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Tue, 17 Oct 2017
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32 people killed in Taiwan tour bus crash

Taiwan: Tour bus crashes, 32 killed
At least 32 people were killed when a tour bus crashed near Taipei on Monday night, with television footage showing the bus careening toward a road barrier before flipping on its side.

Of 44 people on the bus, 30 were pronounced dead at the scene and two died in hospital, the fire department said, adding that 12 people were still being treated in hospitals around Taipei, the capital.

Many of the passengers were elderly, although the age range was early 20s to late 60s, according to city authorities.

The trip had been arranged by the Tieh Lien Hua Travel Agency, according to Taiwan's tourism bureau.

An official with the agency said the tourists were "likely" all from Taiwan, but that it was still looking at passenger information.


Tennessee teacher fired for posting 'the only good Trump supporter is a dead Trump supporter' on Facebook

Rutherford County Schools said a substitute teacher will no longer be working in the school district after he was accused of posting "inappropriate, threatening" comments on social media regarding President Donald Trump.
© Scripps Media
Rutherford County Schools received several messages about David Colin on Wednesday. Colin is accused of posting on Facebook, "the only good Trump supporter is a dead Trump supporter," on Facebook Nov. 9 at 9:29 a.m.

Colin is not employed by RCS, but is contracted through PESG. The schools said Colin is no longer permitted to work in the district.

The school district has notified PESG about Colin. The contractor indicted that it will conduct an internal investigation of the allegations immediately. "Information was presented to us by the school district," a PESG spokesperson said. "We are investigating it."

Colin is also accused of writing this on Facebook on Jan. 16:
I spent a lot of time today thinking about the state of this mess. There are huge numbers of people that are upset, mad, angry, (pretty much every negative word), but what I have not seen is a plan. Everyone is looking for leadership to start this off, but there is no one carrying the banner. Without that we will all settle in to becoming angry hateful people and there will be no solutions. So, where do we go from here? Rallies and demonstrations are pretty much futile, since the lunatics just laugh at us knowing we haven't the guts to stand up ad take the actions needed. Writing and complaining falls on deaf ears. Not until the first shot is fired will the recovery begin.

Comment: Another post from December 12th as reported by The Blaze:

© Facebook


Airport detainment: US-born NASA employee forced to hand over phone and pin code

"One moment please..."
A US citizen who works for NASA received an unfriendly welcome upon re-entering his own country, detained by a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agent who forced him to hand over his phone and access code, despite the device containing sensitive NASA information.

Sidd Bikkannavar - who has worked for NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) for the past 10 years - was expecting a speedy re-entry into the United States when he returned from South America on a personal trip, particularly because he is enrolled in the Global Entry program, which allows citizens to have expedited entry into the country after undergoing thorough background checks.

However, a smooth process wasn't at all what Bikkannavar received when he arrived at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport on January 30 - just over a week into the Trump administration and shortly after the president's travel ban had been chaotically rolled out at airports across the country.

The scientist, whose expertise is on a type of optics technology which will be used on the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, told the Verge that he was detained by CBP agents when he tried to enter the US after a trip to South America, where he had pursued his hobby of racing solar-powered cars.

Comment: Was Mr. Bikkannavar's detainment and search provided as an example? Were the parameters of the initial executive order confusingly inconclusive? One would think Mr. B's credentials should have afforded him at least a phone call.


Pennsylvania superintendent bans cafeteria forks after stabbings, revokes hall passes

Superintendent Frank Dalmas thinks Sto-Rox High School students have proven they can't be trusted with forks.

After incidents of students forking each other in the cafeteria and other bad behavior, Dalmas pulled the utensils out of the school and instituted other "extreme" security measures that are irking some parents, WPXI reports.

"They are taking the kids' utensils from them for lunch, telling them to eat with their fingers and they are not allowed to use bathrooms," parent Emanuel Rodriguez said. "It's just ridiculous."School officials also reportedly revoked hall passes and took other measures to limit access to bathrooms over problems with fights and drug use.

Student Hailey Kwiatanowski seemed to understand exactly why the drastic action was necessary. "We've had multiple school fights in the last few days. We've had girls get jumped, police here, ambulances here," she said.

Rodriguez still thinks school security is overboard. "They make these kids come down here and stand outside in a line, just to enter the building," he said, adding that school officials have not discussed problems with parents. "No parent has been updated about anything."


UNICEF: Proposed Philippines law lowers age of criminal responsibility to 9, 'wrong from every angle'

© Romeo Ranoco / Reuters
Incarcerated at age nine.
A proposed law that would lower the age of criminal responsibility for Filipino children from 15 to nine is "wrong from every angle," the head of the United Nations children's agency in the Philippines has warned. "If they grow up spending their teenage years in a prison, they most probably will be damaged for life," UNICEF representative Lotta Sylwander told the Guardian in a telephone interview from Manila.

