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TSA Stops Employees From Making TikTok Posts

23 de febrer, per  MICHAEL BALSAMO / AP[ —]

(WASHINGTON) — The Transportation Security Administration said Sunday it has stopped allowing employees to use the China-owned video app TikTok to create social media posts for the agency after the Senate’s top Democrat raised concerns about potential national security issues.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer sent a letter letter Saturday to TSA Administrator David Pekoske, months after news reports that the U.S. government launched a national security review of the app, which is popular with millions of U.S. teens and young adults. Schumer also cited a Department of Homeland Security policy prohibiting TikTok on agency devices.

The TSA said in a statement Sunday that a “small number of TSA employees have previously used TikTok on their personal devices to create videos for use in TSA’s social media outreach, but that practice has since been discontinued.”

In his letter, Schumer said national security experts have raised concerns about TikTok’s collection and handling of user data and personal information, locations and other content. He also noted in the letter that Chinese laws compel companies to cooperate with China’s government and intelligence collection.

“Given the widely reported threats, the already-in-place agency bans, and the existing concerns posed by TikTok, the feds cannot continue to allow the TSA’s use of the platform to fly,” Schumer said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Over the past few months, the agency has posted a number of videos reshared on other social media platforms such as Twitter, which have amassed hundreds of thousands of views.

The agency said it never directed viewers to TikTok or published content directly to the platform, despite videos reposted on other TSA social media accounts having the TikTok logo in the bottom of the screen. The agency said it had an “active and award-winning presence on several social media platforms.”

Some of the videos are musical parodies about what can and cannot be brought on an aircraft, while others advertise services like TSA’s expedited screening program known as PreCheck. In one of the videos, a TSA spokeswoman with Nutella spread on her face is showing different containers of the chocolate-hazelnut spread to detail which one can be brought in carry-on luggage.

Emergency Hockey Player, a 42-Year-Old Zamboni Driver, Becomes Oldest Goalie to Win in NHL Debut

23 de febrer, per  Tara Law[ —]

After two goaltenders were forced to bow out of a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, the Carolina Hurricanes had to turn to an unlikely source for help: emergency-backup goalie, 42-year-old David Ayres.

Ayres, a building operations manager, practice player for the Toronto Maple Leafs, practice player for the AHL team Toronto Marlies and sometimes zamboni driver, admitted afterwards to ESPN he was shocked by the request. It’s very rare for National Hockey League; a pro team hasn’t called on their emergency-backup goalie or “EBUG” since 2018.

But Ayres managed to make history in more ways than one, becoming the first emergency goalie to win a game and the oldest goalie to win a regular season debut, according to Sports Illustrated. He also stayed on the ice for 28 minutes and 41 seconds, clocking the longest time in a game for an emergency backup.

“Once in a lifetime. I’ll take it,” Ayres said after the game.

Ayres told ESPN that he was nervous when he first took the ice in the second period, when the Maple Leafs went on to score two goals. However, he went on to stop eight more shots, helping the Hurricanes to defeat the Leafs 6 to 3.

Ayres said that his teammates’ support helped to calm him down, especially when he was approached by forward Erik Haula, who told him, “Just have fun. We don’t care if you let 10 goals in.” Ayres recounted to ESPN. “That settled me down.”

Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said later that the game would be a special memory for everyone.

“You kind of think, oh well. How is this going to end up? We just dug in and said we’re not going to lose this game. For him, what a moment he’ll have for the rest of his life. That’s incredible. That’s why you do this,” Brind’Amour said.

Ayres said in post-game interviews that he had a kidney transplant 15 years ago, and he thought his hockey career would be over. He said that his passion for the game enabled him to keep going.

After the game, Ayres was named the first star (the best of three players recognized at the end of the game) and was honored with a water-bottle shower by his teammates.

I had no idea I was going to get a shower before I got in the shower…. these guys are awesome,” Ayres said. He added that he plans to hang up his jersey from the game.

Ayre’s wife, Sarah Ayres, also express her excitement on Twitter.

“I am the happiest, proudest woman on the planet because my human got to live out his ultimate dream… I’m also surprised I still have a voice,” she wrote.

Daredevil ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, Who Backed Flat-Earth Beliefs, Dies in Homemade Rocket Launch

23 de febrer, per  Time[ —]

Daredevil ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes died Saturday after launching his homemade rocket, which crashed into the ground in California.

The stunt, intended to launch Hughes 5,000 feet in the air, was going to be part of a new Science Channel series called Homemade Astronauts.

