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.
The president’s act of clemency was less about mercy than self-interest.
Here’s the first and most important thing to understand about the crime for which President Trump just pardoned former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn: Flynn did not lie to protect himself. He lied to protect Donald Trump.
At the end of December 2016, Flynn had a series of conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. A month later, on January 24, 2017, Flynn was asked about those conversations by the FBI agent Peter Strzok.
In the first set of conversations, Flynn urged Kislyak to oppose a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity. The second set occurred a week later, while Flynn was on holiday in the Dominican Republic. There, Flynn sought to convince Kislyak to persuade the Russian government not to retaliate against the United States, over a round of sanctions punishing Russia for intervening in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump.
More people than ever are hospitalized with COVID-19. Health-care workers can’t go on like this.
On Saturday morning, Megan Ranney was about to put on her scrubs when she heard that Joe Biden had won the presidential election. That day, she treated people with COVID-19 while street parties erupted around the country. She was still in the ER in the late evening when Biden and Vice President–elect Kamala Harris made their victory speeches. These days, her shifts at Rhode Island Hospital are long, and they “are not going to change in the next 73 days,” before Biden becomes president, she told me on Monday. Every time Ranney returns to the hospital, there are more COVID-19 patients.
This is why you can eat in a restaurant but can’t have Thanksgiving.
Two weeks ago, I staged a reluctant intervention via Instagram direct message. The subject was a longtime friend, Josh, who had been sharing photos of himself and his fiancé occasionally dining indoors at restaurants since New York City, where we both live, had reopened them in late September. At first, I hadn’t said anything. Preliminary research suggests that when people congregate indoors, an infected person is almost 20 times more likely to transmit the virus than if they were outside. But restaurants are open legally in New York, and I am not the COVID police. Josh and I had chatted several times in the early months of the pandemic about safety, and I felt sure that he was making an informed decision, even if it wasn’t the one I’d make.
“We are on an absolutely catastrophic path,” said a COVID-19 doctor at America’s best-prepared hospital.
Perhaps no hospital in the United States was better prepared for a pandemic than the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
After the SARS outbreak of 2003, its staff began specifically preparing for emerging infections. The center has the nation’s only federal quarantine facility and its largest biocontainment unit, which cared for airlifted Ebola patients in 2014. The people on staff had detailed pandemic plans. They ran drills. Ron Klain, who was President Barack Obama’s “Ebola czar” and will be Joe Biden’s chief of staff in the White House, once told me that UNMC is “arguably the best in the country” at handling dangerous and unusual diseases. There’s a reason many of the Americans who were airlifted from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in February were sent to UNMC.
The new Netflix film is a think-piece trap—shiny on the outside, hollow on the inside.
“Everyone in this world is one of three kinds,” declares Mamaw (played by Glenn Close), the wise grand-matriarch of Ron Howard’s new film, Hillbilly Elegy. “A good Terminator, a bad Terminator, and neutral.” I hate to correct Mamaw, who is trying to encourage her impressionable grandson, J. D. Vance (Gabriel Basso), to follow a righteous path by invoking Arnold Schwarzenegger’s beloved action franchise. But there is no such thing as a “neutral” Terminator; those cyborg heroes exist to either protect or destroy. I cannot imagine what a neutral Terminator would do, save sit in a chair and remain forever shiny and inactive.
Mamaw is entitled to her bad movie opinions, of course. But this monologue is the kind of speechifying that rings hollow throughout Hillbilly Elegy, an adaptation of Vance’s best-selling 2016 memoir that debuts on Netflix tomorrow. When it first arrived on bookshelves, Vance’s story was celebrated as a glimpse into an oft-ignored pocket of America: the white working class of Appalachia and the Rust Belt who swung to Donald Trump in the 2016 election. Hailed as an “anger translator” and cited by Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton, Vance wrote about growing up poor, living with a heroin-addicted mother, and clawing his way into Yale Law School. The book arrived at a seemingly serendipitous moment, offering a bleak but candid view of communities gutted by drug abuse and poverty.
