National News Stories and headlines from across the U.S., from BasinLife.com
Monday, August 12, 2019
The details of how Jeffrey Epstein died in his federal Manhattan jail cell over the weekend have yet to be released, but medical officials have performed an autopsy on the high-profile inmate accused of sexually abusing underage girls and paying them hundreds of dollars in cash for massages over the past 20 years.
Epstein’s abrupt death Saturday cut short a criminal prosecution that could have pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of a high-flying financier with connections to celebrities and presidents, though prosecutors have vowed to continue investigating.
Epstein, 66, had been denied bail and faced up to 45 years behind bars on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges unsealed last month.
He had pleaded not guilty and was awaiting trial.
A horrific scene happened on Sunday, as a fire killed five children at a day care center where children could stay overnight as their parents worked.
The victims in the lakeside city of Erie ranged in ages from 8 months to 7 years, Chief Guy Santone of the Erie Fire Department said.
At least four of the victims were staying overnight at the residential house that had been turned into a day care center, Erie Chief Fire Inspector John Widomski told reporters. Valerie Lockett-Slupski, standing across the street from the fire-damaged house, sobbed as she told media on the scene that she was the grandmother of four of the children, and that they were staying at the day care center because their parents were working overnight. She said the family had two boys and two girls and had used the center for almost a year.
“So we are all at a loss, trying to figure out how this happened,” Lockett-Slupski said.
In El Paso, Texas, Latino activists held a rally to demand action from Texas lawmakers one week after a shooting at an El Paso Walmart killed 22 people and injured dozens more.
Members of the League of United Latin American Citizens, which considers itself the nation’s oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization, marched Saturday in Dallas to call for Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to hold a special session on strengthening gun regulations.
On Aug. 3, a gunman allegedly targeted the Walmart in El Paso because it is frequented by Mexicans who cross the border to do their shopping there, according to police.
“Both the El Paso, TX shooter, and the Dayton, OH shooter, who massacred nine people mere hours after the attack in El Paso, purchased their weapons legally in Texas,” a press release from the organization stated, referring to the second of back-to-back mass shootings that drew renewed calls for gun reform. “LULAC is demanding that Governor Abbot pass stricter gun legislation to protect fellow Texans and prevent mass shootings fueled by hateful, racism animus.”
Holocaust Survivor Celebrates 104th birthday.
A Holocaust survivor celebrated her 104th birthday last week at the Western Wall in Jerusalem — and for the occasion posed for a photo surrounded by about 400 of her descendants, including her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Centenarian Shoshana Ovitz survived the Auschwitz concentration camp 74 years ago. In the camp, she watched as her mother was ripped from her and handed to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, who performed deadly experiments on prisoners. After the Holocaust, Ovitz met the man who would later become her husband, Dov Ovitz, who had lost his wife and four daughters in the genocide.
… The couple searched for surviving relatives together and lived in Austria, before eventually settling in Haifa, Israel, where they had two daughters and two sons.
KID HOLDS THE WORLD RECORD FOR SOLVING RUBIK’S CUBE WITH HIS FEET
Daniel Rose-Levine holds the Guinness World Record for solving a Rubik’s cube — with his feet. The upstate New York (Red Hook) 16-year-old can do it in 16.9 seconds. Rose-Levine first mastered the cube, using his hands, at age 11. His top time got to 5.3 seconds and he has more than 15 cubing-competition wins under his belt. The current world record for solving by hand is 3.47 seconds. But it came with a price: cubing for five hours a day led to a painful repetitive-stress injury at age 14.
… Out of the gate, he was foot-solving at 40 seconds. After hours of practice he now holds the Rubik’s Cube foot record at 16.9 seconds.
YOU CAN NOW ASK ALEXA TO SPEAK FASTER OR SLOWER
Amazon has introduced different speed settings for Alexa. This means you can now ask Alexa to either speak more quickly or more slowly. And if you don’t like the change you can simply say, “Alexa, speak at your default rate”.
… Alexa now has seven speaking speeds. There’s the default one, plus four faster speaking rates and two slower speaking rates. You can adjust Alexa’s speaking speed on any Alexa-enabled device by saying, “Alexa, speak faster” or “Alexa, speak slower.”
