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James Comey

Fri, 2018-04-20 05:01
A cartoon with a question requiring the student to demonstrate understanding of the cartoonist's intended meaning.

News quiz for week ending 4/20/18

Fri, 2018-04-20 05:00
A quiz with questions relating to the week's Daily News Articles.

Police officers in 2 states overdose from Fentanyl exposure during drug busts

Fri, 2018-04-20 05:00

(by Steve Birr, The Daily Caller) – A police officer in West Virginia was rushed to the hospital Saturday after being exposed to the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl during a roadside drug bust.

Rich Gilkey, chief of the Mason City Police Department in West Virginia, was conducting a vehicle search along with a patrolman on April 14 when he came in contact with cotton balls soaked in suspected fentanyl. Gilkey and Officer Kendall Roush had pulled over a Ford Ranger for erratic driving and the driver became agitated after the pair asked to search the car, reported the Gallipolis Daily Tribune.

After restraining the driver, 30-year-old Nathan Keffer, Gilkey searched the vehicle and found heroin, suboxone, a hypodermic needle and the cotton balls soaked in fentanyl. Gilkey became lightheaded and dizzy after coming into contact with the cotton balls, and said the quick action of West Virginia State Trooper G.C. Burnem likely saved his life.

Gilkey was rushed to Pleasant Valley Hospital, where he tested positive for fentanyl. He rested there overnight to recover from the incident.

Canadian police process packages of fentanyl.

Law enforcement continues to grapple with the added risk of exposure to synthetic opioids during drug encounters, which are causing first responders to overdose throughout the country.

Body camera footage from police in Columbus, Ohio, recently emerged showing an officer being revived with the overdose reversal drug Narcan at the scene of a drug bust after suspected fentanyl exposure.

The footage shows an officer with the Columbus Division of Police suffering a drug overdose in his vehicle. His partner is seen questioning a woman in cuffs in the back of a police cruiser about what substance she had in her car, which she said did not contain any fentanyl to her knowledge.

“Okay, well we have an officer having an effect right now,” the officer responded. The woman then told the officer that her dealer claimed it was a combination of meth and ice.

After injecting the officer with a dose of the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan in both nostrils, police helped him out of his cruiser to rest on the ground as he recovered.

The Ohio Department of Health recently asked medical professionals and first responders to start using the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan for any situation where a person has overdosed on drugs in case fentanyl is involved.

Opioids are killing a record number of people in Ohio, which now has the second highest death rate from drug overdoses in the U.S. behind only West Virginia.

[The state lost 4,329 residents to drug overdoses in 2016, a 24 percent increase over 2015, due to a massive influx of fentanyl. Nearly 40 per 100,000 people now die from drug-related overdoses in Ohio.]

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans under age 50, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, claiming more than 64,000 lives in 2016.

Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from The Daily Caller.

Trump confirms Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un

Thu, 2018-04-19 05:00

(by Yaron Steinbuch, New York Post) – President Donald Trump confirmed via Twitter early Wednesday that his CIA chief secretly met with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un — and formed “a good relationship” heading into the two leaders’ anticipated summit.

“Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week. Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed,” Trump tweeted.

“Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!” Trump added from his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, where he is hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The president disclosed Tuesday that the US and the rogue regime were holding direct talks at “extremely high levels” in preparation for a possible summit.

He said five locations were under consideration for the meeting, which could take place by early June. [On Tuesday, CNN had reported: “US officials have floated several  possible locations for (a meeting with Kim Jong Un) over the past month, including: the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar; the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea; a neutral European capital like Stockholm or Geneva; a location at sea like Jeju island or a ship; Southeast Asia, including possibly Singapore or Malaysia; the South Korean capital Seoul; or the North Korean capital Pyongyang, a seemingly unlikely choice that no US official has yet ruled out.”]

Confirmation of Pompeo’s trip later came from two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Washington Post reported that it took place over Easter weekend, shortly after Pompeo was nominated to become secretary of state.

Kim’s shocking offer for a summit was initially relayed last month to Trump by South Korean officials — and the president surprised many by accepting it.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and President Trump

US officials have indicated that Pyongyang had communicated directly with Washington that it was ready to discuss [ending] its nuclear weapons program.

A summit would be the first ever between the two countries, which do not have formal diplomatic ties, during more than six decades of hostility since the Korean War.

Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from the New York Post.

Foreign Policy: Trump vs. Obama

Thu, 2018-04-19 05:00

(by Roger L. Simon, PJ Media) – Now that we have learned CIA director and secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jung Un over Easter, it is time to acknowledge the obvious:  the foreign policy of political novice Donald Trump has been vastly more successful that that of the supposedly experienced Barack Obama.

And vastly is an understatement.  Obama’s foreign policy was a disaster, beginning with the peculiar apology tour that mystified much of its Middle Eastern audience, through the yet more peculiar “reset” button with Russia [the word “reset” in Russian on the symbolic button presented by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was misspelled] that further mystified Sergei Lavrov, on to Obama’s overheard whisper to Medvedev telling Putin he would be more accommodating on missile defense after the election (imagine the apoplectic reaction of our media if Trump did that!), to the Libyan war leading to the assassination of Qaddafi (the only Arab leader to voluntarily denuclearize) that created a failed state and a raft of refugees to Italy and elsewhere, and, of course, the rapid exit from Iraq that gave rise to ISIS.

And this omits the equally egregious examples — the failure to enforce the red line on Assad’s use of chemical weapons, about which he naively believed Putin, and the never-signed, never-published Iran Deal itself, which has done nothing but enrich the mullahs who wreak havoc from Venezuela to Yemen.  This duplicitous and unverifiable non-agreement prolonged the monstrous Syrian civil war, causing the greatest refugee crisis since World War II and changing the character of Europe possibly forever.

There’s more but you get the point.  Not even Jimmy Carter had that bad a record. And this is without Obama’s sickening lack of response to the freedom demonstrators in Iran. (“Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?”  Well, we know.)

And Trump?

