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Sun, 24 Sep 2023
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Deadliest U.S. mine disaster in decades due to safety failures

© Unknown
A section of the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia, exploded in April 2010, killing 29.
A "perfect storm was brewing" in West Virginia's Upper Big Branch coal mine in the weeks and days before a fireball tore through it on April 5, 2010, killing 29 miners and injuring one severely, according to a just-released report by the Governor's Independent Investigation Panel.

The report describes in vivid detail the conditions at Upper Big Branch before, during and after the deadliest U.S. mine disaster in 40 years, and concludes that the explosion was preventable and resulted from "failures in safety systems" at the mine in southern West Virginia.

The findings are based on physical examinations of the mine, regulatory records, the mine's internal records and more than 300 interviews with current and former mine employees, family members of miners, as well as with state and federal mine regulators. Noticeably absent from the 120-page report: testimony from the top people in charge of the mine. They invoked their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refused to cooperate with investigators.

Among the key findings: The Upper Big Branch mine lacked adequate ventilation, water sprays on equipment were not properly maintained and failed to function as they should have, and the mining company didn't meet federal and state safety standards for the application of rock dust, a crucial tool in keeping highly explosive coal dust inert.

Heart - Black

Psychopath: How killer with contempt for human life almost got away with murder

© Unknown
The burned out car in which Claire Morris died
DEADLY conman Malcolm Webster thought for almost 17 years that he had got away with the perfect murder.

He was so sure of himself, he tried to kill his second wife in exactly the same way he murdered his first - a staged fireball crash.

His murder of first wife Claire Morris in 1994 netted him £200,000 and he would have gained £500,000 if he succeeded in killing second wife Felicity Drumm.

But yesterday the monster who charmed a string of women was facing life in jail after his web of deceit finally unraveled.

A jury took less than four hours to find the former nurse guilty of murder, attempted murder and a string of other charges, including trying to commit bigamy, fraud and fire-raising.

To the women he wooed around the world, 52-year-old Webster seemed the perfect English gentleman - in the words of one former conquest almost "too good to be true".

In fact, his life was founded on lies and ruthless scheming to get the high life he craved.

Bizarro Earth

Pathological Nutcases! Kids hope to attend party - but parents say world's going to end

Families divided as some people believe world will self-destruct on Saturday

© Monica Lopossay/New York
Abby Haddad Carson and Robert Carson say Saturday is Judgment Day; the children, Joseph, Faith and Grace, right, do not.
The Haddad children of Middletown, Md., have a lot on their minds: school projects, SATs, weekend parties. And parents who believe the earth will begin to self-destruct on Saturday.

The three teenagers have been struggling to make sense of their shifting world, which started changing nearly two years ago when their mother, Abby Haddad Carson, left her job as a nurse to "sound the trumpet" on mission trips with her husband, Robert, handing out tracts. They stopped working on their house and saving for college.

Last weekend, the family traveled to New York, the parents dragging their reluctant children through a Manhattan street fair in a final effort to spread the word.

"My mom has told me directly that I'm not going to get into heaven," Grace Haddad, 16, said. "At first it was really upsetting, but it's what she honestly believes."


Student asks school to not hold prayer at graduation ceremony. Town responds with antagonism.

My graduation from high school is this Friday. I live in the Bible Belt of the United States. The school was going to perform a prayer at graduation, but due to me sending the superintendent an email stating it was against Louisiana state law and that I would be forced to contact the ACLU if they ignored me, they ceased it. The school backed down, but that's when the shitstorm rolled in. Everyone is trying to get it back in the ceremony now. I'm not worried about it, but everyone hates me... kind of worried about attending graduation now. It's attracted more hostility than I thought.

My reasoning behind it is that it's emotionally stressing on anyone who isn't Christian. No one else wanted to stand up for their constitutional right of having freedom of and FROM religion. I was also hoping to encourage other atheists to come out and be heard. I'm one of maybe three atheists in this town that I currently know of. One of the others is afraid to come out of the (atheist) closet.