SELF-CLEANING WATER BOTTLE WITH WIRELESS CHARGING
Water bottles are one place you don’t expect to see an awful lot of innovation. After all, they’re a device designed to get the hydration you need into your mouth. But a company called Mahaton is aiming to change the way we drink water with the introduction of its self-cleaning bottle. The bulk of what makes this bottle interesting resides in its lid. It uses mercury-free UV-C LED technology to make your drinking water cleaner. In fact, the company promises that it will remove 99.9-percent of bacteria from water within 90 seconds. Because the bottle needs power in order to perform its sterilization functions, it does feature wireless charging. You simply place its charger on the lid and let it do its thing. The bottle is on Kickstarter for $39. • LINK
SOME PEOPLE LOVE TO WATCH OTHER PEOPLE CLEAN
On social media, someone who promotes a particular lifestyle, interest, or hobby is called an influencer. This includes people who post videos and photos of themselves cleaning and talking about cleaning products. They’re called “cleanfluencers.” Seriously. One of them is Sophie Hinchliffe, who has more than 2 million Instagram followers.
… Another cleanfluencer, Megan Hickman, says she was able to purchase a 4,500-square-foot house in Savannah, Georgia, thanks to the income she’s generated from her YouTube channel, Love Meg.
… Unlike the typical social media influencer, cleanfluencers wear the kind of clothing you’d expect anyone to dress in to do chores, making it easier for viewers to see themselves in the footage. And unlike the makeup and clothing-haul videos other influencers post, cleanfluencers recommend cleaning products that are cheap, so most people can afford them. Comments on cleanfluencer posts are friendly, complimentary, and apolitical. And, of course, each cleaning video has a happy ending: a home that’s very clean.
SOME PEOPLE SCREW UP CHORES SO THEY DON’T HAVE TO DO THEM AGAIN
Do you hate doing some chores so much that you’d fake an illness, or worse, screw up so badly that your significant wouldn’t ask you to do them again? That sounds lazy and selfish, but 28 percent of men and 21 percent of women say they’ve put effort into getting out of doing chores.
… The most-hated chores are, in order, washing dishes/cleaning the kitchen; doing laundry; cleaning the bathroom; vacuuming; cooking meals and shopping for groceries
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION WILL LET AIRLINES BAN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT SNAKES AND RODENTS
Should passengers be able to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums, snakes, or spiders in the cabin? What if a passenger says they need these animals for emotional support? The U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday finalized new guidelines that support the efforts of U.S. airlines to crack down on abuses of the statutes that allow emotional support animals to travel in cabins.
AIRLINE PILOT FLIES DAD’S REMAINS HOME FROM VIETNAM
When Air Force Maj. Roy Knight Jr., left Dallas for Vietnam 52 years ago, his 5-year-old son, Bryan, came to Dallas Love Field to see him off. On Thursday, Bryan, now a captain for Southwest Airlines, brought back his father’s remains aboard a flight to the same Dallas airport. Roy Knight Jr. was 36 when he was shot down while attacking a target in Laos on May 19,1967. Knight, officially listed as MIA, was declared deceased in September 1974, when son Bryan was just 12.
… In 1991 and 1992, almost 20 years after the end of the Vietnam war, joint U.S.-Laos teams investigated a crash site allegedly associated with Knight’s loss, recommending it for excavation. From 1994, the site was examined five times. Early this year a joint team recovered possible human remains and life support items that led to the identification of Knight’s remains.
… On Thursday, at the Dallas airport, hundreds of crew members, onlookers, friends, and military personnel, gathered on the tarmac as Bryan flew his father’s remains home.
THE MOST INJURY-PRONE SPORTS …
Basketball and cycling are the most injury-prone sports, a report shows. Football and soccer are close behind in sports injuries. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) showed that 1.6 million basketball-related injuries are treated each year in hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospital emergency rooms. Bicyclists rack up nearly 1.3 million injuries; football 1 million; soccer a little less than 500,000 injuries.
NEW TRAPPER KEEPER GAME LETS YOU RELIVE THE GLORY DAYS OF ADOLESCENCE
Eighties and ’90s kids know that there was nothing cooler than carrying around a Trapper Keeper, a colorful binder that let you show off a bit of your personal style. Turns out, Trapper Keepers still exist, but they’re not as prevalent as they were a few decades ago. That could be about to change, though, as ACCO (the company that makes the Keepers) has partnered with a board game publisher to bring the school supply back to a new generation of students — and their parents — in the form of a card game called the Trapper Keeper Game.
