North Korea Launches Another Missile, This One Over Japan

A man in Seoul, South Korea, watches a TV screen showing file footage of a North Korean missile launch on Saturday.

Lee Jin-man/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Lee Jin-man/AP

North Korea conducted a missile launch over Japan early Tuesday morning, further ratcheting up tensions in the region.

The incident was announced by South Korean officials who say the missile was launched from Sunan, near North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang. Japanese officials say the projectile flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific Ocean.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning confirmed the news in a brief email. He said American officials are still assessing the launch and that North American Aerospace Defense Command “determined the missile launch did not pose a threat to North America.”

The Washington Postreports that a “visibly agitated” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters that “we will make the utmost effort to protect the public.”

The launch marks the second time in four days that North Korea has tested its missiles. Three short-range missiles were launched on Saturday.

The New York Times reports that this is the first time a North Korean missile was launched over Japan since 2009. Pyongyang had also launched projectiles over Japan in 1998. Both times North Korea said the projectiles were carrying satellites.

Preliminary reports said North Korea had launched three missiles in the most recent round. But it was later determined that only one projectile was launched and that it broke up into three parts. There were no reports of any damage, according to the Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

A 'Chemical Haze' Stole Across A British Beach — And No One Knows What It Was

It was a lovely late summer afternoon at a beach in southern England. Sun, surf and not a cloud in the sky — until the strange “chemical haze” drifted in off the sea, that is. It was at that point the beachgoers found their eyes streaming tears and their throats growing sore, their gag reflex triggering as some began to vomit.

Then, the professionals in hazmat suits showed up.

A post shared by Jacob Ward (@j20_wmj) on Aug 27, 2017 at 11:58am PDT

More than a day later, authorities still aren’t exactly sure what happened to people at Birling Gap beach on Sunday.

But here are the details we do know: The stretch of shoreline was shrouded in the “plume of gas” for a span of about three hours, according to local Sussex police, during which time authorities advised people living nearby to keep their doors closed and windows shut — and “to move away from the Birling Gap area in particular.”

At least one witness didn’t get that advisory, though.

“We got home, threw open the windows to air the house and quickly developed stingy eyes,” Jonathan Hill told the BBC. “At one point I couldn’t see for about five minutes.”

“Whatever it was, it smelled like burnt plastic,” said another witness.

By the time the mist had dissipated, roughly 150 people had been treated for their symptoms at Eastbourne General District Hospital. Police believe hundreds more were affected by the mist, though in general, they say the effects were minor.

And that’s about where the certainties end.

#birlinggappic.twitter.com/gBuMgP4Jls

— @Kyle_Crickmore (@Kyle_Crickmore) August 27, 2017

In fact, the vague and vaguely menacing assessment offered initially by local Sussex police is as accurate now as when it was first published: “This seems to have been caused by an unknown haze coming in from the sea, but the source has not yet been established.”

Of course, that has not prevented speculation from swirling.

Many armchair chemists on social media posited the cloud was actually chlorine gas — though police note the local fire department “has advised that it is ‘extremely unlikely’ that it was chlorine.” Likewise, police say it’s also “very unlikely” the source lay in northern France, as an East Sussex official suggested earlier.

Major incident Birling Gap, Beach Head, eastbourne , strange cloud affecting 50+ people, vomiting, running eyes etc pic.twitter.com/7FqKBfKyTm

— eddie mitchell (@brightonsnapper) August 27, 2017

So, what could it have been?

Beats everyone, it seems. Sussex police have assured residents that “investigations continue into nature of gas & source,” though they did not specify what agencies were conducting those investigations.

In the meantime, authorities say they have stood down, saying they believe it was an isolated incident and that it’s once more safe to open windows and doors.

Still, one beachgoer remained unconvinced.

“My only concern now is I want to know what it is,” she told The Guardian. “If they don’t know what it is or where it came from, how can they say it’s safe?”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Trump Lawyer Emailed Senior Russian Aide About Real Estate Proposal

A senior attorney for the Trump Organization has acknowledged sending an email to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman during the 2016 presidential campaign about a possible real estate project in Moscow.

Michael Cohen said in a two-page statement provided to congressional investigators on Monday that he sent the email to Dmitry Peskov in January 2016 to seek his help securing government approval for a proposed Trump Tower in the Russian capital.

Cohen said the proposal was “not related in any way” to Trump’s presidential campaign, and that the decision to abandon it was based solely on business grounds. Still, the interaction shows that the Trump Organization was seeking help from senior Russian officials about business deals at the same time that Trump was running for president.

In his statement, a copy of which was obtained by NPR, Cohen said he received a proposal for a luxury hotel, office and residential condominium in Moscow in September 2015. He said he began working on the potential business case for the new building.

