 29, was shot dead by Pistorius, a double amputee who uses prosthetics to walk and run, as she huddled inside a bathroom. The fallen Olympic runner has stood by his claim that he shot four times through the locked door because he thought there was an intruder in his Pretoria home. Reeva's mother, though, claims that Pistorius, who is serving a five-year sentence for culpable homicide, lied in court and knew he was actually firing at Reeva. “There is no doubt in our minds that something went horribly wrong, something upset her so terribly that she hid behind a locked door with two mobile phones,” June writes. Amazon ‘Reeva: A Mother's Story.’ Convicted of culpable homicide last week, Pistorius will be able to seek parole after 10 months behind bars, and then apply to serve out the remainder of his sentence at home. The marathon eight-month trial drew international attention to South Africa and featured the country’s most famous athlete and a gorgeous young supermodel. Reeva’s parents, June and Barry Steenkamp, told a newspaper that they they never met Pistorius while the two dated. June Steenkamp’s book is due out Nov. 6. ||||| Image copyright EPA Image caption Reeva Steenkamp's relationship was Pistorius was "coming to an end", her mother says It was bad luck Reeva Steenkamp met Oscar Pistorius, her mother has said, as the "volatile" athlete "would have killed someone sooner or later". Speaking to The Times, June Steenkamp calls Pistorius "pathetic", "moody", "gun-toting" and "possessive". She rejects both his apology and his version of events, but admits: "He's the only one who knows the truth." Pistorius is serving five years for the culpable homicide of girlfriend Reeva. He could be out in 10 months. The South African athlete was cleared of murder. 'About to leave' June Steenkamp told The Times, which is serialising her book, Reeva: A Mother's Story, which is to be published on 6 November, that Reeva had told her the couple had not yet entered a sexual relationship and had "nagging doubts about their compatibility". She says: "She had confided to me that she hadn't slept with him. They'd shared a bed, but she was scared to take the relationship to that level. Media caption Judge Thokozile Masipa hands down the sentence "She wouldn't want to sleep with Oscar if she wasn't sure. I believe their relationship was coming to an end. In her heart of hearts, she didn't think it was making either of them happy." Ms Steenkamp, 68, who was not called to testify at the trial, says this may have played a part in what happened on the night of the shooting, Valentine's Day last year. She rejects his version of events, that there was no row and that he had thought there was an intruder in the toilet cubicle when he fired four shots through the door "without thinking". "There is no doubt in our minds that something went horribly wrong, something upset her so terribly that she hid behind a locked door with two mobile phones," June writes. Media caption June Steenkamp speaks after the sentencing Other words she uses to describe Pistorius are "arrogant", "moody", "combustible", "trigger-happy", "vague", "evasive" and "shifty". She believes Reeva, 29, was about to leave Pistorius, 27. She says: "Her clothes were packed. There is no doubt in our minds: she had decided to leave Oscar that night." In the excerpt of the book serialised in the paper, Ms Steenkamp refers to Pistorius's apology to them in court. "Why decide to say sorry to me in a televised trial in front of the whole world? I was unmoved by his apology. "I felt if I appeared to be sorry for him at this stage of his trial on the charge of premeditated murder, it would in the eyes of others lessen the awfulness of what he had done. He was in the box trying to save his own skin." Nevertheless, the parents say they do want to meet Pistorius. Image copyright EPA Image caption Oscar Pistorius holds the hands of family members as he is led away Although she says "I am not entirely sure what I am going to say", father Barry, 71, says he wants an apology. "I would like him to really, truthfully say, although he said it in court, 'I'm sorry.' I would like him just to say it to our faces." Ms Steenkamp also talks about the "wrenching pain that you get in your heart" when thinking of her daughter's death. "It's always there. The minute your eyes open in the morning, or if you wake up in the middle of the night, there it is." Pistorius, an amputee sprinter, became the first athlete to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. He is serving his sentence in Pretoria's Kgosi Mampuru II jail. Pistorius was also given a three-year suspended sentence for firing a gun in a restaurant. Inside Oscar Pistorius's home INTERACTIVE 1 2 3 5 4 × × Balcony × Mr Pistorius said he and Ms Steenkamp had dinner at about 19:00 before going to bed at 21:00. He said he woke in the early hours, spoke briefly to his girlfriend and got up to close the sliding door and curtains. Judge Thokozile Masipa questioned the reliability of several witnesses who said they heard screams and gunshots between about 03:12 and 03:17, saying most had 'got facts wrong'. × Bathroom noise × Mr Pistorius said he heard the bathroom window sliding open and believed that an intruder, or intruders, had entered the bathroom through a window which was not fitted with burglar bars. Mr Pistorius said he grabbed his firearm and told Ms Steenkamp, who he thought was still in bed, to call the police. The judge said it made no sense that Ms Steenkamp did not hear him scream 'Get out' or call the police, as she had her mobile phone with her. × Shooting × Mr Pistorius could see the bathroom window was open and toilet door closed. He said he did not know whether the intruders were outside on a ladder or in the toilet. He had his firearm in front of him, he heard a movement inside the toilet and thought whoever was inside was coming out to attack him. 'Before I knew it, I had fired four shots at the door,' he said. The judge said she did not accept that Mr Pistorius fired the gun by accident or before he knew what was happening. She said he had armed himself with a lethal weapon and clearly wanted to use it. The other question, she said, was why he fired not one, but four shots before he ran back to the room to try to find Ms Steenkamp. × Bedroom × Mr Pistorius said he went back to the bedroom and noticed that Ms Steenkamp was not there. Mr Pistorius said this was when he realised she could have been in the toilet and rushed back to the bathroom. × Toilet door × Mr Pistorius said he screamed for help and went back to the bathroom where he found the toilet was locked. He returned to the bedroom, pulled on his prosthetic legs and turned on the lights before bashing in the toilet door with a cricket bat. When the door panel broke, he found the key and unlocked the door and found Ms Steenkamp slumped on the floor with her head on the toilet bowl. He then carried her downstairs, where he was met by neighbours. 3D animation of the apartment"
"– Reeva Steenkamp's mother says the 29-year-old South African model "was scared to take the relationship to the next level" with Oscar Pistorius, so she never slept with the man who eventually killed her, the Sunday Times reports via the New York Daily News and the BBC. In the memoir Reeva: a Mother's Story, June Steenkamp says Pistorius and Steenkamp were together for several nights but never went all the way. "She had confided to me that she hadn't slept with him," says June, whose book is being serialized by the Times and is out Nov. 6. "There's no doubt in our minds that she decided to leave Oscar that night," says June. She adds that "something went went horribly wrong, something upset her so terribly that she hid behind a locked door with two mobile phones," the Independent reports. According to June, a jealous, "trigger-happy" Pistorius shot her daughter and fired three more bullets so she "couldn’t tell the world what really happened." June goes on to describe the athlete as "pathetic," "moody," "shifty," and "arrogant.""
"An American citizen on a flight from Paris to Atlanta claimed to have a fake passport and said he had explosives in his luggage, forcing federal air marshals to intervene and the plane to land in Maine, U.S. officials said Tuesday. The officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, believe the man's passport was authentic. There were 235 passengers and 13 crew aboard Delta Air Lines Flight 273, which landed safely just after at 3:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) at Bangor International Airport, Delta spokeswoman Susan Elliott said. Federal officials met the aircraft at the airport. The Transportation Security Administration said the passenger was being interviewed by law enforcement. After the man was apprehended, flight attendants moved passengers forward to clear out space in the rear of the plane, a passenger told CNN. "We were told there was some danger and some threats made, but beyond that we weren't told anything else," said Adithya Sastry. Elliott said late Tuesday afternoon that the Airbus A330 remained on the ground in Bangor but that the airline planned to continue the flight to Atlanta. All passengers were taken off the plane because it was an international flight and they needed to clear customs, said Rebecca Hupp, a spokeswoman for Bangor International Airport. NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, did not launch any military fighters in response to the flight, spokesman John Cornelio said. "By the time we were brought into the equation," the passenger was already under the control of air marshals, Cornelio said from Colorado. The Bangor airport is accustomed to dealing with diverted flights. It's the first large U.S. airport for incoming European flights, and it's the last U.S. airport for outgoing flights, with uncluttered skies and one of the longest runways on the East Coast. Aircraft use the airport when there are mechanical problems, medical emergencies or unruly passengers. Delta, based in Atlanta, is the world's largest airline and has a joint venture with Air France-KLM on flights across the Atlantic. ___ Associated Press writers Eileen Sullivan and Joan Lowy in Washington, Harry Weber in Atlanta, David Sharp and Clarke Canfield in Portland, Maine, and John Curran in Montpelier, Vermont, contributed to this report. ||||| U.S. officials say they found no bomb on the Delta flight from Paris that was diverted to Bangor, Maine Tuesday after a passenger created a disturbance. Officials identified the passenger as Derek Stansberry of Apollo, Florida. Stansberry's father, Richard, told ABC News his son is a former Air Force reservist. The elder Stansberry said he was notified late Tuesday by authorities that his son was involved in the incident. "He's not a terrorist," said the elder Stansberry of his son. "I just found out and I am in total shock," he said. Stansberry remains in the custody of the FBI. Officials said an inspection of the aircraft after it landed found no evidence of explosives, as Stansberry reportedly boasted during the flight. Play Officials said Stansberry also boasted of having a fake passport, which they say also turned out not to be true. Delta Flight 273 was heading for Atlanta when Stansberry reportedly made the comments that led two federal air marshals to take him into custody. According to law enforcement sources, the incident began when Stansberry passed a note to a flight attendant that read, "Forgive me, I f---ed up, I'm sorry." The flight attendant brought the note up to the flight deck. One of the two teams of two federal air marshals aboard broke cover and approached Stansberry. Stansberry told the FAMs in a mutter that he had explosives in his bag. The FAMs then subdued Stansberry. He told them he had taken a valium and a sleeping pill before the flight. The officials said the marshals placed Stansberry's backpack and shoes in the rear of the plane and packed other luggage and blankets around them as part of a measure to minimize the potential damage from an explosion. One official said the marshals "literally sat on the guy's chest" as the flight landed in Bangor. Click Here for the Blotter Homepage."
"– Another plane scare incident: A US passenger forced an international flight to be aborted after claiming he had a bomb in his luggage and a fake passport, the AP reports. The passenger allegedly made threats while in the air on a Delta flight from Paris to Atlanta, causing it to be diverted to Bangor, Maine. "We were told there was some danger and some threats made, but beyond that we weren't told anything else," said one passenger upon landing. The man is in custody, and few details were available about him. Two air marshals were aboard the plane and were "sitting on the guy's chest" upon arrival in Maine, a law enforcement official tells ABC."
