Browsing articles from "February, 2018"

Poll: Where Americans Draw Lines On Workplace Behavior

Feb 25, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Poll: Where Americans Draw Lines On Workplace Behavior



SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

People are reconsidering what behaviors are OK in the workplace and which are inappropriate with the Me Too movement taking hold over the last few months. NPR joined up with Ipsos to poll Americans on where they draw the line and what they’ve experienced at work. NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben has been looking at the results. She joins us now. Hi, Danielle.

DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN, BYLINE: Hello.

MCCAMMON: So there’s been a lot of talk about gray areas in the midst of the Me Too movement. What’s OK, what’s not OK, what’s in between?

KURTZLEBEN: Right.

MCCAMMON: Give me a sense of what this poll found.

KURTZLEBEN: So, we asked people about a dozen workplace behaviors, you know, from unwanted touching to just asking about a co-worker’s social life. And on a lot of these, a majority of people thought that those behaviors were inappropriate on balance. The behaviors that people thought were the most inappropriate were deliberate touching but also some things we don’t hear about in this Me Too cultural moment right now, things like gossiping or speculating about your co-worker’s sexual preference. And meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, what the fewest people thought was inappropriate in all of the things that we asked was a co-worker asking a co-worker of equal rank out on a date. But even then, 30 percent of people said that was inappropriate.

MCCAMMON: So how pervasive did people think that these kinds of behaviors are at work?

KURTZLEBEN: On a lot of these, quite pervasive. You know, we asked people if they had seen these things happen in the workplace and even some things that people saw as very inappropriate like telling sexual stories or jokes or calling an adult female in the workplace babe or sweetie or, you know, some iteration of that. A majority of people said they had seen those things at work even though around 8 or 9 in 10 people thought those things were inappropriate. Likewise, about half of people have seen their co-worker discussing each other’s sexual preferences or history. And about a third say they have seen deliberate touching or leaning or cornering or something to that effect.

But on a lot of these behaviors where there’s near consensus that these things are inappropriate and where you have quite a few people saying, yeah, I’ve seen this happening, relatively few people – 1 in 10 or fewer – say they have actually done these things themselves. So, for example, more than half of people have seen someone telling a sexual joke or story at work. Fifteen percent of people say they have done that themselves.

MCCAMMON: It also seems like, especially in this moment, that it would be kind of hard to admit to a pollster that you’ve done any of these things. Am I right?

KURTZLEBEN: Right, yeah. And, you know, that is a concern in a poll like this, so we did this poll online. That should mitigate some of that. But aside from that, you know, there are a few other things to think about with this poll. First is that this is the first time that we have polled on these questions with Ipsos. We do not have anything else to compare this to. This is just a snapshot. So we don’t know if this is a change from people’s behaviors before the Me Too movement.

One other really big question mark with these questions is that the behaviors we asked people about, some of them are pretty ambiguous. And that’s intentionally ambiguous, right? Because one of the big challenges people are confronting in their workplaces right now is those gray areas you started out asking me about. Take commenting on a co-worker’s appearance, for example. Saying to a co-worker, hey, that’s a cool dress you’re wearing, that can be perceived as a very different thing from saying that dress looks great on you.

MCCAMMON: Right.

KURTZLEBEN: Two different things you could say about a co-worker’s appearance and two very different ways to perceive that.

MCCAMMON: Well, thanks, Danielle. Danielle Kurtzleben is a politics reporter with NPR. Good to have you here.

KURTZLEBEN: Yes, thank you.

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

In ‘The Undressing,’ Li-Young Lee Processes Violence And Beauty Of Human Connection

Feb 25, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on In ‘The Undressing,’ Li-Young Lee Processes Violence And Beauty Of Human Connection



SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

In his latest book, “The Undressing,” poet Li-Young Lee explores the beauty and violence of human relationships and connection.

LI-YOUNG LEE: (Reading) I loved you before I was born. It doesn’t make sense, I know. I saw your eyes before I had eyes to see. And I’ve lived longing for your every look ever since.

MCCAMMON: Over the course of this slim volume of poems, a romantic moment stretches into a spiral of memory and longing, taking the reader on an emotional and sometimes turbulent journey that ends much like it began. Joining me now to discuss all of that and more is poet Li-Young Lee. He joins us from member station WQED in Pittsburgh. Li-Young Lee, thank you so much for joining us.

LEE: Thank you for having me, Sarah.