To begin with, there’s the near-annihilation of ISIS.  Then there’s the renewed alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states without, miracle of miracles, the ostracism of Israel.  Indeed, while announcing the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem (with little protest by ME standards), the Israeli-Saudi alliance has flourished.  Does this mean an solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem is imminent?  Probably not.  But at least the decades of moribund unchanging policy since Oslo have finally been bypassed and new perspectives made possible.

He has also so far managed the Syrian gas attacks with an intelligent level of response, escalating it carefully.

And then there is the North Korea situation.  Not one American president made a dent in it.  There are no guarantees, but Trump seems to be on the brink of…. something. It’s exciting to watch because there is actually a possibility of real peace in a part of the world that has not seen it in well over half a century.  Trump, the peacemaker, balancing North Korea, South Korea, China and Japan?  Who would have thought it?  Not our media.  They hate him so much if he cured cancer they would think it was a trick — or a clever way to sabotage Obamacare.

Published April 17, 2018 at PJ Media .com. Reprinted here April 19 for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from PJMedia.

Study shows what you eat helps fight depression

Wed, 2018-04-18 05:00

(by Elizabeth Bernstein, The Wall Street Journal) – You’re feeling depressed. What have you been eating? Psychiatrists and therapists don’t often ask this question. But a growing body of research over the past decade shows that a healthy diet—high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and unprocessed lean red meat—can prevent depression.

And an unhealthy diet—high in processed and refined foods—increases the risk for the disease in everyone, including children and teens.

Now recent studies show that a healthy diet may not only prevent depression, but could effectively treat it once it’s started.

Researchers, led by epidemiologist Felice Jacka of Australia’s Deakin University, looked at whether improving the diets of people with major depression would help improve their mood. They chose 67 people with depression for the study, some of whom were already being treated with antidepressants, some with psychotherapy, and some with both. Half of these people were given nutritional counseling from a dietitian, who helped them eat healthier. Half were given one-on-one social support—they were paired with someone to chat or play cards with—which is known to help people with depression.

After 12 weeks, the people who improved their diets showed significantly happier moods than those who received social support. And the people who improved their diets the most improved the most. The study was published in January 2017 in BMC Medicine.

A second, larger study drew similar conclusions and showed that the boost in mood lasted six months. It was led by researchers at the University of South Australia and published in December 2017 in Nutritional Neuroscience.

And later this month in Los Angeles at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago will present results from their research that shows that elderly adults who eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains are less likely to develop depression over time.

The findings are spurring the rise of a new field: nutritional psychiatry. Dr. Jacka helped to found the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research in 2013. It held its first conference last summer. She’s also launched Deakin University’s Food & Mood Centre, which is dedicated to researching and developing nutrition-based strategies for brain disorders.

The annual American Psychiatric Association (APA) conference has started including presentations on nutrition and psychiatry, including one last year by chef David Bouley on foods that support the peripheral nervous system.

And some medical schools, including Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, are starting to teach psychiatry residents about the importance of diet on mental health.

Depression has many causes—it may be genetic, triggered by a specific event or situation, such as loneliness, or brought on by lifestyle choices. But it’s really about an unhealthy brain, and too often people forget this.

“When we think of cardiac health, we think of strengthening an organ, the heart,” says Drew Ramsey, a psychiatrist in New York, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia and author of “Eat Complete.” “We need to start thinking of strengthening another organ, the brain, when we think of mental health.”

A bad diet makes depression worse, failing to provide the brain with the variety of nutrients it needs, Dr. Ramsey says.

And processed or deep-fried foods often contain trans fats that promote inflammation, believed to be a cause of depression. To give people evidenced-based information, Dr. Ramsey created an e-course called “Eat to Beat Depression.”

A bad diet also affects our microbiome—the trillions of micro-organisms that live in our gut. They make molecules that can alter the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter found in the brain, says Lisa Mosconi, a neuroscientist, nutritionist and associate director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. The good and bad bacteria in our gut have complex ways to communicate with our brain and change our mood, she says. We need to maximize the good bacteria and minimize the bad.

So what should we eat? The research points to a Mediterranean-style diet made up primarily of fruits and vegetables, extra-virgin olive oil, yogurt and cheese, legumes, nuts, seafood, whole grains and small portions of red meat. The complexity of this diet will provide the nutrition our brain needs, regulate our inflammatory response and support the good bacteria in our gut, says Dr. Mosconi, author of “Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power.”

Can a good diet replace medicine or therapy? Not for everyone. But people at risk for depression should pay attention to the food they eat. “It really doesn’t matter if you need [anti-depressant medication] or not. We know that your brain needs nutrients,” Dr. Ramsey says.

A healthy diet may work even when other treatments fail. And at the very least, it can serve as a supplemental treatment—one with no bad side effects, unlike antidepressants—that also has a giant upside. It can prevent other health problems, such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. …

Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from The Wall Street Journal. (Originally published on April 2, 2018.)

Tuesday’s World #1 – Israel

Tue, 2018-04-17 05:00

(Compiled from reports by Ian Lee, CNN, Allen Cone, UPI and Max Jaeger, NY Post) – Israel’s military destroyed a tunnel originating from Gaza that penetrated tens of meters inside Israeli territory, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) announced Sunday.

This is the fifth tunnel destroyed in the past five months, the IDF said. Digging began in 2014, and Israeli officials say they had been monitoring progress using new technology.

“This specific tunnel was a complicated and high-quality one, in the sense that it was a network of tunnels [penetrating Israel from] the northern part of the Gaza Strip,” IDF spokesperson Lieutenant-Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters.

The destruction of the tunnel network comes amid a wave of Palestinian protests along the border fence between Gaza and Israel, which began at the end of March.

In what has been called “The March of Return,” Palestinian protesters have attempted to cross the border fence into Israel to return to what they say are their lands. The Israeli military and officials have said they will not allow any breach of the border fence. Nearly 1,000 Palestinian protesters were injured in Gaza on Friday, largely from live ammunition and tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers.

The IDF described it as an “offensive Hamas terror tunnel” that served as a main artery, with several other connected tunnels.

