Temperatures Plunged to -88.6°F in Parts of Russia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

Updated: January 16, 2018 12:33 PM ET

(MOSCOW) — People living in some of the coldest places on earth are hunkering down as temperatures fall to near-record lows that are even defeating thermometers.

Temperatures in the remote, diamond-rich Russian region of Yakutia on Tuesday plunged to minus 67 degrees Celsius (minus 88.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas.

In Yakutia — about 3,300 miles east of Moscow — where students routinely go to school in minus 40 degrees, school was canceled throughout the region. Local police also ordered parents to keep their children at home.

Over the weekend, two men froze to death when they tried to walk to a nearby farm after their car broke down. Three other men who were with them survived because they were wearing warmer clothes, local investigators reported on Monday.

The press office of Yakutia’s governor said Tuesday all households and businesses in the region have working central heating and access to backup power generators.

In the village of Oymyakon, one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, state-owned television showed mercury falling to the bottom of a thermometer that was only set up to measure down to minus 50. In 2013, Oymyakon recorded an all-time low of minus 71 degrees Celsius (minus 98 Fahrenheit).

Residents of Yakutia, home to nearly 1 million people, are no strangers to cold weather, and this week’s cold spell was not even dominating headlines in local media on Tuesday. Some media outlets, however, ran stories of selfies and stunts in the extreme cold. Women posted pictures of their frozen eyelashes, while YakutiaMedia published a picture of Chinese students who got undressed to take a plunge in a thermal spring.

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The Wrong Woman Was Killed in a Murder-for-Hire Plot

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Osceloa County Dept. of Corrections

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

11:22 AM EST

(KISSIMMEE, Fla.) — Authorities in Florida say the wrong person was killed in a botched murder-for-hire plot set up by a scorned woman.

Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson tells news outlets that Ishnar Marie Lopez was upset that a man she loved was in a relationship with another woman. She hired 22-year-old Alexis Ramos and his girlfriend, Glorianmarie Quinones Montes, to kill the woman.

Gibson said they tracked down a woman they believed to be the target and forced her into the back of her car and drove her to another location.

Even when they realized they had the wrong person, Gibson said they covered her head in duct tape and garbage bags and beat her. She suffocated.

Lopez, Ramos and Montes are charged with murder. No attorneys are listed on jail records.

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Kentucky Becomes First State to Adopt New Medicaid Work Requirement

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announces federal approval of Kentucky's Medicaid waiver in Frankfort, Ky on Jan. 12, 2018
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announces federal approval of Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver in Frankfort, Ky on Jan. 12, 2018
Alex Slitz—Lexington Herald-Leader/AP

By ALANA ABRAMSON

10:50 AM EST

The state of Kentucky has become the first to adopt the Trump administration’s new policy of imposing work requirements as a precondition of receiving Medicaid benefits.

Consequently, residents of Kentucky who are on Medicaid and considered healthy enough to work, must now comply with certain requirements to receive the health care provided by the government program.

The Trump administration announced on January 11 that states could impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. One day later, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved a waiver for Kentucky adopting that new policy for the next five years. Under the program, which officially starts in July, Medicaid beneficiaries between the ages of 19 and 64 who do not meet exemption requirements must complete at least 80 hours per month of “community engagement,” which includes work, school, job skills training, or community service. If they do not complete the requirements, Medicaid eligibility will be suspended. The program exempts several categories of recipients, including pregnant women, those diagnosed as “medically frail,” primary caregivers, and former foster care youth.

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“It will be transformational,” Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin said in an announcement Friday. “Transformational in all the right ways, in good ways, in powerful ways.”

More than 2 million people are on Medicaid in Kentucky, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is nearly one quarter of the state’s population. Kentucky was among the 33 states to adopt the Medicaid expansion program that is a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act enacted under the Obama administration, but Bevin has been seeking to implement these changes since he was elected in 2015.

Bevin also defended the program from criticism that it was essentially punishing lower income people, and insisted that the program will only impact those who are physically able to work. The recipients of the program who are unable to comply with the new regulations, he said, will remain unaffected.

“This idea that somehow we are punishing people, that this will be a detriment to people I think is a huge huge misunderstanding of what people need,” he said, noting that he himself came from a low-income family. “There is dignity associated with owning the value of something you receive.”