"The aim of this study was to investigate the size of the association between deficiencies in social relationships and incident coronary heart disease (CHD) or stroke, the two greatest causes of burden of disease in high-income countries. 10 We conducted a systematic review to answer the following primary question: are deficiencies in social relationships associated with developing CHD and stroke in high-income countries? Our secondary objectives included investigating whether loneliness or social isolation was differentially associated with incident heart disease and stroke, and whether the association between social relationships and disease incidence varied according to age, gender, marital status, socioeconomic position, ethnicity and health. Researchers have identified three main pathways through which social relationships may affect health: behavioural, psychological and physiological mechanisms. 3 , 4 Health-risk behaviours associated with loneliness and social isolation include physical inactivity and smoking. 5 Loneliness is linked to lower self-esteem and limited use of active coping methods, 6 while social isolation predicts decline in self-efficacy. 7 Feeling lonely or being socially isolated is associated with defective immune functioning and higher blood pressure. 8 , 9 This evidence suggests that loneliness and social isolation may be important risk factors for developing disease, and that addressing them would benefit public health and well-being. Adults who have few social contacts (ie, who are socially isolated) or feel unhappy about their social relationships (ie, who are lonely) are at increased risk of premature mortality. 1 The influence of social relationships on mortality is comparable with well-established risk factors, including physical activity and obesity. 2 Yet, compared with our understanding of these risk factors, we know much less about the implications of loneliness and social isolation for disease aetiology. Finally, sensitivity analyses were performed to test whether our overall results were affected by internal study validity and small-study effects. Contour-enhanced funnel plots for asymmetry were drawn using STATA V.12 (Stata Statistical Software: Release 12 [program]. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP, 2011). The limited number and the heterogeneity of studies did not support the use of tests for funnel plot asymmetry. 20 Potential sources of variation were explored with prespecified subgroup analyses. Since heterogeneity could not be explained and removed based on these analyses, but we deemed studies sufficiently similar to warrant aggregation, we combined results using random effects models. This approach allows for between-study variation, and is consistent with our assumption that the effects estimated in the different studies were not identical, since they investigated different dimensions of social relationships and derived from different populations. Patterns identified in the preliminary synthesis were formally investigated. Only papers for which an effect estimate and SE or CI were available (reported in the paper or provided by contacted authors), or could be calculated, contributed to this stage of the analysis. Where several papers reported results from the same cohort, we privileged the findings with the longest follow-up time. If a study included multiple measures of exposure and/or outcome, we selected the result relating to the most comprehensive measure. Where a study used statistical controls to calculate an effect size, we extracted data from the most complex model to minimise risk of confounding. All effect sizes were transformed to the natural log for analyses. Using Revman V.5.3 (Review Manager (RevMan) Version 5.3 [program]. Copenhagen: The Nordic Cochrane Centre, 2014), CHD and stroke effect estimates were plotted in separate forest plots, and heterogeneity between studies was assessed using the I 2 statistic. We hypothesised that social relationships were associated with disease incidence, and that this association may differ according to the dimension of relationships measured, and individual-level and contextual-level factors. A preliminary synthesis was developed by grouping study characteristics and results according to their measure of relationships. The majority of papers reported relative hazards of new diagnosis, comparing people with higher versus lower levels of loneliness or social isolation. Since incidence of disease was low (<10%) in the three studies reporting ORs, these estimates were approximated to relative risks. 19 Where the lonely or isolated group was used as the reference, results were transformed to allow comparison across studies. Based on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality framework and taxonomy of threats to validity and precision, 16 we selected the following domains as relevant for assessing studies: sampling bias, non-response bias, missing data, differential loss to follow-up, information error with regard to exposure and outcome measure, detection bias, confounding and study size. We identified age, gender and socioeconomic status as potential confounders (ie, factors correlated with exposure, predictive of outcome and not on the causal pathway). 17 , 18 No studies were excluded due to quality; instead, subgroup and sensitivity analyses were performed, to test the stability of findings according to internal validity. After removing duplicates, two researchers independently screened titles and abstracts before assessing full records using a standardised screening sheet. Additional information was sought from authors when necessary (3 (60%) responded). When authors did not reply, we searched for information from related publications to inform our decision. To complement the electronic search, we screened reference lists, searched for citations in Scopus (the largest database of abstracts and citations) and contacted topic experts identified through the UK Campaign to End Loneliness’ Research Hub. We searched 16 electronic databases for published and grey literature published up until May 2015: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL Plus, PsycINFO, ASSIA, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Social Policy and Practice, National Database of Ageing Research, Open Grey, HMIC, ETHOS, NDLTD, NHS Evidence, SCIE and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Thesaurus and free text terms (eg, loneliness, social isolation, social relationships, social support, social network) were combined with filters for observational study designs and tailored to each database. The search strategy included no health terms, as it aimed to capture all disease outcomes, rather than focus on CHD and stroke. For the full electronic strategy used to search MEDLINE, see online supplementary appendix 1. To meet inclusion criteria, studies had to investigate new CHD and/or stroke diagnosis at the individual level as a function of loneliness and/or social isolation. We defined CHD as encompassing the diagnoses listed under codes l20–l25 of the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10), and stroke as ICD-10 codes I60–69. We excluded studies where CHD or stroke diagnosis was not the first instance of diagnosis among participants, except where analyses controlled for previous events. We applied no other exclusion criteria regarding study population. Measures of social relationships met inclusion criteria for loneliness if they were consistent with its definition as a subjective negative feeling associated with someone's perception that their relationships with others are deficient. 13 Measures of social isolation had to be consistent with its definition as a more objective measure of the absence of relationships, ties or contact with others. 14 We focused on longitudinal studies in order to investigate the temporal relationships between loneliness or isolation and subsequent disease. Our purpose was to clarify the public health challenge posed by deficiencies in social relationships in high-income countries, 15 so we excluded all other settings. We applied no language, publication type or date restrictions to inclusion. Results A total of 23 studies based on 16 cohorts were identified for inclusion in the review, after a two-stage process. See figure 1 for a flow diagram of the study selection process. Eleven studies on CHD and eight studies on stroke met inclusion criteria for the quantitative syntheses (ie, studies based on independent samples reporting data from which the natural log of the estimate and its SE could derived). Figure 1 Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) flow diagram. CHD, coronary heart disease. Table 1 summarises the descriptive characteristics of the evidence included in our review (see online supplementary appendix 2 for individual study characteristics). Supplementary appendix 2 [heartjnl-2015-308790supp_appendix2.pdf] Table 1 Characteristics of the included evidence Assessment of loneliness and social isolation Prevalence of loneliness or social isolation ranged from 2.8%40 to 77.2%.31 Three papers measured loneliness,21 ,30 ,42 18 measured social isolation22–43 and two papers used a measure combining both dimensions.34 ,35 The three papers on loneliness used different tools: a direct question asking about loneliness feelings during the day,30 a question on feelings of loneliness in the past week42 and a 13-item tool encompassing the perceived availability, adequacy or accessibility of social relationships.21 Across the 18 studies on social isolation, 11 tools were used: six studies used the Berkman–Syme Social Network Index,44 two studies used the 10-item Lubben Social Network Scale45 and the remainder used nine different tools on the availability and/or frequency of contacts. One cohort study used a measure combining social isolation and loneliness, the 11-item Duke Social Support Index, which asks about frequency of interaction and satisfaction with relationships.46 Loneliness and social isolation were predominantly treated as a categorical variable; two studies analysed them as continuous variables.29 ,42 Only one study reported results based on measuring social relationships more than once.42 Ascertainment of CHD and stroke A total of 4628 CHD and 3002 stroke events were recorded across the 23 papers. Eighteen studies measured incident CHD and 10 measured stroke (five studies reported on both outcomes). Diagnosis was ascertained from medical records, death certificates or national registers in all but four studies. Others used self-report,34 ,35 or telephone interviews with a nurse or physician.33 Two studies verified self-reported events against medical records.29 ,36 ,38 The majority of studies with a measure of CHD focused on myocardial infarction and/or CHD death (11/18). Four studies included angina pectoris within their measure of CHD and two presented results for angina separately. The remit of the CHD measure was unclear in one study.43 Study validity Figure 2 summarises risk of bias across the studies included in our review (see online supplementary appendix 3 for details of criteria). For many of the instruments assessing social relationships, information on reliability and validity was limited (online supplementary appendix 4 displays detailed information on the validity and reliability of tools). Four cohorts (six articles) relied on subjects reporting new diagnosis for all or part of the outcomes measured, and were judged to be at greater risk of misclassification (see online supplementary appendix 2 for details of outcome assessment). Limited information on attrition and blinding of outcome assessment meant that susceptibility to differential loss to follow-up and detection bias was unclear. We note that the multiplicity of risk factors investigated and the differential length of follow-up suggest that outcome assessment is unlikely to have been influenced by knowledge of baseline information on social relationships. Supplementary appendix 3 [heartjnl-2015-308790supp_appendix3.pdf] Supplementary appendix 4 [heartjnl-2015-308790supp_appendix4.pdf] Figure 2 Internal validity. NA, not applicable. The results reported in 12 papers were at lower risk of confounding, that is, analyses controlled or accounted for age, gender and socioeconomic status.21 ,22 ,27 ,28 ,30 ,33 ,36 ,37 ,39 ,40 ,42 ,43 Four studies presented results from univariate analyses,31 ,34 ,35 ,41 with a further study adjusting for age only.26 The remaining eight reports did not control for socioeconomic status, although in the case of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study the relative socioeconomic homogeneity of the sample may limit the impact of this omission.22 ,24 Loneliness, social isolation and CHD Across 11 studies (3794 events; one study did not report numbers) based on independent samples, the average relative risk of new CHD when comparing high versus low loneliness or social isolation was 1.29 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.59; see figure 3). We found evidence of heterogeneity within this comparison (I2=66%, χ2=29.16, df=10, p=0.001) and explored whether this could be explained by social relationship domain (loneliness vs social isolation), gender, risk of confounding and higher risk of bias due to exposure measurement error. We found no evidence that effects differed according to each subgroup (see online supplementary appendix 5). We were not able to explore other potential sources of heterogeneity due to limited information and study numbers. Supplementary appendix 5 [heartjnl-2015-308790supp_appendix5.pdf] Figure 3 Forest plot of studies investigating incident CHD. CHD, coronary heart disease. Social isolation and stroke Across nine independent study samples (2577 events; one study did not report numbers), the average relative risk of stroke incidence was 1.32 (95% CI 1.04 to 1.68; see figure 4). Following confirmation of heterogeneity (I2=53%, χ2=17.07, df=8, P=0.03) we performed subgroup analyses according to risk of confounding and risk of bias due to outcome measurement error (there were too few studies to perform any other analyses). There was no evidence of effects differing according to subgroup (see online supplementary appendix 6); we had insufficient information to explore other potential sources of heterogeneity. Supplementary appendix 6 [heartjnl-2015-308790supp_appendix6.pdf] Figure 4 Forest plot of studies investigating incident stroke. Risk of bias across studies To test whether our findings were sensitive to internal study validity, we compared results with and without studies at greater risk of bias. We found no evidence of a difference in the ratio of the relative risks for CHD and stroke according to study validity (see table 2). Table 2 Sensitivity analyses Visual assessment of contour-enhanced funnel plots suggested that studies might be missing in areas of statistical significance (see figure 5A, B). Comparing fixed-effects and random-effects estimates, we found the random-effects estimate to be more beneficial (CHD: relative risk (RR) random-effects: 1.29, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.59, compared with RR fixed-effects: 1.18, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.31; stroke: RR, random-effects: 1.32, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.68, compared with RR fixed-effects: 1.19, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.36). This suggests the presence of small-study effects, which could be due to reporting bias. Although we found no evidence that study quality and true heterogeneity explained small-study effects in our review, these, along with chance, remain possible explanations. Figure 5 (A) Contour-enhanced funnel plot, coronary heart disease studies. (B) Contour-enhanced funnel plot, stroke studies. ||||| Photo Loneliness may make you sick. Researchers, writing in the journal Heart, pooled data from 23 studies and found that social isolation or feelings of loneliness were tied to an increased risk for coronary heart disease and stroke. The studies included data from 181,006 men and women 18 and older. There were 4,628 coronary events and 3,002 strokes in follow-up periods ranging from three to 21 years. Three of the papers measured loneliness, 18 looked at social isolation and two included both. Social isolation and loneliness were determined with questionnaires; the researchers depended on medical records and death certificates for determining coronary events and stroke. The scientists found that loneliness and social isolation increased the relative risk of having a heart attack, angina or a death from heart disease by 29 percent, and the risk of stroke by 32 percent. There were no differences between men and women. “People have tended to focus from a policy point of view at targeting lonely people to make them more connected,” said the lead author, Nicole K. Valtorta, a research fellow at the University of York in England. “Our study shows that if this is a risk factor, then we should be trying to prevent the risk factor in the first place.” The authors acknowledge that this was a review of observational studies and did not establish cause and effect. ||||| The Backstreet Boys asked and science answered: Being lonely means an increased risk for coronary heart disease. That loneliness and social isolation could be risk factors for disease and death is an idea that has been brewing in the scientific community for some time now. In 2006, a JAMA study found social isolation in childhood may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease in adulthood. A couple years later, at Ohio State University, researchers found that social isolation, in mice anyway, makes strokes more deadly. The team conducted a second study in 2010 and found having no contact with friends or family can worsen the brain damages caused by a heart attack. Then, in 2015, Brigham Young University put it plainly: The prescription for living longer is to spend less time alone. While experts have started to suspect loneliness negatively affects heart health, new research published today in the journal Heart argues that the topic has yet to be widely studied. Study co-author Nicole Valtorta, research fellow at the University of York, told Medical Daily that the existing literature her team reviewed focused more on how weakened social relationships increase risk for mortality overall. “It didn’t tell us if people who felt lonely were at increased risk of developing disease once they were in ill health,” she said. “We wanted to bring together the information of all the studies we could find and see what comes of it.” Valtorta and her colleagues at York and the universities of Liverpool and Newcastle combed through 1 6 research databases for studies that investigated new cases of heart disease and stroke at the individual level as a function of loneliness, social isolation, or both. To measure for social aspects, the team put in place criteria for each term: Loneliness is the negative feeling a person has when she thinks her relationships are deficient, Valtorta said. A lonely person could be surrounded by lots of people and still be unhappy. Social isolation, on the other hand, is when a person is not in contact with anyone, including his friends and family. The researchers chose 23 studies for analysis, ultimately including more than 181,000 adults. And the results showed that loneliness and social isolation was associated with a 29 percent increased risk of a heart attack or episode of chest pain and a 32 percent heightened risk of having a stroke. The two had a greater effect on heart health than general anxiety and job stress, the team wrote. That said, this was an observational study, meaning Valtorta can’t rule out potential, unmeasured factors or reverse causation. For example, is it feeling like you’re alone that hurts your heart or is it an undiagnosed disease that promotes social isolation? At this point, it would be unethical to lean any one way, Valtorta said, but she does believe her findings are enough to start informing clinical practice. “We need more studies, but little by little the evidence is growing,” she said. In an accompanying editorial, doctors Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Timothy Smith of Brigham Young University, the authors of the 2015 study that prescribed spending less time alone, argue that Valtorta’s study is the latest to show that “loneliness and isolation bolster the already robust evidence documenting that social connections significantly predict morbidity and mortality, supporting the case for inclusion as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.” The World Health Organization does list social support networks as one of its determinants of health, as do other major organizations specific to heart disease. But this inclusion should extend to medical education, individual risk assessment, and the guidelines and policies applied to populations and the delivery of health services, the doctors wrote. "Given projected increases in levels of social isolation and loneliness in Europe and North America, medical science needs to squarely address the ramifications for physical health.” Holt-Lunstad told Medical Daily that experts have been worried about the implications of reduced social network size in both the United Kingdom and United States. The average size of Americans’ core discussions networks has declined since 1985, according to the Pew Internet Personal Networks and Community survey : The average size dropped by about one-third, or a loss of approximately one friend, a small to modest change. And in 2014, the Independent Age and the International Longevity Center predicted that social isolation among the elderly population could reach epidemic proportions by 2030. Young people are at risk too: New Scientist has written that adults ages 18 to 24 report feeling more lonely than they have in the past. Some sociologist believe new technology, like the internet and social media, have advanced the trend, while the Pew survey found that internet users were 55 percent more likely to talk to people they weren’t related to and that in-person contact remains Americans’ dominant means of communication. Which leads back to Valtorta’s initial idea: We simply need more research. “I was surprised by the scarcity of the data. We don’t really have much to refer to,” she said. “We compared people who are lonely to people who weren’t lonely, and people who were socially isolated and not.” But her study doesn’t have all the answers, she added. “It doesn’t tell us: if you’re lonely, and you try to change that, will it benefit your health?” Sources: Valtorta NK et al. Loneliness and Social Isolation As Risk Factors For Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Longitudinal Observational Studies. Heart. 2016. Holt-Lunstad J, Smith TB. Loneliness and Social Isolation As Risk Factors For CVD: implications For Evidence-Based Patient Care and Scientific Inquiry. Heart. 2016. ||||| Researchers say analysis backs up public health concerns about importance of social contacts for health and wellbeing Loneliness and social isolation have been linked to a 30% increase in the risk of having a stroke or coronary artery disease, the two major causes of death and illness in wealthy societies. In findings which compared the effects of loneliness with recognised risk factors, such as anxiety and a stressful job, researchers said that their analysis backed up public health concerns about the importance of social contacts for health and wellbeing. Loneliness had already been linked to a compromised immune system, high blood pressure and premature death, but its potential effect on heart disease and stroke risk has remained unclear. Previous studies involving more than 181,000 adults were scrutinised by the researchers, whose findings have been published online in the journal Heart. The pooled data showed that loneliness and social isolation was associated with a 29% increased risk of a heart or angina attack and a 32% heightened risk of having a stroke. The researchers, from the universities of York, Liverpool and Newcastle, stress that their study was observational and that firm conclusions cannot be drawn about cause and effect, as well as pointing out that it wasn’t possible to exclude the potential effect of other unmeasured factors. However, they state: “Our work suggests that addressing loneliness and social isolation may have an important role in the prevention of two of the leading causes of morbidity in high-income countries.” They noting that a variety of interventions directed at loneliness and social isolation have already been been developed, ranging from group initiatives such as educational programmes and social activities, to one-to-one approaches including befriending and cognitive-behavioural therapy. “These have primarily focused on secondary prevention, targeting people identified as isolated or lonely, but their effectiveness is unclear. Evaluative research is needed to investigate their impact on a range of health outcomes,” they add. Reacting to the study, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) said that while it suggested a physiological link between loneliness and heart health problems, it was not a clear one and much more research was needed to understand if there truly was a relationship between the two. Christopher Allen, a senior cardiac nurse for the BHF, said: “Social isolation is a serious issue that affects many thousands of people across the UK. We know that loneliness, and having few social contacts, can lead to poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. He added earlier research, which the BHF had funded, had shown an association between social isolation and increased risk of dying. A linked editorial which is also published in Heart argued for the inclusion of social factors in medical education, individual risk assessment, and in guidelines and policies applied to populations and the delivery of health services. Its authors, Dr Julianne Holt-Lunstad and Dr Timothy Smith of Brigham Young University, Utah, US, said that one of the greatest challenges would be how to design effective interventions to boost social connections, taking account of technology. “With such rapid changes in the way people are interacting socially, empirical research is needed to address several important questions,” they write. “Does interacting socially via technology reduce or replace face to face social interaction and/or alter social skills?”"
