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Wed, 04 Aug 2021
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Dozens, not thousands, show up for DC trucker protest

truckers for constitution2
© Associated Press

A trucker protest aimed at clogging the Capital Beltway around Washington to protest government "corruption" was not shaping up to be quite the commuter nightmare organizers had threatened.

As of Friday morning, dozens of tractor-trailers were said to be on the road as part of the protest convoy.

Virginia state police say they stopped four tractor-trailer drivers on the Beltway, pulling them over after they began driving side-by side across all four northbound lanes of the Beltway in Fairfax County.

Their actions slowed traffic to about 15 mph. Officers warned the drivers not to impede traffic and did not write any tickets.

Police say a convoy of about 30 trucks began traveling north on Interstate 95 from Doswell, Va., on Friday morning. The truckers are circling the Beltway.

Brick Wall

Alexandra Harris, jailed Greenpeace activist, writes heartbreaking letter to parents from Russia

Alexandra Harris
© Greenpeace
Alexandra Harris
A British environmental campaigner facing 15 years for alleged piracy has said she is "trying very, very hard not to lose hope," in heartbreaking letter to her parents in which she describes her dire conditions in a Russian jail.

Greenpeace activist Alexandra Harris was yesterday denied bail following a month in prison for her part in a protest against oil company Gazprom's platform in the Arctic's Pechora Sea.

She is one of six Britons among 30 people detained when armed Russian officials boarded their vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, last month.

Sherlock

Blonde girl found in Roma camp in Greece prompts search for parents

blonde girl found

This is one of the pictures of the blonde girl that the Greek police issued in hopes that her biological parents are found
Greek police have asked Interpol to help them track down the real parents of a blonde girl with green eyes who was found in a Roma camp in central Greece.

Known as Maria, the four-year-old was spotted peeking out from under a blanket at a Romasettlement near the town of Farsala during a police sweep on Wednesday for suspected drug trafficking.

She speaks just a few words in the Roma dialect and Greek, and police think she may be of northern or eastern European origin, possibly from Scandinavia or Bulgaria.

Police have sent Interpol a file with all the evidence they have on the girl, including DNA samples, to seek a possible match with its records on missing children, a police official said. They have also contacted international groups and charities that deal with lost or abducted children.

"Mystery - a blonde angel without an identity," top-selling daily Ta Nea wrote on its front page on Saturday.

Photos released by police of Maria staring blankly at the camera with muddy hands and scruffy pigtails have dominated the media. Parallels were drawn to the case of Briton Madeleine McCann, who vanished while on holiday in Portugal in 2007, when she was three years old.

People 2

Powerful ads use real google searches to show the scope of sexism worldwide

Here's a simple and powerful campaign idea from UN Women using real suggested search terms from Google's autocomplete feature. Campaign creator Christopher Hunt, head of art for Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, offers this summary: "This campaign uses the world's most popular search engine (Google) to show how gender inequality is a worldwide problem. The adverts show the results of genuine searches, highlighting popular opinions across the world wide web." Each ad's fine print says "actual Google search on 09/03/13." While Google users in different countries are likely to get different results, a quick test shows that several of these suggested terms definitely come up in U.S. searches. Since its creation, autocomplete has become a popular device for social debate and even inspired a recent epic visual from xkcd, but these ads do a stellar job driving home the daunting fact that enough people around the world share these vile opinions that Google has come to expect them. Check out all the design versions after the jump. Via Design Taxi.

women need to

Airplane Paper

Plane crash in southern Belgium kills 10

Pilatus porter aircraft
© Unknown
A Pilatus Porter aircraft similar to the one which crashed on the outskirts of the village of Marchovelette in southern Belgium on October 19, 2013.
At least ten passengers onboard a small plane have been killed when the aircraft went down shortly following takeoff in southern Belgium.

The Pilatus Porter aircraft had just lifted into the air from Temploux aerodrome on Saturday, but crashed about ten minutes later in a field on the outskirts of the village of Marchovelette, part of the Belgian municipality of Fernelmont, and burst into flames.
"The plane took off from Temploux aerodrome with 10 parachutists and probably a pilot on board and crashed around 10 minutes later in a field. All those onboard are unfortunately dead. The toll is 10 or 11 victims," Mayor of Fernelmont, Jean-Claude Nihoul, said.
He added that it was "very difficult" to be more precise given the state of the aircraft which was "unrecognizable" after being "burned up."

Health

Argentine commuter train slams into station, again

Train crash in Argentina
© Eduardo Di Baia, AP
Police officers and paramedics inspects the debris of a commuter train that slammed into the end of the line when arriving to Once central station early this morning in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
An Argentine commuter train slammed into the end of the line Saturday morning at the same station in Buenos Aires where 52 people were killed in a similar crash last year. This time there was no immediate report of deaths, but at least 58 people were injured.