The project stalled, and Cohen said another Trump business associate, Felix Sater, suggested that he reach out to Peskov since the proposal “would require approvals within the Russian government that had not been issued.”

So Cohen said he sent the email in mid-January 2016. Peskov never replied, Cohen said, and the real estate project never received the Russian government’s green light. By the end of January, Cohen said, he decided to scrap the project “based on my business determinations.”

“I did not ask or brief Mr. Trump, or any of his family, before I made the decision to terminate further work on the proposal,” Cohen said.

The Washington Post first reported on Cohen’s email to Peskov and the Trump attorney’s statement to Congress. The New York Times, meanwhile, reported Monday that Sater had boasted about a possible real estate deal in Moscow and how it would help Trump win the White House.

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater wrote in an email to Cohen, according to the Times. “I will get all of Putin’s team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”

Trump and his close associates have tried to distance themselves from Sater, who has something of a checkered past. Born in Russia, he later immigrated to the United States and became a real estate developer. He served time in prison for stabbing a man in the face with the stem of a margarita glass, and later pleaded guilty to stock fraud case linked to the Russian mafia.

In his statement for the House Intelligence Committee, Cohen played down Sater’s business claims.

“Mr. Sater, on occasion, made claims about aspects of the proposal, as well as his ability to bring the proposal to fruition,” Cohen said. “Over the course of my business dealings with Mr. Sater, he has sometimes used colorful language and has been prone to ‘salesmanship.'”

Cohen said he did not keep others within the Trump Organization apprised of his communications with Sater, and that he rejected Sater’s suggestion that Cohen travel to Moscow. In fact, Cohen said, no Trump Organization representative traveled to Russia for the proposal.

As for Trump himself, Cohen said, he “was never in contact with anyone about this proposal other than me on three occasions, including signing a non-binding letter of intent in 2015.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

German Nurse Suspected Of Murdering At Least 86 Patients In His Care

German police say they have evidence that former nurse Niels Högel murdered at least 84 people. He was already convicted in 2015 of two other murders. Above, Högel covers his face with a folder next to his lawyer in German regional court in 2014.

Ingo Wagner/AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Ingo Wagner/AFP/Getty Images

A German police investigation has found evidence that a former nurse murdered at least 86 people in his care.

“The realization of what we were able to learn is horrifying,” Johan Kühme, chief of police in the northern German city of Oldenburg told news outlets, including the The New York Times. “It defies any scope of the imagination.”

The nurse, Niels Högel, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 on two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. But during his trial, he said he had killed many others.

Högel admitted he had intentionally induced cardiac arrest in 90 of his patients by administering overdoses of heart medication. He said he enjoyed trying to revive his patients, the Times reports, but sometimes failed.

These admissions led police to launch an investigation into other times patients had died in his care.

“The special commission, launched in October 2014, combed through evidence that included more than 500 patient files,” according to the Times. “It based its conclusions in part on toxicology tests on the remains of 134 possible victims, who were exhumed to see if they contained traces of the chemicals the nurse had confessed to using.”

Police await toxicology reports in 41 cases. The actual number of those he killed may be greater still and never known, as the bodies of some of his former patients were cremated and could not be exhumed.

“The death toll is unique in the history of the German republic,” said the chief police investigator, Arne Schmidt, according to The Guardian. There was “evidence for at least 90 murders, and at least as many [suspected] cases again that can no longer be proven,” he said, adding that Högel had chosen his victims at random.

Högel’s career as a nurse was ghastly throughout, as the Guardian reports:

“Police believe that the man whom the Bild newspaper is calling ‘Germany’s worst serial killer’ carried out his first murder in February 2000, when he was still employed at a clinic in Oldenburg in Lower Saxony, close to the Dutch border.

“After killing at least another 35 patients, he moved in 2002 to a hospital in Delmenhorst near the north-western city of Bremen, where he resumed his grisly practice within a week of starting his new job.

“Högel would inject patients’ veins with a cardiovascular drug in order to orchestrate medical emergencies that would require him to step in and resuscitate them in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

“The nurse used five different drugs including ajmaline, sotalol, lidocaine, amiodarone and calcium chloride, police said on Monday. Overdoses can lead to life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia and a drop in blood pressure, causing a rapid decline in an already ill patient.”

Also troubling is that Högel’s lethal practices went unreported by fellow hospital staff. Though others noticed that the number of deaths in the intensive care unit at Delmenhorst doubled during his time there, nothing was done.

In 2005, a colleague saw Högel injecting a patient with ajmaline, but management didn’t do anything about it for two days, during which Högel killed his final patient. Six employees at the hospital at Delmenhorst are now charged with negligent manslaughter for their failure to act. An investigation into neglect at Oldenburg is ongoing.

“The murders could have been prevented,” Kühme told the Guardian, noting that Högel was given a clean reference which allowed him to move to the Delmenhorst hospital and continue killing people. “People at the clinic in Oldenburg knew of the abnormalities.”