"– Sgt. Pepper better have good insurance because—if its name is accurate—his Lonely Hearts Club Band has a dramatically increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. According to a study published Monday in Heart, people who feel lonely or are socially isolated have a 29% increase in risk of coronary heart disease and a 32% increase in risk of stroke. While previous studies have shown a person's general health is influenced by their social relationships, this may be the first to show "deficiencies in social relationships" are no good for your heart. Medical Daily reports researchers looked at 23 studies—a total of 181,000 people—about loneliness, social isolation, and health to come to their conclusion. The Guardian notes that coronary heart disease and strokes are the two leading causes of death in first-world countries. And the new study shows loneliness and social isolation are bigger risk factors for those problems than either work stress or general anxiety. “People have tended to focus from a policy point of view at targeting lonely people to make them more connected,” the New York Times quotes study co-author Nicole Valtorta as saying. “Our study shows that if this is a risk factor, then we should be trying to prevent the risk factor in the first place.” The research is especially important as other studies show social isolation growing and young people feeling more lonely than ever before. (Also bad—and potentially lethal—for your heart? Heartbreak.)"
"This was the ethical dilemma faced by doctors at Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre to save a child's life. In 2017, doctors from the Transplant Unit at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre performed what is believed to be the world's first intentional liver transplant from a mother living with HIV to her critically ill HIV negative child, who had end-stage liver disease. Now, more than a year later, the mother and child have fully recovered, however, doctors are unsure the HIV-status of the child. In South Africa, a country with the largest anti-retroviral therapy (ART) programme in the world, people with HIV live long and healthy lives. The success of this world-first operation thus presents a potential new pool of living donors that could save additional lives. Leveraging "living positive" to save more lives In a paper published in prestigious, peer-reviewed journal AIDS on October 4, 2018, scientists in surgery, ethics, and HIV from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits) explain how a chronic shortage of organs compromise their efforts to save lives, and how the decision they made to perform a world-first operation could advance transplantation. Jean Botha, principal investigator and transplant surgeon is Professor of Surgery in the Department of Surgery in the School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences at Wits University. "Two aspects of this case are unique. Firstly, it involved intentional donation of an organ from a living HIV positive individual. Secondly, pre-exposure prophylaxis [medication to protect at-risk individuals from contracting the HI virus] in the child who received the organ may have prevented the transmission of HIV. However, we will only know this conclusively over time," says Botha, who is also Director of Transplantation at the Transplant Unit at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre. Currently, the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre is the only Transplant Programme doing living donor liver transplantation in southern Africa. It is also the first privately administered teaching hospital in Johannesburg and, as a Wits hospital, advances specialist training and research. Stringent adherence to ethical guidelines In this case of transplanting a liver from an HIV positive donor to a non-infected recipient, the transplant team had to unpack the potential risks and benefits to both. The Human Research Ethics Committee (Medical) at Wits University approved the liver transplantation from the mother living with HIV to her HIV negative child. Their personal details remain confidential. The child - on the waiting list for a deceased donor for 180 days (the average is 45 days) - was frequently admitted for life-threatening complications of end-stage liver disease. Without transplant, the child would certainly have died. However, saving the child's life needed to be balanced against harm to the donor and the risk of almost certainly transmitting HIV if the mother was the donor. Dr Harriet Etheredge is a medical bioethicist who holds an honorary position in the Department of Internal Medicine, School of Clinical Medicine at Wits, and oversees Ethics and Regulatory Issues at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre. "Extensive efforts were made to identify either a deceased liver donor or an HIV negative living donor for the child before considering an HIV positive parent donor. Transplanting HIV positive organs is not illegal in South Africa; however, it is not considered best practice internationally because of the risk of HIV transmission to the recipient. To minimise risk to donors and recipients, this operation is offered only under exceptional circumstances. Full consent is required from the parents who must be able to care for a child infected with HIV," says Etheredge, whose PhD is in the field of medical ethics and organ transplantation. In this transplantation case, the mother asked a number of times for the opportunity to save her child's life by donating a segment of her liver. For this mother, quantifying the risk was simpler for the transplant team. Dr Francesca Conradie, HIV clinician, notes, "When considering an HIV positive parent, it is important that they have an undetectable viral load. This means that they know they are HIV positive and that they have been taking their antiretroviral medication properly for at least six months". This made the risk of donation equivalent to that of an HIV negative living donor. However, living liver donation is never a risk-free procedure, and the team took care to ensure that the mother understood the full ambit of the risk she was undertaking. "Our Independent Donor Advocate helps the parents understand the risks, makes representations to the transplant team on behalf of the donor if necessary, and provides emotional support throughout the process," says Etheredge. Intentional transmission of HIV to save a life The transplant team faced the dilemma of saving the child's life whilst at the same time knowing that the child might end up HIV positive because of this decision. However, because this intentional HIV positive living donor liver transplant is likely a world first, the actual chance of transmitting HIV was unknown. The team decided to work on the basis that the child would contract HIV, and provide management accordingly. But in the time since the transplant, there have been some surprises when it comes to the child's HIV status. "In the weeks after the transplant, we thought that the child was HIV positive, because we detected HIV antibodies," says Botha. The transplant team then accessed specialised testing by HIV experts at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) who subsequently could not find any active HIV infection in the blood stream of the child, meaning there is a chance that the child is HIV negative. Caroline Tiemessen is Research Professor in the School of Pathology at Wits and head of Cell Biology within the Centre for HIV and STIs. "At the moment, we are developing new methods for testing the child, and we hope to be able to have a definitive answer to the question of seroconversion in future. For now the child will remain on ART until we have a more comprehensive picture," says Tiemessen who, in 2017, led the laboratory investigations in the case where of a South African child living with HIV had remained in remission without ART since 2008. Seroconversion is the period of time during which a specific antibody develops and becomes detectable in the blood. After seroconversion has occurred, HIV can be detected in blood tests for the antibody. Expanded organ donor pool to advance transplantation in Africa More than a year since the intentional liver transplantation from a mother living with HIV to her HIV negative child, both donor and recipient have recovered and are well. Dr June Fabian, a nephrologist and Research Director at Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre says, "We have formalised this procedure as a research programme. As we offer this type of transplantation to more children, we hope to be able to draw more definitive conclusions." Organ transplantation at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre is offered to any person irrespective of income or demographic according to "sickest first" criterion. This is possible through an existing partnership between the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre and the Gauteng Department of Health. "We hope that this ground-breaking operation will be the first of many like it and will contribute towards promoting justice and equity in liver transplantation in South Africa," says Fabian. ### ||||| JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Doctors in South Africa say they transplanted part of a liver from a mother with HIV to her critically ill but HIV-negative child, concluding that the chance to save a life outweighed the risk of virus transmission. The mother and child recovered after the 2017 transplant, though it is not yet known whether the child has the virus that causes AIDS, according to the team from the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg. The University of the Witwatersrand experts explained the procedure in an article published Thursday in the journal AIDS. Medication provided to the child before the transplant may have prevented HIV transmission, though that will only become clear over time, they said. A liver from a donor without HIV was not available in a country where there is a chronic shortage of organs available for transplant. "The transplant team faced the dilemma of saving the child's life whilst at the same time knowing that the child might end up HIV-positive because of this decision," the university said. The mother, who was taking antiretroviral drugs to combat HIV, had asked if she could donate part of her liver to save her child's life, and the medical team explained the risks of "living liver donation" to her, according to the university. The organ is able to regenerate and become complete again. "In the weeks after the transplant we thought that the child was HIV-positive because we detected HIV antibodies," transplant surgeon Jean Botha said in a statement. But more testing by HIV experts at South Africa's National Institute of Communicable Diseases did not find any active HIV infection in the child. South Africa has the world's biggest antiretroviral therapy program, improving the lives of many people with HIV. The doctors had to consider that with today's improved HIV medications, the child could "lead a relatively normal life" with one pill a day even if he or she did become infected, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious diseases chief at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and a leading HIV expert. "If it is a choice between death and living reasonably well with a treatable infection, I think they made a quite reasonable choice," he said. But Fauci stressed that one case doesn't mean the approach is ready to be tried again: "Everything has to be on a case-by-case basis." There have been cases in which HIV-infected organs were unintentionally transplanted into HIV-negative patients. And in the United States, Johns Hopkins University in recent years pioneered HIV-positive donor to HIV-positive recipient transplants. ___ Associated Press reporter Lauran Neergaard in Washington contributed. ___ Follow Christopher Torchia on Twitter at ||||| South Africa has a dire shortage of organ donors. This means that doctors struggle to find suitable donor organs for critically ill patients who would die without receiving a transplant. Sometimes they have to make tough calls such as using a blood group incompatible organ to save a patient’s life – even if this comes with additional risk. About a year ago we made a tough call of our own: we could save a child’s life by giving the child a liver transplant – but risked infecting the child with HIV in the process. The donor was the child’s mother, who is HIV positive and the child was HIV negative. The procedure came with a risk of transmitting HIV to the child. South Africa’s law does not forbid the transplantation of an organ from a living HIV positive donor to an HIV negative recipient, provided that a robust informed consent process is in place. But this isn’t universally accepted as best clinical practice because of the risk of HIV transmission to the recipient. The young recipient had been on the organ donor waiting list for 181 days. The average time on the waiting list in our transplant programme is 49 days. The child’s mother had repeatedly asked if she could donate a part of her liver, but we could not consider this because it was against the policy in our unit at the time. Without a transplant, the child would certainly have died. After much consideration, and with permission from the Medical Ethics Committee at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand, we decided to go ahead with the transplant. With careful planning we were able to give the child antiretroviral drugs in advance, with the hope of preventing HIV infection. The transplant, which happened at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Donald Gordon Medical Centre, was a success. The child is thriving, but at this point we are unable to determine the child’s HIV status. In the first month after the transplant we detected HIV antibodies in the child and it looked like HIV infection might have taken place. But as time went by the antibodies declined and are now almost undetectable. We have not been able to work out for certain whether the child has HIV or not. Even with ultra-sensitive, specialised testing, we have not been able to detect any HIV in the child’s blood or cells. It will probably still be some time before we can be sure. However, the child is doing very well on antiretroviral treatment. And we know from cases where HIV was transmitted inadvertently that people who get HIV from an organ transplant do as well as those who get an HIV-negative organ. This operation could be a game changer for South Africa. The country has a large pool of virally suppressed HIV-positive people who have previously not been considered for living liver donation. Viral suppression is when a person with HIV takes their antiretroviral medication as prescribed and their viral load – the amount of virus in their blood – is so low that it is undetectable. Ethical and legal considerations Organ transplant comes with many ethical and legal challenges. In this case, some unique and complex issues were carefully considered. We took great care to consult widely before doing the transplant. This included speaking to the members of the transplant team, bioethicists, lawyers, experts in the field of HIV medicine and Wits University’s Medical Ethics Committee. The committee’s function is - among other things - to protect patients in medical research, and to make sure doctors are doing procedures for the correct reasons. It was clear that a transplant was in the child’s best interests. The bigger ethical question was whether it was right to deny the mother the opportunity to save her child’s life. A fundamental principle of ethics is to treat people fairly. People with HIV should have the same health care options as everyone else. We, along with the Ethics Committee, agreed that as long as the child’s parents understood that there was a risk the child could acquire HIV, it was acceptable to go ahead with the transplant. Then, to ensure that the child’s parents were properly informed and in the best position to make a decision, we used an independent donor advocate. The advocate was not employed by the hospital and their main role was to support the parents by ensuring that they understood exactly what the risks were for the mother as a donor. The advocate also engaged with the transplant team on the parents’ behalf, if needed. In this case, the parents were committed to go ahead with the operation, and had already come to terms with the risk of HIV transmission to their child. They were appreciative that the team were willing to carefully consider this option for them, given that there were no alternatives available and their child was critically ill. We asked both parents to consent to the procedure, as both are responsible for taking care of the child going forward. Lessons and opportunities This operation has shown that doctors can do this type of transplant, and that outcomes for the HIV positive donor and the recipient can be good. It has also created a unique opportunity for scientists at Wits to study HIV transmission under very controlled circumstances. For now, doctors will not be able to tell parents whether or not their child will get HIV from this type of transplant. This is because this is a single case with many unanswered questions that will hopefully be answered through ongoing research. Going forward, we will continue to ensure that parents are fully aware of the uncertainty in this situation. All future cases will be part of an ongoing research study that will investigate HIV transmission in children in more detail and the ways in which HIV may or may not be spread through organ transplantation."
"– Doctors in South Africa had a wrenching dilemma: A baby in desperate need of a liver had been on the organ-donor waiting list for 181 days and wouldn't live much longer. The child's mother pleaded with doctors to take a portion of her own liver for a transplant, but one big issue stood in the way: The mother has HIV. Finally, surgeons at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre decided they had no choice and performed what is believed to be the world's first transplant from an HIV-positive donor, per a university release. The surgery itself went well, and, more significantly, the child is HIV negative one year later. It's too early to say whether that will hold true permanently, but the news is being hailed as a potentially big development, especially in countries such as South Africa where HIV is prevalent. "This operation could be a game changer for South Africa," write three officials from the University of Witwatersrand (affiliated with the hospital) in the Conversation. "The country has a large pool of virally suppressed HIV-positive people who have previously not been considered for living liver donation." The piece details the ethical quandaries the hospital faced, including whether it would be right to deny the mother a chance to save her baby, even with the risk of HIV infection. The story is drawing international attention, and in the US, Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health says doctors made the right choice—even if the child had emerged with HIV. "If it is a choice between death and living reasonably well with a treatable infection, I think they made a quite reasonable choice," he tells the AP. (A canceled HIV test resulted in a huge payout for one patient.)"