A statement on Discovery’s website confirmed that Hughes passed away on Saturday during an attempt to launch his homemade rocket. The Science Channel is owned by Discovery.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time,” the statement said. “It was always his dream to do this launch, and Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey.”

Hughes had spoken about his motivations for the launch in a promotional video on the website. “People ask me why I do stuff like this and basically it’s just to convince people they can do things extraordinary with their lives and maybe it pushes people to do things they normally wouldn’t do with their life that maybe will inspire someone else,” Hughes said.

He added at the end of the video, “We look forward to Saturday.”

Discovery earlier described Hughes’ plans as a “cosmic quest to explore the final frontier on a shoe-string budget.” The Science Channel had said it was following “three self-financed teams” pursuing these “sky-high dreams” as part of the Homemade Astronauts series.

“As ground-breaking and awe-inspiring as this event will be, it is only the first step towards an even more ambitious goal in space exploration,” the previous statement had said.

Discovery did not immediately respond to TIME’s request to clarify whether the series would still feature Hughes.

Justin Chapman, a freelance journalist, posted a video of the launch on Twitter that appeared to show the parachute drifting away from the rocket just seconds after takeoff.

Chapman told the Associated Press that the rocket appeared to rub against the launch apparatus, which might have torn the parachutes attached to it.

This was not the first time Hughes dared to take a risk with a homemade rocket. In March 2018, he soared into the sky on another homemade rocket in California, reportedly reaching speeds of around 350 mph before pulling his parachute, according to the Associated Press.

Hughes is known for his homemade rockets and his belief that the Earth is flat. He previously told the AP he believes the earth is “shaped like a Frisbee,” but admitted he doesn’t know for sure.

“That’s why I want to go up in space,” Hughes had said.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department did not immediately respond to a request to comment from TIME but said in a statement that did not identify Hughes, “a man was pronounced deceased after the rocket crashed in the open desert during a rocket launch event,” according to the Washington Post.

Model and Lifestyle Guru B. Smith Dies at 70 Years Old

23 de febrer, per  Associated Press[ —]

(NEW YORK) — Model, restaurateur and lifestyle guru Barbara “B.” Smith has died at her Long Island home, her family announced in a statement on social media. She was 70.

Smith died Saturday evening after battling early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which she was diagnosed with in 2013. She and her husband, Dan Gasby, raised awareness of the disease, and particularly its impacts on the African-American community, following her diagnosis.

“Heaven is shining even brighter now that it is graced with B.’s dazzling and unforgettable smile,” Gasby said in a lengthy Facebook post honoring her life.

Smith wrote three cookbooks, founded three successful restaurants and launched a nationally syndicated television show and a magazine. Her successful home products line was the first from a black woman to be sold at a nationwide retailer when it debuted in 2001 at Bed Bath & Beyond. In 1976, she became the second black model to be on the cover of Mademoiselle magazine, after Joli Jones in 1969.

Some described Smith as a “black Martha Stewart,” a comparison she said she didn’t mind though she believed the two lifestyle mavens were quite different.

“Martha Stewart has presented herself doing the things domestics and African Americans have done for years,” she said in a 1997 interview with New York magazine. “We were always expected to redo the chairs and use everything in the garden. This is the legacy that I was left. Martha just got there first.”

In the same interview, Gasby said, “Martha is perfection and Barbara is passion.”

Smith began suffering from memory problems years before her diagnosis. She once froze for several seconds while being interviewed on the “Today Show,” prompting a doctor’s visit that led to her diagnosis. A few months later, she wandered away and was missing in New York City for a day.

In 2018, Gasby revealed that he was in a relationship with another woman while caring for his ailing wife, leading to harsh criticism from some of her fans. He fired back at critics with a Facebook post about the pain of living with Alzheimer’s in the family. “I love my wife but I can’t let her take away my life,” he wrote.

The couple co-authored a book, “Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our fight Against Alzheimer’s,” and have partnered with the Brain Health Registry.

Smith, a native of Pennsylvania, began her career as a fashion model in Pittsburgh and went on to serve as a spokeswoman for Verizon, Colgate, Palmolive Oxy and McCormick’s Lawry seasonings. She hosted the nationally syndicated television show “B. Smith with Style” for nearly a decade, which aired on NBC stations.

Smith is survived by Gasby, whom she married in 1992, and her stepdaughter Dana Gasby.


This story has been corrected to show the spelling of the seasonings brand Smith was a spokeswoman for is McCormick not McCornick.

President Trump Says He’s Prepared to Sign Taliban Peace Deal

23 de febrer, per  Associated Press[ —]

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump said Sunday he’s ready to sign a peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan if a temporary truce holds in America’s longest war. “Time to come home,” he said.