MCCAMMON: The inside jacket of this book, “The Undressing,” says that this collection of poems, quote, “attempts to uncover things hidden since the dawn of the world.” That sounds like a big undertaking. What do you mean by that?

LEE: Yeah (laughter). I was kind of shocked that I said that. I guess, you know, when one writes poetry, you enter into a relationship with the logos.

MCCAMMON: That’s Greek for word, right?

LEE: Yes, it’s the Greek for word. And when we write poems, we enter into a relationship – a deep relationship – with the logos, the word and with the dynamism of opposites, you know, meaning and nonsense, chaos and order and form and void. So it seems to me that when we write poems, we are trying to access or understand those deep laws. So that’s what I meant, I guess.

MCCAMMON: Some of your poems seem to express almost a frustration, though, with poetry. For example, there’s a section in your book where the speaker appears to be a woman. She’s referred to as she. And she says, you call yourself a poet. You tame high-finisher of paltry blots. You publish doubt and call it knowledge. You destroy the wisdom of ages to gratify your envy. You murder benevolence and virtue with condescension. You pretend to poetry and destroy imagination.

Do you ever feel that way about your own writing?

LEE: Oh, that’s exactly what I feel about my own writing. And I had to face this goddess-like figure in that poem who was telling me all these things and accusing me. And I face her every morning and every night before I go to bed, you know. That’s the – I don’t want to say a negative muse, but she – yeah, she accuses me of all those things. And I thought maybe if I gave expression to her accusations, I could kind of exorcise myself of those things, you know.

MCCAMMON: I want to talk about your family history, which you’ve written about over the years, including in “The Undressing.” You talk about your siblings, your father. I should mention you were born in Indonesia. Your father was a political prisoner there for a year, and then the family fled the country. If you would, I’d like you to read for us page 43, section 4.

LEE: OK.

(Reading) After 19 months in prison, eight of those in a leper colony – and he never got leprosy – my father was unrecognizable to me. So when I spied my mother slipping him a bar of soap during our visit, I thought that strange man had thieved it from her. As the guards were returning him to his cell, I ran after them and snatched the soap out of my father’s pocket, exposing my parents’ ploy. The guards had a good laugh when they discovered what was happening. Funny thing is, my father later told me, they didn’t punish him that time, though in the past he’d been tortured for lesser offenses. The reason was he’d been teaching the prison guards in secret, at their request, to read and write in English using the King James Bible.

MCCAMMON: Is this based on a true story?

LEE: This is an absolutely true story. You know, my father was a political prisoner. And the reason he was kept safe was because of the stories he told. He had a gift for storytelling. And even the guards loved to hear him tell stories, and so they kept him safe because of that. And they later found out that he also spoke and read English, and they had him teaching them.

MCCAMMON: You describe it almost as as a witness. You were not there, correct?

LEE: No.

MCCAMMON: So this is – how were these stories passed down to you?

LEE: They were passed down from my sister. Well, I was born there. And this was actually something that happened to me. But a lot of – I have an older sister and older brother who remembered a lot of these things. You know, they would always tell me things. You did this or you did that or we did this or this happened to us. And – so it’s my family – the family canon I’m trying to account for.

MCCAMMON: Li-Young Lee. His latest book of poems, “The Undressing,” is out now. Thank you so much for joining us.

LEE: Thank you, Sarah.

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

The ‘Forgotten Olympians’: Winners Even Without Medals

Feb 25, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on The ‘Forgotten Olympians’: Winners Even Without Medals

Alexia Paganini of Switzerland competes on Friday. “To know my whole family from Switzerland is watching me,” Paganini says, “It’s just an honor.”

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Alexia Paganini of Switzerland competes on Friday. “To know my whole family from Switzerland is watching me,” Paganini says, “It’s just an honor.”

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The Winter Olympics end Sunday after a 17-day run in and around Pyeongchang, South Korea.

But let’s go back to the start and do some quick math.

When the Games began, the athlete count was 2,952. They would compete in 102 events. With three medals per event, that makes 306 total medals handed out. Subtracting that from the athlete count, 2,646 athletes wouldn’t win medals. And actually that number is larger since a number of competitors won multiple medals.

Red Gerard Wins First U.S. Medal At Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

The point is most of those 2,952 athletes will not be in the record books with gold, silver or bronze next to their names. It’s almost like they’re the forgotten Olympians.

But if you cover an Olympics, you get to see many of the forgotten ones. Not only competing, but afterwards in what’s called the mixed zone. It’s an area between where the competition is held and where the athlete ultimately wants to go — a locker room, a quiet space away from reporters and fans.