President Rodrigo Duterte's allies have been pushing for the age of criminal responsibility to be lowered. The draft bill was introduced by house speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who said the current age of 15 was "pampering ... youth offenders who commit crimes knowing they can get away with it."

Another draft bill under consideration aims to restore the death penalty.

Children in the Philippines can be arrested and detained from the age of nine - a law which has affected over 50,000 youngsters since 1995, according to UNICEF. It's unclear whether lawmakers would seek to apply the death penalty to children.

Comment: Adult criminal status at age nine...fourth graders by western standards.


FBI investigating identities of black-clad UC Berkeley rioters

© AP Photo/Ben Margot
In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo, a fire set by demonstrators protesting a scheduled speaking appearance by Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos burns on Sproul Plaza on the University of California, Berkeley campus
Officials are trying to determine the identities of a small group of black-clad rioters who became violent during a protest against a far-right commentator's appearance at UC Berkeley.

According to the Associated Press, police said a small masked group wearing black showed up as night fell to riot against a talk given by Milo Yiannopoulos, editor of Breitbart News.

The identities of the masked rioters are still unknown, and the FBI has been called in to assist in the investigation, Berkeleyside.com reported.

Nearly 1,500 people were protesting peacefully outside the building when the group joined in and began moving metal barricades. Officials said they had thrown the barriers through the building's windows within minutes of their arrival.

Comment: See also:


52 drug overdoses reported in just 32 hours in Louisville

Louisville experienced a severe spike in overdose calls last week with authorities responding to 52 calls in a 32-hour period. The city's Metro Emergency Services said the calls began around midnight Thursday and continued through 8 a.m. Friday, with one fatality in a moving car. The calls came from more than 20 ZIP codes across the county, The Courier-Journal.

"When we say overdoses, we usually mean heroin, but that included alcohol, prescription medications, etcetera," Mitchelle Burmeister, spokesman for Metro Emergency Services, told The Courier-Journal.

Burmeister said 34 of the 52 patients were transported to a hospital, and blamed the high number of overdoses already reported in 2017 on the increasing amount of drugs that are readily available. According to the report there were 695 cases through the month of January, an increase of 33 percent from last year.


Man arrested after accidentally texting former boss: 'Help me kill my wife'

© Jeff Lytle / Facebook
A man in Washington state has been arrested for planning to kill his wife and four-year-old daughter after a text message sent in error to his former boss exposed the murder plot.

Jeff Lytle, 42, wrote a message apparently intended for a hitman named 'Shayne' asking him to kill his family for a $1.5 million life insurance policy, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office cited by KIRO 7.

"Hey Shayne how's it going. You remember you said that you would help me kill my wife. I'm going to take you up on that offer," the text message read, according to court documents.

Lytle also allegedly told the hitman that there would be a bonus if he killed his daughter as her life policy is valued at $500,000.

However, the message, which also discussed splitting the money 50/50, was accidentally sent to Lytle's former boss, who quickly contacted police.

Heart - Black

Court deems celebrating Valentine's Day in Pakistan 'un-Islamic,' bans across the country

© Akhtar Soomro / Reuters
Valentine's Day has effectively been banned in Pakistan after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) ruled on Monday to prohibit marking the occasion in public spaces and government offices across the country, effective immediately, regional media reported.

The court ruling came as the result of a petition started by concerned citizen Abdul Waheed, who complained that promoting the holiday in the media and across social networks is "against Islamic teachings and should be banned immediately."

All print and online media outlets have been ordered to "stop all Valentine's Day promotions," and celebrating the occasion in public too has been banned.

Justice Shaukat Aziz, who made the ruling, directed the Federal Ministry of Information, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) and the Islamabad High Commission to start implementing the court's decision.

Comment: Read more about the origins of Valentine's Day: The Seedy, Scandalous History of Valentine's Day

Wall Street

US Treasury hauls in 'record' taxes for 2017, still runs a massive deficit

The U.S. Treasury hauled in a record of approximately $1,084,840,000,000 in tax revenues in the first four months of fiscal 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 through Jan. 31, 2017),according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

That is up about $5,616,000,000 in constant 2016 dollars from the approximately $1,079,224,000,000 in constant 2016 dollars that the Treasury collected in the first four months of fiscal 2016.

Tax revenues from previous years, as reported in the Monthly Treasury Statement for January of each year, were adjusted to 2016 dollars using the Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator.