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Family of saved boy thank Malian 'Spider-Man' Mamoudou Gassama, as 'true hero' receives French residency

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 05:02

The family of a small boy found hanging from a balcony in Paris have expressed heartfelt thanks to the Malian migrant who saved him. "He's truly a hero," the boy's grandmother said of Mamoudou Gassama, who climbed four floors before a crowd of well-wishers to pluck the child from danger. The four-year-old's father, who had allegedly left him in their flat to go shopping, and then stayed out longer than planned to play Pokemon Go, faces charges of child neglect. The daring rescue, which has earned him the nickname of Spider-Man, saw Mr Gassama become an overnight national hero and he was offered French citizenship. President Emmanuel Macron awarded him a medal for bravery after inviting him to the Elysée Palace on Monday and offered him a job in the fire brigade. “Thank you France. That’s all I can say,” said Mr Gassama after coming out of the state prefecture in of Bobigny, north or Paris, where he was handed a residency permit while awaiting full citizenship. It transpires that the boy had left Réunion, the French Indian Ocean island, where his mother and grandmother live, only three weeks ago for Paris to join his father, who works in the capital. His mother and the couple's second child were due to join them in June. The boy had already fallen one or two floors before somehow managing to grab hold of the fourth-floor balcony, as he is said to have pointed upwards when a resident in the neighbouring fourth-floor flat asked where he came from. His mother told Antenne Réunion that the boy's father had little experience looking after him on his own and that this was not the first time he had left him alone. "I can't justify what my husband did. People will say it could have happened to anyone and it has happened to other people. My son was just lucky," she said. Speaking of Mr Gassama’s act, she said: “If I were to meet him, I think I would say what everyone is saying: thank you, thank you!” “At any rate, I wouldn’t have been able to go one better than the president. He has been recompensed for his act.” There have been questions over why a man on the balcony of the neighbouring fourth-floor flat couldn’t simply pull him to safety. Mamoudou Gassam rescues young child from building in Paris  Credit: Telegraph But the neighbour told Le Parisien that he could only hold the boy’s hand but not pull him up because there was a divider separating the two balconies and he feared dropping him. "I didn't want to take the risk of letting go of his hand, I thought it better to do things step by step," he said. The child had been wearing a Spiderman outfit, he said, and was bleeding from his toe and had a torn nail. The boy was briefly taken into care by French authorities while police questioned his father, who was reportedly devastated, but social services concluded that the child risked no further imminent danger so gave him back custody. However, the father faces charges of failing in one's legal duty as a parent, punishable by a maximum two years in prison and a fine of €30,000 (£26,000). His mother is also due to be interviewed by social workers in Réunion. Emmanuel Macron awarded Mamadou Gassama a special medal and diploma for bravery and devotion Credit: POOL As for Mr Gassama, the 22-year-old left his native Mali in West Africa as a teenager in 2013, according to Le Monde. He crossed the Sahara desert through Burkina Faso, Niger and Libya and then traversed the Mediterranean to Italy in 2014 at his second attempt.  His first bid failed when he was intercepted at sea by police. He told Mr Macron that he had travelled to France because he did not know anyone in Italy and his brother had been living in France for many years. According to Le Figaro, he has been living in squalid migrant lodgings in Montreuil, east of Paris, with three brothers and several cousins.

Mississippi Delta: Still the heart of poverty

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 05:00

Photos: Yahoo News national correspondent Holly Bailey journeyed to the Mississippi Delta to find lingering poverty and racial disparities that profoundly moved both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy fifty years earlier.

Evacuation orders canceled in North Carolina after officials deem Lake Tahoma Dam safe

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 03:58

Heavy rainfall led to a landslide that compromised the Lake Tahoma Dam in western North Carolina early Wednesday morning.

Two Belgian policewomen shot dead: What we know

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 02:49

A gunman killed two female police officers and a man in a parked car in the eastern Belgian city of Liege, before he was shot dead by police. The assailant is suspected of being radicalised in prison by Islamist militants. - At around 10:30 am (0830 GMT), a man followed two female police officers in Liege, stabbed them several times, then grabbed their firearms and shot them both dead.