Lt. Col. Conricus said it had been under construction for a few years and that the IDF had been monitoring it for a long time through “new intelligence and operational tools that we have in place in the Gaza Strip.”

The decision to destroy the tunnel came after it penetrated Israeli territory, he said.

The army said the tunnel originated several kilometers inside Gaza, from the Jabalia neighborhood, and was heading toward the general vicinity of the Israeli community of Nahal Oz.

No explosives were used to destroy the tunnel, but rather it was filled with an unspecified material that “rendered it useless for a long period of time,” Conricus said.

According to Conricus, the main tunnel as well as the smaller connecting tunnels were destroyed.

“We filled the tunnel, which rendered it useless for a very long period of time,” military spokesman Lieutenant-Col. Jonathan Conricus said. He added, “The IDF doesn’t seek an escalation. We are defending our borders. We will not tolerate or allow Hamas to turn the border area into an active combat zone.”

Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman welcomed the news, tweeting, “We destroyed an additional terror tunnel – the deepest and longest that has been uncovered up ’til now.”

“The tunnel, in which millions of dollars have been invested, money which instead of being invested to lighten the desperate situation of the people, has sunk into the sand,” he added. “Residents of Gaza: Hamas is burning your money on tunnels to nowhere.”

Digging began in 2014, and Israeli officials say they had been monitoring progress using new technology. It is the fifth tunnel dismantled in five months, according to officials.

The nation revealed Sunday it has operated an anti-tunnel research laboratory since 2016 that is partially funded by the US.

An Israeli army officer looks at a destroyed Palestinian Islamic Jihad tunnel, leading from Gaza into Israel, near the southern Israeli kibbutz of Kissufim, January 2018. (Jack Guez/AFP/POOL)

Israeli officials also said that Palestinian protests at a border fence nearby were meant to distract from the subterranean tunneling project.

“The violent riots that have been taking place in the area of the security fence are an attempt to mask the terror attacks intended to take place above & below ground,” the IDF said.

IDF spokeman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis described it as “significant tunnel” that was connected to other ones.

“Hamas has been working in recent months, and more intensively in recent weeks, to turn the border fence into a zone of terror and fighting,” Manelis said. “The violent demonstrations are a cover for terrorist attempts both above and below ground.

Israel’s response to the unrest [has been criticized in most media reports — IDF snipers have killed 31 Palestinians, drawing international censure.

More than 30 Palestinians have been killed over the past three weeks in clashes, according to Hamas-run health authorities. The protests are supposed to peak in mid-May on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s creation.

On Friday, at least 10,000 Gazans participated in large-scale demonstrations. Israeli military said protesters hurled an explosive device and firebombs and made “several attempts” to damage the fence between Israel and Gaza. Two weeks ago, an estimated 30,000 participated; last week the number was approximately 20,000.

Israel is also building an underground barrier to detect and block future tunnels that Hamas may seek to build. Israel has said that the barrier, in conjunction with new technological developments, will render Hamas’ tunnel project impotent.

(Compiled from reports published on April 15 at CNN, UPI and NY Post).

Tuesday’s World #2 – Syria

Tue, 2018-04-17 04:55

(by Iain Burns from Agence France-Presse at UK Daily Mail) – Russia claimed on Monday that a visit by chemical weapons inspectors to the site of a suspected gas attack in Syria’s Douma had been delayed as a result of Western air strikes.

The British delegation to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said Russia and Syria had not yet allowed access. [The inspectors had arrived in Syria on Saturday to examine whether chemical weapons were used in Douma on April  – and what kind.]

“This is the latest conjecture of our British colleagues,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by RIA news agency. He also said the delay was because of air strikes.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, meanwhile, said: “I can guarantee that Russia has not tampered with the site.”

The British delegation said in a statement posted on Twitter: “Unfettered access [is] essential. Russia and Syria must cooperate.” [Britain’s envoy to the OPCW, Peter Wilson, reportedly said there is “reliable intelligence” to support claims that Syria was behind the attack.]

Earlier, Russia vowed not to interfere in the work of a fact-finding mission sent to Syria by OPCW.

“Russia confirms its commitment to ensure safe [sic] and security of the mission and will not interfere in its work,” the Russian embassy in The Hague said in a tweet.

It also criticized the United States, saying the weekend strikes by the US, France and Britain on three facilities in Syria were a bid “to undermine the credibility” of the mission.

Russia made its comments as the OPCW opened emergency talks behind closed doors on Monday to discuss the April 7 the chemical weapons attack in Douma where 40 people were said to have been killed.

The OPCW has 192 members, and Monday’s governing executive council meeting of 41 states was called by its chairman, Bangladeshi ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal, ‘to discuss the alleged use of chemical weapons’ in Syria.

The US envoy to OPCW, meanwhile, said Russia may have tampered with the site of the attack. The comments came during a closed-door meeting at the OPCW.

“It is long overdue that this council condemns the Syrian government for its reign of chemical terror and demands international accountability for those responsible for these heinous acts,” US Ambassador Kenneth Ward said in comments obtained by Reuters.

“It is our understanding the Russians may have visited the attack site. It is our concern that they may have tampered with it with the intent of thwarting the efforts of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission to conduct an effective investigation.”

A diplomatic source told Reuters evidence may have been removed while inspectors negotiated access with Syrian authorities.

Syria and Russia deny chemical weapons were used in the final offensive that captured Douma, a rebel-held territory east of Damascus. [The Syrian government regained full control of Douma on Saturday. Douma was the last rebel holdout in the eastern Ghouta enclave, the target of a government offensive in February and March that left hundreds dead and tens of thousands homeless.

Syrian media, as well as Russian and Syrian officials, have sought to downplay the impact of the joint U.S., French, British airstrikes.

NBC’s Bill Neely tweeted Monday, “Chemical weapons inspectors are NOT being allowed into the site of the gas attack in #Douma. Russia & Syria cite security concerns. The UN ruled it safe.”]

From an April 16 report at the UK Daily Mail.