Though I've caused my classmates to hate me, I feel like I've done the right thing. Regardless of their thoughts on it, basically saying I am ruining their fun and their lives, I feel like I've helped someone out there. I didn't do this for me or just atheists, but anyone who doesn't believe in their god that prayer to Yahweh may affect.

Moral of the story: though the opposition may be great, majority doesn't necessarily mean right. Thank you for reading. Wish me luck at graduation.

EDIT: Well, it hit the fan a couple hours ago. They've already assembled a group of supporters at a local church and called in the newspaper. I've had to deactivate my Facebook account and I can't reason with any of them. They refuse to listen. The whole town hates me, aside from a few closet atheists that are silently supporting, which I don't blame them looking at what I've incited here. Thanks for the support though.

If anyone would like to offer support, the superintendent is who I emailed and the school's website is mpsb.us

Thanks for the support. It's really helping. This has just gotten sickening.

Edit: I've had requests for my Facebook info... I don't mind giving that out at all. Damon Fowler - Bastrop, LA. I could use all of the support I can get.

EDIT: My laptop battery is running low as I type thanks to the hundreds of Facebook friend requests and messages I've been trying to reply to. Thank all of you for the continued support. Right now, I'm about to go to the principle's office to speak to her in person about attending graduation.

I just got off the phone with FFRF as well and apparently I've been given a $1000 student activist's award toward college. I really wasn't expecting it to get this big, nor was I expecting any of that. Still, I thank all of you for the support that I wouldn't have gotten anywhere else. You played a big part in this and because of you, I've decided to walk despite rumors of threats against me. So far, they're talking about organizing a large vocal prayer during the moment of silence despite what I've done. We'll see how this goes. Class night is tonight... not looking forward to attending that.

EDIT: Back from Class Night... (You Tube). Dealt with people staring at me, calling me names, talking about me behind my back (even teachers). I'll walk across that stage tomorrow, whether they want me to or not.


President of Japan's troubled TEPCO resigning

© Yuriko Nakao/Reuters
Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Masataka Shimizu reportedly is resigning more than two months after an earthquake and tusnami crippled the company's Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power plant.
Tokyo - The president of troubled Tokyo Electric Power Co. is stepping down and taking responsibility for the handling of Japan's nuclear power plant crisis, Japanese media reported Friday.

Masataka Shimizu will be replaced by senior executive Katsutoshi Chikudate as the company prepares to report huge losses, the Yomiuri newspaper said.

TEPCO has been struggling since March 11, when the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant was heavily damaged by an earthquake and tsunami and began leaking radiation. Some 80,000 people living within a 12-mile radius of the plant were evacuated from their homes afterward and many are living in gymnasiums.

The disaster is the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, analysts say.

The company may owe disaster victims in the tens of billions of dollars in compensation and has asked the government for help in paying the bill.


US: Tornado dog crawls on broken legs to family

An Alabama dog crawled home to its family on two broken legs after a deadly tornado.
Birmingham, Ala. - Almost three weeks after deadly tornadoes tore through Alabama, an incredible story of survival has emerged about a dog that crawled home to its family on two broken legs.

"Mason," a terrier mix, was picked up and swept away by a tornado.

His family searched but could not find him.

Then Monday, two and a half weeks later, they came back home to sift through the debris and found Mason waiting for them on the porch.

"They've not been able to be in alignment so neither one of them have healed, so he had to crawl on two broken legs to get home," said veterinary Dr. Barbara Benhart.

"This is probably the most dramatic we've seen as far as an injury in an animal that's survived this long," said Phil Doster, an animal-shelter worker.

A veterinarian has volunteered to take Mason in and nurse him back to health.


Jessica Alba's Bizarre Birthing Ritual

Jessica alba
© WENN.com
Jessica Alba has been taking lots of classes since falling pregnant including cooking classes where she is pictured here

Jessica Alba has revealed she is getting ready for the birth of her second baby by using hypnobirthing practices. The A-lister said that while every woman experiences pregnancy differently she highly recommends this new birthing craze sweeping over Hollywood.