 

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These ‘Shithole Countries’ Have a Message for President Trump

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS AND THE WASHINGTON POST)

(DONALD IS ‘THE SHITHOLE’ IN CHIEF)

 

By NASH JENKINS

Updated: January 12, 2018 11:45 AM ET

President Donald Trump reportedly singled out Haiti, El Salvador and parts of Africa as “shithole countries” during a rant about immigration Thursday. Those places aren’t happy

Trump’s comments came during a meeting with lawmakers at the White House held to reach a bipartisan immigration deal, according to the Washington Postwhich broke the news. Sources familiar with the meeting told the Post that the president was amenable to more immigrants from Norway and Asia, whom he says help the country economically, but wondered aloud “why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

According to the Post, Trump also said, “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”

On Friday morning Trump posted a series of tweets about the immigration deal in which he appeared to deny he said “shithole countries.”

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!” he wrote.

In a second tweet, sent around two hours after the first, Trump said that he “never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country” and that he never uttered the phrase “take them out.”

Trump also claimed that the accusation was “made up” by members of the Democratic Party. “I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians,” he added. “Probably should record future meetings – unfortunately, no trust!”

However, the White House on Thursday did not deny the Post’s report about Trump’s language.

A spokesman for the United Nations said Friday that Trump’s reported words were racist.

“There is no other word one can use but ‘racist’… This isn’t just a story about vulgar language, it’s about opening the door to humanity’s worst side, about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia,” United Nations human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said. “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”

Here’s how Trump’s alleged “shithole countries” are responding to the remarks:

Haiti

CBS News reports that the Haitian government promptly summoned charge d’affairs Robin Diallo, the top U.S. diplomat in the country, to respond to the comments.

Former Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe tweeted, “SHAME ON TRUMP! The world is witnessing a new low today with this #ShitholeNations remark! totally unacceptable! uncalled for moreover it shows a lack a respect and IGNORANCE never seen before in the recent history of the US by any President! Enough is enough!!”

The Haitian government said in a statement “these insulting and reprehensible statements in no way reflect the virtues of wisdom, restraint and discernment that must be cultivated by any high political authority,” according to the Associated Press, adding that the comment “reflects a totally erroneous and racist view of the Haitian community and its contribution to the United States.”

Other Haitians took to social media to share pictures of their nation’s beautiful beaches to make a point about the president’s alleged remarks.

El Salvador

Hugo Martinez, El Salvador’s foreign minister, tweeted calling on the U.S. government to confirm or deny Trump’s statements. In subsequent tweets, he noted that a number of individuals who helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina were from El Salvador and saying that he “feels proud to be Salvadoran.”

Jean Manes, the U.S. envoy to El Salvador, tweeted that the United States “values the friendship and the relationship with the Salvadoran people.” Manes added that she has had “the privilege to travel around this beautiful country and meet thousands of Salvadorans,” and that it is “an honor” to live and work there.”

African Union

The African Union responded to the reported remarks by pointing out many Africans arrived in the U.S. as slaves.

“Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice,” Ebba Kalondo, a spokesperson for the 55-nation African Union, told the Associated Press. “This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity.”

Leanne Manas, a news anchor for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, tweeted Friday morning, “Good morning from the greatest most beautiful “shithole country” in the world!!!”

Somali information minister Abdirahman Omar Osman told CNN, “If it’s real, it doesn’t need a response. Those comments do not deserve a response.”

Mmusi Maimane, the leader of South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance party, described Trump’s comments as “abhorrent” on Twitter. His tweet continued: “He confirms a patronizing view of Africa and promotes a racist agenda. Africa/U.S. relations will take strain from this, with a leader who has failed to reconcile humanity. The hatred of Obama’s roots now extends to an entire continent.”

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U.S. Has Issued Its Highest ‘Do Not Travel’ Warning for 5 Mexican States  

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

By CASEY QUACKENBUSH

Updated: January 11, 2018 11:19 AM ET

The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning Wednesday advising Americans to avoid five states in Mexico, putting the regions at the same level of danger as war-torn Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.

The level 4 “do not travel” risk is the highest warning and applies to the Pacific coast states of Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacán, Guerrero, and Tamaulipas on the eastern Gulf.

“Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread,” the advisory reads.