Though Högel is already serving a life sentence, he is expected to be tried on additional charges based on the investigation’s findings.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Sleeping In Cars, Walking Through Water, Texans Braved Harvey To Find Shelter

People gather around cots inside the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston as they take shelter from the flooding on Monday.

Marisa Peñaloza/NPR

hide caption

toggle caption

Marisa Peñaloza/NPR

Jacqueline Woodfork drove through the rain and slept on a highway before she finally found shelter from the floodwaters of Hurricane Harvey.

“I saw cars turning around because the rainfall was so heavy and because the exits were all flooded,” says Woodfork, 29. Her car battery died on an elevated portion of Interstate 45 after she left her Houston apartment on Saturday.

A dead car battery left Jacqueline Woodfork stranded in her car on her way to Houston’s convention center. “It was just a foreign concept to have to spend the night on the highway,” she says. “I got a few cat naps.”

Marisa Peñaloza/NPR

hide caption

toggle caption

Marisa Peñaloza/NPR

Spending the night on I-45 was a “foreign concept,” she adds, but roadside assistance was not an option. She took cat naps inside her sedan until police officers arrived with jumper cables the next day. She eventually arrived at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

On Sunday, Woodfork was joined by 2,500 other evacuees stranded inside the makeshift shelter after Hurricane Harvey. The Texas Gulf Coast Red Cross expects that number to rise above 3,000 for Monday night, according to the group’s spokesperson MaryJane Mudd.

Many have harrowing stories of escaping rising waters in a city largely swallowed by floodwaters.

Shawn Rosales and her two daughters walked through water up to their necks before they took refuge at the convention center on Sunday night.

“We saw a snake. We saw rodents in the water and frogs, so it was pretty tough,” she says.

People sign up for volunteer positions according to expertise including administration, technology, language, medical, special needs and culinary experience.

Marisa Peñaloza/NPR

hide caption

toggle caption

Marisa Peñaloza/NPR

The Houston Fire Department helped them evacuate from the second floor of her apartment complex. Some of Rosales’s neighbors fled into vacant units on the building’s upper level with some of their furniture. But the water kept creeping up the stairs leading to the door of her second-floor apartment.

“That’s how we knew that we were in trouble and that we needed to get out,” she says.

Rosales says the ordeal is forcing her to rethink where she will live in the future.

“Living on the bayou there, this will be my third time dealing with catastrophic … floods, so I think it’s time to move,” she says, adding that leaving Houston is “not off the table.”

Andrea Rylander, a supervisor for food service at a local hospital, has hopes of rebuilding her home after the flooding.

“I’ve been in my house for 12 years, and this is the first time for me. It’s crazy,” says Rylander who walked onto a highway through the rain with her son Jonathan until a bus picked them up.

“My mom is clearly emotional,” says Jonathan, hugging his mom inside the convention center as her eyes become flushed with tears. “It’s OK to be emotional. You just lost your home. You lost pretty much everything you worked for. Everything you strived for, you lost.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Interpol Calls For Arrest Of Fugitive Red Bull Heir, Thai Police Say

Vorayuth “Boss” Yoovidhya, whose grandfather invented Red Bull, walks to a car in London in April. Vorayuth has spent years dodging criminal charges over the death of a Thai policeman. On Monday, Interpol issued an international request for his arrest.

Matt Dunham/AP

hide caption

toggle caption

Matt Dunham/AP

The heir to the Red Bull fortune has been dodging Thai police for nearly five years — and Interpol has issued a new alert, calling for member nations to locate him and hand him over to authorities.

Vorayuth Yoovidhya, 32, is the grandson of the man who invented the wildly popular energy drink. In September 2012, he allegedly hit and killed a Thai policeman — dragging the officer and his motorcycle behind his Ferrari for “several dozen meters,” as The Associated Press reported at the time.

One police officer attempted to pin the crime on someone else, a police spokesman said, but the cover-up effort was foiled. It wasn’t much of a mystery, after all — Vorayuth’s engine was leaking after the crash. Police just had to follow the trail from the first police officer’s mangled body to Vorayuth’s compound, where the Ferrari sat with a badly damaged bumper.

But for nearly five years, Vorayuth — who apparently goes by the nickname “Boss” — has dodged any punishment through the simple tactic of not showing up for court proceedings.

“It’s been widely assumed that he’s hiding, possibly abroad, or living a quiet local life, only going out in disguise,” the AP wrote this March. “He isn’t.”

Instead, he was living the life of an international playboy:

“Within weeks of the accident, The Associated Press has found, Vorayuth, then 27, was back to enjoying his family’s jet-set life, largely associated with the Red Bull brand … He flies around the world on private Red Bull jets, cheers their Formula One racing team from Red Bull’s VIP seats and keeps a black Porsche Carrera in London with custom license plates: B055 RBR. Boss Red Bull Racing.