"It just makes you chill," said Jess on hypnobirthing, the form of hypnotherapy that's used to calm mums mid-delivery. Jessica has been studying the art in the run-up to her second birth. "I was freaked out going into it my first time," admitted Jess. "Like what if I panic? What if I just freak out and I don't know what to do?"

We suspect second time around any birth will be easier. Jessica already has one child, three-year-old Honour Marie, with husband Cash Warren.


Bullies Win (Mostly)

What do Calvin & Hobbes author Bill Watterson, country singer Merle Haggard, and Gulf coast fisherman Mike Frenette have in common with my hapless next-door neighbor on Nantucket? They've all stood face-to-face with the bully culture of money in America, and felt the hand of power at their throats.

Merle Haggard, like so many musicians, signed brutal, confiscatory contracts with record labels just to get his music heard. He had no choice: they controlled the business and with that power came the opportunity, even the imperative, to exploit him. Musical artists who made millions for their labels died in poverty because of this rapacious disregard for their rights and disrespect for their talents. It's still happening - only the rise of the internet threatens this hegemony in any long-term way: hence the Verizon/Google deal, and other scams, to control the freedom of the net and turns its immense potential for freedom of expression into profit. You can feel the fuming rage of the stymied power-brokers in the proposals they write and the bills they draft in Congress: how dare some nobody just post a video on YouTube and think millions of people will watch without having to pay for the privilege! The thought that some cocky little John Doe with a cellphone camera can post a picture that contradicts the news stories and the media narrative about some crucial event must make their blood boil. I remember when the video of Stephen Colbert's Press Corps dinner speech was posted, amid the media spin that he had bombed: ten million hits on the video later, that particular lie was just another Colbert punch-line.


US: Two Longview Parents Accused in Bizarre Child Endangerment Case

Police say the Longview couple accused of endangering their 14-month-old baby were so high they were hallucinating. CBS 19's Abby Broyles details the latest on the investigation.

When police arrived at the 200 block of Clay Street Monday night, they say the homeowner, 34-year-old Jason Beasley, was hallucinating on drugs and chasing after imaginary people with a knife and a pistol.

"Mr. Beasley was very paranoid, very upset, and very agitated," Longview Police Dept. spokesperson Kristie Brian said.

Police immediately called child protective services when they found a baby lying in a crib inside the house. Neighbors had called police after Beasley told them that someone killed the mother of his child, Misty Rhodes. She wasn't dead. Rhodes was nearly unconscious inside the home.

"Police were able to wake her up there at the scene, but she was just very disoriented and hard to wake up. She didn't know what was going on," Officer Brian said. "Due to some things she told police, she was also arrested for endangering a child."

Arrow Down

15 Minutes of Shame: Mom who said she gave her 8-year-old daughter Botox admits it was all a hoax

© ABC News

Get ready for another wave of outrage: Kerry Campbell, the 34-year-old part-time aethestician who told the world that she gave her 8-year-old daughter Botox injections and body waxing in order to help her do better in kiddie beauty pageants, now says that it was all a hoax.

"The truth is that I have never given my daughter Botox, not allowed her to get any type of waxing, nor is she a beauty pageant contestant," the mom - whose real name is Sheena Upton - admitted in a statement.

Upton says that she accepted $200 "to play the role of Kerry Campbell" for an interview that appeared in the British tabloid The Sun on March 23. After appearing on ABC's Good Morning America and Inside Edition last week, San Francisco Human Services Agency launched an investigation and her daughter, Britney, was removed from her home by Child Protective Services. Upton issued her statement, which is dated May 18th, in order to regain custody of her daughter.

In the written statement, which was obtained by TMZ and can be seen here at left (click for the PDF), Upton says that The Sun provided her with "instructions and a script to follow for a recorded interview." She agreed to later interviews with Good Morning America and Inside Edition in exchange for "a large fee for both," rumored to be upwards of $10,000. A source at ABC News told TMZ: "There is no truth to the story about compensation, but they did pay a broker no more than $10,000 to license photos."