In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: Refugee crisis] Fucking hell: "Hundreds of [refugees] are stranded at the Serbia-Hungary border after the Hungarian government closed the frontier with a new razor-wire fence. The move aims to stop [refugees] who are trying to enter the EU. After new Hungarian laws came into effect overnight, police sealed a railway crossing point that had been used by tens of thousands of [refugees]. Some have been searching for a way through the fence, while others threw down food and water in protest. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has suggested his country is planning to build a fence to keep [refugees] out along part of its border with Romania—a fellow EU member—to prevent the bypassing of the current frontier. The EU is facing a huge influx of [refugees], many fleeing conflict and poverty in countries including Syria, where a civil war has been raging since 2011." Which is why they are refugees, not "migrants."

[CN: Wildfires; death] Damn: "The deadly and destructive wildfire that sped through three Northern California counties has grown to 104 square miles Tuesday, and fire officials say the toll of property loss has climbed to at least 585 homes and other structures destroyed. At least four firefighters have been injured. One woman died in her home, and several other people remain unaccounted for on Tuesday morning. For a third morning, people are waking up at evacuation centers, some still wondering if their homes are standing or leveled by the massive fire burning in parts of rural Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, about 100 miles north of San Francisco."

[CN: Guns; death; self-harm; domestic violence] These sorts of shootings are becoming so commonplace that they barely make a blip in the national US news anymore: "A manhunt for a university professor accused of killing a colleague in Mississippi has ended after the suspect killed himself as police closed in. Geography professor Shannon Lamb is suspected of shooting Ethan Schmidt, a history teacher at Delta State University, in the town of Cleveland. Lamb had told police on Monday that he was 'not going to jail.' Police also linked Lamb, 45, to the fatal shooting of a woman 300 miles away earlier that day. Amy Prentiss, 41, was found shot dead at the home she shared with Mr Lamb in Gautier, Mississippi, in the early hours. Police said they had not determined a motive for the killings." I'd like to think something like this would disabuse gun advocates of the notion that arming professors is a good or effective idea, but of course it won't.

[CN: Transmisogynist violence; death; descriptions of violence] Rage seethe boil: "A man responsible for the 2012 beating of a Dallas transgender woman who died from her injuries is set to receive probation and no jail sentence. A spokesperson for the Dallas County District Attorney's Office has confirmed to the Observer that Jonathan Stuart Kenney, 29, is expected to plead guilty Tuesday to first-degree felony aggravated assault. Under a plea bargain, Kenney will be sentenced to 10 years probation for the death of his then-partner, Janette Tovar." Tovar's family is trying to get answers from the DA, who is stonewalling attempts to hold them accountable for this mess.

[CN: Hazing; death; descriptions of violence] Good lord: "Five fraternity members from Manhattan's Baruch College will be charged with murder and 32 others face criminal charges for their involvement in the December 2013 hazing death of 19-year-old Chun 'Michael' Deng in the Poconos. Deng, who was one of four new pledges accompanying members of Pi Delta Psi at a rented house for an annual weekend retreat, sustained severe brain trauma during an outdoor hazing ritual known as the 'glass ceiling.' ...Pi Delta Psi fraternity members did not call 911 after Deng passed out, and allegedly waited hours before bringing him to a hospital some 30 miles away. They did, however, find time to Google Deng's symptoms and contact national fraternity brothers to seek advice."

[CN: Privilege] Oh boy: "Liberty is a deeply conservative Christian school with a long history of championing right-wing religious leaders and Republican candidates. Sanders is a Jewish man and self-proclaimed democratic socialist who has repeatedly distanced himself from organized religion, describing himself as 'not particularly religious.' Yet when the 74-year-old senator took to the podium to address several thousand Liberty students, he launched into a speech that focused not on these clear differences, but on shared values. ...Sanders voiced a surprisingly deep appreciation for the larger moral goals of faith—even the school's famously conservative brand of Christianity. 'You are a school which…tries to understand the meaning of morality,' Sanders said. 'You are a school which tries to teach its students how to behave with decency and with honesty and how you can best relate to your fellow human beings. And I applaud you for trying to achieve those goals.'" Wow.

Neat! "Scientists have taken a step forward when it comes to creating hydrogen as fuel. They've created a highly efficient catalyst that could ease the way to a hydrogen economy. Hydrogen is usually produced by separating water with electrical power. While the water supply is essentially limitless, though, a major roadblock to a future 'hydrogen economy' is the need for platinum or other expensive noble metals in the water-splitting devices. Noble metals resist oxidation and include many of the precious metals, such as gold. Now, though, researchers have developed a hydrogen-making catalyst containing phosphorus and sulfur, which are both common elements. It also contains cobalt, which is a metal that's 1,000 times cheaper than platinum. ...[T]he new catalyst is almost as efficient as platinum and likely shows the highest catalytic performance among the non-noble metal catalysts reported so far."

[CN: Privilege; splaining] Matt Damon, what are you even doing? "When [producer Effie Brown, a black woman] tried to advocate for the directorial team of her choice, a woman and a recent emigrant from Vietnam, Damon interrupted her and shot her down with a problematic argument—that casting could make up for a lack of minorities behind the scenes." Damon is the father of four little girls of color. That he feels it's okay to interrupt, speak over, and splain at a woman of color is really upsetting.

[CN: Video autoplays at link] This is a really amazing video of a rangoli artist making a peacock design, with just powder and her hands and some simple tools. Extraordinary.

[CN: Animal injury] And finally! A biker on a cross-country road trip rescued a burned kitten and nursed him back to health along the trip, where "Party Cat" traveled tucked inside his rescuer's vest. "Pat and Party Cat finished their journey when they arrived back at Pat's home in New Jersey. Metro reports that Party Cat has a forever home with Pat and has been given a clean bill of health by the vet." Aww. (The pictures at the link are terrific!)

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