… The game challenges players to school the competition by collecting cards with the most points and stashing them in their Trapper Keeper folders. Cards include homework, quizzes, parent signatures, report cards, detention slips, notes from classmates, and field trip slips. After the last bell card is played by the assigned Teacher’s Pet, the players tally up doodles and points to determine the winner. • VIDEO
MAN SURVIVED ON COCA-COLA FOR FIVE DAYS AFTER FALLING AT HOME
An elderly resident who lives in Arlington, Virginia, fell in his home and couldn’t get up. For five days. The man survived on his kitchen floor by drinking Coca-Cola that was within arm’s reach. It was the elderly man’s postal carrier who finally noticed the man’s mail wasn’t be retrieved and asked a neighbor to call police. A fire department spokesman said the man was in relatively good condition when he was transported to a hospital.
ORPHANED BABY KOALA GETS TINY ARM CAST AFTER FALLING FROM TREE
Pictures have surfaced of a baby koala wearing a tiny little arm cast after the mini marsupial fell out of a tree in Melbourne, Australia. The baby koala was also orphaned after her mother was euthanized. She was later placed in the care of handlers at a a zoo.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNCOVER VIKING DRINKING HALL ON REMOTE SCOTTISH ISLAND
Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Viking drinking hall on a remote island in a Scottish island chain (the Orkney archipelago). The large Norse Hall dates to sometime between the 10th and 12th centuries. The building appears to be more than 42 feet long. Its sturdy 3-foot stone walls are about 18 feet apart. Items discovered during the excavation include soapstone and pottery.
THERE’S A $100 SANDWICH IN LAS VEGAS
After you’ve won big at the poker table in Las Vegas, you can spend your winnings on a $100 sandwich. Ike’s Love & Sandwiches “”Howard Hughes” sandwich has more than two pounds of meat on about 17 inches of bread.
… The sandwich has chunks of cheddar cheese, a ½ pound of prime rib, and another ½ pound of brisket. If that’s not already an outrageous amount of meat for you, then you’re in luck: The masterpiece is then topped with an additional pound of Wagyu beef. Pickles, lettuce, tomato and duck bacon finish off the sandwich intended for two hungry people, though the restaurant says it can feed four.
BULLETPROOF BACKPACKS IN DEMAND FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL SHOPPING
Before his freshman year at the University of Connecticut, J.T. Lewis received an unusual gift from his mother: a bulletproof backpack. Lewis, who will be a sophomore at the university, comes from a family shattered by gun violence: His younger brother, Jesse, was killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. When his mother, Scarlett, gave him the dark-gray backpack, he said, she did not have to say a word.
… Now he wears the armored backpack on campus because it makes him feel safer, even if it means he sweats a little more under the bulky load.
… Demand for bulletproof backpacks surged after the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018. With back-to-school season approaching, the shootings in El Paso and Dayton have brought renewed attention to the products.
… This year, ArmorMe, a personal-defense company run by a former Israeli commando started selling a bulletproof backpack that can unfold into a larger covering.
GUESS WHO’S MORE RUDE AT WORK?
Guess who’s more rude at work? If you said men, you’re right. Researchers say men are the rude ones at work 70 percent of the time.
THE EFFECTS OF INSOMNIA
People who suffer from insomnia take sick days twice as often as those who do not, according to a report by The Center for Medicine in the Public Interest. The study found that over a six-month period, the condition cost employers an average of 4.4 days of wages for each untreated sufferer, plus indirect costs due to lower productivity and mistakes made because of lack of sleep.
YOUR FLIP-FLOPS ARE GOING TO KILL YOU
The flip-flop is more dangerous than you might think. Researchers say a film of grime that coats your feet at the end of a day of flopping around town is some dangerous dirt. Lab tests of two flip-flop fans, worn for four days, revealed a potentially deadly germ (Staphylococcus aureus) lurking on the rubber. If it seeps into a cut on your foot the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and, if left untreated, kill you.
… Tests on just one pair of the flip-flips showed they harbored approximately 18,100 bacteria of the five most prevalent varieties found. And that’s what accumulated in just four days.
MASSACHUSETTS HOLDS ANNUAL LOW NUMBER PLATE LOTTERY
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is holding its annual lottery for much sought-after low-number vehicle license plates. Entries are being accepted online until August 23. The winners will be announced September 15.
… Applicants are not allowed to request specific numbers. Among the numbers available in this year’s lottery are B1, 3000, 27A and K5. For years, low-number plates were handed out to the politically connected until the lottery system was put into place.
VACATION IS STRESSFUL FOR PARENTS
A survey found that 65 percent of parents feel a week’s vacation is more stressful than working full-time, and almost half confessed they do not look forward to family vacation.