Compliments of the BBC
By: Paul Toohey of Daily Telegraph
The 18-day ordeal, which at times teetered between grief and elation, has ended in extraordinary success, with Thailand celebrating and thanking the world for its prayers and assistance.
“We are all delighted,” rescue chief, Governor Narongsak Osotthanakorn said, hours after the team — who were soon followed by Australian anaesthetist Richard Harris and three Thai Navy SEALs — emerged securely.
“We have done things we never thought we could do. I’m proud we could complete the mission impossible.”
“We are not sure if this is a miracle, a science, or what. All the thirteen Wild Boars are now out of the cave,” the Thai Navy SEALs wrote on their Facebook page. “Everyone is safe.”
Australian doctor, Richard Harris, an expert diver, was on the ledge deep within the cave system giving each group of boys final checks before their journeys over the last three days, administering a mild sedative to each of them so none would panic during the swim.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha earlier confirmed that the boys had been given calming medicine “so the children won’t panic, just like we take anti-allergy so we feel OK and are not excited”.
The boys wore wetsuits and full-face masks, meaning they did not need to make any effort breathing as they were swum and guided, relaxed and virtually inert, by pairs of divers through flooded chambers.
One week after his sister-in-law’s death, David Spade has donated $100,000 to help those afflicted with mental illness.
Spade didn’t announce this on social media or make a big fuss; People magazine confirmed the news late Wednesday via his representative.
The donation will support the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Spade tells the magazine that, “More people suffer from mental health issues than we may realize but no one should ever feel ashamed to reach out for support.”
He added, “If you or anyone you know is in need of help or guidance please contact the national suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255 or go to nami.org to learn more and help those who may be in need.”
Kate Spade, who was married to the comedian’s brother andy, took her own life at the age of 55 last week and the “Joe Dirt” star has been vocal about the shock and grief that comes from losing a member of the family so suddenly.
Shortly after her death, Spade posted a happy photo to Instagram with the caption, “Fuzzy picture but i love it. Kate and I during Christmas family photos. We had so much fun that day. She was so sharp and quick on her feet. She could make me laugh so hard. I still cant believe it. Its a rough world out there people, try to hang on.”
By: Jake Johnson of Common Dreams
“The FCC under Pai is handing over the internet to a few humongous gatekeepers who see the rest of us as products to be delivered to advertisers, not as citizens needing communications that serve democracy’s needs.”
Open internet advocates warned that “we’re running out of time” to save the web from corporate control and called on Americans to make their representatives’ phones “ring off the hook” Tuesday after FCC chairman Ajit Pai unveiled (pdf) his long-awaited plan to scrap net neutrality that critics slammed as “naked corporatism” designed to give a major gift to the telecom industry at the expense of the public.
“The reckless wrecking ball strikes again,” former FCC commissioner and current special adviser at Common Cause Michael Copps said in a statement. “FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s scorched-earth plan for net neutrality displays callous disregard for both process and substance. The chairman’s plan to do away with net neutrality will be a disaster for consumers and yet another handout for big business.”
Matt Wood, policy director at Free Press, said Pai’s plan “makes no sense” for a variety of key reasons.
“It ignores the will of people from across the political spectrum who overwhelmingly support these protections. It ignores the law and the courts, which have repeatedly upheld the 2015 Title II rules. And it ignores the vibrancy of the internet marketplace following adoption of that 2015 order, with incontrovertible economic data showing that both investment in networks and online innovation are flourishing under the very same rules Pai wants to destroy,” Wood said.
By: Zeyneb Varol of The Middle East Eye
Under the glaring sun of a Saturday afternoon in August, a restaurant in a small eastern Turkish town welcomes its “most valuable customers”.
It is only one of the many establishments across the town where those in need are invited to eat free of charge. This well-preserved tradition has been carried down from generation to generation for decades.
Karakocan, a 70-minute drive north of the centre of Elazıg province, has attracted attention in recent years for its tradition of offering free food to those in need. For locals, the custom is a way of fulfilling their responsibility to assist the less fortunate.
Mehmet Ozturk, 55, the owner and manager of one of Karakocan’s busiest restaurants, Merkez, for nearly 35 years, says he always keeps at least three tables reserved for those in need, even during rush hour when his eatery is cramped. According to Ozturk, “the poor never fail to come”.
On any given day, Ozturk says at least 15 people come to his restaurant to receive a free meal. According to residents, around 100 people eat for free each day across the whole town, which is home to around 28,000 people, according to official statistics.
Galip is one of the familiar faces at the restaurant who has eaten there every day for the last 10 years. “He was here for breakfast and he will probably come for dinner as well,” a young waiter says.
Suffering from mental illness, Galip doesn’t share much.
“The Merkez is my favourite place in town, because the food is great,” he says.
The restaurants offer Galip and others their pick from a variety of choices listed on their menus including kebabs, chicken, soup, rice and salads.
Ozturk says: “The tradition has always been here, even 70 years ago. For us it was a natural thing to do, something we learned from our elders.”
By: Rachel Revesz The Independent
An 11-year-old boy who was dying from severe epilepsy has not had any seizures for 300 days since being prescribed a medical marijuana product.