Don't let lava stop you from visiting Hawaii

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 01:34

The images are downright apocalyptic. With plumes of ash and glowing lava, the area around Mount Kilauea looks more like Mordor than a tropical paradise.  That hasn't been great for tourism. National Park System economist Lynne Koontz told the New York Times the local economy is losing $455,000 per day. SEE ALSO: Can I roast a marshmallow over lava? Still, if you've got a plane ticket to Hawaii, there's no need to cancel your trip — you'll probably be fine.  First of all, the Big Island of Hawaii is, well, big. The volcano is erupting on a tiny corner of an island that measures more than 4,000 square miles, which is more than double the area of the entire state of Delaware. Most of the big resorts are in Kona, on the island's west side. That's about 100 miles from the volcano.  Concord University volcanologist Janine Krippner put the danger in perspective in this tweet:  The #Kilauea eruption is affecting people. People are losing their homes. This is serious. But this is a big island and this eruption is being exaggerated just a little, don't ya think?Thank you, who ever made this image: — Dr Janine Krippner (@janinekrippner) May 23, 2018 As a tourist, you'd have to go out of your way to be affected by the lava. Also, the state of Hawaii is made up of eight main islands, which are separated by large swaths of the Pacific Ocean.  Hawaii is actually pretty spread out.Image: Google Honolulu, on Oahu, is located more than 200 miles from the volcano. That's farther than New York City is from Boston.  Kauai — the lush Garden Isle of Hawaii — is even farther. (Most of the island was unscathed by the floods that hit in April, although some communities are still in need of aid.)  Now, if you are going to the Big Island, you'll have to cancel your trip to the closed Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The eastern part of the island around Mount Kilauea is indeed dangerous. In Pahoa, a man trying to save his friend's house from fire was hit by a red-hot "lava bomb" that snapped the bones in his leg. The Leilani Estates community has been hit especially hard. Avoid this area.Image: USGSAnother problem: Kilauea is releasing vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide into the air, which can lead to volcanic smog, aka "vog." Vog can irritate eyes and cause respiratory problems, especially in people with pre-existing respiratory conditions and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Krippner said in an email.  So far, most of the vog has blown offshore, although it can travel to the western side of the Big Island and even other islands if the conditions are right. The University of Hawaii's Vog Measurement and Prediction Project (VMAP) is a useful tool for monitoring the spread of vog.  The threat of vog — and "laze," a toxic haze created when lava hits seawater — is higher the closer you are to active fissures. Obviously, if there's lava flowing nearby, you're going to want to stay away.  None of this is to diminish the need for humanitarian and government aid in Hawaii. More than 70 houses and other buildings have been destroyed and more than 2,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes.  But overblown fears could damage Hawaii's already hurting tourism industry.  "I don’t think people should be largely concerned if they are healthy, listening to the authorities ... and if they are prepared ahead of time," said Krippner.  (Tourists would be wise to bookmark the sites for the USGS and Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.) "If I had travel plans to Hawai’i," she said, "I would still be going." WATCH: Exploring volcanoes with robots: a day in the life of Carolyn Parcheta

Was Starbucks' Racial Bias Training Effective? Here's What These Employees Thought

Wed, 05/30/2018 - 00:01

“I was angry we had to educate people on how to not be racist"

Celebrities, activists, and Barr react to 'Roseanne' news

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 23:42

Reaction to ABC's cancellation of its hit reboot of "Roseanne" after star Roseanne Barr's racist tweet that referred to former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett as a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the "Planet of the Apes":

GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy Contradicts Trump On 'Informant' Claim

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 23:19

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said

Paris Jackson Explains Why She Left Dior Show: 'I Do Not Support Animals Being Branded & Whipped'

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 22:19

Paris Jackson is breaking her silence after abruptly leaving the Dior fashion show

The Latest: Parson: Greitens resignation will heal state

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 21:08

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on allegations against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (all times local):

Man tied to California blast victim freed, charge dropped

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 20:23

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man arrested on suspicion of having explosives after a blast killed his ex-girlfriend at her day spa has walked free after U.S. prosecutors said Tuesday that they had dropped the charge against him.

