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.
It may not be as bad as last year’s … but it certainly won’t be good.
This fall, unlike the one before it, and the one before that, America looks almost like its old self. Schools and universities are in session; malls, airports, and gyms are bustling with the pre-holiday rush; handwashing is passé, handshakes are back, and strangers are packed together on public transport, nary a mask to be seen. On its surface, the country seems ready to enjoy what some might say is our first post-pandemic winter.
Americans are certainly acting as if the crisis has abated, and so in that way, at least, you could argue that it has. “If you notice, no one’s wearing masks,” President Joe Biden told60 Minutes in September, after proclaiming the pandemic “over.” Almost no emergency protections against the virus are left standing; we’re dismantling the few that are. At the same time, COVID is undeniably, as Biden says, “a problem.” Each passing day still brings hundreds of deaths and thousands of hospitalizations; untold numbers of people continue to deal with long COVID, as more join them. In several parts of the country, health-care systems are struggling to stay afloat. Local public-health departments, underfunded and understaffed, are hanging by a thread. And a double surge of COVID and flu may finally be brewing.
Accessory dwelling units might just spell the end of the American suburb as we know it—in the best possible way.
Pull up to any intersection in Los Angeles, and you will see a column of illegally posted signs forming a kind of capitalist totem pole. Most advertise services catering to the darker side of life: “Cheap Divorce!” “Fix Your Credit!” “Liquidation Sale!” Even the now-ubiquitous “Sell Your House Fast” calls to mind desperate families collapsing under the weight of a mortgage. Yet over the past couple of years, a more hopeful sign has joined the mix: “Free ADU Consultation.”
The abbreviation needs no explanation in California, where accessory dwelling units have graduated from wonky planning jargon to popular parlance. Variously known as granny flats, mother-in-law units, or casitas, ADUs are small, additional rental units that share a lot with another structure—typically a single-family home.
Late last month, analysts at the investment bank Credit Suisse published a research note about America’s new climate law that went nearly unnoticed. The Inflation Reduction Act, the bank argued, is even more important than has been recognized so far: The IRA will “will have a profound effect across industries in the next decade and beyond” and could ultimately shape the direction of the American economy, the bank said. The report shows how even after the bonanza of climate-bill coverage earlier this year, we’re still only beginning to understand how the law works and what it might mean for the economy.
Support for Confederate symbols and monuments follows lines of race, religion, and education rather than geography.
Several years ago, I was driving on a rural road when I came up behind a pickup truck with a Confederate-flag sticker on the back window. This isn’t such an unusual sight in some parts of the United States, but this instance surprised me: The truck had Pennsylvania plates, and the road was in Gettysburg, where an invading force of tens of thousands of Confederates, formed to defend Black slavery, arrived in summer 1863 on a pillaging expedition.
But though the Civil War was a battle between two regions of the country, sympathy for the Confederacy is no longer confined to states that seceded and border states. Support for Confederate symbols and monuments now exists across the country, following lines of race, religion, and education rather than geography. This is one of many ways in which the South is no longer simply a region: A certain version of it has become an identity shared among white, rural, conservative Americans from coast to coast. That’s one takeaway from a new survey about Confederate symbols from the Public Religion Research Institute and E Pluribus Unum.
Even mild COVID-19 is at least correlated with a startlingly wide spectrum of seemingly every illness. We need a much better taxonomy to address people’s suffering.
As a pulmonary specialist, I spend most of my clinical time in the hospital—which, during pandemic surges, has meant many long days treating critically ill COVID-19 patients in the ICU. But I also work in an outpatient clinic, where I also treat those same sorts of patients after they’re discharged: people who survived weeks-long hospitalizations but have been dealing ever since with lung damage. Such patients often face the same social and economic factors that made them vulnerable to COVID-19 to begin with, and they require attentive care.
Patients like these undoubtedly suffer what researchers have been calling post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2, or PASC—which, according to one highly publicized recent CDC study, afflicts some 20 percent of COVID-19 survivors ages 18 to 64. Other studies have yielded lower estimates of the condition also called long COVID, and while differences in study methodology account for some of this variability, there’s a more fundamental issue eluding efforts to uncover the one “true” estimate of the likelihood of this condition. Quite simply, long COVID isn’t any one thing.
