At least two people were killed when 15 coaches of a train derailed in northern India. An additional 26 people were injured. The Sealdah-Ajmer express train went off the tracks around 30 miles outside of Kanpur in the early Wednesday hours. Suresh Prabhu, the Indian minister of railways, said he is personally monitoring the situation.
Injured already started getting medical care,Doctors r attending to all. We r working with hospitals& dist admin to offer all possible help
Trump Tower Given All Clear After Brief Evacuation
Trump Tower in New York City was briefly evacuated Tuesday after a suspicious package was discovered inside the Manhattan building’s lobby, according to the New York City Police Department. J Peter Donald, an NYPD spokesman, said the building was given an all clear after it was determined that the bag only contained children’s toys. President-elect Donald Trump was in Florida at the time was not present for the evacuation.
Richard Adams, Author of 'Watership Down,' Has Died
Richard Adams, the British children’s book author who wrote Watership Down, a best-selling epic tale about a family of rabbits in search of a new home, has died. He was 96. Adams’ daughter confirmed his death to the BBC, saying he died Christmas Eve, just before midnight. Adams wrote his most famous work in 1972, and the tale of how it came about is its own fascinating story. He was a World War II veteran, who later worked as a civil servant in London writing official environmental reports. As a hobby, he wrote fiction, and also enjoyed telling stories to his two daughters. It was one of these tales, during a long car trip, that prompted Adams—at his daughters’ behest—to turn it into a novel. He was 50 at the time, and he wrote in the evening after work. It took Adams two years to finish, and Watership Down became a New York Times best-seller, a staple in high-school English courses, and there are now about 50 million copies in print in 18 languages.
Cristina Kirchner, Argentina's Former President, Faces Corruption Charges
Cristina Kirchner, the former president of Argentina, was indicted Tuesday by a federal judge over allegations of corruption tied to an infrastructure project. Kirchner is accused of using her position to award government-funded public works projects to a construction company owned by a close family associate. The judge’s order also seizes $640 million of Kirchner’s assets, and indicts the country’s former planning minister, the former public works secretary, and the man who owns the construction company that profited from the contracts. Kirchner has called the allegations politically motivated, and accused current President Mauricio Macri of concocting the plot against her. In an October court appearance, she said the accounts had all been approved by both parliament and the country’s auditor general.
Man Trampled to Death by Horses at Rubi Ibarra Garcia's Quinceanera
A man was trampled to death by a horse at the 15th birthday party of Rubi Ibarra Garcia, whose Facebook event invitation became an international meme and attracted 1.3 million invitees. The teenager’s parents had posted a video in which Ibarra’s father, Crescencio, says his daughter’s quinceanera party would feature live bands, food, and a horse race. He ended the video by saying, "Everyone is cordially invited." The internet got hold of it, and it was passed to millions of people. Spotify made a special playlist for the party, a Mexican airline gave special flight discounts, and celebrities even made videos ribbing Ibarra’s party. With such wide attention, police in central Mexico’s San Luis Potosi state, where the party would be held, said they’d have to work security in case it got out of control. Instead of millions, thousands showed up, including dozens of reporters. The party had gone on without issue, until the horse race, when a 66-year-old man who worked at a local stable stepped onto the track and was trampled to death. Some people in attendance said he likely misjudged the horses’ distance, or that he became overly excited about cheering on his horse, Sleeping Bear, which he’d entered into the competition.
Romanian President Rejects Nomination of Muslim Woman for PM
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis rejected the nomination of Sevil Shhaideh for prime minister Tuesday, putting an end to the hopes she may become the first woman and Muslim to hold the position. In a televised address, Iohannis said he “carefully weighed arguments for and against” accepting the center-left Social Democratic Party’s (PSD) nominee, and called on the party to make a new nomination. He did not offer a reason for blocking Shhaideh’s appointment. PSD rejected the decision, and Liviu Dragnea, the party’s leader, said it would consider seeking the president’s suspension. Though the leader of the county’s largest party customarily serves as prime minister, Dragnea is disqualified because he is serving a two-year suspension for having committed electoral fraud in a previous election. Shhaideh, who is of Turkish ancestry, was nominated for the premiership last week, having previously served as minister of regional development for five months in the last PSD-led government.