Tuesday’s World #3: Venezuela

Tue, 2018-04-17 04:50

(by Kejal Vyas and Ryan Dube, The Wall Street Journal) – …Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s cash-strapped Socialist regime prohibits most international humanitarian donations—including contributions of lifesaving medicines—except from a few remaining allies such as Russia.

The authoritarian leader and his lieutenants have denied the country is in a humanitarian crisis and they consider international aid part of a ploy by the U.S. and political rivals to besmirch the government and open the door to foreign intervention.

“No way are we going to allow this right-wing to impose a supposed humanitarian aid when our people are already being tended to by President Maduro,” Venezuela’s Health Minister Luis Lopez said in December.

Public health has deteriorated sharply in what used to be one of Latin America’s richest nations. Venezuela’s infant mortality rate was higher than in Syria in 2016, according to Health Ministry figures. Cases of diphtheria and malaria, diseases controlled by most Latin American nations, have increased amid a lack of vaccinations, the ministry said.

Venezuela’s Socialist President Nicolas Maduro

“The situation is complicated, I think that is a point that we all agree on due to the social, political and economic issues,” said Jose Moya, a Peruvian doctor who is the representative in Venezuela for the Pan American Health Organization, a branch of the World Health Organization. “This has really affected the purchase of supplies, the functioning of hospitals, [and] it is affecting the availability of medicine.”

In March, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Carlos Rotondaro, former head of the government’s Social Security Institute, which is responsible for providing drugs for chronic illnesses. The U.S. said mishandling of health care by him and others has contributed to outbreaks of once-controlled diseases like diphtheria and measles. Mr. Rotondaro couldn’t be reached for comment.

“We have a scarcity of almost 100% of medicines and what is available, people cannot afford,” said Feliciano Reyna, head of a Caracas-based health advocacy group, Solidarity Action, which has tried to open the country to international medical aid. “We are seeing more and more deaths and suffering.”

Patients with transplants are particularly vulnerable because of the risk that their bodies will reject the new organs, an outcome immune system-suppressing drugs can help prevent. There are about 3,500 transplant patients—most of them kidney recipients—in Venezuela, according to health-advocacy groups.

The government’s transplant program was suspended in mid-2017 because of financial troubles, leaving 5,000 patients who await new kidneys in limbo, advocacy groups say.

Without anti-rejection drugs, an organ can deteriorate in as little as 48 hours. A patient rejects a transplanted organ every two days in Venezuela, according to the Caracas-based health-sector watchdog Codevida.

The malnutrition now common in Venezuela means patients also face higher risks for organ rejection, said Dr. Luis Hernández, a nephrologist at University Hospital in Caracas.

“We have to help the people,” said Dr. Hernández, who said he has called on the government to accept international aid.

In January, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said it helped Venezuela purchase 135,000 pills of the immunosuppressive drug tacrolimus at a discount. But that covers just one of several medications that doctors prescribe to transplant patients, activists say.

Last year, PAHO signed an agreement with Venezuela’s Social Security Institute that allows it to purchase immunosuppressive drugs at a discount. About 500,000 pills of another immunosuppressive drug called mycophenolate are expected to be delivered in April, PAHO’s Dr. Moya said.

In addition, PAHO has used its own funds to purchase drugs for Venezuela, Dr. Moya said, while acknowledging the supply is insufficient for Venezuelan transplant patients. “They are quantities that guarantee a few weeks, months of treatment, so we have to continue working to get the medicine,” he said.

Dr. Moya said his office has been in contact with foreign nations that have expressed interest in providing support through PAHO to supply more immunosuppressive drugs.

Individual donors also want to help, including people associated with a federation that stages athletic contests around the world for transplant recipients. Rodolfo Wetzel, former president of a group of transplant athletes in Argentina, said he has about 50 boxes of immunosuppressive drugs ready for delivery. In Bulgaria, Stoyanka Ananieva, a former federation council member whose daughter received a kidney transplant, said she is collecting medicines she wants to send to Venezuela.

But they say they haven’t shipped the drugs out of fear the materials could be seized at Venezuela’s ports. Small packages that enter with individual travelers aren’t enough to satisfy demand, activists say.

“It’s a situation of helplessness,” said Mr. Wetzel.

Patients nationwide are improvising, taking long-expired medicines or waiting for unused pills to be passed down as people die. Because of shortages of steroids, which transplant patients also often take, some are turning to steroids veterinarians prescribe for household pets. …..

Mayela Armas in Caracas contributed to this article.

Published at WSJ on April 6. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from The Wall Street Journal. 

School District Arms Teachers with Tiny Baseball Bats

Mon, 2018-04-16 05:00

(by Jamison Hixenbaugh, Erie News Now) – In the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the Millcreek School District is arming its 500 teachers with baseball bats.

“It is the last resort,” said Millcreek School District Superintendent William Hall.  “But, it is an option and something we want people to be aware of.”

According to Hall, the 16-inch bats were distributed to each teacher, following an in-service training day on how to respond to school shootings.

“We passed them out, with the goal being we wanted every room to have one of these,” said Hall.  “Unfortunately, we’re in a day and age where one might need to use them to protect ourselves and our kids.”

Hall says the bats are primarily “symbolic,” but they are now an option for teachers to use, should they need to fight back in a school shooting.

[“It’s not about just hiding and waiting,” he said. “There are options, and one of those is to fight.”]

Jon Cacchione, president of the Millcreek Education Association [the local teachers union] says he supports the decision to arm teachers with bats, which will be locked up in each classroom.

“This is a tool to have in the event we have nothing else,” said Cacchione.  “Part of the formula now, is to fight back, and so I think the bats that were provided for the staff were symbolic of that.”  [The bats are] “to make people comfortable with the idea that they can attack and not simply go into hard lockdown and just hide, as we’d been told in our training up to this point.”

Hall says it’s just one of several initiatives in the works to ensure student safety, including a concrete barrier around the high school walkway, and additional security measures at each entrance.