TIME Graphic by Lon Tweeten

Guerrero has suffered from a long history of violence. In 2014, 43 students were abducted and killed in Guerrero state. Last week, a police shootout left 11 people dead. In the travel advisory, the State Department warns that, “Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers.”

Criminal organizations also operate heavily in the state of Sinaloa. In 2016, the infamous cartel boss Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was arrested and extradited, but violence remains in the power vacuum of his drug empire.

Last year, Mexico’s homicide rate was the deadliest on record, according to the Guardian, with 23,101 murder investigations opened.

Mexico overall was given a level 2 warning, which means travelers should “exercise increased caution.” Eleven additional Mexican states received a level 3 warning, meaning “reconsider travel.”

The country’s main tourism destinations — Cancún, the Mayan Riviera, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, and Mexico City — have no travel restrictions, Mexico’s tourism secretariat said in a statement.

 

 

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Walmart Is Raising Its Minimum Wage to $11 an Hour and Giving Employees a $1,000 Bonus

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

(IN THIS BLOG I HAVE KNOCKED THE WALTON FAMILY MANY TIMES BECAUSE OF THEIR CHINA POLICIES AND FOR HOW THEY TREAT THEIR EMPLOYEES SO IN THE VENUE OF HONESTY AND FAIRNESS I NOW APPLAUD THEM FOR THESE MOVES. THERE IS ONE THING I WOULD LIKE YOU TO NOTICE TODAY THOUGH, WATCH WALMART STOCK PRICES GO DOWN TODAY, THIS HAPPENS EVERY TIME A COMPANY GIVES RAISES OR BENEFITS TO THEIR WORKERS, IT IS A SICK REALITY.)

A customer pushes a shopping cart at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in Burbank, California, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the traditional start to the U.S. holiday shopping season. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A customer pushes a shopping cart at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in Burbank, California, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the traditional start to the U.S. holiday shopping season. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

8:34 AM EST

Walmart is boosting its starting salary for U.S. workers to $11 an hour, giving a one-time $1,000 cash bonus to eligible employees and expanding its maternity and parental leave benefits.

The retailer said Thursday changes that to its compensation and benefits policy will impact more than a million hourly workers in the U.S., with the wage increase effective next month.

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The company is also creating a new benefit to assist employees with adoption expenses.

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Jupiter Looks Beautiful In These New NASA Photos

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

NASA has shared brand new photos of Jupiter taken by the Juno spacecraft, showing the gas giant’s blue-tinged skies.

The Juno spacecraft takes batches of photos about every 53 days as it orbits Jupiter. NASA researchers uploaded the raw images online last month, prompting several people to process the photos into colorful views of Jupiter, including self-described citizen scientists Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran.

Eichstädt and Doran’s enhanced images from Juno’s JunoCam show a beautiful planet of luminous colors, ranging from deep blues and purples to browns and reds — though people should not be fooled by how inviting the planet seems.

“As pretty as a planet can get, but get too close and Jupiter will END YOU,” Doran tweeted.

See the stunning images of Jupiter below.

NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran
NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran
NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran
NASA / SwRI / MSSS / Gerald Eichstädt / Seán Doran

 

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Thailand’s PM Leaves a Life-Size Cardboard Cut-Out to Answer Questions

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

By LAIGNEE BARRON

2:50 AM EST

Thailand’s junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha has come up with a novel way to deflect journalists’ questions: just pass them off to a cardboard likeness.

At a press conference in Bangkok, Prayuth, who serves as prime minister of the country’s military-run government, briefly addressed a crowd of reporters and families, according to the BBC. It appeared as if he was going to finish the event by taking questions, but Prayuth had something else in mind; supervising the installation of a life-sized cardboard cut-out of himself.

“If you want to ask any questions on politics or conflict, ask this guy,” the Prime Minister said before walking away. Social media users were quick to respond.

Since Thailand’s military seized power in a 2014 coup, Prayuth has had an openly antagonistic relationship with the media. In 2015, he boasted that he would execute journalists who “did not report the truth” about his government, which has often used draconian defamation laws to prosecute critics and activists. Under his tenure the country has restricted media freedoms, forced television networks off the air and dropped from 129 to 140 out of the 180 nations ranked by Reporters Without Border’s annual Press Freedom Index.