"Michael Dell is close to finishing a risky $23 billion deal to take private the computer company he founded nearly 30 years ago, in an effort to remake Dell Inc. for a post-PC era. Dell's deal to go private is one of the latest steps Michael Dell has taken in re-vitalizing the p.c. maker, Benjamin Pimentel reports on digits. Photo: Getty Images. Late Monday, Mr. Dell was in talks with Microsoft Corp. and private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners to offer shareholders between $13.50 and $13.75 a share, said people familiar with the matter, about a 25% premium to Dell's stock price in January before the possibility of a deal became public. Enlarge Image Close Lucas Jackson/Reuters Michael Dell's company once had a market cap of more than $100 billion. Dell Inc. on Monday was close to finishing a $23 billion deal to take itself private at between $13.50 and $13.75 a share, said people familiar with the matter. WSJ's Ben Worthen reports on Digits. Photo: Dell. The buyout, if approved by shareholders, would be the largest such deal since the financial crisis. It also would be an admission by Mr. Dell that he wasn't able to pull off the changes needed to improve his company's revenue and profit under Wall Street's glare. The buyout would give Mr. Dell the largest stake in the company, ensuring that the 47-year-old is the one who gets to oversee any changes. The Round Rock, Texas, firm once boasted a market capitalization above $100 billion as the world's largest PC maker. But the company's market share has since dwindled to third behind Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lenovo Group Ltd. as tablets and smartphones became more popular. Mr. Dell has also had to endure critical comparisons of the financial performance of his company and Apple Inc., a matter of particular frustration, according to people familiar with the matter. Timeline: Dell's Ups and Downs View Graphics Interviews with current and former Dell executives, plus other people who know the CEO, paint a picture of a man who appeared increasingly worried about his legacy. These people said it has been years since Mr. Dell showed the enthusiasm he did when he reclaimed the title of CEO in 2007 after a short period where he served only as chairman of the PC maker. Mr. Dell didn't respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the company declined to comment. Dell shares slipped 2.6% Monday to $13.27 on the Nasdaq Stock Market . As part of the deal to go private, Mr. Dell would contribute his nearly 16% stake valued at about $3.7 billion, plus $700 million from an investment firm he controls, the people said. Microsoft would invest about $2 billion in the form of a subordinated debenture, a less-risky investment than common stock. Microsoft isn't expected to get board seats or governance rights in a closely held Dell, one of the people said. Instead, the companies would tighten their relationship regarding use of Microsoft's Windows software, the person said. Silver Lake Partners would invest more than $1 billion. Four banks are expected to arrange about $15 billion in debt to help fund the deal, and each would handle about a quarter of that amount, one of the people said. The move to take the computer maker private is as much about Dell the man as Dell the company. "It's pretty simple: His name is on the door," one former company executive said of Mr. Dell. When Mr. Dell, who started the company in 1984 in his dorm room at the University of Texas, returned in January 2007, he promised to reposition the company for the new age. Mr. Dell brought in several new executives, including ones to run operations, marketing and lead Dell's consumer push. But while sales grew during Mr. Dell's first year back, he couldn't sustain the momentum. The operations and marketing chiefs left after less than two years. The consumer chief left in 2010, after failed attempts at music players, phones and high-end laptops. Mr. Dell began taking a step back from public scrutiny. In 2011, he stopped making prepared remarks on Dell's earnings calls, leaving that to his finance chief and other lieutenants. Mr. Dell still dominated operational reviews, said people who attended the meetings, and he sometimes appeared to focus more on minutiae than big strategic decisions. Several years ago, Mr. Dell wrote a four-page memo after he first played with the XPS One, a high-end desktop that embedded all its parts inside the monitor. Mr. Dell's notes, sent late the night he received the machine, included his thoughts on the Styrofoam used to package the computer. By late 2010, Mr. Dell had largely abandoned his efforts to develop products for consumers and advocated a new path to become a one-stop shop for businesses. He spent billions acquiring makers of security software, storage systems and other products, with an eye toward reinventing itself as a smaller International Business Machines Corp. The products for businesses have a higher margin than PCs, but so far haven't been able to offset declines in the PC business, which still accounts for half of Dell's annual $62 billion in revenue. Overall, PC sales dropped 13% in the first three quarters of the company's fiscal 2013. Total revenue was down 7% over that period. While Mr. Dell hasn't said what he might do with a closely held Dell, analysts said Dell now has most of the pieces it needs to become a one-stop technology shop. But it has to make those pieces work together, both technologically and organizationally. A private Dell could focus on that and possibly exit some lower-margin parts of the PC business, such as retail sales to consumers, they said. Mr. Dell has tried to position Dell as something other than a PC company, pointing out that the machines account for just a third of Dell's profits. The people who have worked with him expect some changes to the PC business, but don't anticipate Mr. Dell will stop making PCs altogether. Indeed, Mr. Dell has appeared wedded to PCs. When Hewlett-Packard briefly considered spinning out its PC business in 2011, Mr. Dell in private conversations derided the idea as a big mistake. Mr. Dell has said that some of the PC industry's changes caught him unaware. When asked in a 2011 interview with The Wall Street Journal what surprised him most since he returned as Dell CEO in 2007, Mr. Dell said the rise of tablets had been unexpected for him. "I didn't completely see that coming," he said, before adding that he didn't anticipate business users would give up PCs soon. —Ian Sherr and Don Clark contributed to this article. Write to Ben Worthen at and Anupreeta Das at A version of this article appeared February 5, 2013, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Dell Nears $23 Billion Deal to Go Private. ||||| Kimihiro Hoshino/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images For Dell, a $24.4 billion deal to take itself private is a bold move out of Wall Street’s harsh spotlight as it tries to remake itself in a world where personal computers are no longer the big business in technology. Yet the buyout — which was announced on Tuesday and would be the biggest by far since the days of the recession — is a huge gamble. It will saddle Dell with $15 billion of new debt, and it does nothing to divert the forces reshaping the technology industry and undercutting the company’s business. Fifteen years ago, Dell made enormous profits from selling customized PCs directly to customers. Six years ago, it was the world’s leading maker of personal computers. Today, it is in third place, behind Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, and falling. Dell’s share of an already contracting market for PCs slipped to just 10.7 percent last year, from 16.6 percent six years earlier. No-name rivals from Taiwan and China grind earnings to razor-thin margins. Android smartphones and iPads, not Windows laptops and desktops, are the best-selling and most moneymaking devices. And while a shift to cloud computing has increased demand for data centers — an opportunity for Dell to sell servers — big customers like Google and Facebook build their own equipment cheaply. The rise of cloud services has also prompted many companies to forgo buying additional machines, instead relying on rented time and applications running on faraway computer networks. Joe Raedle/Getty Images Dell’s share of the market for servers, slipped about one percentage point, to 22.2 percent of 9.5 million servers sold in 2011. The greater problem in this segment is the pressure on profit margins. Shaw Wu, an analyst with Sterne Agee, estimates operating margins on servers, once about 15 percent, are now “in the high single digits, compared with the mid-single digits for PCs.” It is likely that servers will soon have PC-like margins, he said. Michael S. Dell is betting his stake in the company and some $700 million of his fortune that he can meet those challenges and turn around a business he started in 1984 in his dormitory room at the University of Texas. “Dell’s transformation is well under way, but we recognize it will still take more time, investment and patience,” Mr. Dell wrote in a memo to employees on Tuesday. “I believe that we are better served with partners who will provide long-term support to help Dell innovate and accelerate the company’s transformation strategy.” Mr. Dell’s investment means he will maintain control of the company if its shareholders approve the deal. The private equity firm Silver Lake, one of the most prominent investors in technology companies, is contributing about $1 billion in cash. And Microsoft, seeking to shore up one of its most important business partners, has agreed to lend Dell $2 billion. Microsoft itself is under pressure, with longtime suppliers flirting with rivals to its Windows operating system. “Microsoft is committed to the long term success of the entire PC ecosystem and invests heavily in a variety of ways to build that ecosystem for the future,” the software giant said in a statement. Despite taking on an additional $15 billion in debt, Mr. Dell and Silver Lake argue that the company will survive, thanks to the cash that the PC business still generates. A. M. Sacconaghi, an analyst with Bernstein Research, estimated that the amount of debt Dell will pay is less than what it has spent in stock dividends and share repurchases. “This debt load is manageable,” he said, “as long as the cash flow from PCs holds up.” People involved in the transaction said that the buyers had prepared for potential further declines in the PC business, but intend on at least maintaining the company’s position. Dell’s cash from operations has held steady for four of the last five years, coming in at $5.5 billion for the most recent fiscal year. The size of the transaction evoked the frothy deal-making days before the financial crisis. Dell would be the biggest buyout since the Blackstone Group’s $26 billion takeover of Hilton Hotels in the summer of 2007. Yet few expect a resurgence in giant leveraged buyouts. While the continued availability of cheap financing makes such deals possible, financiers caution that Dell represents a special case because of the founder’s big equity stake. The deal is the biggest test yet for Mr. Dell, 47, who has a fortune estimated at $16 billion. After a three-year absence, he returned as chief executive of the company in 2007, vowing to restore his creation. His strategy has focused on moving into the business of data centers and corporate software services, marked by numerous acquisitions that have cost billions of dollars. So far, that has yielded little. Dell’s shares have fallen 31 percent over the last five years, closing on Tuesday at $13.42 — below the buyout’s offer price of $13.65. But that strategy will largely remain in place if the management buyout is completed. The company will cut its PC offerings further and buy more companies involved in corporate computing for small and medium-size businesses, said Brian T. Gladden, Dell’s chief financial officer. Though Mr. Dell has bemoaned his company’s dismal stock performance for years, his plan to take it private began in earnest only last year. The billionaire maintains a home in Hawaii near the residences of two prominent private equity executives, Egon Durban of Silver Lake and George R. Roberts of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and began floating the idea of a deal with them, people briefed on the matter said. By August, Mr. Dell formally approached the board with a proposal to take the company private, prompting directors to form a special committee to study alternatives to a deal, these people said. One priority was keeping the process devoid of conflicts of interest to head off potential legal challenges, including the hiring of JPMorgan Chase to provide advice and Evercore Partners to solicit other suitors. The committee considered ways to keep the company public, including borrowing money to buy back shares, but concluded that the management buyout was the most attractive option. Mr. Dell had aligned himself with Silver Lake, which he let handle virtually all of the board negotiations, these people said. Mr. Durban used his close ties with Steven Ballmer, the chief executive of Microsoft and to whom he had sold the video chatting service Skype for $8.5 billion, to bring in Microsoft as a partner. Microsoft was wary of getting involved, fearing fracturing relationships with other partners, according to a person briefed on its deliberations. The software company insisted on providing a loan instead of taking equity in the newly private Dell. Silver Lake also hired four banks to arrange the $15 billion in financing. By the time word of the deal talks leaked last month, the two sides had the outline of a final proposal. But Dell’s special board committee, led by Alex J. Mandl, battled with the buyers on price until Monday night, pressing for the highest possible bid. Hamstringing them was a lack of other potential buyers. The committee’s advisers had unsuccessfully approached both K.K.R. and TPG Capital, another big investment firm, hoping to flush out another offer. And despite the talk last month, no strategic buyer emerged as a rival. Secrecy was important. Mr. Dell was known in talks as “Mr. Denali” — a nickname he liked so much he referred to himself by it regularly — while the PC maker was “Osprey” and Silver Lake was “Salamander.” Nick Wingfield and Andrew Ross Sorkin contributed reporting."
"– Dell has reached a deal to go private, the company has announced. Shareholders will receive some $13.65 per share in a $24 billion deal, the New York Times reports, which marks a 25% premium over Dell's January share price. The privatization deal with Microsoft and private equity company Silver Lake Partners is the biggest since the financial crisis, the Wall Street Journal notes. Once the biggest PC maker on the planet, the struggling Dell is now third; the move comes as founder and CEO Michael Dell hopes to retool his company. The deal incorporates Michael Dell's own 16% stake, some $700 million from his investment company, $1 billion from Silver Lake, and a $2 billion Microsoft investment. In return, Dell will likely work more closely with Windows, as was previously rumored. Meanwhile, four banks are backing the deal with $15 billion in evenly-divided debt. For Michael Dell, the company's floundering image is central to the overhaul, the Journal adds: "It's pretty simple: His name is on the door," says a former exec."
"— While the angst over whether this country’s political system is broken seems likely to go on for the foreseeable future, it gave way to some degree Wednesday to more immediate concerns about how badly the Washington Monument had been cracked. The monument was damaged Tuesday by a magnitude-5.8 earthquake that rattled nerves across much of the East Coast, particularly the parts that directly experienced the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Although the quake’s epicenter was less than 100 miles away, the Washington metropolitan area suffered mostly minor damage to homes, schools, office buildings and other businesses, and most of the region’s infrastructure was unscathed. The National Cathedral appeared to be the hardest hit, with fallen capstones, broken statues and cracks in several flying buttresses. However, fractures in the walls of the Washington Monument, a towering icon of American strength and influence, had the potential to become the only vestige of the earthquake to capture more than fleeting national attention. Advertisement Continue reading the main story While schools were closed, most of Washington returned to normal on Wednesday. But the monument, which at more than 555 feet is the world’s tallest stone structure, was closed to visitors so that engineers could hover in helicopters and examine its interior walls to determine the extent of the cracks in its peak. Photo “We’re not sure how long it will take,” said Bill Line, a spokesman for the National Parks Service, when asked when the monument might reopen. “The engineers are going up there today. They may need to go tomorrow. And they may need to go again the day after that. But until we figure out how badly the structure has been damaged, no one else will be going up other than them.” ||||| The National Park Service says engineers have discovered several additional cracks in the top portion of the Washington Monument. The cracks were found Wednesday during a daylong inspection of the interior of the monument. A 4-inch (10-centimeter) crack was discovered Tuesday during an inspection of the exterior by helicopter, shortly after a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the capital. The monument is closed to visitors indefinitely. Park service spokeswoman Carol Johnson could not say how many additional cracks were found but says engineers found three or four "significant" ones. The park service is bringing in engineers from two firms with extensive experience investigating earthquake damage to conduct a more detailed inspection on Thursday. Johnson says it's likely that the additional cracks mean the monument will take longer to repair."
"– Further inspection has revealed even more cracks in the top portion of the Washington Monument, which was damaged by this week's 5.9 magnitude earthquake. Engineers discovered the cracks during a day-long inspection of the interior of the monument, AP reports. A 4-inch crack was discovered during an inspection of the exterior by helicopter soon after the quake, which also damaged the National Cathedral. The 555 foot-tall monument—the world's tallest stone structure—will remain closed to visitors indefinitely while engineers figure out how badly it has been damaged. Visitors at the site yesterday said they were relieved the monument survived the quake. "People may say the monument is broken like our political system,” one visitor tells the New York Times. “But the fact is, it’s still standing and so are we.""