The district also conducted an on-line survey to see if the public supports the idea of arming select staff members with guns, if it becomes legal in Pennsylvania. [It is currently illegal in Pennsylvania to possess a weapon on school grounds, but legislators are proposing changes that could give school districts the option to decide for themselves about arming staff.]

“We thought just putting that one question out there would give us an idea how the community felt,” said Hall.  “It was about 70 percent to 30 percent that people would favor that, but we’re not really actively planning that right now.”

Hall says it cost the district about $1,800 to purchase the bats.

[The private Alice Institute in Medina, Ohio, teaches Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate (ALICE) skills to survive a shooting. To counter, or fight, an attack, the institute encourages potential victims to throw books, chairs and anything else at hand at a shooter that they can’t escape or hide from.

In addition to Millcreek’s plan, the Blue Mountain School District in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania last month provided classrooms with five gallon buckets of river rocks to throw at a gunman. Superintendent David Helsel said that the stones were placed in classrooms throughout the sprawling, rural district so students would have something to throw at an attacker who breached doors that should be locked during such an emergency. But Helsel has repeatedly stressed that the stones are a “last resort.”

All Blue Mountain Schools are equipped with intercom and emergency phone systems, walkie-talkies, surveillance equipment and other security equipment, Helsel said. All classroom doors have been equipped with locking mechanisms. Blue Mountain has also held training scenarios and drills for students and staff. The district’s emergency security guidelines for intruders are also based on ALICE guidelines.]

From Pennsylvania’s ErieNewsNow .com.  Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from ErieNewsNow .com.


Fri, 2018-04-13 05:00
A cartoon with a question requiring the student to demonstrate understanding of the cartoonist's intended meaning.

Israel comes to standstill to remember Holocaust victims

Fri, 2018-04-13 05:00

(Compiled from UPI and Times of Israel) — Sirens brought Israelis to a national standstill Thursday at 10 a.m. as the country stopped to remember the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II.

Buses and cars stopped on Israeli streets and passengers stepped out of their vehicles to commemorate the observance of the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah). Many stood with heads bowed.

The sirens rang out for two minutes and were followed by ceremonies marking Holocaust Remembrance Day in schools, public institutions and army bases.

A wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, the memorial to the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Other events followed, including a main memorial ceremony and a youth movement assembly. During the memorial ceremony the national flag is lowered to half mast, the President and the Prime Minister both deliver speeches, Holocaust survivors light six torches symbolizing the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust and the Chief Rabbis recite prayers.

Decades after the liberation of the Nazi camps, the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day continues to be marked with solemnity in Israel. [Wikipedia reports that on the eve of Yom HaShoah and the day itself, places of public entertainment are closed by law. Israeli television airs Holocaust documentaries and Holocaust-related talk shows, and low-key songs are played on the radio.]

Most schools and many preschools hold official assemblies where students honor the dead and hear stories from Holocaust survivors.

The Israeli government took part in a ceremony called, “Unto Every Person There is a Name,” in which lawmakers recited names of victims.

Also on Thursday, some 12,000 marchers from 40 countries — from Holocaust survivors to teenagers to senior Israeli officials — participated in the annual “March of the Living” event in Poland, which was led by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda (R) and Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin (L) arrive to attend the “March of the Living”, a yearly Holocaust remembrance

More than 12,000 marchers participated — including Israel Defense Force chief Gadi Eisenkot and the heads of Israel’s Mossad spy agency and Shin Bet security service. Presidents Rivlin and Duda led the group along the two miles from the Auschwitz concentration camp to the Birkenau extermination camp, which housed Nazi gas chambers and crematoria during World War II.  — More than 1 million people died in those camps.

In Washington, D.C., U.S. President Donald Trump proclaimed April 12-19 as Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust.

“Let us continue to come together to remember all the innocent lives lost in the Holocaust, pay tribute to those intrepid individuals who resisted the Nazis in the Warsaw Ghetto, and recall those selfless heroes who risked their lives in order to help or save those of their persecuted neighbors,” a White House statement said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid tribute at Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial….

The Israeli leader, who has often said that Iran and its pursuit of nuclear weapons is an existential threat to Israel, said that recent events “teach us that standing up to evil and aggression is the mission imposed on every generation.”

“In the Holocaust we were helpless, defenseless and voiceless,” he said. “In truth, our voice was not heard at all. Today, we have a strong country, a strong army, and our voice is heard among the nations.”

Compiled from reports on April 12 from UPI and The Times of Israel

News quiz for week ending 4/13/18

Fri, 2018-04-13 04:59
A quiz with questions relating to the week's Daily News Articles.

Trump warning: ‘Get ready’ for U.S. missile strike on Syria

Thu, 2018-04-12 05:00

(by Susan McFarland, UPI) — After a Russian diplomat warned that any U.S. missiles fired at Syria will be shot down and their launch sites targeted, President Donald Trump fired back Wednesday — telling Russia to “get ready.”

“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’,” Trump said in a tweet. “You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”

Trump has been monitoring the situation in Syria since an attack Saturday that killed dozens and injured up to 500 people in Douma, a town in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. Officials said at least one helicopter dropped a barrel bomb of chemicals that suffocated a number of civilians, including children.

Trump and Defense Secretary James Mattis said this week they’re not ruling out the possibility of military action against President Bashar al-Assad’s government after the suspected chemical attack.

Trump had said Monday a response to the Syria attack would come within days.

Trump’s fiery response Wednesday comes after Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin said Moscow would refer to President Vladimir Putin’s instructions if Syria is attacked, which is to down the missiles and also attack the sources that fired them.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said “there are Russians present in large numbers in Syria, and Russia will do everything to protect its people on Syrian soil.”

Wednesday, a Russian official [claimed] the chemical attack was staged and filmed by members of the White Helmets organization, a volunteer group inside rebel-held areas in Syria.