The mixed zone is where those reporters live, waiting with cameras, notepads and recording iPhones to prod athletes with all kinds of questions. Athletes are required to pass through. They’re not required to stop and talk.

For the medal winners, there’s always a throng of journalists waiting. For the forgotten Olympians, the mixed zone can be an awkward journey. Walking past reporters and not getting asked to stop and chat can be further confirmation that you are forgotten.

‘Just an honor’

But talk to some of these athletes, and you realize “forgotten” is a relative term. Here’s what just a few of them have to say.

“Oh yeah, my phone was exploding with messages! From my family, friends,” Alexa Paginini said.

The 16-year-old American-Swiss athlete had just finished her free skate in the ladies figure skating competition at the Gangneung Ice Arena. She would place 21st in her first Olympics. While the world talked about the top three — Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva for the Olympic Athletes From Russia contingent, and Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond-Paginini heard from family, friends and Switzerland, the country she decided to represent last year. She was born and raised and lives in the U.S., but has had a Swiss passport since birth.

“It means a lot to me to represent a country that’s so close to my roots,” said Paginini, whose father is from Switzerland. “To know my whole family from Switzerland is watching me. It’s just an honor.”

And she didn’t mind not being part of the global conversation about the Olympic figure skating competition, one of the Games’ marquee events.

“I came in here knowing I wasn’t going to medal,” she said, “so really I just look up to these skaters who are the top of the podium. I just think what can I do to become as good as them, or be competitive with them. So really it [the lack of widespread attention] doesn’t bother me.”

France’s Mae Berenice Meite competes in figure skating on Friday.

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France’s Mae Berenice Meite competes in figure skating on Friday.

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Making her own history

Mae Berenice Meite of France is 5’6″ but her skates make her several inches taller than the one reporter who stops her to ask questions. Meite finished 19th after the free skate.

“Not the best I could’ve done technically,” she said. But then she flashed a proud smile. “I’m very happy because I put my heart out and I tried to enjoy as much as possible. Because it’s an opportunity for me to be here and I’ve very happy to have represented France.”

French figure skater Mae Berenice Meite manages to catch the attention of one reporter in the mixed zone, where media members wait for athletes after they compete. Meite is a relative unknown — she finished 19th in the ladies individual event. The biggest stars are greeted by a throng of journalists. “I’m taking my time to make my own history,” Meite said.

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French figure skater Mae Berenice Meite manages to catch the attention of one reporter in the mixed zone, where media members wait for athletes after they compete. Meite is a relative unknown — she finished 19th in the ladies individual event. The biggest stars are greeted by a throng of journalists. “I’m taking my time to make my own history,” Meite said.

Tom Goldman/NPR

Meite was a reminder that many of the forgotten Olympians still are quite accomplished — the best in their town, their region, their country. Meite was the only skater from France to qualify for the free skate and although 23, she has her sights set on her third Olympics, in 2022. This is despite the current youth revolution in the women’s sport — gold medalist Zagitova is 15.

“I’m taking my time to make my own history,” Meite said, “so step by step [and] in four years hopefully they will talk about the French skaters too.”

And with that, Meite nodded, smiled and walked off through an empty mixed zone.

‘You dream of other things’

Sometimes the forgotten Olympians flit through the mixed zone like ghosts. Not looking up; not making eye contact with reporters to save themselves the embarrassment of not being asked to stop.

Skier Noelle Barahona of Chile crosses the finish line of the second training of the alpine skiing women’s downhill race on Monday.

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Skier Noelle Barahona of Chile crosses the finish line of the second training of the alpine skiing women’s downhill race on Monday.

Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

Noelle Barahona of Chile wasn’t one of those.

This past Wednesday, Barahona finished 25th in the ladies downhill alpine ski event. After her run, she stood in the mixed zone watching the venue ceremony at the Jeongseon Alpine Center, with the three top skiers standing on a podium.

“Obviously everyone deserves to be here,” she said, adding, “but I think the three people who won, for different reasons, and different stories, maybe deserve it that one-hundredths more.”

The 5.02 seconds that separated Barahona from winner Sophia Goggia of Italy may not seem like much. But Barahona knows those few seconds represent a chasm in her sport.

“We watched the runs of the top 10,” she said, “They all looked sick. I was like, I think I could train for 100 years and never be that good. But it’s inspiring to watch, really. It’s crazy what the human body is capable of doing, especially in this sport, where it’s 100 percent you that makes the speed. You don’t depend on anything else and you go so fast.”