"Passaic bodega owner claims $338 million Powerball prize STAFF WRITERS The Record Photos: Powerball jackpot claimed in Passaic CHRIS PEDOTA / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Pedro Quezada at Eagle Liquors Monday. Every evening, Pedro Quezada buys a lottery ticket at Eagle Liquors in Passaic. On Monday, though, he came to cash in. Surrounded by a media gantlet and a pack of joyful neighbors, the 44-year-old immigrant from the Dominican Republic who runs a nearby bodega signed the Powerball ticket he had bought two days before —the one that hit the $338 million jackpot, the one that everyone had been buzzing about all afternoon, hoping it had gone to someone they knew. Then he called his family to give them the news. “Tell her to come here and help me count it,” he said into the phone. Moments later, his wife was on the line. “I'm a millionaire, Ines,” he said. “Did you hear?” Rarely does good news arrive in such fantastic fashion in this neighborhood, one of North Jersey’s poorest enclaves tucked in the bell curve of the Passaic River and cut off from the rest of the city by the six traffic-clogged lanes of Route 21. It’s a place where the typical household income is $26,000, half the children live in poverty, half the adults lack a high school diploma, only 10 percent own their homes. When the news did arrive — in the form of the numbers 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31 — it didn’t matter that Quezada’s was a form of luck that would likely never strike here again. “It’s a blessing for the neighborhood,” said Daphne Robinson, 44, “It gives people hope that there is a blessing somewhere, for somebody.” News of the winner’s identity traveled quickly along streets where most of the pedestrians seemed to know each other. Neighbors who had waited under awnings all day for the winner’s identity — ever since the state Lottery Commission announced that morning that the lone winning ticket in the Saturday Powerball drawing was sold in the City of Passaic — now hollered to each other about the sudden good fortune of one of their own. “Hey, Charlie,” one man yelled to another outside a barbershop. “Why wasn't it you that won all that money?” The fervor continued around the Quezadas’ apartment building, one of about a dozen beige-and-brown buildings along School Street. “I'm living next to a millionaire!” a woman announced from her doorway. Quezada, a father of five who has owned the Apple Deli and Grocery on Eighth Street since 2006, seemed to be still processing the news as he fielded questions. He answered in Spanish. How was he feeling? “I’m nervous and tired.” How does it feel to be a millionaire? “I don't know, I don't have it.” What would he do with the money? “I want to help a lot of people, in whatever they need, in rent, in whatever.” Later, outside his apartment building, his wife, Ines Sanchez, said she hadn’t really grasped the idea … yet. “We never expected it, but thank God,” she said. “I couldn't believe it. I still don't.” The Quezada family was hit with their share of bad luck recently. Thieves broke into their small apartment about two years ago, stealing everything from clothes to jewelry, friends and neighbors said. About a year before that, a fire destroyed much of their bodega. “They had nothing for a while,” said longtime friend Alberto Liranzo. “Now they got enough money to buy a million bodegas.” Neighbors described the family as a quiet, tight unit. Ines would walk her children to school every day while Pedro worked days and nights. His first job in the States was at a T-shirt printing factory, said a friend who worked there with him. “Usually it's people that are already millionaires winning these things,” said neighbor Eladia Vazquez, 55. “I'm just glad it went to somebody that could use it.” The lump sum payout is $211 million, amounting to about $152 million after state and federal taxes, Lottery Executive Director Carole Hedinger said. One second-prize ticket worth $1 million was also sold in New Jersey, at a 7-Eleven in Mahwah, she said. Powerball is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The chance of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number is about 1 in 175 million. Sunil Sethi, 51, the owner of Eagle Liquors, said lottery officials informed him when he opened at 9 a.m. that his store had sold the jackpot winner, sending a shock wave of excitement through the neighborhood. The predominantly Latino, African-American and Polish area has been on a downward trajectory for decades, residents said. The single-family homes were split into apartments long ago, and residents complain about petty crimes and sidewalk drug dealing. Recently, there have been glimmers of a better future, from the bright green artificial turf on the new baseball field behind the Vreeland Village public housing development to the big sign in front of the boarded-up Uniroyal factory building announcing that a 550-unit apartment and retail complex is coming. But such promises don’t measure up to the dreams of a better life elsewhere shared by seemingly everyone on the street. For Michel DeLillo, 51, it’s a house with a back yard where the 3-year-old grandson she is raising can play. For Daphne Robinson, it’s the promise of more available work in Atlanta. For a 27-year-old man who goes by the name Johnboy, it’s someplace not too far away, maybe on the border of a blue-collar stronghold like neighboring Garfield or Saddle Brook. “I’ve got house dreams,” he said. Perhaps it is those dreams that propel so many to Eagle Liquors, a nondescript storefront between a mini-mart and a store that sells live poultry where, once a year or so, someone will buy the $219 bottle of Louis Roederer champagne but the most popular choice is the $1 shooter of Paul Masson brandy. The cardboard “Lucky Location, play here” sign that dangles over the lottery ticket counter was provided by the lottery commission because the store “sold a winning ticket in the past,” said Judith Drucker, a commission spokeswoman. So many people stop in regularly to play the lottery that one employee, Pravin Mankodia, 67, does nothing but sell tickets six days a week, from opening until closing, and neighbors said a line forms around noon every day. “That line is too long,” said Angel Manguel, 30, who lives around the corner. “And everyone is familiar.” Elsa Ramirez, who runs the poultry store two doors down, is a regular. “I spend $50 a day on the lottery,” she said. “Last year I won $20,000, but you can see I’m still here with the chickens.” More than $41 million worth of Powerball tickets were sold in New Jersey ahead of Saturday’s drawing, Hedinger said. Eagle Liquors will receive a $10,000 commission for selling the winning ticket. Neighbors said they wouldn’t blame Quezada if he left with his winnings, but hoped he would be able to invest some of it in the community. “It’s not a neighborhood no more,” said Kasim Washington, a local community activist. “You would be a fool to stay in the ’hood with that type of money.” Douglas Frederick, 50, said he comes to Eagle Liquors twice a day to buy tickets — scratch games in the morning and Pick 3 in the afternoon. He’s won several times, usually around $100 or $300. “I wish I could win the big one,” he said. “I would still stay here. I would represent my community. We need to have it built up a little better. “I would like to open up a gym around here so that the kids could have someplace to go instead of being out here on the street.” Staff Writers Jim Norman, Michael Linhorst and Dave Sheingold contributed to this report. Email: and ||||| The winner of a $338 million Powerball jackpot told several media outlets Monday that his first priority will be helping his family. FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 file photo, a Powerball form and purchased ticket are on the counter at the Jayhawk Food Mart in Lawrence, Kan. A single ticket sold in New Jersey matched all six... (Associated Press) Pedro Quezada, 44, entered Eagle Liquors store, where the ticket was sold, late Monday afternoon. The Passaic store owner ran Quezada's ticket through the lottery machine to validate that it was a winner as a newspaper and television outlets recorded the moment. The New Jersey Lottery confirmed that the winning ticket was validated at the store at 4:30 p.m. Monday, but officials said they didn't yet know the winner's name. Quezada told reporters in Spanish that he was "very happy" and that he intends to help his family. His wife, Ines Sanchez, told the Bergen Record that Quezada called her with the news Monday afternoon. "I still can't believe it," she said. "We never expected it but thank God." The numbers drawn Saturday were 17, 29, 31, 52, 53 and Powerball 31. A lump sum payout would be $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes. It's the fourth-largest jackpot in Powerball history. The family's apartment sits at the end of a short dead end block that abuts a highway in Passaic, 15 miles northwest of New York City. Neighbors stood out in the rain Monday night and spoke with pride that one of their own had struck it rich. Eladia Vazquez has lived across the street from Quezada's building for the past 25 years. The block has a half-dozen three-story brick apartment buildings on each side, and Vazquez says it's a neighborhood where everyone knows everyone, including what car they drive and what parking space they use. Vazquez described Quezada and his wife as "quiet and not overly talkative" but sensed that they seemed to be working all the time. "This is super for all of us on this block," she said. "They deserve it because they are hardworking people." Richard Delgado, who lives down the block from Quezada's building, said the man was "a hard worker, like all of us here. We all get up in the morning and go to work." Delgado said he got up Sunday morning and was going to take his dog for a walk when he heard the radio announce the Powerball results. "When I heard there was one winner and it was in New Jersey, I immediately went and checked my tickets," Delgado said. "I wanted to be that guy." When asked what it would be like to suddenly win such a large amount, Delgado said a person would have to set priorities. "No. 1 is your health, because if you don't have that, the rest doesn't matter," he said. "No. 2 is your family. You take care of your own and live the rest of your life in peace. That's all anyone can do." No one had won the Powerball jackpot since early February, when Dave Honeywell in Virginia bought the winning ticket and elected a cash lump sum for his $217 million jackpot. The largest Powerball jackpot ever came in at $587.5 million in November. The winning numbers were picked on two different tickets _ one by a couple in Missouri and the other by an Arizona man _ and the jackpot was split. Nebraska still holds the record for the largest Powerball jackpot won on a single ticket _ $365 million _ by eight workers at a Lincoln meatpacking plant in February 2006. Powerball is played in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The chance of matching all five numbers and the Powerball number is about 1 in 175 million. ___ Associated Press writer Angela Delli Santi contributed to this report from Lawrenceville, N.J."
"– Bodega owner Pedro Quezada has seen his share of hard times. The 44-year-old father of five lives with his wife and kids in Passaic, one of the poorest areas of North Jersey; years ago, a fire destroyed much of their store, and just one year later, thieves stole everything they could from the family's apartment. But now, finally, Quezada's luck has changed: On Saturday, as he did every night, he bought a Powerball ticket from Eagle Liquors—but this time, his was the winning ticket. He returned to Eagle Liquors last night to reveal himself to his excited neighbors as the winner of the $338 million jackpot. With the lump sum payment, he'll take home about $152 million after taxes, the Record reports. He also broke the news to his family: He called them only after signing the ticket, telling his wife, "I'm a millionaire, Ines. Did you hear?" Neighbors described the couple as quiet but hard-working, and expressed happiness at their good fortune. "I'm just glad it went to somebody that could use it," says one. Another calls the win "a blessing for the neighborhood," because "it gives people hope that there is a blessing somewhere, for somebody." As for what Quezada will do with the money, he says, "I want to help a lot of people, in whatever they need, in rent, in whatever." First, he'll help his family, the AP reports. In Spanish, he told reporters that he's "very happy.""
"Thank you for Reading. Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. A subscription is required to continue reading. Thank you for reading 5 free articles. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 5 free articles, or you can purchase a subscription and continue to enjoy valuable local news and information. If you are a current 7-day subscriber you are granted an all-access pass to the website and digital newspaper replica. Please click Sign Up to subscribe, or Login if you are already a member. Thank you for reading 5 free articles. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 5 free articles, or you can purchase a subscription and continue to enjoy valuable local news and information. If you are a current 7-day subscriber you are granted an all-access pass to the website and digital newspaper replica. Please click below to Get Started. ||||| Over the years, has published several data projects using public information. Here's a sampling of some of those projects. - Our annual database of state employee salaries was recently updated with 2016-17 data. - Our salary database of local government employees was updated recently with the 2016-17 data. ||||| A prominent political donor gave $70,000 to a corporation owned by Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and his sister last year, and the governor did not disclose the money as a gift or loan, according to people with knowledge of the payments. The donor, wealthy businessman Jonnie R. Williams Sr., also gave a previously unknown $50,000 check to the governor’s wife, Maureen, in 2011, the people said. The money to the corporation and Maureen McDonnell brings to $145,000 the amount Williams gave to assist the McDonnell family in 2011 and 2012 — funds that are now at the center of federal and state investigations. Williams, the chief executive of dietary supplement manufacturer Star Scientific Inc., also provided a $10,000 check in December as a present to McDonnell’s eldest daughter, Jeanine, intended to help defray costs at her May 2013 wedding, the people said. Virginia’s first family already is under intense scrutiny for accepting $15,000 from the same chief executive to pay for the catering at the June 2011 wedding of Cailin McDonnell at the Executive Mansion. View Graphic Timeline: Star Scientific and Gov. McDonnell All the payments came as McDonnell and his wife took steps to promote the donor’s company and its products. The payments to the corporation, confirmed by people familiar with the transactions, offer the first public example of money provided by Williams that would directly benefit the governor and not just his family. The money went from a trust, controlled by Williams, to MoBo Real Estate Partners, a limited-liability corporation formed in 2005 by McDonnell and his sister, the sources said. McDonnell viewed the payments to MoBo and to his wife as loans and not gifts, according to three people familiar with the transactions. State law requires elected officials to disclose their personal loans but not loans made to their corporate interests. Tucker Martin, a spokesman for the governor, declined to comment on the payments other than to say that McDonnell has been diligent in filling out legally mandated disclosures. “The rules that I’m following have been rules that have been in place for decades,” McDonnell said Tuesday on a Norfolk radio show. “These have been the disclosure rules of Virginia. I’m following those. To, after the fact, impose some new requirements on an official when you haven’t kept record of other gifts given to family members or things like that obviously wouldn’t be fair.” State law requires the disclosure of any gift valued at more than $50, but gifts to family members are exempt. Jerry Kilgore, an attorney for Williams, declined to comment on the payments. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney investigating the payments also declined to comment. On state-mandated disclosure forms, McDonnell indicated that a member of his immediate family owed money to an unnamed individual creditor in 2011 and 2012. In one year, he described the creditor as someone in “medical services.” In the other year, the governor said the creditor was in “health care.” Star Scientific makes nutritional supplements. The form did not specify the exact amount owed; the governor checked a box saying it was between $10,001 and $50,000. The people familiar with the payments, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of state and federal investigations of the governor, differed on whether any kind of payment plan had been established to reimburse Williams. They agreed that none of the money to the corporation or Maureen McDonnell has been repaid. Revelations of the additional payments came as a federal grand jury was scheduled to hear testimony in the case this week. Separately, state prosecutors in Richmond are looking into whether the governor has complied with all disclosure laws. McDonnell has said that Star Scientific received no special benefits from his administration and that any actions he or his wife took to boost the company were standard for any administration promoting state-based enterprises. The $145,000 in payments from Williams came in addition to other undisclosed gifts that Williams gave to the governor’s family, including $15,000 in luxury clothing he bought for Maureen McDonnell and a $6,500 Rolex watch she asked him to purchase so she could give it to her husband. McDonnell has disclosed receiving $9,650 in gifts from Williams, including private plane trips and the use of a summer lake-house vacation. Wedding catering Williams’s first payment to the McDonnell family came in a $50,000 check made out to Maureen McDonnell from his trust on May 23, 2011, the people familiar with the transactions said. That was the same day Williams wrote a separate check for the catering at Cailin McDonnell’s wedding. Then, in March 2012, Williams wrote a $50,000 check from his trust to MoBo, which was followed by an additional $20,000 payment to the corporation that spring, the people said. In annual financial-disclosure forms, McDonnell has indicated that he owns a stake in MoBo, which he reported was associated with two Virginia Beach rental properties he purchased in 2005 and 2006 with his wife and his sister, who is also named Maureen. The name of MoBo, formed in 2005, apparently comes from the combination of the names “Maureen” and “Bob” and is the entity that makes mortgage payments on the homes and pays for the properties’ renovations and upkeep. Virginia law allows elected officials to accept gifts of any size, including money, provided they annually disclose those worth at least $50. The law does not require the disclosure of gifts given to members of an elected official’s immediate family, nor gifts provided by relatives or “personal friends.” McDonnell has said he considers Williams, whom he met shortly before his 2009 campaign for governor, to be a “family friend.” He has said the catering at the 2011 wedding was a gift to his daughter and did not need to be disclosed. State law requires officials to disclose loans made to them and members of their immediate family. But it does not require elected officials to spell out their business liabilities. One person familiar with MoBo’s finances indicated that corporate records show the governor and his sister agreed to a low-interest loan with Williams. Terms of the loan dictated that they would make no payments for three years but return the $70,000 by 2015. That person indicated that MoBo had trouble keeping up with expenses after the collapse of the real estate market and had accepted three previous loans, two from McDonnell’s family in 2007 and 2008 and another from a family friend in 2010. He indicated that the loan to the family friend has been satisfied and the loans from the family member have been partially repaid. The payments came as Maureen McDonnell told friends that the first couple was facing financial stress, two people said, in part because of difficulty renting the beach houses. The governor, his wife and sister purchased one of the homes for $1.15 million in 2005 and the other for $850,000 in 2006. According to assessments, the beach properties have declined in value since the McDonnells purchased them during a red-hot real estate market. In his annual financial disclosures, the governor has also indicated an ownership stake in another rental property: at the Wintergreen mountain resort in central Virginia, purchased for $1 million in 2007. Also, the first couple bought a $835,000 house in the Richmond suburbs in 2006, where they were living until they moved to the state’s 200-year-old Executive Mansion when McDonnell became governor in 2010. Consulting payment alleged As governor, McDonnell is paid $175,000 a year. His wife is not paid by the state for her volunteer work as first lady. However, the chief executive of a coal company recently said he paid her $36,000 last year to attend two or three meetings and act as a consultant to his company and family’s charitable efforts. The governor has said Star Scientific received no government contracts, economic incentives or grants. However, the company was allowed to use the governor’s mansion to hold a luncheon to mark the launch of a new product in August 2011. A few weeks before, Maureen McDonnell arranged and attended a meeting between Williams and a top state official during which the executive presented new research about the potential health benefits of the supplement, Anatabloc, and proposed that Virginia consider examining whether its use could reduce health-care costs in the state. And Virginia Secretary of Health Bill Hazel said for the first time last week that he also met one-on-one with Williams in 2010 so the chief executive could pitch Star Scientific. Hazel said the meeting came at the urging of someone in the governor’s or first lady’s office, but he could not remember which. He said such meetings are not unusual. He concluded that Williams’s product was “not ready for prime time” and said he was confident that Williams received no benefit from the meeting. Alice Crites and Carol Leonnig in Washington and Laura Vozzella and Errin Whack contributed to this report."