The death of Carrie Fisher, the Star Wars actress who drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra, brought an outpouring of condolences from costars, who remembered her as a friend and groundbreaking actress. Lucasfilm, now owned by Disney, said Fisher’s role had inspired a generation of young girls. The film’s many leads were played by men, but as Princess Leia, Fisher did not rely on them to come to her defense—quite the opposite. Leia often led the charge against the movie’s many villains, commanding Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and troops of the Rebel Alliance. Her role “defined the female hero of our age over a generation ago,” the Lucasfilm statement read. Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, tweeted:
Dave Prowse, who played Darth Vader, tweeted his condolences, as did Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO. Peter Mayhew, who played Chewbacca, called Fisher the “the brightest light in every room she entered.” And Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian, said “the force is dark today!” Harrison Ford, who played Solo, her onscreen love interest, called Fisher “emotionally fearless” and said she “lived her life bravely.”
Carrie Fisher, the iconic actress best known for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars, died Tuesday. She was 60. Fisher suffered a heart attack on a flight between London and Los Angeles on Friday. A medical professional on board performed CPR on the plane. Fisher was rushed to a hospital shortly after landing. She died four days later in the hospital. In a statement Tuesday, Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, said, “She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly. Our entire family thanks you for your thoughts and prayers.” Fisher reprised her Star Wars role for the latest reboot The Force Awakens, which was released last year. She was expected to appear in the next Star Wars movie, slated to come out in 2017. Throughout her career, Fisher has had notable roles in When Harry Met Sally… and The Blues Brothers, appearing in nearly 50 films and dozens of other television shows. She was also a renowned script rewriter, working on films like Sister Act and Hook. Born in California in 1956, Fisher had long struggled with bipolar disorder and drug addiction, which she spoke openly about in recent years. “I am mentally ill,” she once said. “I can say that. I am not ashamed of that. I survived that, I’m still surviving it, but bring it on.” She was celebrated as a champion for mental health awareness. Read more about Fisher here.
Police in India arrested four men on Monday who are accused of drugging and raping a U.S. tourist who visited the country last year. The woman said she’d visited New Delhi, the country’s capital, in April and stayed at a five-star hotel in the Connaught Place neighborhood. She accused the four men, three of whom work at the hotel, of spiking her water and raping her for two days in her hotel room. The woman left India with no memory of the assault, she said, but three months after she’d returned to the U.S. she was able to recall the rape and filed a complaint through a U.S. nonprofit. The accused men are all between 20 and 24 years old. They deny the charges, and police had initially refused to arrest them because of a lack of video or eyewitness evidence. The woman’s testimony before a magistrate, however, seemed enough, and officers have confiscated the men’s phones for further investigation. Police in India have faced criticism that they don’t do enough to investigate rape cases, and in recent years the country has seen several cases of sexual assault receive international attention. There have also been several rape cases involving female tourists, like that of a Japanese woman last month, and of a Danish woman in 2014, for which five men were sentenced to prison.
First Trial Begins for Police Officers Accused in Turkey Coup
The first criminal trial in Istanbul related to last summer’s failed coup in Turkey started Tuesday, with 29 police officers facing sentences of up to life in prison. The officers face charges ranging from overthrowing the constitutional order to membership in a terrorist organization. They are accused of refusing to protect President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s mansion in Istanbul, which they allegedly did at the orders of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a charge Gulen denies. The courthouse in Istanbul was under heavy guard Tuesday. At the trial’s opening, prosecutors said the coup plotters used an app to secretly communicate their plans, including how some should condemn the coup publicly in order to avoid detection. The crackdown on alleged coup followers has grown to 40,000 suspects, with more than 100,000 others who have lost their jobs. Western nations and human-rights groups have criticized Erdogan’s crackdown, which has included professors, journalists, and anyone critical of his government.
UPDATE: Japan's Prime Minister Makes Historic Visit to Pearl Harbor
Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic visit Tuesday to the USS Arizona Memorial. “I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences to the souls who lost their lives here,” said Abe, who was accompanied by President Obama, at the site of the deadly Japanese attack that prompted the U.S. entry into World War II. The visit would have been unthinkable even last year when Abe visited the U.S. because the issue is a sensitive one in Japan where the legacy of the nation’s wartime actions remain a divisive issue. But earlier this year, Obama became the first U.S. president in office to visit Hiroshima, the Japanese city whose bombing with a nuclear weapon by the U.S. led to Japan’s surrender in the war, easing some of the domestic opposition to Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor.