“They want to stop. You know, they’ve been fighting a long time. They’re tough people. We’re tough people,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to India. “But after 19 years, that’s a long time.”

The two sides earlier this month announced the truce, which took effect last Friday and set the stage for a broader deal aimed at ending 18 years of war in Afghanistan and bringing U.S. troops home.

If the truce proves a success, it will be followed by the signing of the peace accord on Saturday, wrapping up the United States’ longest-running conflict and fulfilling one of Trump’s chief campaign promises.

“We think they want to make a deal. We want to make a deal. I think it’s going to work out. We’ll see,” Trump said.

For the Taliban, the successful completion of the truce and Afghanistan peace talks would give the militants a shot at international legitimacy, which they lacked at the time they ran the country and gave Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida associates safe haven.

U.S. officials have noted the possibility that “spoilers” uninterested in peace talks could disrupt the truce. Determining who is responsible for potential attacks during the seven days will therefore be critical.

On Sunday, Trump expressed cautious optimism about reaching a peace deal.

“You know we have a certain period of nonviolence. It’s been holding up, it’s a day and a half so we’ll see what happens. But people want to make a deal, and I think the Taliban wants to make a deal too, they’re tired of fighting.’’

There are more than 12,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

10,000 Protesters Mourn 9 People Killed by Immigrant-Hating Shooter in Germany

23 de febrer, per  KIRSTEN GRIESHABER / AP[ —]

(BERLIN) — Around 10,000 protesters marched through the central German town of Hanau on Sunday to mourn the nine people who were killed by an immigrant-hating gunman four days ago.

“These days and hours are the blackest and darkest our town has ever experienced during peace times,” Hanau mayor Claus Kaminsky told the somber crowds, according to the German news agency dpa. But, he said, those who want to pull apart society won’t succeed, “because we are more and we will prevent that.”

A 43-year-old German man shot to death nine people in the Frankfurt suburb on Wednesday before apparently killing his mother and himself. Five of the victims were reported to be Turkish citizens. The attacker left rambling texts and videos in which he espoused racist views, called for genocide and claimed to have been under surveillance since birth.

Turkey’s ambassador to Germany, Ali Kemal Aydin, warned that Turkish immigrants in Germany are experiencing more and more hate crimes in the country.

“This cannot and this must not continue,” Aydin said at the protest.

The racist killings were Germany’s third deadly far-right attack in a matter of months. The rampage followed October’s anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue in Halle and the slaying in June of a regional politician who supported Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming policy toward migrants.

The killings come at a time when the far right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany has become the country’s first political party in decades to establish itself as a significant force on the extreme right. All of the victims had immigrant roots and many are accusing the party of producing a climate where right-wing extremism and racism can flourish.

There have been daily candle vigils for the victims since the shooting and another big protest against racism on Saturday that also drew thousands. A memorial for the victims is planned for later this week.

Hundreds Evacuated, Dozens Hospitalized After Gas Pipe Rupture in Mississippi

23 de febrer, per  Sanya Mansoor[ —]

After a 24-inch gas pipe rupture in Yazoo County, Miss., on Saturday evening, more than 300 residents were evacuated and 46 people were treated at nearby hospitals, according to state authorities.

The pipe, which belongs to Denbury Enterprises, contained carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Residents “complained of green gas and a noxious odor,” according to Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).

The Yazoo County Emergency Management Agency told residents of Satartia on Saturday in a Facebook post that if they were located within a quarter-mile of Satartia hill they could “shelter in place” if they were in a house or sturdy trailer and “cut off all heaters and air conditioners.” But the agency said if they smell a noxious order in their homes, they needed to evacuate. On Sunday morning, the agency said evacuated residents would be escorted back to their homes with environmental specialists.

MEMA said the incident occurred “in a heavily wooded area” near a highway close to the village of Satartia and that environment specialists would “conduct air quality tests to ensure no gas is lingering in low-lying areas.”

MEMA said in a statement that the residents and first responders who were being treated for injuries at hospitals have since been released.

Denbury Enterprises acknowledged the leak in a statement, saying, “the affected area of the pipeline was isolated within minutes, and the leak site was evacuated as a precaution,” according to WJTV. The company said that it was “working closely with state and local officials” to “ensure the safety and welfare of the community” and that it would be “available to assist residents as they return.”

An initial investigation indicated the rupture could be due to “recent weather events” and it “appears the ground caved into a ravine damaging the 24-inch pipe,” according to MEMA.