"– The investigation into the relationship between Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Jonnie R. Williams Sr., CEO of Star Scientific, continues, with a new $130,000 reveal. Williams gave $70,000 to a McDonnell-owned corporation last year, another $50,000 to McDonnell's wife, Maureen, in 2011, and $10,000 to McDonnell's daughter in December, sources tell the Washington Post. The governor didn't disclose any of those amounts. Previously revealed gifts included another "wedding gift" for McDonnell's daughter and a $6,500 Rolex, among other things. More unpleasantness for the McDonnell family: Sean McDonnell, the governor's 21-year-old son, was busted early Saturday on a public drunkenness charge, the Daily Progress reports. Police found him intoxicated in Charlottesville, where he attends the University of Virginia. And, facing pressure over the misuse of Executive Mansion resources for his family, McDonnell recently paid the state $2,400 to reimburse it for food and household supplies his kids used, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Specifically, McDonnell has been accused of sending things like paper towels and laundry detergent back to college with his children."
"Some plants and animals were able to survive through ice ages because of volcanic steam and and heat emissions, according to scientists. This image shows a man standing in volcanic steam in Antarctica. (Photo : Peter Convey / British Antartic Survey) Some plants and animals were able to survive through ice ages because of volcanic steam and heat emissions, according to scientists. The research focused on Antarctic species which have been collected throughout the decades. Of these tens of thousands of species on record, the researchers found that more species were collected close to volcanoes than there were specimens collected farther away. If the researchers' theory is correct, it could solve a long-standing mystery surrounding why some species survived and continued to evolve through past ice ages in parts of the planet covered by glaciers. Share This Story "Volcanic steam can melt large ice caves under the glaciers, and it can be tens of degrees warmer in there than outside," research leader Ceridwen Frase, a biogeographer from the Australian National University, said in a statement. "Caves and warm steam fields would have been great places for species to hang out during ice ages." "Volcanoes are generally seen as these big, explosive destroyers of life, but they might be important in promoting biodiversity," Fraser said, according to LiveScience. "This explains how life survived in Antarctica, but we think this idea of geothermal refuges could also apply elsewhere." "We can learn a lot from looking at the impacts of past climate change as we try to deal with the accelerated change that humans are now causing," she added. The researchers examined diversity patterns of mosses, lichens and bugs which are still common in Antarctica today. About 60 percent of Antarctic invertebrate species are found no where else on Earth, said British Antarctic Survey's Peter Convey. "They have clearly not arrived on the continent recently, but must have been there for millions of years. How they survived past ice ages - the most recent of which ended less than 20,000 years ago - has long puzzled scientists," Convey said. Antarctica has at least 16 volcanoes that have been active since the last ice age 20,000 years ago. Fraser and her colleagues, including Aleks Terauds from the Australian Antarctic Division, suggest that this revelation may help scientist understand how species survived past ice ages in icy regions other than Antarctica. "The closer you get to volcanoes, the more species you find. This pattern supports our hypothesis that species have been expanding their ranges and gradually moving out from volcanic areas since the last ice age," Terauds said. The researchers said these biodiversity "hot spots" can be identified and protected as Antarctica continues to be affected by anthropogenic climate change. The research is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ||||| Like an ice age radiator, heat from volcanoes helped Antarctica's plants and bugs survive Earth's glacial periods, scientists think based on the result of a new study. The findings suggest that volcanoes can provide a cozy home for plants and animals during ice ages, either in ice caves or on warm ground heated by geothermal features such as hot springs, the researchers said. The study was published today (March 10) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Volcanoes are generally seen as these big, explosive destroyers of life, but they might be important in promoting biodiversity," said Ceridwen Fraser, a biogeographer at Australian National University in Canberra and lead study author. "This explains how life survived in Antarctica, but we think this idea of geothermal refuges could also apply elsewhere." Frozen in place Today, mosses, lichens and small invertebrates thrive along Antarctica's coast. In some spots, the bright green mosses form a thick, lush carpet, growing up to 10 feet (3 meters) deep. But even these hardy plants suffered during Earth's last ice age 20,000 years ago, when the planet's temperature dropped and Antarctica's ice sheets covered nearly all its land and cloaked the sea. Genetic and fossil evidence suggests that during the ice age, any Antarctic species that could cross the Southern Ocean fled, with penguins, seals and birds heading for warmer refuges. "The only species that were left in Antarctica were those that couldn't get off," Fraser said. Genetic analyses also indicate that Antarctica's mosses, lichens and small invertebrates have been isolated from their relatives on other continents for millions of years. More than 60 percent of its bugs live nowhere else on Earth. This means these species probably survived the ice age by sheltering in place, rather than repopulating Antarctica by crossing the vast Southern Ocean after the ice age ended. A hot haven A BBC television documentary on Mount Erebus, Antarctica's largest volcano, inspired Fraser and her colleagues to test whether Antarctica's volcanoes were an ice age haven. Mount Erebus is an active volcano, with ice caves that harbor microbial life today. [Fire and Ice: Images of Volcano-Ice Encounters] "I thought that ice caves would be a fantastic place for life to hang out during an ice age," Fraser told Live Science's Our Amazing Planet. "We decided to look at whether there was any evidence that these species could have survived at volcanoes, and that is what we found." Antarctica has at least 16 volcanoes that have erupted in the past 20,000 years (more evidence of as yet undiscovered eruptions could be hidden below the ice.) At spots such as Deception Island, underlain by a large magma chamber, geothermal heating could have kept the ground ice-free during the past ice age, the researchers said. "These were not only ice-free, but much warmer," Fraser said. "These were really nice, warm places." Fraser and her co-authors analyzed more than 38,000 records of Antarctic species, and discovered there are more moss, lichen and bug species close to Antarctica's volcanoes, and fewer farther away. The pattern supports the idea that these species weathered the worst of the ice age at Antarctica's volcanoes, then gradually expanded their habitat range after the ice receded. "This suggests that all of the colonization has been from the volcanoes slowly over time," Fraser said. A man stands in a cloud of volcanic steam in the Antarctic South Sandwich Islands. Credit: Pete Convey Bringers of life Another potential ice age refuge was Antarctica's nunataks, isolated peaks that are surrounded by ice. But nunataks usually have a unique assortment of life that is different from lowland species, so it's unlikely that plants and small invertebrates repopulated the coast from nunataks, Fraser said. In the Northern Hemisphere, scientists have also discovered fossil evidence of ice age refuges in the high latitudes, where plants such as white spruce trees thrived in places like Norway, despite chilly weather and giant glaciers. These "cryptic refugia" have not yet been directly linked to volcanoes or geothermal areas. "We know that they existed but we don't know why," Fraser said. "We think that volcanoes and geothermal areas could have potentially helped life survive in those regions as well." Fraser and her colleagues now plan to test whether the genetic patterns of moss and other species also support the idea of volcanic refuges in Antarctica. Email Becky Oskin or follow her @beckyoskin. Follow us @OAPlanet, Facebook and Google+. Original article at Live Science's Our Amazing Planet."
"– Volcanoes are usually in the news for their destructive power, but a new study suggests they've got some protective power to boast of as well. Scientists think that bugs and plants have survived Antarctica's ice ages only because they found warmth near live volcanoes, reports AFP. They did so either in underground caves formed in the ice or by camping out on ground warmed by geothermal heat, explains LiveScience. "Volcanic steam can melt large ice caves under the glaciers, and it can be tens of degrees warmer in there than outside," says a lead researcher from the Australian National University. "Caves and warm steam fields would have been great places for species to hang out during ice ages." The finding—based in part on the discovery that more mosses, lichens, and small bugs are found near volcanoes today—helps answer a question that has vexed Antarctic researchers: How did species that have been in the region for millions of years manage to survive those ice ages? Now it seems they waited them out in relative warmth before expanding their range again. The researchers say their discovery likely holds true outside Antarctica as well, notes Nature World News. (If you prefer volcanoes of the destructive variety, click to read about this doozy of 125 million years ago.)"
"The Onion botched a joke about congressmen taking children hostage this morning on Twitter. Now, the U.S. Capitol police are investigating the joke. Everyone chill out! Today, The Onion tweeted: "BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building." This, by itself, was not funny at all and many people, including me, believed the account might have been hacked. Either way, no big deal: It's still fake! The Onion followed up a minute or two later with: "BREAKING: Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children held hostage by group of armed congressmen." This made it clear the tweets were related to a story on the Onion's website "Congress Takes Group of Schoolchildren Hostage," satirizing the budget fight—an article about as offensive as anything on the Onion any day. Still, Twitter was outraged. More than that, the US Capitol Police sent out an email to counter the reports: "There is no credibility to these stories or the twitter feeds," the press release reads. "The U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting." So, looks like a bad Twitter joke by a fake newspaper has led to a Capitol Police investigation? It's like something from the Onion! yuk yuk. Here's hoping the Onion gets cleared quickly. Here's the full USCP press release: From: Schneider, Kimberly A. Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2011 11:01 AM Subject: USCP Notice: False Reporting via Twitter It has come to our attention that recents twitter feeds are reporting false information concerning current conditions at the U.S. Capitol. Conditions at the U.S. Capitol are currently normal. There is no credibility to these stories or the twitter feeds. The U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting. Disclosure: I'm a former contributor to the Onion's IFC show ||||| WASHINGTON—Brandishing shotguns and semiautomatic pistols, members of the 112th U.S. Congress took a class of visiting schoolchildren hostage today, barricading themselves inside the Capitol rotunda and demanding $12 trillion dollars in cash. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who has emerged as spokesman for the bipartisan group, informed FBI negotiators this morning that the ransom was to be placed in stainless-steel suitcases and left on the Capitol steps by 4 p.m. sharp. If their demands are not met in full, the 11-term representative announced, "all the kids will die." "Bring us the money and we let the children go, simple as that," said Boehner, appearing in the East Portico with a serrated switchblade held to one of the fourth-grader's throats. "If you want to play games and stall for extra time, we're going to shoot one kid an hour, starting with little Dillon here." "Tick tock," he added, vanishing back into the building with the terrified child in tow. Shaken witnesses reported that the ordeal broke out around 10 a.m. this morning, when in the midst of a Capitol building tour, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) suddenly burst into the National Statuary Hall with a pair of black panty hose over his head and began firing a Beretta 9 mm handgun into the air, shouting, "Everybody down! Everybody get the fuck down!" BREAKING: Hostage Sends Camera Phone video From Inside Capitol Building The schoolchildren were then led at gunpoint into the nearby Great Rotunda, where an agitated, profusely sweating Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) bound their hands and feet and duct-taped them to various sculptures, including a monument to women's suffrage and a marble figure of former president James Garfield. Although cell phones were confiscated immediately, one student managed to tweet a short video showing what appeared to be Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pistol-whipping a chaperone who attempted to yell for help. "It's a very tense situation at the moment, and these things take time—more time than we've got," Special Agent Douglas Burkett of the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit said. "We have snipers on the Supreme Court building, the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, and the National Museum of the American Indian, but so far none of them has been able to get a clear shot at any senators or representatives." "While there's an assault team on the way, they won't be able to breach the door if members of Congress have rigged the place with explosives," Burkett added. "And that's quite possible. From the looks of things, I'd say they've been planning this for a while." As the dramatic standoff continues to unfold, the bipartisan gang of lawmakers has laid out additional terms for releasing the children. Among the demands are guaranteed re-election in 2012, reduction of the veto-override threshold from two-thirds to one half of the Senate, new desks, and safe transport to Reagan National Airport with a fueled-up private jet waiting on the runway. According to sources close to the 535-member legislative branch, Congress has recently fallen on hard times. Neighbors reported overhearing heated arguments going on late into the night about dangerously stretched budgets, a failing health care system, and the potential for an all-out government shutdown. With the ransom deadline nearing and no apparent resolution in sight, President Barack Obama was summoned in a last-ditch effort to diffuse the situation. Despite an emotional bullhorn appeal to return to "honest talks aimed at reducing the national debt and getting millions of unemployed Americans back to work," the chief executive was met with silence. "There's just no way of getting through to these people," said Obama, holding his head in his hands. "I know Speaker Boehner personally, and I know that he and his colleagues will not hesitate for a second to kill these poor children if they don't get their way." "Trust me, this Congress will do it," the president added. ||||| The U.S. Capitol Police issued a statement calling conditions at the Capitol building “normal” Thursday morning in apparent response to a series of tweets and an article from the satirical web site The Onion. “It has come to our attention that recents twitter feeds are reporting false information concerning current conditions at the U.S. Capitol. Conditions at the U.S. Capitol are currently normal,” read a press release from Sergeant Kimberly Schneider. “There is no credibility to these stories or the twitter feeds,” Schneider’s release read. “The U.S. Capitol Police are currently investigating the reporting.” A Twitter search indicates a few tweets from The Onion regarding the Capitol on Thursday morning. “BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building,” one read. “BREAKING: Capitol building being evacuated. 12 children held hostage by group of armed congressmen. #CongressHostage,” a second read. A third tweet included a link to an article titled “Congress Takes Group Of Schoolchildren Hostage.” From the article: “Brandishing shotguns and semiautomatic pistols, members of the 112th U.S. Congress took a class of visiting schoolchildren hostage this morning, barricading themselves inside the Capitol rotunda, where they remain at press time.” More Twitter news Twitter to sell political advertising The NBC News Twitter hack — or how not to yell ‘fire!’ Twitter hits 100 million active users"
"– The Onion seems to have registered a rare misfire in the joke department. It set off a scare at the US Capitol this morning with a fake tweet reading, “BREAKING: Witnesses reporting screams and gunfire heard inside Capitol building," reports the Washington Post. A few others in a similar vein followed, and it turns out the site was promoting this satirical story, headlined "Congress Takes Group of Schoolchildren Hostage." Capitol Police weren't laughing, issuing a statement that all was well at the building and adding that the fake reports were under investigation. Reaction on the Internet has been mostly negative. ("I mean, I know you guys do satire, but I really don't get this one..." went one typical Twitter post. "The Onion botched a joke," says Gawker in its writeup.) The Onion's New York office wasn't apologetic: "This is satire. That’s how it works.” The tweets came a day after this guy got arrested and charged with plotting to blow up the Capitol."