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32 Missing After Ships Collide Off China’s Coast

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

The Panama-registered tanker "Sanchi" is seen ablaze after a collision with a Hong Kong-registered freighter off China's eastern coast on Jan. 7, 2018
The Panama-registered tanker “Sanchi” is seen ablaze after a collision with a Hong Kong-registered freighter off China’s eastern coast on Jan. 7, 2018
Korea Coast Guard/AP

By GERRY SHIH / AP

9:49 AM EST

(BEIJING) — An Iranian oil tanker collided with a bulk freighter and caught fire off China’s east coast, leaving the tanker’s entire crew of 32 missing and causing it to spill oil into the sea, authorities said Sunday.

Chinese authorities dispatched police vessels and three cleaning ships to the scene after the collision, which happened late Saturday. The South Korean coast guard also sent a ship and a plane to help search for the missing crew members — 30 Iranians and two Bangladeshis.

The Panama-registered tanker Sanchi was sailing from Iran to South Korea when it collided with the Hong Kong-registered freighter CF Crystal in the East China Sea, 257 kilometers (160 miles) off the coast of Shanghai, China’s Ministry of Transport said.

All 21 crew members of the Crystal, which was carrying grain from the United States, were rescued, the ministry said. The Crystal’s crew members were all Chinese nationals.

It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the collision.

State-run China Central Television reported Sunday evening that the tanker was still floating and burning, and that oil was visible in the water.

It was not clear, however, whether the tanker was still spilling oil. The size of the oil slick caused by the accident also was not known.

Earlier Sunday, Chinese state media carried pictures of the tanker on fire with large plumes of smoke.

The Sanchi was carrying 136,000 metric tons (150,000 tons, or nearly 1 million barrels) of condensate, a type of ultra-light oil, according to Chinese authorities.

By comparison, the Exxon Valdez was carrying 1.26 million barrels of crude oil when it spilled 260,000 barrels into Prince William Sound off Alaska in 1989.

The Sanchi has operated under five different names since it was built in 2008, according the U.N.-run International Maritime Organization. The IMO listed its registered owner as Hong Kong-based Bright Shipping Ltd., on behalf of the National Iranian Tanker Co., a publicly traded company based in Tehran. The National Iranian Tanker Co. describes itself as operating the largest tanker fleet in the Middle East.

An official in Iran’s Oil Ministry, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters, said 30 of the tanker’s 32 crew members were Iranians.

“We have no information on their fate,” he said. “We cannot say all of them have died, because rescue teams are there and providing services.”

The official said the tanker was owned by the National Iranian Tanker Co. and had been rented by a South Korean company, Hanwha Total Co. He said the tanker was on its way to South Korea.

Hanwa Total is a 50-50 partnership between the Seoul-based Hanwha Group and the French oil giant Total. Total did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It’s the second collision for a ship from the National Iranian Tanker Co. in less than a year and a half. In August 2016, one of its tankers collided with a Swiss container ship in the Singapore Strait, damaging both ships but causing no injuries or oil spill.

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Ringo Starr and Barry Gibb Knighted

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Recording artist Ringo Starr performs with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in support of his new album "Give More Love" on October 20, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Recording artist Ringo Starr performs with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in support of his new album “Give More Love” on October 20, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Denise Truscello—WireImage

By LISA MARIE SEGARRA

Updated: December 30, 2017 10:40 AM ET

Beatle Ringo Starr and Bee Gees member Barry Gibb are among the newly knighted.

The two musicians weren’t the only ones on the Queen’s 2018 New Year honors list.

Fellow Beatle Paul McCartney, who was knighted 21 years ago, celebrated Starr’s honor on Twitter.

“Huge congrats Sir Ringo! Sir Richard Starkey has a nice ring to it. Best drummer best pal! X Paul,” McCartney tweeted.

Knighthood or damehood reflect the highest honor, while a CBE, or a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, follows. An OBE, or Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, comes next and is followed by an MBE, or Member of the Order of the British Empire.

All four members of the Beatles — McCartney, Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison — were honored with MBEs in 1965, BBC reported. McCartney and Starr are the only members to be knighted.

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Darcey Bussell, former principal dancer with the Royal Ballet turned judge for the British reality show Strictly Come Dancing, was also made a dame. Actor Hugh Laurie, of House fame, was appointed to CBE. Former British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, who was at the helm for 25 years, was also made a CBE.