Billy Caldwell, whose intractable epilepsy means he cannot get help through medication or diet, began treatment with cannabis oil in the US, where medical marijuana is legal, in 2016.
His prescription was transferred to his local GP, Brendan O’Hare, in Northern Ireland, and Billy became the first person to receive a prescription for medical marijuana in the UK.
The medicine, which contains a compound found in cannabis plants called CBD, does not contain any synthetics or chemicals. The company, Billy’s Bud, was named after Billy in July.
His mother, Charlotte Caldwell, said Billy used to suffer up to 100 seizures per day, has now not had a single seizure for 300 days. Ms Caldwell said the cannabis oil has also improved his autism, for example, better eye contact and engagement with books and toys.
“To me, that’s incredible, because one seizure can kill him,” she told ITV News after 90 days of no seizures.
By: Jon Sharman of The Independent
South Korea’s military has dropped eight heavy bombs near its border with the North in a show of what local media called “overwhelming force” following Pyongyang’s latest missile test.
President Moon Jae-in ordered the strike, by four F-15K fighter-bombers, at a firing range in the country’s east to “display a strong capability to punish” North Korea if it were to attack.
The MK-84 multi-purpose bomb is a 2,000lb munition that can penetrate some 11m of earth and 11ft of concrete. South Korea said all eight hit their targets at a testing ground on the country’s own soil.
The Yonhap news agency said government officials wanted to show Seoul’s ability to overwhelm its belligerent neighbour in the case of all-out hostility.
Pyongyang’s test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile that flew over Japan’s northern Hokkaido island was condemned by Tokyo as an “unprecedented, serious and grave threat” to the region. “We will do our utmost to protect people’s lives,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.
By: Lucy Wang of Inhabitat
A pollution-fighting green city unlike any before is springing to life in China. Designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti, the first “Forest City” is now under construction Liuzhou, Guangxi Province. The futuristic city will use renewable energy for self sufficiency and be blanketed in almost 1 million plants and 40,000 trees—a sea of greenery capable of absorbing nearly 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 57 tons of pollutants annually.
Commissioned by Liuzhou Municipality Urban Planning for the north of Liuzhou along the Liujiang river, the 175-hectare Liuzhou Forest City will be the first of its kind that, if successful, may raise the bar for urban design worldwide. This first Chinese Forest City will host 30,000 people in a community where all buildings are entirely covered in nearly a million plants of over 100 species, as well as 40,000 trees, that produce approximately 900 tons of oxygen. The use of greenery-covered facades builds on Stefano Boeri’s previous works, including the Vertical Forest residential building in Milan.
The new green city will be entirely wired and connected to Liuzhou with a fast rail line used by electric cars. Powered by geothermal and solar energy, Liuzhou Forest City will include residential areas, commercial and recreational spaces, two schools, and a hospital. The project is slated for completion in 2020.
By: Sonia Gutierrez
Twenty one people were fired from a South Carolina company after taking part in the Day Without Immigrants Protest.
The movement closed restaurants and shops across the country to show the contributions immigrants have on the American workforce.
Juvenito Quintana and 20 others all missed work on February 16th and right the next day, they got a letter from Encore Boat Builders LLC in Lexington.
The letter said they were being terminated for no show/ no call in. Their last day listed as February 16th, the day of the protest.
Quintana says some employees got calls from management the day before telling them not to miss or else they’d lose their job. That’s why he said a lot didn’t call in, for fear.
Most of the employees had been working there for years and have small children. Quintana is a permanent resident and feels like the termination was unfair.
Melissa Burnette is an employment attorney and says South Carolina is a Right To Work state where employers can make those kinds of decisions.
“Some employers are more supportive and would not have terminated the employees but some employers have the right to do that” she said.
It’s important for employees to understand their rights to protest like wearing t-shirts or posting flyers if it doesn’t interfere with the business operations Burnette said. But they also need to understand their responsibilities like being expected to show up to work.
By: Lynsey Bews
The Scottish Government is considering enshrining a ‘right to food’ in Scots law.
It is one of a number of recommendations being looked at following the publication of a report by the Independent Working Group on Food Poverty earlier this year.
The group said that while enshrining the right would not in itself end food insecurity, it would mean the Government and other public bodies would have a duty to ensure everyone has secure access to adequate and affordable food.
“The Scottish Government would be prepared to be challenged legally on how well it is implementing policies and deploying resources towards this end, within the limits of its existing powers,” its report said.
Other measures recommended by the group and accepted by the Government include introducing a system to measure food security in Scotland, and calling on the UK Government to help reduce the risk of sanctions and benefit delays in the welfare system.
The charity Trussell Trust has reported a rise in the use of food banks in recent years, with problems with benefits identified as the most significant reason for the increase.
The working group was set up by Scottish ministers in October 2015 to examine food insecurity and poverty.
Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said: “We have been very clear – no-one should have to rely on emergency food provision in a country as prosperous as Scotland.
“As the report from the working group highlighted, food poverty is a symptom of wider poverty and the UK Government’s harmful welfare cuts and benefit sanctions regime has clearly pushed more and more people into an income crisis, increasing the demand for emergency food.
“We want to create a sustainable solution to tackling food poverty across Scotland, and therefore I am committed to exploring a range of options, including looking into potentially enshrining the right to food into Scots law.