"Tweet with a location You can add location information to your Tweets, such as your city or precise location, from the web and via third-party applications. You always have the option to delete your Tweet location history. Learn more ||||| Starting in 1996, Alexa Internet has been donating their crawl data to the Internet Archive. Flowing in every day, these data are added to the Wayback Machine after an embargo period. ||||| You may have guessed from Melissa Gilbert’s red wedding dress (and her desire to one day wear it again) that the Little House on the Prairie star doesn’t often follow the crowd. And one more way she’s setting herself apart from Hollywood trends: She’s made the decision to remove her breast implants. Charles Sykes/Getty In a Dec. 31 blog post entitled “A Tale of Two Titties,” the star writes that she scheduled surgery this week to reverse surgery she got in her 20s. “I am concerned for my health and I don’t like the way they look or feel,” she writes. “Frankly, I’d like to be able to take a Zumba class without the fear that I’ll end up with two black eyes.” Gilbert says she got the implants after divorcing her first husband, who made her self-conscious about her post-breastfeeding chest. “Dating posed the terrifying prospect of the guy I chose to make love with next, undoing my bra and running away in abject terror,” she writes. She loved the results until she had a second child, and then went for another lift, which she proudly showed off in a low-cut gown at the 2011 SAG Awards. “The irony of the fact that I was president of SAG when my breasts were doing the opposite of sagging is not lost on me,” she jokes. RELATED PHOTOS: See your fave stars on the red carpet, then vote on their looks! “I had spent most of my life pressured to look a certain way and I believed the hype,” she goes on, adding that her Dancing With the Stars appearance fed her insecurity. But she says that now, she’s feeling good about herself and is looking forward to embracing her new, old chest. “Most of the time, I’m really happy with the way I look. I’m enjoying aging. It’s not going badly either. My sweet husband [Timothy Busfield] … is perfectly supportive of my decision to do this. He only wants me to be healthy.” And the result? Gilbert seems happy with her decision (which was confirmed by her personal rep) — check out her Tweet from Tuesday: In recovery. Surgery went great. No the recovery begins. #boobies! — Melissa Gilbert (@MelissaEGilbert) January 6, 2015 What do you think of her blog? Is she brave for sharing? –Alex Apatoff"
"– Melissa Gilbert has had her breast implants removed, and in an extremely long blog post written on New Year's Eve but getting picked up now, she explains why. But most of the blog post is taken up with an explanation of why she got them in the first place: She had "perfect A cup" boobs, and she was happy with them. They grew to C cups during her first pregnancy, but after she stopped breastfeeding, when they deflated to their original size, they did not return to "their original place," she writes. "They were lower....much, much lower." Her then-husband once referred to her breasts as looking like "socks full of marbles with knots at the top," and though they ended up getting divorced, she remained insecure about her breasts and decided to get them augmented. She got saline implants, and during her second pregnancy, the cycle repeated itself. This time, while her boobs drooped a little post-breastfeeding, they remained "perky-ish" thanks to the implants. But after 12 years, they needed to be replaced, so she got a breast lift and silicone implants. That was when she realized she would need to keep replacing them: "It was possible that at 80 years old I might have to get new implants!" She was also worried about the silicone and ultimately decided it was time to get the implants removed. "The bottom line...or top line.. is that; A. I am concerned for my health and 2. I don't like the way they look or feel. Frankly, I'd like to be able to take a Zumba class without the fear that I'll end up with two black eyes." Click for her full piece, which also includes a lot of commentary about society's expectations when it comes to a woman's appearance."
"The Northrop Grumman Remotec Andros™ fleet of hazardous duty unmanned vehicles is the preferred choice of first responders worldwide. The robust, mission-proven design of the Andros line keeps danger at a distance with: Simultaneous tool mounts for rapid response during dynamic missions (i.e. suits changing needs as the mission unfolds) A versatile array of two-way audio, video, advanced sensors, tools and controllers Easy maintainability for minimal downtime Made in the USA and backed by world-class training and post-sale support, it’s no wonder there are over 1,000 Andros robots deployed around the globe. ||||| The Dutch police plan to eventually replace their drug- and bomb sniffing dogs with drug- and bomb sniffing robots. The E-Nose is a so-called nano-sensor that can detect chemical and explosive substances, AD reports. According to the newspaper, a study by the University of Twente commissioned by the Ministry of Security and Justice shows that the police have major problems with detecting synthetic drugs and drug laboratories. The police make use of sniffer dogs on a daily basis, but training these dogs is an expensive and time consuming operation. The police are in need of a "portable detection device" for these cases. And the E-Nose is the solution, according to the study. The development of the E-Nose is still in its infancy and the device does not actually exist for use yet. So it will be at least 10 more years before the police can retire their sniffer dogs, according to the newspaper. ||||| Officials said the use of the robot to disarm a violent suspect was unprecedented for the Sheriff's Department, and comes as law enforcement agencies increasingly rely on military-grade technology to reduce the risk of injury during confrontations with civilians."
"– After an attempted murder suspect armed with a rifle was chased into the desert on Sept. 8, he barricaded himself using a dirt berm and wire fencing; Los Angeles County sheriffs say they tried for six hours to get him to surrender. Finally, officers skillfully plucked the gun right out of Brock Ray Bunge's hideout—without putting their lives in danger. "The robot was a game changer," Capt. Jack Ewell tells the Los Angeles Times of the department's $300,000 Andros robot that did the deed; it's typically used to defuse bombs but is becoming increasingly useful in other cases. Officers say they were using the device to learn more about Bunge's position when they noticed Bunge was lying on his stomach with his weapon at his feet. While officers distracted Bunge, the robot grabbed the gun "without him noticing," says Ewell. The robot then went back to remove the fencing, and Bunge surrendered as soon as he realized his gun was missing, police add; he has pleaded not guilty to charges including attempted murder and robbery. Though the robot that nicked the gun is expensive, "when it saves lives, it is more than worth it," Ewell says. Officers also used a robot during the Dallas shooting. Dutch police believe robots can even replace drug-sniffing dogs, reports the NL Times."
"Image caption The Bois de Boulogne, one of Paris's two main woods, has been named as a possible site Next summer, nudists or naturists may be able to bare it all in a designated area of the French capital, Paris. City councillors have approved plans for an experimental nudist area, possibly in one of Paris's parks or in wooded areas on its outskirts. The Green Party, which proposed the plan, said France was a top destination for naturists, and its capital city should have somewhere for them to go. One centrist councillor, however, called the idea "demented". He said the idea of authorising full-scale nudity in the middle of the capital might be seen as a provocation, especially at a time when feelings were still running high over the 'burkini' issue, the BBC's Hugh Schofield reports. But those who support the move say, in a country with numerous clothes-free beaches and holiday camps, Paris should also be a draw for naturists. "We've got two million nudists in France which is doubled during the summer with visitors," said David Belliard, co-chairman of the ecologist group in the city council. "For them Paris is the world's premier tourist destination and there's no public place for them to go. We want to try out a recreational area where nudists can freely strip off." Deputy Mayor of Paris Bruno Julliard said he was in favour of the plan, as was Mayor Anne Hidalgo. He said the likeliest site for the naturist zone is in one of Paris's two main woods - the Bois de Boulogne to the west or Bois de Vincennes to the east - "near a lake, in a regulated setting so that there is no threat to public order". 'Historic' road closure Hours earlier, Paris's city council approved another controversial plan - to transform a highway into a walkway. Some 3.3km (2 miles) of road from the Tuileries Garden toward the Bastille neighbourhood will be closed down and turned into a pedestrian-only zone. Conservatives have argued this will worsen the city's traffic situation and put commuters at a disadvantage. But Mayor Hidalgo has hailed the move as "historic". It is part of her plan to tackle high levels of pollution in the capital, the AP news agency reported. This will not be the first time a highway has been converted into a walkway. A road along the Left Bank has already been converted for pedestrian use. ||||| Paris city councillors will debate Monday on creating spaces for nudists, an idea that Mayor Anne Hidalgo thinks is “très sympa [nice/fun]”. The proposal, put forward by three Green councillors, will be debated Monday. Hidalgo’s deputy Bruno Julliard told RMC radio earlier in the day (see tweet below) that “we will accept the creation of a nudist camp in Paris”. "Nous allons accepter la proposition d'un camp naturiste à Paris", déclare le 1er adjoint au maire @BrunoJulliard sur RMC #BourdinDirect — Jean-Jacques Bourdin (@JJBourdin_RMC) September 26, 2016 Paris has very little to offer those who like to relax and exercise in the great outdoors in nothing but their “birthday suits”, and nudism is considered indecent exposure, punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of 15,000 euros. Paris has also banned the “monokini”, a revealing one-piece swimsuit, and the g-string, in public spaces. There is just one swimming pool, the Roger Le Gall in the city’s 12th arrondissement, which allows nude swimming (three times a week after 9pm). Green councillor David Belliard, who sponsored the proposal, told journalists: “France is the world’s top destination for naturists, and every year two million Germans, Dutch, Britons and Belgians come to the country for its nudist beaches. It shouldn’t be impossible to accommodate them in Paris too.” “We have to find an outdoor space where nudism is allowed, in the city’s parks, forests or on the banks of the Seine,” he added."
"– Paris, a place for fashionistas and nudists alike? Maybe. Parisian city councilors have given the green light to a plan that would see the creation of a clothing-free zone somewhere within the city limits, the BBC reports. The location of the nudist area has yet to be determined, but Deputy Mayor Bruno Julliard—a supporter—said the intention is to prevent any disruption of "public order" and suggested two wooded areas, the westside Bois de Boulogne or eastside Bois de Vincennes. France is famous for its nude beaches, and proponents—including the mayor—say that nudists should have a place within the capital city. For a country that's said to have 2 million nudists, the capital has been a mostly unwelcoming place. Currently, nudism in Paris is punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $16,800, reports France24. It notes a single swimming pool in the city allows naked swimming, but even then, only after 9pm on certain days of the week. Opponents worry about inflaming tensions between conservative and liberal groups, particularly on the heels of the burkini brouhaha. Despite those objections, the BBC suggests the zone could be in place as early as next summer."
"The Help 'The Help' review: Period piece take on Kathryn Stockett's novel oversimplifies, miscasts Emma Stone Emma Stone's 'plain' writer character Skeeter is miscast in the oversimplified period film 'The Help.' With Emma Stone, Viola Davis. Racism divides the women of 1962 Mississippi. Director: Tate Taylor (2:17). PG-13: Mature themes. At area theaters. In her best-selling novel "The Help," Kathryn Stockett didn't simply introduce us to a few memorable individuals. She offered a meticulously etched portrait of a specific way of life. Tate Taylor's eagerly anticipated adaptation is impactful in parts, but noticeably lacking in Stockett's instinctive nuance. Though he grew up there himself, Taylor's Jackson, Miss., could be any suburban Southern neighborhood in the early '60s. Similarly, many of his actresses have little apparent connection to the intricate culture they are meant to portray. Emma Stone, for example, is no one's idea of an ugly duckling. And though she offers a sincere effort, she never quite settles into the role of Skeeter, an aspiring author whose plain looks and spinster status — at age 23 — horrify her beauty-queen mother (Allison Janney, also miscast). While her small-minded friends gossip through Junior League meetings, she envisions her first book idea: to give voice to the African-American housekeepers ritually abused by the employers who need them. In 1962, when blacks and whites are divided by both prejudice and the law, Skeeter's plan is dangerous for everyone involved. But having been pushed to the limit, both Aibileen (Viola Davis) and Minny (Octavia Spencer) agree to share their experiences. All the while, they have to hide the project from their bosses, viciously racist Hilly (Bryce Dallas Howard), ignorant Elizabeth (Ahna O'Reilly) and flighty Celia (Jessica Chastain). While the book's minor — but crucial — details are often overlooked, the major themes are thrust on screen with forceful simplicity, as if Taylor doesn't trust us to understand the stakes. Despite his unsubtle script, Davis and Spencer are experienced and assured enough to give their characters considerable depth, and their stirring portrayals make the film worth watching. Their younger castmates, unfortunately, needed more guidance than they evidently received. How much more powerful Hilly's shameful cruelty, and Skeeter's tentative rebellion, would have been if they felt intimate and complex, rather than grandly symbolic. Stockett's Jackson was a suffocating hothouse where tendrils of ugliness grew amid women raised to be nothing more than beautiful. She illuminated both sin and valor by exposing — for better and worse — the humanity in all her characters. In contrast, Taylor's characters are familiar because we've seen them in movies so many times before: heroes and villains drawn in broad strokes, residents of a world regrettably lacking shades of gray. ||||| VIDEO: Legendary Penn State Coach Joe Paterno, 85, Dies - Rick Chambers reports The football coach will be remembered for his award-winning legacy as much as fo... The football coach will be remembered for his award-winning legacy as much as for scandal."