With a bit of science, maybe someday we will all eat pawpaws.
By the time I arrived at Brooklyn’s Park Slope farmers’ market in search of a pawpaw one morning last week, it was already too late: The weird green fruit had sold out within an hour. “You have to get here early,” Jeff Rowe of Orchard Hill Organics, the market’s lone pawpaw vendor, told me. The day before, I had struck out in Manhattan’s expansive Union Square Greenmarket, where a seller told me pawpaws were extremely rare. The most upscale grocery stores—the kind that sell black garlic and cotton-candy grapes—also had none to offer.
I yearned to taste the enigmatic fruit that so many people seem to be talking about lately. Food writers marvel at how “magical” it is. Bartenders mix rum-and-pawpaw cocktails. At pawpaw festivals across the country, chefs whip up dishes such as pawpaw chicken wraps and pawpaw curry puffs. The pawpaw is having a moment, perhaps because it is a mass of contradictions: Its custardy flesh, ranging in color from butter yellow to sunset orange, tastes like a mix of banana, mango, and pineapple (or so I’d heard). But unlike those fruits, pawpaws are not native to the tropics; instead, the fruit grows across the Eastern United States and up into Canada. Pawpaw trees thrive along creeks and rivers, and there’s a good chance you’ve passed one without even knowing it.
The IMF’s rebuke of Britain for tax cuts that will “increase inequality” is probably not the come-to-Jesus moment it might seem.
Last Thursday, the International Monetary Fund spooked the markets and surprised the commentariat by chiding the U.K. Conservative government for fiscal irresponsibility. The shock was palpable. For the IMF to criticize the government of a major Western economy was a little like the janitor scolding the landlord for putting the building’s assessed value at risk. That sense of a reversal of the usual order of things was all the sharper because, lest we forget, it was Britain’s Tories, under Margaret Thatcher’s steely leadership, who wrote the book on fiscal probity as the bedrock of neoliberalism. The IMF spent more than four decades inflicting that orthodoxy upon hapless governments the world over.
In Cate Blanchett’s career-best performance, an icon’s fall from grace breaks down to its most elemental form.
Todd Field’s new film, Tár, opens with a scene that should feel inherently uncinematic: an onstage Q&A. The conversation, between Lydia Tár (played by Cate Blanchett) and Adam Gopnik (gamely playing himself), is the kind of hoity-toity event that’d be a coveted ticket for a certain highbrow milieu. Tár is the preeminent conductor of her generation. She leads the Berlin Philharmonic and has a list of accomplishments that Gopnik could rattle off for at least an hour. (Among other things, she has an EGOT!) But why start her story in staid territory, via a back-and-forth on classical music that mostly feels like a big pat on the back for a fictional character the viewer has just met?
For two reasons, both of which underline why Field’s movie is such a biting accomplishment. The first is to see Blanchett in her element, keeping an audience hanging on every word as her character ruminates on the difficulties of her vocation and the legacy of legends such as Leonard Bernstein. The second is to establish the tone of Tár’s tightly wound world, in which she’s shuttled from place to place in luxury while everyone orbits around her, eager for just a puff of her genius to waft their way. Over the course of 158 minutes, cracks start to emerge in that hermetic universe until it finally comes apart. Field charts Tár’s decline with devastating relish.
Recently, after a week in which 2,789 Americans died of COVID-19, President Joe Biden proclaimed that “the pandemic is over.” Anthony Fauci described the controversy around the proclamation as a matter of “semantics,” but the facts we are living with can speak for themselves. COVID still kills roughly as many Americans every week as died on 9/11. It is on track to kill at least 100,000 a year—triple the typical toll of the flu. Despite gross undercounting, more than 50,000 infections are being recorded every day. The CDC estimates that 19 million adults have long COVID. Things have undoubtedly improved since the peak of the crisis, but calling the pandemic “over” is like calling a fight “finished” because your opponent is punching you in the ribs instead of the face.