The flight recorder of the military transport plane that crashed Sunday with 92 people on board has been recovered from the Black Sea and returned to Russia where investigators will determine what caused the Tu-154 aircraft to crash. The plane was carrying 64 member of the Alexandrov military music ensemble, a famed Russian choir, that was due to perform a concert in Latakia, Syria. Terrorism has been all but ruled out as a cause for the crash that is believed to have killed everyone on board. So far, about a dozen bodies have been recovered.
No one has capitalized on this look’s popularity more than influencers. Some have even started to make thousands of dollars on photo presets that warp anyone’s pictures to fit this mold. But every trend has a shelf life, and as quickly as Instagram ushered in pink walls and pastel macaroons, it’s now turning on them. “Avocado toast and posts on the beach. It’s so generic and played out at this point. You can photoshop any girl into that background and it will be the same post,” said Claire, a 15-year-old who asked to be referred to by a pseudonym because of her age. “It’s not cool anymore to be manufactured.”
Mick Mulvaney wants you to know that he’s no narc like John Kelly.
Here’s the thing, Mick Mulvaney says, sitting in his West Wing office on Wednesday afternoon: He knows that Donald Trump’s administration doesn’t always make good on conservative ideals. He knows that they’re “spending a bunch of money on stuff we’re not supposed to,” and that all the excess doesn’t comport well with his own reputation as a fiscal hawk and Tea Party darling during his congressional days, before he became acting White House chief of staff.
At ease as he pages through work papers, Mulvaney seems the opposite of John Kelly, the retired Marine Corps general painted as a conflicted soul who despised running the White House. “When I got here, morale wasn’t what it needed to be,” Mulvaney told us. “I don’t think I’m telling any secrets—John hated the job. And let everybody know.” He cheerfully extolled his relationship with Trump, joking that he’d gained 10 pounds since becoming chief. (“I eat more with the president now,” he said. “He eats hamburgers all the time.”)
Our very attempts to stave off disaster make unpredictable outcomes more likely.
Accidents are part of life. So are catastrophes. Two of Boeing’s new 737 Max 8 jetliners, arguably the most modern of modern aircraft, crashed in the space of less than five months. A cathedral whose construction started in the 12th century burned before our eyes, despite explicit fire safety procedures and the presence of an on-site firefighter and a security agent. If Notre Dame stood for so many centuries, why did safeguards unavailable to prior generations fail? How did modernizing the venerable Boeing 737 result in two horrific crashes, even as, on average, air travel is safer than ever before?
These are questions for investigators and committees. They are also fodder for accident theorists. Take Charles Perrow, a sociologist who published an account of accidents occurring in human-machine systems in 1984. Now something of a cult classic, Normal Accidents made a case for the obvious: Accidents happen. What he meant is that they must happen. Worse, according to Perrow, there’s a humbling cautionary tale lurking in complicated systems: Our very attempts to stave off disaster by introducing safety systems ultimately increases the overall complexity of the systems, ensuring that some unpredictable outcome will rear its ugly head no matter what. Complicated human-machine systems might surprise us with outcomes more favorable than we had any reason to expect. They also might shock us with catastrophe.
It’s much less scientific—and more prone to gratuitous procedures—than you may think.
In the early 2000s Terry Mitchell’s dentist retired. For a while, Mitchell, an electrician in his 50s, stopped seeking dental care altogether. But when one of his wisdom teeth began to ache, he started looking for someone new. An acquaintance recommended John Roger Lund, whose practice was a convenient 10-minute walk from Mitchell’s home, in San Jose, California. Lund’s practice was situated in a one-story building with clay roof tiles that housed several dental offices. The interior was a little dated, but not dingy. The waiting room was small and the decor minimal: some plants and photos, no fish. Lund was a good-looking middle-aged guy with arched eyebrows, round glasses, and graying hair that framed a youthful face. He was charming, chatty, and upbeat. At the time, Mitchell and Lund both owned Chevrolet Chevelles, and they bonded over their mutual love of classic cars.
The former vice president pondered running in 2016, but Obama wanted Hillary Clinton.
Barack Obama stood in the Rose Garden, watching Joe Biden announce that he wasn’t going to run for president—exactly what he wanted and had helped make happen.
Four years later, the president has come a long way on his views of a Biden run.