New Couple Alert? 'Flirtatious' Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra Are 'Hanging Out All the Time,' Says Source

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 20:14

There’s a new hot couple in town — Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra have been spending quality time together after hitting it off last year, PEOPLE confirms

The Latest: Ambassador says Russia supports US-NK talks

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 20:00

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on preparations for a possible summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un (all times local):

Gaza militants launch barrages across border, Israel hits back with air strikes

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 18:33

By Amir Cohen and Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA-ISRAEL BORDER (Reuters) - Palestinian militants launched their heaviest barrages against Israel since the 2014 Gaza war on Tuesday and Israeli aircraft struck back, in a surge of fighting after weeks of border violence. Following militant rocket and mortar launches throughout the day countered by Israeli tank fire and air strikes, the pro-Iran Islamic Jihad militant group said a ceasefire agreement was possible, but Israel said reports of a deal were untrue. "Palestinian factions will abide by calm as long as (Israel) abides by it," Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab said.

Prominent Russian journalist who criticized Kremlin shot dead in Kiev

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 17:12

By Natalia Zinets KIEV (Reuters) - A prominent Russian journalist and critic of President Vladimir Putin was shot dead in Ukraine where he had fled into exile following threats, police said on Tuesday. Arkady Babchenko, 41, died of his wounds in an ambulance after his wife found him covered in his blood in their home, police said, adding they suspected the murder was due to Babchenko's professional activities. Babchenko, a former soldier in the Chechen war who became one of Russia's best-known war correspondents, had left his homeland fearing for his life after criticizing Russian policy in Ukraine and Syria.

Vacationers on cruise ship stuck for 2 days in Tampa port

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 16:03

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Hundreds of passengers on a Carnival Cruise ship were supposed to be enjoying sun and fun, but instead they were kept in port in Tampa for two days.

Anti-Putin Russian journalist shot dead in Ukraine capital 

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 16:03

A prominent Russian journalist known for his sharp criticism of Vladimir Putin has been murdered in the Ukrainian capital.  Arkady Babchenko, 41, was found by his wife in a pool of blood at their Kiev apartment on Monday evening night. He had been shot in the back.  He died in the ambulance on the way to hospital, Ukrainian police said.  Babchenko, who became one of Russia's most famous war correspondents after writing a memoir of his service as a conscript and later professional solider in the Chechen wars, went into exile in 2017 saying he had received multiple threats to himself and his family.  He had emerged as a bitter online critic of the Putin government in recent years, posting regular blogs attacking the Kremlin on his Facebook page.  Babchenko had fled Russia over fears to his safety Credit: Akrady Babchenko/Facebook He had in turn been attacked by pro-Kremlin and nationalist politicians and activists, who have in the past called him a "fifth columnist." Babchenko appeared to reference even more serious threats just hours before he died. In a Tweet posted Monday afternoon, he wrote: "When the president's representative openly posts an offer to have you killed." The Tweet linked to a Facebook post from 2014, later deleted, in which he said Marina Yudenich, who formerly worked for the Kremlin, had called on Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to " invite me for tea." The day before his death, Babchenko was worried about Putin & Kadyrov. This is allegedly the 2014 post he referenced in his tweet & then deleted. In it, he says one of Putin's election representatives had asked Kadyrov to "invite me to tea," a veiled threat— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) May 29, 2018 Mr Kadyrov is widely believed to be linked to the murders of several prominent Kremlin critics, including the 2015 assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov in Moscow.  Babchenko's murder comes two years after Pavel Sheremet, a prominent liberal Belarussian journalist, was killed in a car bombing in Kiev. Sheremet's murder has not been solved.  In October last year Amina Okueva, a Chechen rebel fighter who had fought on the Ukrainian side against Russian forces in east Ukraine, was gunned down in Kiev. Her husband, Adam Osmaev, had  survived a previous assassination attempt in the city.  Ukrainian police officers guard in the entrance to Babchenko's home in Kiev after his body was found Much of Babchenko's ire for the Kremlin sprang from his experiences on its battlefields.  His war memoir, One Soldier's War in Chechnya, is a harrowing and brutally honest account of the chaos and dehumanising horror of the first and second Chechen wars in the 1990s.   As a war correspondent, he went on to write angrily about the human toll of the Kremlin's military entanglements in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria.  His positions did not make him popular with nationalists and pro-Kremlin politicians, and he later described being "used to abuse." Arkady Babchenko served in and reported from several of Russia's modern wars, and became a bitter critic of the Kremlin's military entanglements Credit:  Vitaliy Nosach/AP He became the focus of what he called a particular vicious campaign of "political intimidation" after he wrote on Facebook that he had "neither sympathy or pity" for dozens of members of a Russian army choir who died in an air crash en route to Syria in 2016.   Several pro-Kremlin politicians made public calls for him to be publicly punished, including by being stripped of citizenship, deported, or having his property confiscated.  "It was so personal, so scary, that I was forced to flee," he wrote after he had left Russia.  He lived in Prague and Israel before moving to Kiev last summer.  Babchenko's life was defined by his work as a war correspondent to the last.  Четыре года назад генерал Кульчицкий не взял меня на этот вертолет. Из-за перегруза. Не было места. Часа через два после этой фотографии её сбили. Погибли четырнадцать человек. А мне повезло. Второй день рождения, получается.— Старшина Запаса (@StarshinaZapasa) May 29, 2018 In his last Tweet, posted just ten hours before his body was found, he recalled how he had narrowly escaped death while covering the war in Ukraine in 2014.  "Four years ago General Kulchitsky refused to take me on this helicopter because it was full," he wrote. An hour after this photograph was taken it crashed. Fourteen people died. But I was lucky. It turned out to be my second birthday." 