Barahona may be quick to praise those at the top. But she speaks for many a forgotten Olympian too when she says accepting relative anonymity has its limits.

“Sometimes it’s weird,” Barahona says. “When we have [technical] races and they do, like, the medal ceremony before the last [skiers] go, it’s like, ‘wait I’m still here you know?!’ It’s a little bit bumming. Like, oh man nobody has faith in me, y’know?”

Ester Ledecka Makes History, Winning Olympic Gold In Both Snowboarding And Skiing

Barahona says Czech Republic skier/snowboarder Ester Ledecka gave the forgotten ones hope at these Olympics. Starting 26th in the Super G, Ledecka scored a stunning upset when she beat the world’s best alpine stars and won the race.

“You always say what if today is the magical day that I get a medal?” Barahona says. “ObviousIy, I think everyone thinks that. Even the last finishers. Ester won the Super-G here and I think her goal was top 20 y’know? So for sure, you have something in mind, you dream of other things.”

For Barahona, the Olympic dream is over. Including Pyeongchang, she’s competed in four Olympic Games. But she says she’s quitting the sport after this season.

U.S. Men's Curling Team Wins Gold, Beating Sweden 10-7 At Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

“Time to move on,” she says. “I love skiing. I’ve always loved skiing, but I love doing other things as well. There’s a new chapter coming up. I’m excited about it.”

And perhaps whatever she chooses, she’ll be able to come out of the shadows a little bit more.

Canadian Olympic Athlete And Coach Apologize After Drunken Joyride Arrest

Feb 25, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Canadian Olympic Athlete And Coach Apologize After Drunken Joyride Arrest

Dave Duncan of Canada competes in the freestyle skiing men’s ski cross seeding at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The athlete was arrested early Saturday morning for allegedly stealing a car.

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Dave Duncan of Canada competes in the freestyle skiing men’s ski cross seeding at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The athlete was arrested early Saturday morning for allegedly stealing a car.

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A Canadian athlete, his wife and his trainer were detained by South Korean police after drunkenly driving off in an unoccupied, idling car in Pyeongchang on Saturday, according to Reuters. Local press reported that the car was a pink Hummer.

When police pulled the vehicle over, they discovered technical skiing coach Willy Raine behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level of 0.16, CBC reported. The legal limit in South Korea is 0.05. He was charged with drunk driving. Raine, alpine skier Dave Duncan and his wife Maja were all charged with car theft.

Duncan, from Ontario, finished in eighth place in ski cross on Wednesday, beating his 24th place finish in Sochi in 2014. The skier is decorated in the X-Games, where he won bronze in 2012 and silver in 2010.

A detail from his Canadian Olympic team biography notes that after Duncan’s first day on the slopes as a child, his mother brought him his own skiing gear; he began jumping on a couch in excitement, causing him to fall and break his arm.

Raine competed in the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics. He is the son of Canadian skiing legend Nancy Greene, who won gold in women’s giant slalom and silver in women’s slalom in the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics. She is currently a senator for British Columbia.

The three were released on Saturday after police concluded their investigation. according to Reuters. Its results will be sent to South Korean prosecution and, unless the alleged offense is deemed a serious crime, Raine, Duncan and his wife will be able to leave the country after paying a fine. For now, they are restricted from leaving South Korea.

“We have an athlete’s agreement that all athletes do sign before they agree to come to the Olympic games that speaks to appropriate codes of conduct and the values of the Olympic committee,” said Chris Overholt, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee, at a press conference. “We are deeply disappointed in the behaviors of these individuals.”

The couple released a joint apology, noting: “We engaged in behavior that demonstrated poor judgement and was not up to the standards expected of us as Members of the Canadian Olympic Team or as Canadians.”

“I have let my teammates, friends and my family down. I would also like to apologize to the owner of the vehicle that was involved,” reads a statement from Raine.

Frank Kimbrough On Piano Jazz

Feb 24, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Frank Kimbrough On Piano Jazz

When pianist Frank Kimbrough was Marian McPartland’s guest in 1997, he was performing regularly with the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra at Visiones Jazz Club in New York, where he has been active on the jazz scene for nearly four decades. An educator and recording artist, Kimbrough was a founding member and composer-in-residence of the Jazz Composers Collective.