"– Critics are impressed with certain aspects of The Help, Tate Taylor’s film about a young white woman interviewing black maids in 1960s Mississippi. But while some say the overall package is lacking, others are glowing. Compared to Kathryn Stockett’s novel of the same name, the film is “impactful in parts, but noticeably lacking in Stockett's instinctive nuance,” writes Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News. “Taylor’s characters are familiar because we've seen them in movies so many times before: heroes and villains drawn in broad strokes, residents of a world regrettably lacking shades of gray.” In the New York Times, Manohla Dargis offers a similarly mixed reaction to the “big, ole slab of honey-glazed hokum.” But “Viola Davis invests this cautious, at times bizarrely buoyant, movie with the gravity it frequently seems to want to shrug off.” Buoyancy isn’t a problem for Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times: “Laughter, which is ladled on thick as gravy, proves to be the secret ingredient—turning what should be a feel-bad movie about those troubled times into a heart-warming surprise.” And in Rolling Stone, Peter Travers notes that “a deeply touching human story filled with humor and heartbreak is rare in any movie season, especially summer.”"
"(CNN) Days after the Istanbul airport massacre , reports emerged about the identities of the suicide bombers as well as the organizer -- a man who a U.S. official says is a top soldier in the ISIS war ministry . Two of the three assailants in the terror attack that killed 44 people at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport have been identified as Rakim Bulgarov and Vadim Osmanov, according to Turkey's state news agency Anadolu, citing an anonymous prosecution source. The Friday report did not identify the third attacker. The report did not reveal their nationalities. But officials have said they believe the three attackers are from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and entered Turkey a month ago from Syria's ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. The report came a day after U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said the man who directed the attackers is Akhmed Chatayev, a terrorist from Russia's North Caucasus region Akhmed Chatayev speaks to the media in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 2012. Turkish media reported that a man nicknamed "Akhmed One-Arm" organized the attack. While his whereabouts are unclear, Chatayev's ties to jihadist activities are well-documented, McCaul said. "He's ... probably the No. 1 enemy in the Northern Caucasus region of Russia. He's traveled to Syria on many occasions and became one of the top lieutenants for the minister of war for ISIS operations," he told CNN's Brianna Keilar. Suspect on U.S. list of terrorists Of the hundreds wounded, 80 are still hospitalized, Istanbul officials said. Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Photos: Istanbul airport attacked People flee the scene of a terror attack at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on Tuesday, June 28. Three terrorists armed with bombs and guns attacked the main international terminal, opening fire and eventually detonating their devices. Hide Caption 1 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Investigators remove a body after the attack. Hide Caption 2 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Police investigators work inside the airport. Hide Caption 3 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Turkish special forces secure an area of the airport after the attack. Hide Caption 4 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked A wounded girl is taken to a hospital in Istanbul. Hide Caption 5 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked A Turkish police officer directs a passenger at the airport. Hide Caption 6 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Travelers embrace outside the airport. Hide Caption 7 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked One of the bombs was located just outside the international terminal on the pavement, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told CNN. Another was at the security gate at the entrance to the airport. Hide Caption 8 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Children and their relatives embrace after reuniting outside the airport. Hide Caption 9 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked A police officer sets up a security perimeter. Hide Caption 10 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked People stand outside the airport after the attack. Hide Caption 11 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked A wounded woman talks on the phone following the attack. Hide Caption 12 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Passengers cry as they leave the airport. Hide Caption 13 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked People on their phones wait with their luggage outside the airport. Hide Caption 14 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Workers clear glass debris on the day after the attack. Hide Caption 15 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Bullet holes are seen at the airport on Wednesday, June 29. Hide Caption 16 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Hide Caption 17 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked A worker cleans blood from the upper walls of the international departure terminal. Hide Caption 18 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked A police officer stands guard as a man walks at the airport a day after the attack. Hide Caption 19 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked A woman cries in Istanbul on June 29. Hide Caption 20 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked Security personnel scan passengers and employees at a checkpoint on June 29. Hide Caption 21 of 22 Photos: Istanbul airport attacked A worker repairs the airport's damaged ceiling on June 29. Hide Caption 22 of 22 "We believe he (Chatayev) coordinated with the three suicide bombers in Istanbul to conduct this attack during the season of Ramadan," McCaul said. Officials believe the attackers brought suicide vests, bombs and a deadly plan from ISIS leadership. Anadolu said Osmanov was identified through a passport photocopy that was given to a property agent in Istanbul's Fatih district, where officials said the three attackers rented an apartment. Growing trend McCaul said his information on Chatayev came from Turkish intelligence. Turkish officials have not confirmed Chatayev's involvement to CNN. The allegation reflects a growing trend of battle-hardened fighters from Russia and former Soviet republics joining ISIS in recent years. "Russian citizens -- many of whom are Chechens or Dagestanis from the largely Muslim North Caucasus region of Russia -- are the largest group of foot soldiers in ISIS from a non-Muslim majority country," analysts Peter Bergen and David Sterman wrote in an opinion piece for CNN Chechnya produced many fighters following the 1990s wars that pitted Russian forces against Chechen separatists. Russians deployed brutal tactics in Chechnya, which radicalized the insurgents and moved them in an Islamist and militant direction, Bergen said. In October, Russian President Vladimir Putin said between 5,000 to 7,000 fighters from Russia and the former Soviet republics are in Syria. "Ask anybody inside ISIS or who's fought ISIS. People from the former Soviet Union tend to be the most ... willing to die," said CNN contributor Michael Weiss, author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror." ISIS leadership involved Chatayev's alleged connection may not be a surprise. Turkish officials have strong evidence that ISIS leadership was involved in the planning of the Istanbul terrorist attack, a senior government source told CNN. Police showed residents of Fatih this image of three suspects. And the attacks appear to have been well-organized. The three terrorists rented an apartment in the Fatih district of Istanbul after they arrived from Syria a month ago, officials said. After the airport attack, authorities discovered one of the terrorists left behind his passport in the apartment, according to a Turkish government source. Turkish police visited the Fatih area and showed neighbors airport surveillance video and photographs of the three men, residents said. One man who owns a real estate agency said one of the men in the picture had lived in his apartment. He said he was shocked the man was a suspect in the attacks. No claim of responsibility JUST WATCHED Istanbul airport attacked despite heavy security Replay More Videos ... MUST WATCH Istanbul airport attacked despite heavy security 03:01 "One of the toughest battalions in ISIS is called the Uzbek battalion," he said. "These were the guys who were essentially on the front lines guarding Falluja, the city they just lost in Iraq." The tactic used in the airport attack -- shooting, and then detonating explosives -- is called "inghimasi," and it's being used more frequently by terrorists. "The 'inghimasi,' their (modus operandi) on the ground in Syria and Iraq, is to shoot up checkpoints and then they actually -- some of these guys actually run up to the enemy and hug them before detonating the bomb to take them out with themselves. So in a sense, the ultimate Kamikaze warrior," Weiss explained. ISIS also has a history of airport attacks. It claimed responsibility for dual suicide bombings at the main airport in Brussels in March. At least 10 people died in those blasts. The victims Other fatalities included nationals from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Tunisia, China, Iran, Ukraine, Jordan and Uzbekistan. At least two Palestinians were also killed. One U.S. citizen suffered minor injuries, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said. Authorities have detained 24 people in connection with the attack investigation, including 15 foreign nationals, state media reported. ||||| Ahmed Chatayev, Chechen suspect for #IstanbulAttacks was in Russia's Most Wanted list. — Aud™ (@CodeAud) June 30, 2016 Authorities suspect Akhmed Chatayev, a Chechen once given asylum in Europe and acquitted in another attack in Georgia, may have masterminded the coordinated terrorist attacks on the Istanbul airport. His name is sometimes given as Ahmed or Chataev, and several media sites say he previously avoided extradition to Russia after Amnesty International advocated on his behalf. Georgia’s former president says he was treated as a political prisoner in that country. CNN reports that Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, told the news site that it’s suspected Chatayev “directed the three suicide bombers” who slew 44 and injured more than 230 people in the attack on the Istanbul airport. Turkish media made the same claim, using a nickname for Chatayev, the BBC says. The suicide bombers opened fire with rifles before exploding suicide bombs, says the Voice of America. The Voice of America says it was the Turkish pro-government newspaper, Yeni Safak, that identified Chatayev as the possible mastermind of the Istanbul attack. The U.S. government had previously suspected Chatayev of planning terrorist attacks against Turkish and American interests, although he was given asylum in Austria years ago. NSNBC International reported on July 1 that Turkish authorities had arrested Chatayev, but CNN said his whereabouts were still unknown. Here’s what you need to know about him: 1. Akhmed Chatayev Has Only 1 Arm Chatayev’s deformity earned him the nickname “Akhmed One-Arm,” reports Fox News. According to the International Business Times, Chatayev has claimed that his arm was chopped off in prison. Other sites have said Chatayev lost the arm while fighting in the Second Chechen War, but it was this claim of torture that may have assisted him in avoiding extradition to Russia before the Istanbul airport attack. 2. Chatayev Was Granted Asylum by Austria & Had an Austrian Passport Back then, Amnesty International reminded Ukraine Chataev had refugee status in Austria — Nahia Sanzo (@nsanzo) June 30, 2016 According to Radio Free Europe, Chatayev was previously granted asylum by Austria. The Voice of America reports that, Chatayev became an Austrian citizen in 2003, two years after he left Russia and applied for asylum there, and had an Austrian passport that “allowed him to travel freely in Europe and elsewhere.” The International Business Times also reports that Chatayev was granted Austrian asylum after fleeing Russia 12 years ago. Austria this April passed tough new asylum laws allowing migrants to be rejected at the border, says the BBC. 3. Chatayev Avoided Extradition Back to Russia The European Union advised against extradition back to Russia, reports RT Question More. Citing translations of Russian newspapers, the site reported that Chatayev was detained in Sweden in 2008, where police found “Kalashnikov assault rifles, explosives and ammunition in his car. As a result, he spent more than a year in Swedish prison.” The site says that he was then arrested in 2010 in Ukraine with “his mobile phone files containing a demolition technique instruction and photos of people killed in a blast” but the European Court for Human Rights opposed the extradition, with Amnesty International also speaking out against it. The Amnesty International press release uses a slightly different spelling of the name — Ahmed Chataev — but refers to the man as physically disabled, when arguing that his return to Russia could mean the risk of torture. NSNBC International reported that Chatayev spent a year in a Swedish prison and that Ukraine would not extradite him. The news site says the European Court of Human Rights has advisory status and “ruled against the extradition of Chataev, claiming that he could risk an unfair trial and that he would be at risk of torture and ill-treatment.” In 2011, Chatayev avoided extradition again, says the site. The Voice of America puts it this way, “In 2010, he was arrested in Ukraine at the request of Russia’s security services but later released. In 2011, he was arrested on the Bulgaria-Turkey border. He appealed the arrest and a court ordered his release under Geneva Refugee Convention.” 4. The Suspected Chechen Ringleader Is Accused of Training Russian-Speaking Militants & the U.S. Had Designated Him a Terrorist Fox News reports the possible mastermind “appears to be a one-armed Chechen terrorist who trained Russian-speaking militants.” Radio Free Europe reports that Chatayev leads a Russian-speaking ISIS brigade called the Yarmouk Battalion. He is one of nine Chechens believed to be fighting in Syria, Radio Free Europe says. McCaul told CNN Chatayev was “probably the No. 1 enemy in the Northern Caucus region of Russia.” The Voice of America says Turkish media identified one of the bombers as also being from Chechnya. Chatayev targets immigrant men with European Union passports and controls 130 ISIS fighters, the UK Daily Mail reports, citing the United Nations Security Council for the latter figure. CNN says Chatayev is a lieutenant in ISIS’ war ministry. The BBC says Chatayev was already on a United States counter-terrorism sanctions list. In a 2015 press release, the U.S. Department of the Treasury named Akhmed Chatayev as a terrorist, saying, “As of mid-2015, Chatayev was a member of ISIL and was part of a group of militants that was planning attacks against U.S. and Turkish facilities.” The Treasury Department said that Chatayev posted a video online, greeting militants who, in December 2012, “pledged allegiance to ISIL and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” In the video, the U.S. government says, Chatayev calls for more militants to also pledge allegiance to ISIS. 5. Chatayev Was Cleared in a Previous Attack & Georgia’s Former President Says He Was Treated as a Political Prisoner Istanbul airport attack: One-armed Akhmed Chataev reportedly behind Ataturk massacre — IBTimes UK (@IBTimesUK) June 30, 2016 Chatayev was arrested in Georgia in 2012 in the Lopota Gorge incident, a conflict between armed Islamist Chechen militants and Georgian security forces, says Radio Free Europe. However, he was acquitted a year later despite being “named by the Georgian Foreign Ministry as a member of the armed group that clashed with Georgian special forces in August 2012.” Fourteen people died in the incident, including three Georgian special forces and 11 members of the armed group. Radio Free Europe says Chatayev was tried for illegal weapons possession and for purchasing and carrying an explosive device, but his lawyers said he’d only gone to Lopota Gorge to help with negotiations. Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page that he opposed Chatayev’s release by the new Georgian government but was overruled. He said Chatayev was treated as a “political prisoner” by many government leaders."
"– The attack on Istanbul's airport that left dozens dead and hundreds injured Tuesday was likely organized by a one-armed Chechen terrorist who goes by "Akhmed One-Arm," Fox News reports. A news organization in Turkey identified Ahmed Chatayev as the organizer of the terrorist attack, as did US officials, according to CNN. The news has yet to be confirmed by officials in Turkey. A report released in October said Chatayev was part of a "group of militants that was planning attacks against US and Turkish facilities.” He is or was a top ISIS soldier, and the UN says he has 130 militants directly under his command. "He's ... probably the No. 1 enemy in the Northern Caucasus reg