The question shouldn’t be whether the president can pardon himself but whether he can grant himself a pardon—and those are not the same thing.
As Donald Trump’s tenure in office comes in for its landing, a major question is whether the president—facing questions about liability for offenses including bank and tax fraud—can pardon himself.
This might seem like the right operational question, but it is imprecise as a constitutional one. Article II of the Constitution says that the president “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” Did you catch that? The president has the power not to pardon people, but “to grant … Pardons” (emphasis added). So the question is not whether Trump can pardon himself. It’s whether he can grant himself a pardon.
What can we learn from Anne McCloy, the local news anchor who has helped thousands of Americans get unemployment benefits?
The news team found 71-year-old Gabor Radnai wandering around their parking lot, crying and clutching a pile of paperwork.
“Why did you drive your papers here?” Anne McCloy, an anchor at CBS-6 Albany, asked Radnai.
“They can’t help me,” he said. “Maybe you can.”
When the coronavirus outbreak first hit, Radnai was working at a local ski resort. In March, after he lost his job, he applied for unemployment, but a letter from the state unemployment office said he needed to call them to complete his claim. He tried for months but couldn’t get through over the phone. So, in a last-ditch attempt to reach someone in authority, he drove an hour from his home to the CBS-6 station.
Radnai was the first unemployed American to visit McCloy at her office. But he was not the last. In the months since then, thousands of people have emailed and called her about problems getting through to unemployment agents—and she has been trying to help them all. McCloy is widely cited as a hero by people she has helped, as well as in Facebook unemployment groups, where people urge those seeking help to contact her. But if a news anchor has to step in to ensure that Americans get the benefits they’re entitled to, there may be something wrong with the system.
Cynical public speech aimed at winning political power has consequences.
Three weeks after the conclusion of the 2020 presidential election, many Republican members of Congress find themselves boxed in. Some have privatelycongratulated Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for their historic win. But publicly, most Republicans have remained silent, while others have actively encouraged President Donald Trump’s baseless accusations of mass voter fraud.
The situation these Republicans face is one that many southern members of Congress would have recognized during the aftermath of the 1860 election. Southern congressmen had spent years stirring up anger and promoting fear of their opponents, and were so successful that by 1860 they had lost control of their message. Abraham Lincoln’s election caused a mass movement among white southerners to leave the Union. Even though they knew that the claims being embraced by their constituents were conspiratorial and overblown, many southern members of Congress felt they had to get on board or be left behind.
The president convinced many voters that his response to the pandemic was not a disaster. The psychology of medical fraud is simple, timeless, and tragic.
At some basic level, Americans do seem to agree that the coronavirus is a major threat. Despite attempts to politicize and divide us on the pandemic, we are at least united in anxiety. In September, a survey of almost 4,000 Americans found that only 12 percent disagreed with requiring masks in public. Fully 70 percent wanted the government to do more to protect people, and only 8 percent wanted it to do less.
Since then, though, the government under President Donald Trump has done less. The U.S. has suffered the most documented coronavirus deaths in the world, by far. The Trump administration has continued to downplay and ignore the virus as its spread has accelerated in almost every region of the country. On Wednesday, the U.S. shattered the world record for daily coronavirus cases by topping 100,000 for the first time—only to break the record again each subsequent day until a Saturday high of 128,000. Field hospitals and makeshift morgues are appearing around the country. Daily death counts have risen to more than 1,000.
The president’s abuse of his clemency power is an assault on one of the few truly humane aspects of the American legal system.
President Donald Trump’s announcement that he has pardoned Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser who twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, is infuriating—and not merely because of the gross favoritism on display. What Trump has done once again is corrupt something that ought to be beyond corruption: the mercy that the most powerful person in the world can bestow upon those who are in chains.
I know the beauty of this power. I’ve seen it at work myself.
On a bright August day in 2016, I received a call from a number at the Department of Justice. The official on the other end told me that three of my law-school clinic’s clients had been granted commutations that would free them from life sentences on cocaine offenses, after each had served 25 years or more in prison. I was to call each of them immediately, and tell them the news.