In this Piano Jazz session, Kimbrough’s graceful, romantic style is evident on a Herbie Nichols tune, “Wildflower.” He and McPartland duet on Sonny Rollins‘ “Doxy.”

Originally broadcast in the spring of 1997.

SET LIST

  • “Wildflower” (Nichols)
  • “20 Bars” (Kimbrough)
  • “Sweet and Lovely” (Arnheim, Tobias, Daniels)
  • “All Too Soon” (Ellington, Sigman)
  • “Wish I Knew” (Warren, Mack)
  • “Lonely Woman” (Coleman, Guryan)
  • “Doxy” (Rollins)

Gothamist Properties Will Be Revived Under New Ownership: Public Media

Feb 24, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Gothamist Properties Will Be Revived Under New Ownership: Public Media

Public radio stations WNYC, KPCC and WAMU announced Friday that they will revive the Gothamist local news sites in their cities. The sites had been shuttered by owner Joe Ricketts in November.

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Public radio stations WNYC, KPCC and WAMU announced Friday that they will revive the Gothamist local news sites in their cities. The sites had been shuttered by owner Joe Ricketts in November.

WNYC

Nearly four months after their billionaire owner shut them down, local news sites Gothamist, LAist and DCist will come back to life under new ownership: public radio stations.

WNYC in New York will buy Gothamist, Southern California’s KPCC will acquire LAist, and WAMU in Washington, D.C., is taking over DCist.

Billionaire Owner Shuts Down DNAinfo, Gothamist Sites A Week After Workers Unionize

WNYC says the move is largely funded by two anonymous donors “who are deeply committed to supporting local journalism initiatives and the station partners.” Though the financial details weren’t disclosed, the station says the acquistition resulted from a competitive process. The deal includes story archives, Internet domains, and social media assets.

The sites’ owner, TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, cited financial reasons in closing the sites. But the move came just a week after workers at its New York outlets voted to unionize. Ricketts had previously written a blog post titled, “Why I’m Against Unions At Businesses I Create.”

The deal to revive the sites was driven by Gothamist’s founders, Jake Dobkin and Jen Chung, Wired reports. Dobkin told the magazine the acquisition was “the best possible outcome” after the sudden shutdown of the sites in early November.

He told Wired that his team was looking for other local news organizations or radio stations to possibly acquire Chicagoist and SFist. Both sites say their archives are now operated by WNYC.

“The nonprofit WNYC business model has proved to be a growing and thriving thing while a lot of things have been going so deeply south,” Jim Schachter, head of WNYC’s news division, told the magazine.

New York Public Radio’s chief operating officer told The Wall Street Journal that each of the three stations has some “skin in the game.”

In an open letter to Southern Californians, KPCC Chief Content Officer Kristen Muller said that when LAist went dark, “a collective shudder ran through our newsroom. It was the neighborhood blog that could. We’d lost an important voice.”

KPCC is conducting a survey of Angelenos about what they miss about LAist and what their “dream version” of the site would look like.

“The health of our local media landscape matters,” Muller writes. “The future of our city depends on engaged residents to make informed choices. We’re excited by the opportunity to bring LAist back into the fight.”

WAMU says it plans a “slight refresh” of DCist before launching this spring. The station plans to hire three full-time staffers to run the site.

“This was an opportunity that when we learned about it, it seemed like such a natural fit,” WAMU chief content officer Andi McDaniel said in a statement. “The kind of community and neighborhood-level reporting that DCist does, and its beloved status locally, just aligned naturally with what our mission is.”

White House Briefly Put On Lockdown After Driver Hits Security Barrier

Feb 24, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on White House Briefly Put On Lockdown After Driver Hits Security Barrier

A Secret Service officer hurries past reporters after a vehicle struck a security barrier near the White House Friday.

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A Secret Service officer hurries past reporters after a vehicle struck a security barrier near the White House Friday.

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Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET

The White House went on lockdown for a while on Friday afternoon after a female driver struck a nearby security barrier and was “immediately apprehended” by officers, according to the Secret Service.

The agency said in a statement it has had “previous encounters” with the woman they say is 35, white and from LaVergne, Tenn. The statement said she has been charged with “numerous criminal violations,” and turned over to Washington, D.C., police.

The agency said the vehicle “did not breach the security barrier of the White House complex.”

It happened a couple of blocks south of the President’s official residence around 3:30 p.m., as President Trump was inside hosting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“This minivan came and crashed into the barricade and tried to push through the barricade and his tires were burning rubber and a lot of smoke was coming up,” eyewitness Chris Bello said, according to Reuters. “And then about 30 seconds after that the two security guards that were in the booth, you know, ordered him to stop doing what he was doing and he didn’t listen,” Bello said.