British campaigner Andy Tsege released from prison after four years on death row in Ethiopia

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:36

A Briton who spent four years on death row in Ethiopia walked out of prison on Tuesday, freed by the regime that once labelled him a “terrorist”. Andargachew Tsege, who fled to Britain in 1974, was greeted by hundreds of supporters who gathered outside his family’s home in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, to celebrate the release of one of the government’s most outspoken critics. Such scenes in one of Africa’s most repressive regimes would have been unthinkable just a few months ago. Mr Andargachew, perhaps unable to grasp the scale of Ethiopia’s rapid political thaw, seemed stunned by the reception. “I did not expect this much turn out,” he said, suggesting he did not deserve  it since “four years in prison is not that much of a sacrifice.” Other dissidents had indeed been incarcerated for longer, though few were captured in such dramatic circumstances. While waiting to catch a connecting flight to Eritrea in 2014, Mr Andargachew was seized by armed men in a transit lounge at an airport in Yemen. He was immediately bundled onto a flight to Addis Ababa, with Ethiopia claiming it had merely extradited one of their most wanted men. Britain protested, but Ethiopia stood firm: as one of the leaders of Ginbot 7, a group of Ethiopian exiles who had based themselves in neighbouring Eritrea, Mr Andargachew was a “traitor” and “coup plotter”. In the past year, however, Ethiopia’s ruling coalition has been forced to yield to domestic pressure after an ethnic and political crisis threatened to tear apart the old political order. In the past three months, the Ethiopian government has pardoned more than 10,000 political prisoners. Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, hailed Mr Andargachew’s release and the broader political significance it portended. “Recent moves by the Ethiopian Government send a positive signal that they remain serious about following through with promised reforms to increase political space,” Mr Johnson said. The Foreign Secretary also insisted that Mr Andargachew’s case had been “a priority” for his department, a claim that will be questioned by those who campaigned for the dissident’s release, particularly his UK-based partner, Yemisrach Hailemariam. Mr Johnson was criticised for not raising Mr Andargachew’s plight publicly — although he said he did in private — when he visited Addis Ababa last year, a trip in which the Foreign Secretary largely skirted over Ethiopia’s human rights record. Mrs Yemisrach extended thanks to Jeremy Corbyn, who is Mr Andargachew’s MP, and to Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, for their efforts to win his freedom. But she pointedly excluded Mr Johnson.

The Latest: Searchers find body of missing Maryland man

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 13:52

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) — The Latest on the aftermath of Maryland's flash flooding (all times local):