US Airdrop Syria: US Airdrops Ammo

October 13, 2015 by  
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US Airdrop Syria: US Airdrops Ammo, The United States said on Monday it carried out an ammunition airdrop for Syrian Arab groups battling Islamic State, as Washington shifts its focus to arming fighters inside Syria after ending a failed program to train a new rebel force.

US air force C-17 cargo aircraft flew into northern Syria on Sunday to carry out the mission and all aircraft exited the airdrop area safely, the US military’s Central Command said.

The US military did not name the individual groups that received the small arms ammunition but said their leaders had been screened by the United States, which wants to avoid weapons falling into the hands of Islamic State and al Qaida-linked fighters.

“This successful airdrop provided ammunition to Syrian Arab groups whose leaders were appropriately vetted by the United States,” spokesman Colonel Patrick Ryder said in a statement.

The airdrop came barely two weeks after Russia raised the stakes by intervening in the war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad and just days after Washington shelved a US military program to train and equip thousands of “moderate” rebels.


600 students absent: 600 Absent Hoover High School

October 12, 2015 by  
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600 students absent: 600 Absent Hoover High School, Nearly 600 absent Hoover High School students left classrooms empty Friday when about 20 percent of the High Schools student body, grades nine through 12, failed to show up following suicide letters found in restrooms earlier in the week, according to the Times Daily.

Suicide letters were left in restrooms at the Hoover, Ala. High School Monday. While no threats were made to students, parents weren’t taking any chances and kept their kids at home. The letters appeared from a depressed student threatening to commit suicide on school grounds Friday. The letters appeared in all three levels of the school in the boys restrooms, said Capt. Gregg Rector.

Police identified the person who wrote the letter Thursday, who confessed to leaving behind the suicide notes, The New York Times reported.

“We believe this student likely acted alone and it’s not appropriate at this time to judge his actions or behavior,” Rector said. “Our primary focus at this point, along with school officials, is to guide this young man and his family towards appropriate resources.”

“Certainly many parents chose to keep students home because of the note found earlier this week – and we respect those decisions made by parents,” school spokesman Jason Gaston said, according to AL. “We are so fortunate that a resolution was reached yesterday as a direct result of excellent investigative work on the part of the Hoover Police Department and Hoover H.S. Principal Don Hulin and his administrative team.”

“This situation has been resolved and everyone’s routine should be back to normal today. We’ve identified the person responsible and he’s being dealt with appropriately,” Rector said. “We certainly understand, though, that this has been a stressful week for students, parents and school employees.”

“The sad reality is that we live in uncertain times and occasionally we’re faced with events beyond our control,” Rector went on to say. “We prevent what we can, and when situations occur we confront those issues and deal with them as best we know how. It’s time to put this one behind us and move on.”


Texas Southern University Shooting: Texas College Shooting

October 9, 2015 by  
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Texas Southern University Shooting: Texas College Shooting, One person was killed and another wounded in a shooting near Texas Southern University on Thursday, police said.

The shooting occurred around 11:30 a.m. CT near the university’s student housing complex, police said, and a possible suspect had been detained.

Shooting was reported about 11:30am. It does not involve an active shooter.

– Houston Police (@houstonpolice) October 9, 2015
One of the victims was taken to a hospital in a critical condition but later died, NBC affiliate KPRC reported.

Police were investigating whether the shooting was linked to another that occurred in the same vicinity around midnight Thursday.

Friday’s shooting was the TSU’s third this week. On Tuesday, a man was shot in the abdomen on a roadway that leads through the university. He was hospitalized in serious but stable condition.

Texas Southern University has about 10,000 students.


Chicago Overdoses: Slew Of Overdoses

October 4, 2015 by  
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Chicago Overdoses: Slew Of Overdoses, Chicago Fire Department paramedics are treating a slew of heroin overdoses, with 74 over the last 72 hours.

According to Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Mary Sheridan, the department treated 34 on Thursday alone. She said the victims were treated with an antidote, stabilized and taken to area hospitals.

A batch of heroin laced with the pain killer fentanyl and being sold on the West Side has been blamed in media reports.

“Hopefully, we’ll get this heroin off the streets,” Sheridan said Friday at Fire Department budget hearings.

Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) asked about the recent overdoses.

The Police Department reported Friday that it “is aware of multiple heroin overdoses,” and various department divisions are working to attack the problem and “identify the source.”

Heroin-spiked fentanyl has caused deaths across the country. Fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller prescribed to cancer patients and other sufferers of chronic pain.

“Add fentanyl to heroin, its potency goes through the roof,” Jack Riley, acting deputy administrator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recently told the Washington Post.

The Post report says that the DEA issued a nationwide health alert on fentanyl but where it is coming from is a mystery. The drug is not being diverted from hospitals or drug stores so some experts believe it is coming from clandestine labs in Mexico. Others believe it is being made in China and shipped through Mexico.