The checkpoint is the same site of a 2016 episode when agents shot a man brandishing a gun, reports CNN. Nobody else was injured and the White House was placed under an hour-long lockdown at the time.

Located in the middle of the bustling metropolis, the White House grounds have been a target for intruders several times over the years.

A Congressional report compiled in 2015 found, “security incidents occur frequently enough that the agency must be prepared to deter and respond to breaches at all times.”

A 2014 Washington Post report chronicled more than 30 breaches that have been reported since the mid-1970s.

Often Secret Security tackles fence jumpers before they can gain much ground. But in 2014 an intruder armed with a small knife was able to make it inside the White House through an unlocked door before being apprehended. The Obama family was away at the time.

During Friday’s incident, the Secret Service said law enforcement personnel suffered no injuries and no shots were fired.

Fox 5 DC tweeted a video of a white van in front of a barrier with a broken rear window.

Logs Of 911 Calls Reveal The Troubled History Of Florida School Shooter

Feb 24, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Logs Of 911 Calls Reveal The Troubled History Of Florida School Shooter

Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Newly released tapes and logs of 911 calls show that police had responded to at least two dozen incidents of violent or disruptive behavior over 10 years by the 19-year-old suspect in the fatal shootings of 17 students and staff at a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last week.

On November 29 of last year, Nikolas Cruz called 911 himself in Palm Beach County to report that someone “attacked me and said they were going to gut me.”

In a 5 ½ minute call, Cruz say, “I kind of got made and I started punching walls and stuff and then a kid came at me and threw me on the ground, and he started attacking me and kicked me out of the house.”

In another call, a woman, whose name was redacted, describes an altercation between her adult son and Cruz. She also said she’s worried that Cruz is going to get a gun, “because that’s all he wants is his gun, and that’s all he cares about is his gun.”

The Miami Herald and other news organizations identify the caller as 42-year-old Roxanne Deschamps, who had taken in Cruz and his younger brother, Zachary, after their mother died earlier that month.

Those two calls are just part of the story authorities are piecing together about the troubled history of the alleged shooter and how various government agencies and school officials failed to effectively intervene before the shooting last week.

Meanwhile, the Broward Sheriff’s office released records dating back 10 years documenting contacts it had with Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old suspect. The records released are logs of 23 separate 911 calls, including 15 calls made by his now-deceased mother, Linda Cruz, reporting disputes and disturbances involving Cruz between November 2008 and June 2014. Several other calls were made by third parties beginning in February 2016 through November 2017.

The Sheriff’s Office’s response to two of the calls is under investigation by its Internal Affairs unit.

On February 5, 2016, deputies received a call summarized as:

“Third hand information from the neighbor’s son that Nikolas Cruz planned to shoot up the school on Instagram (Picture of Juvenile with guns.) One month time delay. Unknown high school. Cruz lives in area.”

The log says that the deputy made contact with the anonymous caller. Upon learning that Cruz possessed knives and a BB gun, that information was “forwarded to Stoneman Douglas School Resource Officer.”

On November 30, 2017, another call was logged:

“Caller advised subject Nikolas Cruz is collecting guns and knives. Cruz wants to join the Army. Concerned he will kill himself one day and believes he could be a school shooter in the making. Caller advised Cruz was no longer living at the listed parkland address and is now living Lake Worth, FL. Believes the weapons are kept at a friend’s house at an unknown location.”

The log says that the deputy contacted the caller located in Massachusetts via telephone. “No report was initiated…Deputy advised her referred the caller to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.”

On Thursday, Sheriff Scott Israel announced that two of his deputies are on restrictive duty pending an investigation into whether they followed policy in responding to 911 calls about the alleged shooter.

Trump Appears To Read From The NRA’s Script Hours After The Gun Lobby Chief’s Speech

Feb 23, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Trump Appears To Read From The NRA’s Script Hours After The Gun Lobby Chief’s Speech

President Trump meeting with state and local officials on school violence Thursday, including Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

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President Trump meeting with state and local officials on school violence Thursday, including Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Evan Vucci/AP

In trying to clarify his Wednesday comments about arming teachers and other school personnel, President Trump, a day later, aligned himself even more closely with the National Rifle Association on the issue of teachers with guns and beefing up school security.

So much so, they seemed, at times, to be reading from the same script.