“Probably the last attempt to stage a chemical weapons attack in Eastern Ghouta was made,” Russian Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir said. “The notorious White Helmets, who operate as part of terrorist groups, staged and filmed a chemical weapons attack on civilians in the town of Douma.” …

[Wikipedia writes: “The White Helmets conduct urban search and rescue in response to bombing, medical evacuation, evacuation of civilians from danger areas, and essential service delivery. The organization has been the target of a disinformation campaign by supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russia-sponsored media organizations such as Russia Today (RT), with claims of close ties with terrorist activities.”].

Tuesday, President Trump canceled a scheduled trip to Latin America including a trade summit in Bogota, Colombia to monitor the situation.

Also Tuesday, Eurocontrol, the pan-European air traffic control agency, warned airlines to exercise caution during the next 72 hours in the eastern Mediterranean due to the possible airstrikes.

From UPI .com. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from United Press International.

Should it matter if Facebook is biased?

Wed, 2018-04-11 05:01

When Republican Senator Ted Cruz addressed Mark Zuckerberg he said: “There are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship. There have been numerous instances with Facebook. In May of 2016, Gizmodo reported Facebook had purposely and routinely suppressed conservative stories from trending news…. most recently blocked Trump supporters Diamond and Silk’s page with 1.2 million Facebook followers after determining their content and brand were ‘unsafe to the community.’”

“To a great many Americans, that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias. Do you agree with that assessment?”

Mark Zuckerberg: “I understand where that concern is coming from, because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely left-leaning place.”

Sen. Cruz: “In your testimony you say you have 15,000 to 20,000 people working on security and content review. Do you know the political orientation of those 15,000 to 20,000 people engaged in content review?”

Zuckerberg: “No, we do not generally ask people about their political orientation when they’re joining the company.”

Watch the exchange between Senator Cruz and Mark Zuckerberg:


During the hearing in Congress on Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg said that he would like to use artificial intelligence tools to monitor and ban hate speech on the platform. But when asked by Sen. Sasse “How does Facebook define hate speech?” Zuckerberg can’t explain what it is. Watch the clip below:


During a separate Congressional meeting, Republican Senator Tim Scott discusses Facebook’s treatment of Diamond and Silk. He says in part,  “Facebook support of freedom of speech seems to only include liberal speech. … Now, some people might say that Facebook is a private company and that’s true but Facebook is no ordinary tech company. In fact, it’s not ordinary company regardless of the industry.” Watch the clip below:

China making concessions in trade standoff with Trump

Wed, 2018-04-11 05:00

(from an Associated Press report at CBS News) BEIJING — [Following President Donald Trump’s calls for fair trade as he moved to impose tariffs on Chinese goods coming into the U.S.] Chinese President Xi Jinping promised Tuesday to cut China’s auto tariffs and improve intellectual property protection in possible concessions aimed at defusing a worsening dispute with Washington over trade and technology….

Speaking at a business conference, Xi made no direct mention of his American counterpart, President Donald Trump, or the dispute.

Xi promised progress on areas that are U.S. priorities including opening China’s banking industry and boosting imports….

Xi tried on Tuesday to position China as a defender of free trade and cooperation, despite its status as the most-closed major economy, in response to President Trump’s “America first” calls for import restrictions and trade deals that [level the playing field with] the United States.

“China’s door of opening up will not be closed and will only open wider,” Xi said at the Boao Forum for Asia on the southern island of Hainan.

Xi said Beijing will “significantly lower” tariffs on auto imports this year and ease restrictions on foreign ownership in the auto industry “as soon as possible.”

Private sector analysts saw Xi’s speech as an overture to … end the biggest global trade dispute since World War II. …

President Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on Chinese goods worth $50 billion in response to complaints Beijing pressures [U.S.] companies to hand over technology in violation of its World Trade Organization market-opening commitments. Beijing fired back with its own $50 billion list of U.S. goods for possible retaliation.

The Chinese leader promised to encourage “normal technological exchange” and to “protect the lawful ownership rights of foreign enterprises.”

Such pledges might help, Rajiv Biswas of IHS Markit said in a report:

“President Xi’s speech could create a very good platform to launch U.S.-China dialogue at the WTO to find a deal on intellectual property rights that will address US concerns,” Biswas said. “This would be a victory for [President Trump, the U.S. and] the world trading system and an important step away from the abyss of rising global protectionism.”

The dispute [between the U.S. and China] is likely to end “with a concession from China,” said Larry Hu of Macquarie Group in a report.

Chinese officials deny foreign companies [including the U.S.] are compelled to hand over their technology, but business groups say joint venture and licensing rules in China make that unavoidable. The United States filed a World Trade Organization complaint last month accusing Beijing of violating its market-opening pledges by imposing unfair contract terms and allowing companies to use foreign-owned technology after licensing periods expire. …..

Easing rules that limit global automakers to owning no more than 50 percent of a joint venture with a Chinese partner in China might help to address Trump’s complaints [and U.S. companies’ concerns] about technology as well as giving them more flexibility in their biggest global market. …..

More broadly, Xi repeated official promises to expand imports and to narrow China’s trade surplus, another irritant for Washington [and U.S. businesses that operate in China]. China reported a global trade surplus of $423 billion last year – about two-thirds of that with the United States.

“China does not seek a trade surplus,” said Xi to an audience of Chinese and foreign businesspeople. “We have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve a greater balance of international payments.”

The president promised to make faster progress toward joining the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement, which extends the WTO’s free-trading principles to purchases by governments. That can make a significant difference in developing countries, where the government often accounts for most sales of computer software, medical equipment and other high-value goods. …..

From a report by Associated Press published at CBS News. Reprinted here for educational purposes only. May not be reproduced on other websites without permission from CBS News. 

Tuesday’s World #1 – London’s Mayor Bans Knives

Tue, 2018-04-10 05:00

(Compiled from reports at London’s Daily Telegraph, FoxNews, the Daily Wire and Daily Caller) – London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced a tough crackdown on knives Sunday as the city reels from a spike in stabbings that have led its number of homicides to top New York City’s for two straight months.

He tweeted: “No excuses: there is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law.” The tweet also included an action plan to boost police power and prevent future violence.