A mob quickly formed, unleashing its fury at the train operators. Passengers chanted "murderer, murderer!" at the injured driver through the shattered cabin window. Officers intervened and the driver was soon hospitalized under police custody. Police in riot gear then took control of the Once station after the angry crowd broke glass and threw stones in the street outside.

Altogether 58 people were injured, five of them with broken bones, but none of the wounds were life-threatening, said Security Secretary Sergio Berni. Some of the injured were hit by shattered glass from the train's windows, he said.

Light Saber

2 kidnapped Turkish pilots freed in Lebanon

Freed Turkey pilots
© AP
Two Turkish pilots kidnapped in Lebanon were freed Saturday as part of a deal that saw nine abducted Lebanese pilgrims in Syria released from captivity, officials said.

Turkish Airlines pilots Murat Akpinar and Murat Agca had been held by militants since their kidnapping in August in Beirut. Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency issued a bulletin Saturday announcing the pilots' release, without offering any other details.

The Turks' release is part of a negotiated hostage deal that included the freeing of the kidnapped pilgrims, as well as dozens of women held in Syrian government jails.

The nine Shiite pilgrims, kidnapped in May 2012 while on their way from Iran to Lebanon via Turkey and Syria, were expected to arrive in Beirut later Saturday night.

Arrow Down

80% US population face near-poverty, no work

American welfare
© Debra McCown AP
Four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives.

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near-poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor, and the loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

Dollar

Hard up Americans increasingly turn to selling body parts

kidney to remove
© Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images
A doctor marks which kidney to remove on a kidney donor in Baltimore, Maryland.

Hair, breast milk and eggs are doubling as automated teller machines for some cash-strapped Americans such as April Hare.

Out of work for more than two years and facing eviction from her home, Hare recalled Louisa May Alcott's 19th-century novel and took to her computer.

"I was just trying to find ways to make money, and I remembered Jo from 'Little Women,' and she sold her hair," the 35-year-old from Atlanta said. "I've always had lots of hair, but this is the first time I've actually had the idea to sell it because I'm in a really tight jam right now."

Bacon n Eggs

Getting free of the fast food mentality: why home economics should be mandatory

cooking home economics
© University of Houston Photographs Collection, 1948-2000/Flickr
I was a rotten high school student, a shirker and smart-ass of the first rank. I even found myself purged from a typing class for bad behavior - an event I regret to this precise moment, since touch-typing is obviously a convenient skill for someone in my profession. Afterward, I had to choose another "elective." Naturally, I seized upon home economics - in which, I hoped, I'd spend my time amusing girls with wisecracks and whipping up desserts from boxed mixes. If memory serves, that's exactly how it played out - especially the bit about the just-add-water confections. Mmmm, instant cake.

In other words, I retained just as much from my home ec class as I did from my failed stint as a student of the keyboard: which is to say, nothing. Yet Ruth Graham's recent Boston Globe essay "Bring back home ec! The case for a revival of the most retro class in school" strikes me as spot on. Graham isn't talking about the home ec of my wayward '80s youth, nor that of quaint stereotypes featuring "visions of future homemakers quietly whisking white sauce or stitching rickrack onto an apron."

She means a revitalized, contemporary home economics for all genders, one capable of at least exposing youth to basic skills that so many adults (i.e., their parents) lack: "to shop intelligently, cook healthily, [and] manage money." And I think such a reimagined home ec should move from the shadowy margins it now occupies - the field has been rebranded as "Family and Consumer Sciences," Graham reports - and become mandatory for all high school kids, and - why not? - even elementary school ones.

I have witnessed firsthand the vexed state of basic cooking skills among the young. When I helped run the kitchen at Maverick Farms for seven years, I noticed that most of our interns couldn't chop an onion or turn even just-picked produce into a reasonably good dish in a reasonable amount of time. And these were people motivated enough about food to intern at a small farm in rural North Carolina. If I had their cooking skills, I'd be tempted to resort to takeout often, just to save time.

It's true that in my home ec class nearly a quarter century ago, we weren't taught how to handle a knife or follow a simple recipe for a from-scratch dish. But home ec wasn't always so vapid. Graham points to New York Times reporter Michael Moss' great 2013 book Salt Sugar Fat, which contains a brief history of the home ec trade in US public schools.

The convenience food industry that's so powerful and entrenched today was just taking root in the 1950s. And as it began to aggressively market its products to a growing US middle class, it faced "one real obstacle," Moss writes: the "army of school teachers and federal outreach workers who insisted on promoting home-cooked meals, prepared the old fashioned way."