Injured Female Manatee and Her Calf Rescued in Florida Waters

23 de febrer, per  Associated Press[ —]

(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) — A female manatee named Marlin and its calf were rescued after wildlife specialists found them injured in Florida waters.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports the pair is being treated for wounds and infections at the Miami Seaquarium.

The mother was found Saturday with boat strike wounds. The female calf has a wound on her underside. On Tuesday, rescuers initially spotted the mother swimming sideways, which indicates lung damage. On Wednesday, the manatees swam away and disappeared under a low bridge in Fort Lauderdale.

After Saturday’s rescue by experts from SeaWorld in Orlando and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, both were started on antibiotics. Marlin will be scheduled for a procedure where veterinarians will drain liquid or air from its chest.

The newspaper says boats and other watercraft were the biggest cause of manatee deaths statewide last year, causing at least 136 of the 606 animal deaths.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Discloses Likely Cancerous Tumor

23 de febrer, per  Tara Law[ —]

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Twitter Saturday that he will undergo surgery to remove a tumor from his left kidney. There is a 90% chance that the tumor is cancerous, although doctors will not be able to determine whether it is malignant until after the surgery, Murphy’s office said, according to

Murphy, who is 62, told the publication in an interview that his doctors are “optimistic” that they will be able to remove the entire tumor during the surgery scheduled for early March. “The prognosis is very good and I’m profoundly grateful to my doctors for detecting the tumor early,” Murphy wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

He said that he feels “incredibly fortunate” that tumor was detected at an early stage, and said he does not expect to undergo chemotherapy or radiation. He will likely stay in the hospital for two or three days, and will recover at home for a few weeks, Murphy said.

The Democratic governor, who has advocated for policies intended to improve healthcare access since he was sworn in as governor in 2018, acknowledged that he is not the only person to face the threat of cancer.

“Over 50,000 New Jerseyans will hear the words ‘you have cancer’ this year, so I’m far from alone here. It’s a situation that far too many families find themselves in. That’s why we’re fighting for them each and every day,” Murphy wrote on Twitter. He added that healthcare is a “right” and referred to high healthcare costs as a “national emergency.”

New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker expressed his support for Murphy on Twitter.

@GovMurphy is a fighter and I know this is one he will win. Wishing him a speedy recovery. My thoughts are with him, the First Lady, and their family,” Booker wrote.

South Korean Government Raised COVID-19 Alert to Its ‘Highest’ Level as Confirmed Cases Surpass 600

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23 de febrer, per  Sanya Mansoor[ —]

South Korea’s government put the country’s response to COVID-19 on its highest alert Sunday and health officials say the number of confirmed cases of the disease has risen to over 600.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said authorities raised the “COVID-19 alert level to the highest of ‘Red’ to strengthen the overall response system.” Doing so allows the government to order the temporary closure of schools and reduce travel operations, including public transport and flights to and from South Korea, according to the Associated Press.

There are now more than 78,000 COVID-19 cases worldwide with more than 76,000 reported in China, according to a virus tracker maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Outside China, South Korea has one of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. At least 691 people who were on a cruise ship in Japan that was later quarantined have tested positive for the virus, according to the Japan Times as of Sunday.

South Korea reported 602 confirmed cases as of Sunday afternoon, including five people who died, 18 who have been discharged and 579 who are being kept in isolation, according to the KCDC. There are now six deaths nationwide linked to the virus, according to the AP.

Many cases are linked to a South Korean religious group that has been described by the country’s government as a “cult.” At least 300 of South Korea’s total confirmed cases, as of Feb. 23, are linked to the Shincheonji sect, which is also known as “Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.” The government has already sent a rapid response team to the city of Daegu to investigate the cluster.

The KCDC has urged anyone who has attended the sect’s services, in addition to the family of anyone belonging to the sect and those who have been in close contact with members of the sect in February to get a consultation with a local health center or reach out to the agency if they have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Most of South Korea’s cases have been reported in Daegu and its surrounding areas, according to the AP. Daegu Mayor Kwon Yong-jin said Sunday that there were concerns that the city could see another massive increase in cases as authorities investigated church members.

The KCDC has also recommended minimizing social gatherings and outdoor activities “as people with chronic disease and over 65 years old are vulnerable to infection.”

A Korean Air flight that landed in Israel Saturday evening, which carried 188 passengers but only 11 Israelis, was allowed into in the country. The plane returned to South Korea on Sunday with the remaining passengers on board, the AP reported. Seoul’s foreign ministry said it was closely monitoring the incident and that it would evacuate South Korean tourists from Israel if necessary, according to the AP.

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