In the mid-2000s, a two-year outbreak of fentanyl-heroin use resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people.


Teachers reach deal: Seattle Teachers Deal

September 17, 2015 by  
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Teachers reach deal: Seattle Teachers Deal, School will resume Thursday for Seattle’s 53,000 students after teachers who have been on strike for a week reached a tentative agreement with Washington state’s largest school district.

The union’s board of directors and representative assembly voted Tuesday evening to suspend the strike and urged the 5,000 members to approve the three-year deal. The union’s full membership votes on the contract Sunday.

The Seattle Education Association says teachers will be back on the job Wednesday and the district is preparing for school to resume Thursday, Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman Stacy Howard said.

Union President Jonathan Knapp said the agreement addresses major sticking points around pay, testing, student equity, teacher evaluations and the length of the school day.

Knapp said teachers would get a 9.5 percent raise over three years. When cost-of-living raises from the state are included, that would mean a 14.3 percent pay increase over that period, Knapp said.

Teacher salaries in Seattle range now from about $44,000 to more than $86,000, depending on experience and education.

The agreement also calls for a mandatory, daily 30-minute recess for elementary school students, more say for teachers about standardized testing and a longer school day, Knapp said.

Teachers were ready to get back to the classrooms, he said.

“They will be back at work,” Knapp said.

The walkout that began Sept. 9 delayed the start of school in Washington state’s largest district. The sides hammered out a deal early Tuesday following an overnight bargaining session, but teachers remained on the picket line as they waited to learn specifics of the deal.

“We are eager to open schools, welcome students and begin learning,” district Superintendent Larry Nyland said in a statement.

Teachers, substitutes and support staff complained that living expenses have become unaffordable as the city’s high-paid technology industry booms and they have gone six years without a cost-of-living increase. The district provided raises totaling 8 percent out of local levy money in that time.

School librarian Sean Harvey picketed Tuesday outside Loyal Heights Elementary, saying he and his colleagues want to go back to work but “it isn’t over until it’s over.”

Several hundred parents, children and other supporters waved signs and chanted as they walked nearly 2 miles from Seattle’s Pioneer Square to school district headquarters Tuesday in a previously arranged march to support teachers.

“I’m really ready for school. It’s been boring,” said Tyler Simpson, a senior at Nova High School who joined the march. “I stand by teachers. They should get raises.”

The Seattle City Council also threw its support behind the striking educators, passing a resolution Monday recognizing the union.

This year, facing a court order to increase spending on education, lawmakers came up with money for new teachers and supplies. Some $37 million of that will go to Seattle.

Parent Heather Dachary joined the picket line at that school Tuesday with her two children and said she supported teachers.

“I really want my kids back in school, but I want it done fairly,” she said.


Fact-checking GOP debate: Fact Check Republican Debate

September 17, 2015 by  
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Fact-checking GOP debate: Fact Check Republican Debate, The Republican presidential candidates met for their second debate on Sept. 16, this one hosted by CNN at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California. We found they strayed from the facts on numerous issues, including:

• Donald Trump told a story linking vaccination to autism, but there’s no evidence that recommended vaccines cause autism. And Sen. Rand Paul suggested that it would be safer to spread out recommended vaccines, but there’s no evidence of that, either.

• Former Florida governor Jeb Bush said Trump donated to his gubernatorial campaign to get him to change his mind on casino gambling in Florida. But Trump denied he ever wanted to bring casino gambling to the state. A former lobbyist says he did.

• Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said that Hillary Clinton was “under investigation by the FBI” because she “destroyed government records.” Not true. She had the authority to delete personal emails.

• Trump said that “illegal immigration” cost “more than $200 billion a year.” We couldn’t find any support for that. Actually, it could cost taxpayers $137 billion or more to deport the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, as Trump proposes.

• Trump again wrongly said that Mexico doesn’t have a birthright citizenship policy like the United States. It does.

• Carly Fiorina said that the Planned Parenthood videos released by an anti-abortion group showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” But that scene isn’t in any of the videos.

• Fiorina repeated familiar boasts about her time at Hewlett-Packard, saying the size of the company “doubled,” without mentioning that was due to a merger with Compaq, and she cherry-picked other statistics.

• Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that U.S. policies to combat climate change would “do absolutely nothing.” The U.S. acting alone would have a small effect on rising temperatures and sea levels, and experts say U.S. leadership on the issue would prompt other nations to act.

• In the “happy hour” debate, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham glossed over the accompanying tax increases when he said only that Ronald Reagan and then-House Speaker Tip O’Neill “found a way to save Social Security from bankruptcy by adjusting the age of retirement from 65 to 67.”


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