- Associated Press
Four people have been arrested in connection with the 2018 crash of a helicopter that killed a central Mexican governor and her husband — who had preceded her as governor — authorities said Friday. The Agusta 109 helicopter crashed in flames 10 minutes after takeoff on Dec. 24 that year while carrying newly installed Puebla Gov. Martha Erika Alonso and her husband, former Gov. Rafael Moreno Valle, as well as three other people. The Puebla state prosecutor's office said the four suspects worked for a Rotor Flight Services, a company “related to the functioning of the aircraft,” It said the suspects were accused of culpable homicide, damage to another's property and false testimony.
A doctor in Boston with a shellfish allergy developed a severe allergic reaction after receiving Moderna's coronavirus vaccine on Thursday, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing the doctor. Dr. Hossein Sadrzadeh, a geriatric oncology fellow at Boston Medical Center, said he had a severe reaction almost immediately after being vaccinated, feeling dizzy and with a racing heart, the NYT reported. It is the first severe reaction publicly linked to Moderna's vaccine, which is in its first week of a nationwide rollout.
- The Telegraph
Royal Caribbean, the world's largest cruise company, is trying to prevent victims of the 2019 New Zealand volcanic eruption from suing in the US. Passengers from the Royal Caribbean ship Ovation of the Seas took a trip to White Island, a popular tourist site, last December, when a volcano suddenly erupted, killing 27 visitors and injuring 25 more. Ivy and Paul Reed, from the US state of Maryland, who suffered burns as a result of the eruption, and Australians Marie and Stephanie Browitt, who lost family members because of the eruption, filed separate lawsuits against Royal Caribbean claiming that the cruise line did not properly explain the dangers of visiting White Island. Peter Gordon, a lawyer for the Browitt family, told the Australian Broadcasting Company that Royal Caribbean should have known that the volcano could erupt before allowing its passengers to visit White Island.
- The Independent
Human remains found at blast site of bomb-rigged vehicle playing message that it was about to explode
Police believe the act was intentional
- Associated Press
A team of French investigators will come to Beirut next month to participate in interrogating former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn, a Lebanese justice ministry official said Saturday. Former auto executive Ghosn, who is a Lebanese, Brazilian and French national, fled Japan in a dramatic escape that drew headlines last year, arriving in Lebanon on Dec. 30, 2019. In addition to his trial in Japan, the 66-year-old businessman is facing a number of legal challenges in France, including tax evasion and alleged money laundering, fraud and misuse of company assets while at the helm of the Renault-Nissan alliance.
India's government detained at least 75 Kashmiri political leaders and activists to forestall political unrest after an alliance of Kashmir's regional political parties won a local election, leaders and a police official said on Saturday. The District Council election, concluded early this week, was the first such exercise since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government last year revoked the special status of the Muslim-majority, Indian-controlled region. The new detentions, including separatist leaders and members of the banned Jamat-e-Islami group, were for preventive custody, said a senior police official, who asked not to be identified in line with official policy.
- Yahoo News Video
President Trump’s demand for $2,000 checks for most Americans was rejected by House Republicans as his disorganized actions have thrown the COVID-19 relief and government funding bill into chaos.
- The Telegraph
Archaeologists excavating a snack bar in the ruins of Italy’s Pompeii have uncovered “exceptional” frescoes, and obscene graffiti likely directed at the establishment’s seventh century owner. The volcanic ash which buried the town during the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in AD79 has preserved an intimate historical record of the Roman town 14 miles southeast of Naples, and the lives of its 13,000 inhabitants. One of these inhabitants was called Nicias and was likely a freed slave from Greece, according to excavators who recently uncovered an inscription insulting the man. “NICIA CINAEDE CACATOR” reads the scrawled graffiti on a fresco of a chained dog painted onto the bar of the Thermopolium of Regio V, a cheap street food eatery. “An inverted s****er” is how archaeologists rendered the slur, though the adjective carries a homosexual connotation from its derivation from the ancient Greek term for catamite.
- NBC News
The decision potentially sets up the Trump administration to schedule the execution after President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
- Associated Press
An Ohio police chief is hailing what he called an “overwhelming" response to the story of a young boy found in a cemetery two days before Christmas. Chief David Centner of the Hinckley police department said on Christmas Eve that the child, believed to be about 3 1/2 years old, was doing well “in the loving home" of a Medina County foster family. Police were called shortly after noon Wednesday to Hope Memorial Gardens Cemetery where a witness reported seeing a car speeding away and a little boy “running after the car followed by a dog."