Here’s how the day started — with NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC (emphasis ours):

“Can we protect so much with armed security, while we drop our kids off at school, that are so-called gun-free zones, that are wide-open targets for any crazy madman bent on evil to come there first? There first? In every community, PTAs, teachers’ unions, local law enforcement, moms and dads – they all must come together to implement the very best strategy to harden their schools, including effective trained, armed security that will absolutely protect every innocent child in this country. That has to happen now. Evil walks among us, and God help us if we do not harden our schools and protect our kids. …

“I refuse to leave this stage until I say one more time that we must immediately harden our schools. Every day— every day, young children are being dropped off at schools that are virtually wide open, soft targets for anyone bent on mass murder. It should not be easier for a madman to shoot up a school than a bank or a jewelry store or some Hollywood gala. Schools must be the most hardened targets in this country.”

Hours later, Trump was at the White House talking about school safety after last week’s mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school. Notice, Trump used some of the same talking points, key words and phrases as LaPierre (again, emphasis ours):

“We have to harden our schools, not soften them. A gun-free zone to a killer or somebody who wants to be a killer, that’s like going in for the ice cream. That’s like ‘here I am, take me.’ We have to get smart on gun-free zones. When they see ‘this is a gun-free zone,’ that means that nobody has a gun except them, nobody’s going to be shooting bullets in the other direction. And they see that, it’s such a beautiful target. They live for gun-free zones.

“Now what I’d recommend doing is the people that do carry, we give them a bonus, we give them a little bit of a bonus, because frankly they’d feel more comfortable having the gun anyway, you give them a little bit of a bonus, so practically for free you’ve now made the school into a hardened target. …

“You want a hardened school, and I want a hardened school, too.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio Softens On Gun Restrictions

So when it comes to “hardening” schools, not a phrase that was in wide use before Thursday, and speaking out against “gun-free zones,” it appears the president and the NRA are, well, on the same page.

Trump does appear, however, to differ with the gun lobby when it comes to his support of increasing the age to be able to buy an assault rifle, from 18 to 21. Trump said he wasn’t concerned, though, about that.

NRA Leader Warns Conservatives Of 'Socialist Wave' In Wake Of Shooting

“I don’t think I’ll be going up against them,” Trump said. “I really think the NRA wants to do what’s right. I mean, they’re very close to me; I’m very close to them; they’re very, very great people. They love this country. They’re patriots. The NRA wants to do the right thing.”

And then in his next sentence, he may have given away the reason he and the NRA seem to be using similar, and sometimes the exact same, language.

“I’ve spoken to them often in the last two days,” Trump acknowledged, “and they want to do the right thing.”

Trump also reiterated his calls for arming more teachers and other adults working in the nations’ schools, something LaPierre also called for. But Trump has made several conflicting statements on the controversial issue over the course of less than 24 hours beginning Wednesday.

At White House listening sessions Wednesday with students and parents, including some from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman killed 17 people last week, Trump said, “If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, it could very well end the attack very quickly.”

But Thursday morning, the president put out a barrage of tweets, defending himself and clarifying, “I never said ‘give teachers guns’ like was stated on Fake News.” He added that he wanted to look at the possibility of giving “giving concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience.”

In his subsequent White House meeting Thursday with state and local officials to discuss schoool safety, Trump expanded on that.

“I don’t want teachers to have guns,” he said. “I want certain highly adept people, people that understand weaponry, guns. If they really have that aptitude, because not everybody has an aptitude for a gun. I think a concealed permit for teachers and letting people know there are people in the building with a gun, you won’t have, in my opinion, you won’t have these shootings.”

An armed guard was present at the Florida high school last week, but resigned Thursday after video footage showed that he never went inside the building to engage the shooter.

Trump Backs Arming Teachers During Emotional White House Listening Session

“He never went in,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference Thursday. “Devastated. Sick to my stomach,” is how Israel described how he felt when he learned the guard didn’t engage the shooter. “There are no words I mean these families lost their children.”

The idea of arming teachers, while pushed by the NRA, is opposed by the nation’s largest teachers union. In a statement, National Education Assocuation president Lily Eskelsen Garcia said:

“Bringing more guns into our schools does nothing to protect our students and educators from gun violence. Our students need more books, art and music programs, nurses and school counselors; they do not need more guns in their classrooms. Parents and educators overwhelmingly reject the idea of arming school staff. Educators need to be focused on teaching our students. We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educators. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that.”