“Nor is he all that hard to find. Just last month, social media clues led AP reporters to Vorayuth and his family vacationing in the ancient, sacred city of Luang Prabang, Laos. The group stayed at a $1,000-a-night resort, dined in the finest restaurant, visited temples and lounged by the pool before flying home to Bangkok.”

Now, he’s an internationally wanted playboy.

In May, two days before he was due in court, Vorayuth took his private jet to Singapore and “disappeared,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Police issued an arrest warrant and the Thai government canceled his passport.

Earlier this month, The Bangkok Post reported that Interpol had sent out a “blue notice,” asking member nations to help locate Vorayuth.

There was new urgency to police efforts: The Red Bull heir originally faced three charges, but the statute of limitations has already expired on his speeding charge. And the statute of limitations for the second charge, of fleeing the scene, is coming up soon: It expires on Sept. 3. (There are 10 more years on the last charge, of fatal reckless driving.)

A police spokesman “insisted police are not stalling the process … as suggested by some,” the Bangkok Post reports. Among other thing, Thai authorities were asking Interpol to raise that “blue alert” to “red,” which asks other countries to actually arrest and extradite the suspect.

On Monday, the Thai police said that the “red alert” had been issued, the AP reports. Participation in a “red notice” is voluntary, Interpol notes.

Vorayuth’s case has drawn attention to the apparent impunity of the extremely wealthy in Thailand. “Justice has failed,” read one headline in the Bangkok Post in 2013. An AP piece from 2016 called Vorayuth a “famous untouchable,” one of a generation of “deadly rich kids” causing fatal crashes and dodging any punishment.

The Red Bull fortune that has so far insulated Vorayuth from punishment was inherited from his billionaire grandfather, Chaleo Yoovidhya.

NPR reported on the source of Chaleo’s fortune in 2012, when the beverage creator died:

“He actually invented what would become Red Bull in the 1970s. Originally, it was marketed to truck drivers and blue-collar workers in Thailand. But in 1982, an Austrian businessman was about to make future generations of teenagers, clubbers and extreme sports aficionados very amped up.

“Dietrich Mateschitz tried the Thai energy drink known then as Krating Daeng, and he loved it. Mateschitz tracked down Chaleo Yoovidhya and the rest is history …

“Yoovidhya was born the son of poor Chinese immigrants. His parents raised ducks to make a living. Red Bull made him a multibillionaire, Thailand’s third richest man and the 205th richest in the world.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Still Stranded: Surrounded By 12 Feet Of Water, She's Turning To Facebook For Help

Chiwoniso Luzolo lives in Cypress, Texas, which has been hit hard by flooding.

Courtesy of Chiwoniso Luzolo

hide caption

toggle caption

Courtesy of Chiwoniso Luzolo

Like many Texas, Chiwoniso Luzolo is desperate to be rescued from her home — as she has been since Sunday afternoon. Her deck, backyard and front yard in Cypress, Texas outside Houston are flooded, made worse by water released from nearby dams.

The house and deck are on 12-foot stilts, and when the water reached the deck, she knew it was bad.

She says based on previous storms and what she heard from officials on T.V., she and her husband decided to stay home with their dogs and “wait it out.”

When the water comes to the deck, they had decided, “that’s when we know it’s getting serious.”

Now it looks like they live in the middle of a lake. “The deck, and the patio and the water is all together now,” she says. “It looks like one. You can hardly see our deck now.”

By Sunday morning, she estimates the water was already 8 feet high. “We watched it rise and rise and rise, and we started calling.”

She wasn’t able to get through on most of the emergency lines so she turned to Facebook for help. She narrated a live video of the flooding in her yard on Monday, showing high water and heavy rain:

Luzolo says she’s had “a lot of people who’ve been reaching out” through Facebook but they still have not been rescued. “We have people now who say they’ve been on their way but we’ve been waiting since 7 a.m.”

Because of fast currents, a tree and water line across the road near the house, she says it’s been hard for boats to reach her house.

In the video, you can also see her goats, which she has had to move from the backyard to the to the entryway — it’s the only high ground left outside.

In the video, she also criticized state officials for “not doing everything they can” and says black residents like her are especially disadvantaged.

Luzolo, who is pregnant, says the inside of her house is so far dry and they have food and water for a couple days. But she lost water on Sunday. The currents were so strong, she says, “it took the whole septic system away.”

The options are slim for people like Luzolo.

“We’ve really just been here waiting and pacing around trying to figure out what to do next,” she says.

People have suggested she go to the roof, but that would mean cutting a hole from the attic. It would make her easier to spot but she fears that would get rain into her currently dry house.

We will update this post as we learn more.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)