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -The new variant of coronavirus linked to a rapid rise in infections in Britain has been detected in Sweden after a traveller from the United Kingdom became ill and tested positive, the Swedish Health Agency said on Saturday. Health Agency official Sara Byfors told a news conference the traveller had been isolating and that no further positive cases had so far been detected. The unidentified traveller was staying in Sormland, south of Stockholm, according to Signe Makitalo, a regional infection control doctor.
- The Telegraph
Israel was reported to have launched air strikes against military targets in Syria last night, after war planes flew low over Lebanon, terrifying local residents. The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) quoted a military source blaming Israeli “aggression” for launching a “barrage of missiles” from the north of the Lebanese city of Tripoli towards Masyaf, in Syria’s Hama province. The source claimed that most of the missiles were intercepted by Syrian air defences, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitor, said that a warehouse and missile factories had been destroyed, with “at least” six casualties. Explosions were reported after midnight in the area around Masyaf, north-west of Homs, which is a significant military area for President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, containing a military academy and scientific research centre believed to have been used to create chemical weapons. The Israeli military said it would not comment on reports in foreign media, but it has allegedly launched dozens of attacks against Iranian militias and other targets in Syria in recent years, with jets regularly crossing over Lebanese air space. Witnesses said that the Christmas Eve flights were louder than usual, however, frightening residents of Beirut who are still traumatised by the August 4 explosion at the city’s port that killed more than 200 people. The catastrophic blast, which destroyed large areas of the city, was caused after a huge store of ammonium nitrate was ignited by a fire. Tamara Qiblawi, a CNN producer based in the Lebanese capital, shared a video apparently showing “illegal overflights” of four Israeli jets. “You very often hear them here but very rarely do you see them,” she added. “These were exceptionally low altitude. Houses shook. Cats freaked out. Chills down people’s spines.” Quoting “reliable sources”, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the “Israeli strikes targeted military posts of regime forces and Iranian militias”. Syrian activists observed ambulances rushing to the scene of the explosions and the dead were all foreign paramilitaries loyal to President Assad, it added. One attack also targeted the research centre, where ground-attack missiles are developed and stored, and which has been hit several times by Israeli strikes in recent years, the Observatory said. The most recent attack in June, killed nine people, including four Syrians. The United States military has previously claimed that sarin gas, a deadly nerve agent, was being developed at the centre, which the Syrian authorities have denied. According to the SANA report, air defences hit “most” missiles before they reached their target. “Our air defences intercepted an Israeli attack on the Masyaf area,” it said.
- CBS News
Colorado State Patrol estimated Lindsey Ward's blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit at the time of the crash.
- The Conversation
The Abstract features interesting research and the people behind it.* * *David Allen is an assistant professor in biology at Middlebury College who studies the ecology of ticks and tick-borne pathogens.What question are you trying to answer with your work?David Allen: I want to understand what drives blacklegged, or deer, ticks’ abundance and infection rate with the Lyme disease bacteria. We broadly understand what is necessary for the tick to live in an area, but have a harder time explaining why there are such tremendous differences in tick abundance in certain locations and during certain years.Exactly how do you measure tick abundance?Allen: We measure it by what is called “drag cloth sampling.” We drag a 1 meter by 1 meter white cloth along the forest floor. Ticks that are searching for a host, which we call questing, will attach to the cloth as it passes over them. At each of our plots we drag the cloth along the forest floor for 200 meters and check it every 10 meters. This is the standard way to measure tick abundance.What spurred you to study ticks?Allen: I grew up in Vermont in the 1980s and 1990s. During that time I do not remember ever seeing a blacklegged tick or knowing anyone with Lyme disease. When I returned to the state in 2012 to teach at Middlebury College, I would get lots of ticks when hiking. My research was spurred by this rapid and dramatic change in the tick population here.Why is your work important to the public?Allen: The incidence of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases has increased dramatically in recent years. If scientists in general could better predict where ticks are the most abundant, we could target tick control strategies or at least create prevention messaging to people in those areas, and then hopefully start to decrease the rate of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. What’s important about ticks that most people don’t know?Allen: Ticks have three life stages: larva, nymph and adult. The second two life stages can transmit the Lyme disease bacteria. When most people think about ticks they picture the adult life stage. For the blacklegged tick this is about the size