Trump on Thursday also expressed doubts about active shooter drills in schools, calling them “a very negative thing,” “crazy” and “very bad.”

“I’ll be honest with you,” Trump said. “If I’m a child, I’m 10 years old, and they say, ‘We’re going to have an active shooter drill,’ I say, ‘What’s that?’ ‘Well, people may come in and shoot you.’ I think that’s a very negative thing to be talking about, to be honest with you. I don’t like it. I’d much rather have a hardened school.”

The president said unless a school has “offensive capability, you’re wasting your time, you’re wasting your time.”

The president also shifted blame from guns to violent movies and video games. They are “really shaping young people’s thoughts,” Trump contended, reminding of the national debate after Columbine in 1999. The shooters at Columbine listened to the music of rocker Marilyn Manson, popular with high-schoolers all over the country at the time.

“The Columbine era destroyed my entire career at the time,” Manson told The Guardian this past September.

Trump claimed Thursday, “You see these movies, and they’re so violent and yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn’t involved.”

He then called for a ratings system, something that has long existed for movies and video games.

Two survivors of the Stoneman Douglas shooting disputed the president’s logic.

“My friends and I have been playing video games our whole lives, and seen, of course, violent movies,” Samuel Zeif told CNN, “but never have we ever felt driven or provoked by those action in those games to do something as horrible as this.”

Chris Grady called the Presidents’ comments “a pathetic excuse.”

“I grew up playing video games,” Grady said, citing Call of Duty and other first-person shooter games. “I would never, ever dream of taking the lives of any of my peers.

“So it’s just pathetic.”

South Korean Speedskaters Left A Teammate Behind, Now Fans Want Them Off The Team

Feb 23, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on South Korean Speedskaters Left A Teammate Behind, Now Fans Want Them Off The Team

Two South Korean speed skaters face public outrage for unsportsmanlike behavior during a race. Now fans want them banned from the national team.

ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images


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Two South Korean speed skaters face public outrage for unsportsmanlike behavior during a race. Now fans want them banned from the national team.

ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Two South Korean speedskaters who humiliated their teammate are facing a swift backlash from fans who are demanding the women be banned from the national team. The fans’ petition has gathered more than 579,000 signatures over two days.

The painful drama played out on the ice on Monday during the pursuit team quarterfinals race when Noh Seon-Yeong was left behind by the two faster women on team, leaving Noh to cross the finish line roughly four seconds later — a glacial delay in the sport.

And when she broke down in tears after the race — in which they came in seventh — they ignored her and walked away.

The fans are not having it.

They are furious over the public shaming and unsportsmanlike display by Kim Bo-reum and Park Ji Woo and have launched a petition appealing to the South Korean president to remove the young women from the national team. The online petition calls it “an obvious national disgrace” to have Kim and Park represent the country in the Olympics.

The presidential Blue House responded to the public outcry saying it “plans to respond to the petition at an appropriate time. We will likely pass our recommendations or express our views to relevant bodies,” according to CNN.

Leaving Noh to fend for herself — kind of like a wounded animal on the Sahara — appeared especially vindictive to pursuit team speedskating fans because the race is only over when the final member of a trio finishes the race. Meaning there is nothing to gain by bolting away.

In fact, skaters often trade places between the lead, middle and rear positions — sometimes physically pushing the slowest teammate ahead — to ensure that the pack sticks together and makes it across the finish line as quickly as possible. It is the only speedskating competition where physical contact among racers on the same team is allowed.

Kim and Park also made matters worse in a series of interviews and non-apology apologies. Immediately following the race, Kim told The Korea Times, “We practiced a lot for the Olympics and our midway race was quite good,” she said. “As you saw it, the racer was far behind us and the gap had become even wider as we neared the finish line… I regret our record.”

Park similarly insinuated that Noh was to blame for the team’s poor performance and failure to reach the semifinals, according to the newspaper.

The Korean Herald reported both women were met with an onslaught of criticism over social media from fans who say they should have helped Noh and have accused Kim and Park of bullying. Apparently, the flurry of angry posts and comments led Kim to switch her social media accounts to private.

She also offered this statement in a separate press conference: “I think many people were hurt after seeing [the interview after the race] so I am really sorry for that. … I became greedy and focused only when I reached the finish line I realized she was behind.”

Reuters reported the South Korean team finished eighth in the women’s team pursuit final on Wednesday.

After the race Noh and Kim headed straight to the locker room. Park had one comment: “I’m sorry.”

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