Former Monkees bassist Peter Tork died Thursday of complications from a rare form of cancer, his son, Ivan Iannoli, said. He was 77. Tork was a struggling musician when he was thrust into stardom with the Monkees, a band manufactured by Hollywood producers in the 1960s. The quirky group starred in an NBC sitcom, The Monkees, that ran from 1966 to 1968 as part of an effort to capitalize on the popularity of the Beatles. At 24, Tork was the oldest member of the band. He was presented as the band's goofiest member. His bandmates were Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Mike Nesmith. They recorded a string of hits that included "Last Train to Clarksville," "Daydream Believer," and "Pleasant Valley Sunday."
Source: The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter
The U.S. government is getting ready to start building more walls and fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas' Rio Grande Valley, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Monday. Heavy construction equipment is arriving early this week, with the work likely to take place on federal land dedicated as wildlife refuge. The nonprofit National Butterfly Center posted a photo showing an excavator parked next to its land. Congress last March approved a plan for 33 miles of new barriers in the area, at a cost of $600 million. President Trump and Democrats remain deadlocked on his demand for $5.7 billion for his promised border wall, which resulted in the recent 35-day partial government shutdown.
Source: The Associated Press
Federal border agents on Thursday made the largest seizure of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in U.S. history. A drug-sniffing dog helped Customs and Border Protection officers find the 254 pounds of the drug — enough to kill 57 million people — in a floor compartment of a tractor-trailer truck loaded with cucumbers and trying to cross a border checkpoint in Nogales, Arizona. That was twice as big as the previous record seizure of fentanyl, which is blamed for the majority of U.S. overdose deaths; that shipment was found in a truck in Nebraska. Agents also found 395 pounds of methamphetamine. The fentanyl had a value of $3.5 million; the meth was worth $1.1 million.
Source: NBC News
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, whose work reflected reverence for nature and disdain for greed, died of lymphoma Thursday at her home in Florida, her literary executor, Bill Reichblum, said. She was 83. Oliver was prolific, and her lyrical descriptions of owls, bears, and other natural wonders earned her praise from critics and adoring readers alike. She made her literary debut in 1963, at age 28, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for her collection "American Primitive," then the 1992 National Book Award for poetry for "New and Selected Poems." Oliver escaped what she called a "dysfunctional" home in a Cleveland suburb by writing poems in the woods. She met her partner, the late photographer Molly Malone Cook, at the New York home of the late poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Source: The Washington Post, The Associated Press
Texas police on Sunday arrested an armed man who said he was heading to a suburban San Antonio church to fulfill a "prophecy." The suspect, identified as 33-year-old Tony Albert, was wearing police tactical-style clothing, including a face shield, and carrying a loaded weapon with extra ammunition. Albert reportedly entered Las Mañanitas restaurant in Seguin, Texas, around 6:30 a.m., and asked a worker "where the nearest Baptist church is at." He left clutching a handgun, and restaurant workers locked the door and called police. An off-duty officer responded, and arrested Albert on charges of marijuana possession and weapon possession by a felon.
Source: The Associated Press, The New York Times
A tsunami struck the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra Saturday evening, killing at least 222 people and injuring at least 800 more. The wall of water swept in without warning and is thought to have been caused by undetected sea floor landslides from an eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, located in the strait between the islands. Indonesia also lacks a comprehensive tsunami warning system, explained Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the country's National Disaster Mitigation Agency. "We need multi-hazard early warning system, and we need lots of it," Nugroho said. Rescue efforts are ongoing Sunday; the death toll is expected to rise.
Source: CNN, ABC News
United Nations investigators said Tuesday they had verified 202 mass graves containing between 6,000 and 12,000 bodies in Iraq dating to the three years of Islamic State control in the areas. A joint report by the U.N. mission to Iraq and the U.N. office for human rights called the graves a "legacy of [ISIS'] terror." The graves all date from 2014 to 2017, when the Islamist extremist group ruled some of Iraq's biggest cities and towns after sweeping through Iraq and neighboring Syria, killing captured Iraqi soldiers and police en masse. Several of the graves contain victims of the 2014 Camp Speicher massacre, in which militants killed 1,700 security forces and military cadets. Other victims were believed to have been dumped in wells and sinkholes instead of graves.
Source: The Associated Press
The death toll in Italy's historic flooding rose to 29 after 12 fatalities were reported in Sicily, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Sunday. "Twelve dead in Sicily, people that were having dinner and were swept up by the water," Salvini said. Nine of the people were members of two families who were dining together in a house that was swamped when a nearby river suddenly overflowed. Search crews also were looking for a doctor who disappeared on his way to work at a hospital Saturday night. High winds and heavy rain have caused the worst flooding in decades in Venice, and landslides in other areas have cut off access to some villages. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Sunday he would call a Cabinet meeting to announce a state of emergency in hard-hit regions.
Robert Bowers, the man accused of killing 11 people at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday, has been indicted on 44 federal charges. They include federal hate crimes and violent crimes involving a firearm, and could land Bowers with the death penalty, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Wednesday. The federal charges add to the dozens of state and local charges Bowers was hit with this weekend, including 11 counts of homicide. Victims mentioned in the charges include not just the 11 killed in the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, but also two injured victims, nine who escaped unharmed, and four injured law enforcement officers.
Source: The Washington Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Robert Bowers, the man arrested under accusation of killing 11 people and wounding four more in Saturday's shooting at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue, now faces 29 federal charges. Among them are 11 counts of obstruction of the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death. An account on the social media site Gab believed to belong to Bowers is rife with anti-Semitic content, and he reportedly told arresting officers he attacked because "all Jews must die." The Anti-Defamation League said the shooting is "likely the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States."
Source: Wired, The Hill
About This Blog
Certain numerology has a strong connection with occultism. Various numbers from time-to-time appear in news articles, and one has to wonder if there isn't some occult significance behind this story.