of a sesame seed. I think that most people don’t have a good picture of what a nymphal tick looks like and how small it is. Nymphs are responsible for most transmission of Lyme disease to people, because they are so hard to see when they are feeding on you. What has been the most surprising finding of your work?Allen: I am surprised by how much tick abundance can vary across locations or years. We have found that in two sites, just three miles away from each other, one can have 20 times more ticks than the other. And then going from one year to the next, the same location can increase or decrease in abundance by four times. What do you hope to study further?Allen: We just started to study the small mammal community. Blacklegged ticks take a single blood meal at each life stage. During the larval and nymphal life stages, these blood meals are typically from small mammals, like mice or chipmunks. It is from these animals that the ticks acquire the Lyme disease bacteria. My students and I have just started tracking the populations of these small mammals to better understand how they contribute to tick abundance and infection. Any stories from the field?Allen: We bait the small mammal traps with a mixture of oats and peanut butter. It turns out that bears find this just as tasty as the mice do. One time after setting out 100 traps, we returned the next morning to find them all thrown about. Some were dented or even pierced through with bear claw markings.[ Thanks for reading! We can send you The Conversation’s stories every day in an informative email. Sign up today. ]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. Read more: * How to grow human mini-livers in the lab to help solve liver disease * No, Lyme disease is not an escaped military bioweapon, despite what conspiracy theorists say * The US has a history of testing biological weapons on the public – were infected ticks used too?David Allen is supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103449. The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIGMS or NIH.
SHANGHAI (Reuters) -Mainland China recorded 20 new COVID-19 cases on Dec. 25, compared with 14 cases the previous day, the country's health authority said on Saturday. The National Health Commission said in its daily bulletin that 12 of the new cases were imported. The new Beijing cases were from its Shunyi district, which has entered a "wartime state" requiring all residents to undergo testing, the state-owned China Daily reported on Saturday.
- The Telegraph
A Russian cat rescued from a rubbish separator at a waste processing plant has been adopted by the Ulyanovsk region’s environment ministry and given an honorary title. The black and white cat has achieved local celebrity status in Ulyanovsk, a city 435 miles east of Moscow, after surveillance camera footage showed a worker at the sorting facility grabbing a bag from a conveyor belt and opening it to discover the feline inside. “I felt something soft inside the bag,” plant worker Mikhail Tukash told the tabloid Moskovsky Komsomolets, Reuters reported. “I cut the bag open slightly and I saw eyes looking back at me.” The footage shows the conveyor belt come to a stop as Mr Tukash shows his colleagues the cat, which remains calm as he strokes it with gloved hands. “I needed to cut the bag to screen it for metals. I was just doing my job,” Mr Tukash told local television in the city, which is known as the birthplace of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. The local channel reported that workers at the plant had previously rescued an African hedgehog nicknamed Vezunka, which means lucky in Russian, and two red-eared slider turtles. The region’s environment ministry lauded Mr Tukash for the rescue, writing that the male cat was “on the brink of death” and would have “ended up in the trash separator” had Mr Tukash not grabbed him. The well-fed and friendly cat was likely an abandoned household pet, the ministry said. “If you can’t keep an animal at home, you can always give it away to a shelter,” minister Gulnara Rakhmatulina said in a statement. After adopting the cat and bestowing upon him the honorary title of honorary deputy in charge of wildlife protection, the ministry released photos of him catnapping in the minister’s chair. The ministry has announced a contest to name the rescued cat.
- The Independent
Speech came hours after Mr Trump golfed in Florida with Lindsey Graham
The Islamist group also burnt down the church in the Christian village in northeast Nigeria.
- Associated Press
BIHAC, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Hundreds of migrants were stranded Saturday in a squalid, burnt-out tent camp in Bosnia as heavy snow fell in the country and winter temperatures suddenly dropped. Migrants at the Lipa camp in northwest Bosnia wrapped themselves in blankets and sleeping bags to protect against the biting winds in the region, which borders European Union member Croatia. A fire earlier this week destroyed much of the camp near the town of Bihac that already was harshly criticized by international officials and aid groups as being inadequate for housing refugees and migrants.
Japan on Saturday said it would temporarily ban non-resident foreign nationals from entering the country as it tightens its borders following the detection of a new, highly infectious variant of the coronavirus. Japanese citizens and foreign residents will be allowed to enter but must show proof of a negative coronavirus test 72 hours before departing for Japan and must quarantine for two weeks after arrival, the statement said. Japan on Friday reported its first cases of a fast-spreading variant in passengers arriving from Britain.