London has seen more than 50 homicides already in 2018. Most of the city’s murder victims have been stabbed to death, as guns are tightly restricted in Britain and shootings are relatively rare.

If the trend continues, London will far surpass the 130 murders committed in 2017 and reach a number not seen since the early 2000s. In February and March, London hit the unwanted milestone of recording more homicides than New York, the first time in modern history. The cities are roughly the same size, with more than 8 million people, and have similar extremes of poverty and wealth, but London has never recorded more murders in a year than the U.S. metropolis. New York had 290 homicides in 2017, the lowest number in decades.

The mayor’s “tough, immediate” measures involve an incredible police crackdown, a ban on home deliveries of knives and acid, and expanding law enforcement stop-and-search (stop and frisk) powers so that police may stop anyone they believe to be a threat, or planning a knife or acid attack.

Khan announced Friday that the city has created a “violent crime taskforce of 120 officers” tasked with rooting out knife-wielding individuals in public spaces, and is pumping nearly $50 million into the Metropolitan Police department so that they can better arm themselves against knife attacks. [Most British police are not equipped with firearms.]  He’s also empowering the Met Police to introduce “targeted patrols with extra stop and search powers for areas worst-affected,” according to a statement.

This is a turnaround for the mayor, as Khan is responsible for decreasing the number of stop-and-searches, having previously declared the tactic racist and potentially Islamophobic.

There are multiple candidates to blame for the city’s rising homicide rate, investigators have said. Police and community workers say London’s surge is driven in part by battles over control of the illegal drug trade and a “postcode war” between street gangs.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has insisted the force has “not lost control” of the capital’s streets, but acknowledged the escalation of violence was “very worrying.”

The rising wave of knife crime saw six stabbings in 90 minutes in the capital on Thursday, with a 13-year-old left fighting for his life after an attack in east London. Three teenage boys, a 13-year-old and two 16-year-olds, have been charged over the incident. …

In addition to the crackdown, Mayor Khan is also calling on family members and friends of people carrying knives to help tackle the problem.

“You could be a mum or dad, big brother, big sister, a friend, a girlfriend, a boyfriend who knows somebody carrying a knife, leaving their home with a knife, involved in criminality – there’s no honour in keeping that a secret,” he said.

“You should try and prevent that person carrying a knife, leaving home with a knife.”

Tuesday’s World #2 – Hungary’s conservative PM wins landslide victory

Tue, 2018-04-10 04:55

(UPI and others) — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán won a third consecutive term Sunday as his Fidesz party won 133 out of 199 Parliament seats in nationwide elections. [Voter turnout was around 69% — nearly a record for the country.] (Check out how this number compares with U.S. voter turnout for presidential elections in the past 50 years.)

Hungarian voters handed a super majority to Orbán, who campaigned on a platform that [criticized the left-wing leaders of] the European Union and opposed [the mass migration from Africa and the Middle East to Europe that was instigated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015].

On thousands of billboards across the country, the Fidesz party put up a campaign ad that included a long line of migrants with a picture of a large “STOP” sign, reinforcing a major issue of concern for voters and highlighting the party’s hardline stance against more open immigration policies advocated by some EU leaders [which allow any refugee or economic migrant that makes it to any EU member country to apply for legal status].

“We scored a decisive victory,” Orbán told his supporters. “We have received an opportunity, created an opportunity to be able to defend Hungary.”

Supporters of Viktor Orban react to the preliminary results of parliamentary election in Budapest, Hungary

The decisive win was seen as a blow to Hungary’s other parties, leading to the resignations of the chairman of the far-right Jobbik party, as well as the president of the left-wing Socialist party. [The Socialist party had only won 20 parliamentary seats despite forming an election alliance with the green-liberal Dialogue party. Orban won by such a resounding margin that the entire leadership of the socially liberal Together party resigned on live television, as did the head of the Socialist party. Jobbik party’s chairman Gábor Vona told reporters he refused to congratulate the winner—then he resigned, too.]

Orbán and Fidesz’s victory was praised by right-wing leaders across Europe, including the France’s Marine Le Pen and Netherlands’ Geert Wilders.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of Poland’s governing party, said the Hungarian election was a decision “about the road to freedom, not only in Hungary but also in Europe and the world.”

“Orban is a blessing for this country, and also I think for the whole of Europe,” retired voter Karin, 65, told AFP on Sunday.

[Prime Minister Orban has been labeled an “anti-immigrant nationalist” who is “against immigration,” and a “right-wing nationalist (who) projected himself as a savior of Hungary’s Christian culture against Muslim migration into Europe” – because of his opposition to mass migration and belief that his country’s culture is worth preserving.]

“We experienced what Communism meant,” said retiree Anna Szonto. “Orban is for the people. We don’t believe anything the liberals are saying about him.”

Compiled from reports at UPI, AFP, Euro News and The Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday’s World #3 – U.N. Security Council meets after suspected chemical attack in Syria

Tue, 2018-04-10 04:50

(CBSNews/AP, Updated Apr 9, 2018 7:28pm EST) – The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the suspected chemical attack in Syria. The attack killed at least 40 people, including families found in their homes and shelters, opposition activists and local rescuers said.

The attack on the besieged town of Douma came almost exactly a year after a chemical attack in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun killed dozens of people.

The U.S. is urging the council to adopt a new resolution that would condemn the continuing use of chemical weapons in Syria “in the strongest terms” and establish a new body to determine responsibility for chemical attacks.

The draft resolution, obtained Monday by CBS News, singles out Saturday’s attack on Douma in the Damascus suburbs, and expresses “outrage that individuals continue to be killed and injured by chemical weapons” in Syria and “determination that those responsible must be held accountable.”

It was circulated ahead of Monday’s emergency Security Council meeting.

During the meeting, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said it seemed pointless to once again share photos of children killed in chemical attacks because such images no longer have an impact on council members. She said those who carry out these attacks are “monsters.”

“Now, here we are, confronted with the consequences of giving Russia a pass in the name of unity. Here we are in a world where chemical weapons use is becoming normalized,” Haley said. “This council does nothing. What we are dealing with today is not about a spat between the U.S. and Russia.”