For many Democrats, Biden’s 2020 announcement today is the bookend to the anxiety and regret they’ve been filled with since Election Night 2016, when they watched the “blue wall” of midwestern states fall away from Hillary Clinton: He would have held on to those white working-class voters and beaten Donald Trump, they believe. He would have won.
“It’s one of the great imponderables,” Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, who supported Clinton but immediately endorsed Biden today, told me hours before the former vice president released a campaign video that he will follow with events in Pittsburgh and a tour of the early primary states over the next two weeks.
Since 1972, the giant island’s ice sheet has lost 11 quadrillion pounds of water.
The Greenland Ice Sheet is the world’s second-largest reservoir of fresh water sitting on the world’s largest island. It is almost mind-bogglingly huge.
If Greenland were suddenly transported to the central United States, it would be a very bad day for about 65 million people, who would be crushed instantly. But for the sake of science journalism, imagine that Greenland’s southernmost tip displaced Brownsville, Texas—the state’s southernmost city—so that its icy glaciers kissed mainland Mexico and the Gulf thereof. Even then, Greenland would stretch all the way north, clear across the United States, its northern tenth crossing the Canadian border into Ontario and Manitoba. Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and Iowa City would all be goners. So too would San Antonio, Memphis, and Minneapolis. Its easternmost peaks would slam St. Louis and play in Peoria; its northwestern glaciers would rout Rapid City, South Dakota, and meander into Montana. At its center point, near Des Moines, roughly two miles of ice would rise from the surface.
By focusing on bizarre hypotheticals, candidates keep falling into the traps we’ve seen before.
In a week during which, among other things, the White House defied multiple congressional subpoenas, the commander in chief threatened armed conflict with Mexico, and we learned that the number of Americans breathing unsafe air is at an all-time high, presidential politics was largely consumed by the following question: Should the Boston Marathon bomber be allowed to vote from jail? The odds of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev swinging an election from death row are approximately zero. But if Democrats aren’t careful, the odds of these inconsequential controversies dominating election season are dismayingly high.
Outlier hypotheticals have, of course, been around for quite a while. The most famous example came at the beginning of an October 1988 debate between the presidential candidates Michael Dukakis and George H. W. Bush. “If Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered,” CNN’s Bernard Shaw asked the Massachusetts governor, “Would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?”
Fifty-five years ago, a congressman made a single addition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that changed everything.
Because of sex. Over the past 55 years, that single three-letter word has had momentous legal and social consequences for American life that the man who inserted it into the 1964 Civil Rights Act on a wintry Saturday morning could never have imagined. And now that the Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether that landmark law forbids employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the adaptive power and enduring meaning of that plain little word is about to be tested once more.
On February 8, 1964, as the House of Representatives debated passage of the bill, Howard Smith, an ardent segregationist from Virginia, rose to propose changes to four pages of Title VII, the section of the bill barring hiring and firing “because of” race, creed, religion, or color. “After the word religion, insert sex,” Smith drawled, urging his colleagues to rectify “this grave injustice … particularly in an election year.”
A software program called “Annie” uses machine learning to place refugees in cities where they are most likely to be welcomed and find success.
PITTSBURGH—Half a world away from the refugee camp in Uganda where he lived for a dozen years, Baudjo Njabu tells me about his first winter in the United States.
“The biggest challenge is the cold,” he said in Swahili, speaking through an interpreter. We’re sitting on dining chairs in his sparsely furnished living room. Outside, snow covers the grass on the other side of the glass patio doors that lead to the back of the townhouse he is renting in western Pittsburgh. Njabu recounts how his children missed school recently because the bus was delayed and they couldn’t bear the frigid temperatures. His daughter and two sons sit with their mother on a leather couch nearby, half-listening to his replies, distracted by their cellphones and an old Western playing on the television.
I was a Trump transition staffer, and I’ve seen enough. It’s time for impeachment.
Let’s start at the end of this story. This weekend, I read Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report twice, and realized that enough was enough—I needed to do something. I’ve worked on every Republican presidential transition team for the past 10 years and recently served as counsel to the Republican-led House Financial Services Committee. My permanent job is as a law professor at the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, which is not political, but where my colleagues have held many prime spots in Republican administrations.
If you think calling for the impeachment of a sitting Republican president would constitute career suicide for someone like me, you may end up being right. But I did exactly that this weekend, tweeting that it’s time to begin impeachment proceedings.