“There can be no more rationalizations for our failure to act,” she continued. “Our priority must be to help the starving, the sick and the injured who have been left behind … The international community must not let this happen. We are beyond showing pictures of dead babies. We are beyond appeals.”

After a bitter debate full of recriminations and threats in open chamber, Security Council diplomats went into closed-door consultations to see if there was anything to salvage from the three proposals on a way forward, CBS News’ Pamela Falk reports from the U.N.

“The United States is pushing for a vote tomorrow,” a Security Council diplomat told CBS News.

“The U.S. position was that they were negotiating in good faith but the world is watching for the Council to act… The U.S. said it took many of Russia’s concerns into account with its draft and was ready to work with all council members to find consensus on this issue, but that we need to move quickly,” the diplomat said.

Diplomats leaving the meeting agreed that protection of civilians and an inspection of the site were the highest priority, along with assigning blame, Falk reports, in order to stave off a military confrontation.

Peru’s Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, as President of the Council emerged from the Council to tell reporters that the experts would be working to make a consensus document.

President Trump blamed Syrian government forces for what he called a “mindless CHEMICAL attack” and warned that there would be “a big price to pay.” He said Monday morning that he would decide on a potential military response within 24 to 48 hours.

The Russian military’s Reconciliation Center in Syria said it has sent officers into Douma to negotiate with the rebels there. It claims experts inspected the areas in Douma where chemical agents were allegedly used and found no trace of them. They also claimed they inspected Douma’s hospital and found no patients with chemical poisoning symptoms.

The White House said Monday afternoon that the U.S. is “very confident” that the Syrian regime is behind the apparent attack.

The Russian military denounced the White Helmets, opposition-linked first responders who reported the attack and the death toll. It called them “shameless rebel accomplices,” saying they made false allegations to derail a local truce.

Russia is a key ally of President Bashar Assad and has been waging an air campaign in support of his forces since 2015.

Thrilled to be U.S. citizen

Mon, 2018-04-09 17:12

Jose Reyes and his wife thrilled to now be U.S. citizens

(By Kevin Kernan, NY Post, April 4, 2018) NEW YORK — Jose Reyes was the happiest player in the Mets’ clubhouse [on April 4th] after the 4-2 win over the Phillies at Citi Field.

Earlier in the day, Reyes and wife Katherine were sworn in as American citizens at the U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

“I passed the test before I went to spring training and I became a citizen today,’’ a beaming Reyes, 34, told The Post in a quiet corner of the clubhouse. “It means a lot. I love this country. I had the opportunity to spend a little time with the judge [Wednesday].… To see all those people there becoming citizens, there were like 200 people sitting there, it was really something special.

It means a lot for me and my wife,’’ continued Reyes, a four-time All-Star who is a backup infielder on this Mets team and only has had three at-bats so far this season. “It’s been a long time living here. We are Dominican 100 percent, but we live here and we spend so much time here and my daughters they are born here, so they are American. I have to be proud of that too.

“I see myself when I retire living here. I don’t see myself going back to live in my country. This is my new home. There is nothing wrong. I will visit family and stuff, but this is home.

“Now I am going to have a blue passport,’’ Reyes said proudly. “It’s different when you have a green card or a visa, now I have a blue passport, now I don’t have to worry about anything. This is a big day in my life for both me and my wife.

“This is a great country and I have to be so thankful for what America has given me. I’ve been coming here since 2000, that’s a long time. Because of all the work I put in here, my family back in the Dominican has food on the table, and I have to appreciate that and I do.”

Potholes As Flower Pots? Brussels Protester Brightens Up Damaged Roads

(by Robert-Jan Bartunek, Reuters, April 6, 2018) BRUSSELS – A Brussels man has begun planting flowers in potholes across the Belgian capital to highlight what he says is the sorry state of many of the city’s roads.

Brussels resident Anton Schuurmans waters flowers after planting them in an unrepaired pothole to draw attention to the bad state of public roads in Brussels, Belgium April 5, 2018. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

Armed with a bag full of flowers, soil and a small plastic watering can, Anton Schuurmans walks around town planting daffodils or geraniums in every pothole he finds, sometimes braving heavy traffic to reach the middle of busy crossings.

“Pedestrians, bicycles, people with their cars, everybody is being annoyed by these potholes,” said 29-year-old Schuurmans, standing outside Brussels’ gothic cathedral, where he had just planted several flowers.

People stopped and took pictures on their phones as they walked by the flowers, many agreeing that the potholes had become a problem.

“There are many potholes in the street in front of my house, so we hear a lot of noise every evening as people drive over them quickly,” said Mathieu Taziaux, who works in Brussels.

Schuurmans, who moved to Belgium from the Netherlands seven years ago, said his floral protest had already had some success in persuading the council to act, pointing across the street to a newly repaired patch of road.

“At least one pothole has been repaired two days after I planted the flower in it,” he said. “I was quite happy to see that.”

Watch a video:

WWII Bomb Causes Mass Evacuation in Germany

(British Forces Network, April 4, 2018) GERMANY— A massive bomb dropped on the German city of Paderborn in 1945 by the RAF has been defused after one of the largest evacuations of its kind.

The 1.8-ton so-called ‘Blockbuster’ bomb was originally found in a garden during construction work near Paderborn University in March.

26,000 people had to leave their homes so specialist teams could work on the the device.

The 1.8-ton so-called ‘Blockbuster’ bomb was originally found in a garden during construction work in March.

Paderborn Police spokesperson Uli Krawinkel said the discovery has caused a great deal of disruption.

“Sometimes only a single house or a single street is affected. But we’ve never had an evacuation on this scale in Paderborn.”

Anyone living within a 1.5km [.9 mile] radius had to leave.

Four hospitals, five retirement homes and a hospice were cleared, along with part of the British Army’s Barker Barracks in the south of Paderborn.

More than a thousand police and emergency service personnel were involved in the operation.

Bomb disposal specialists spent more than five hours working on the device before it could be moved.

Watch a report: