Tuesday Reads: A Mixed Bag of Breaking News


Good Morning!!

There’s a lot of news breaking around the world this morning, much of it only tangentially to politics; so I have a mixed bag of reads for you to peruse.

Let’s start with some humor. Did you hear about actress Helen Mirren’s public rant yesterday? The NY Daily News spells it out: Helen Mirren, dressed as Queen Elizabeth II, tells drummers who interrupted her performance to ‘shut the f- -k up’

All hail the drama queen!

Dame Helen Mirren was spotted cursing up a storm in London after a gay pride parade chanced to pass outside the theater where she was performing.

The Oscar-winning actress, dressed in character as the Queen of England, rushed out onto the street and screamed at the noisy crowd to “shut the f–k up.”

The 67-year-old star was headlining the play “The Audience” at London’s Gielgud Theatre. Drummers from the gay music festival stopped outside the theater and kept up the racket for the first half of her performance.

During the intermission, Mirren burst through Gielgud’s front doors and tried to grab the conductor’s arm.

mirren drums

Later, she told reporters she’d “yell at [the] drummers again.”

Helen Mirren has said that she’d repeat her expletive-filled outburst at a group of drummers who disrupted her performance at the Gielgud Theatre in London at the weekend.

“If they make the same noise I would say the same again,” she said. “I was very upset, I was very cross.”

The Batala samba band had begun an impromptu performance on Sunday outside the theatre at which Mirren is starring as the Queen in the play ‘The Audience’.

But on hearing the noise, Mirren, still dressed in her costume, stormed off the stage and out into the street to give the band a piece of her mind.

A Volcano erupted in the Philippines, killing five members of a group of mountain climbers. BBC News:

Mount Mayon, 330km (206 miles) south-east of the capital Manila, sent a cloud of ash and rocks into the sky early on Tuesday.

The ash blast caught a group climbing the mountain, which is famous for its near-perfect cone.

At least seven other climbers were hurt in the eruption, which lasted for just over a minute.

“Five killed and seven are injured, that is the latest report,” National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council chief Eduardo del Rosario said.

Four of those killed were German nationals and the fifth was their Filipino guide, the NDRRMC said later in a statement.

You probably heard about the horrific limo fire in San Francisco yesterday. SF Chronicle:

They were heading out on what was supposed to be one of the happiest nights of Neriza Fojas’ life, a party to cap off the bridal shower she’d been celebrating with eight of her nurse friends. Then the women’s stretch limousine headed west over the San Mateo Bridge – and horror erupted.

Just after 10 p.m. Saturday, flames burst out in the back of the 1999 Lincoln Town Car. The driver pulled over, and he and four of the women managed to escape. But the other five passengers, including Fojas, remained trapped.

They couldn’t get out the rear doors, so they tried to squeeze through a small window into the driver’s compartment. Within seconds, the back end was engulfed and it was too late.

Emergency workers later found Fojas and four of her friends clustered under the 3-by-1 1/2-foot window. The women, all in their 30s and 40s, died in the flames.


The driver claimed he did everything he could to help, but one of the survivors is “disputing” his story. Detroit Free Press:

One of the survivors of a limousine fire that killed five women on a San Francisco Bay bridge is disputing the driver’s version of what happened when the limo burst into flames.

Nelia Arellano told San Francisco’s KGO-TV that she yelled at the driver to stop the car, but he “didn’t want to listen.”

When the driver, Orville Brown, did finally stop, Arellano says he did nothing to help the women get out of the burning car after he exited.

Brown has said that, at first, he misunderstood what one of the passengers in the back was saying when she knocked on the partition between the passenger area and the driver and complained about smelling smoke.

With the music up, he initially thought the woman was asking if she could smoke. Seconds later, he said, the women knocked again, this time screaming, “Smoke, smoke!” and “Pull over,” Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle.

CNN reports: Death toll from Bangladesh building collapse climbs above 700

Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN) — The death toll from the disastrous building collapse in Bangladesh last month has risen above 700, authorities said Tuesday, as recovery workers continued to pull bodies from the rubble.

The building, which housed five factories full of garment workers, caved in nearly two weeks ago, burying hundreds of people in a heap of mangled concrete in Savar, a suburb of the capital, Dhaka. It is the South Asian nation’s deadliest industrial disaster.

Rescue workers managed to save more than 2,400 people in the aftermath of the collapse, but their work for the past week has focused on using heavy machinery to uncover the remaining bodies buried inside the ruins.

The number of people confirmed dead from the disaster reached 705 on Tuesday, according to Jitendra Kumar Nath, a senior official with the district administration of Dhaka.

A large number of people have continued to wait near the site of the collapse for news of missing relatives. Their gathering point is a school playing field where bodies retrieved from the ruins are taken for initial identification attempts.

From Reuters: Head of U.S. Air Force’s anti-sexual assault unit arrested for sexual battery

The officer in charge of a program to curb sexual assault in the U.S. Air Force was arrested over the weekend for allegedly grabbing a woman by the breasts and buttocks in a parking lot not far from the Pentagon, officials said on Monday.

Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, was arrested on Sunday and charged with sexual battery after the alleged incident in the Crystal City area of suburban Arlington, Virginia, officials said.

Krusinski, the head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, was removed from his job pending an investigation on Monday….

An Arlington County Police spokesman said Krusinski, who was under the influence of alcohol, grabbed the woman by the breasts and buttocks in a parking lot. She fended him off, and when he tried to grab her again, she called the police, who arrived shortly thereafter and detained him, the spokesman said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed “outrage” over the incident:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Air Force Secretary Michael Donley Monday to express his “outrage and disgust” after the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch chief was arrested and charged early Sunday morning with sexual battery.

“Secretary Hagel expressed outrage and disgust over the troubling allegation and emphasized that this matter will be dealt with swiftly and decisively,” said George Little, the Pentagon’s top spokesman, in a statement.

Arlington County police officers arrested Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, in the early morning hours of Sunday morning in a Northern Virginia parking lot near Crystal City Gentleman’s Club and Restaurant — a strip club one mile from the Pentagon. He was accused of fondling a woman near the strip club before the female victim fought him off, according to the police report.

Micaria sociabilis

Micaria sociabilis

Here’s an interesting science story: Male Black Widows Flip Sexual Cannibalism

Black widow spiders get their names from the belief that the female devours her partner after sex. But this gruesome ritual doesn’t always happen after mating and sometimes, the roles are even reversed, researchers say.

For choosy female black widows, sexual cannibalism is an extreme way to assert their partner preference, with less desirable males more likely to be chased down and eaten after they insert their sperm-coated palps into a female.

But in the species Micaria sociabilis, males are more likely to eat the females than be eaten, a new study found.

A team at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic studied how different pairings of the spiders interacted in a lab, making sure the creatures were well-fed to rule out hunger-driven cannibalism.

Males ate the females typically after the spiders’ first contact and before any mating, with the culprits most often males from the summer generation, the researchers found. These males tend to be larger than their counterparts born into the spring generation, suggesting size matters in aggression.

Meanwhile, age might be a dooming factor for the female Micaria sociabilis. There was a peak in reverse sexual cannibalism when males from the summer generation encountered older females from the spring generation, the researchers found. What’s more, not even virginity or big body size, often considered signs of mating quality for spiders, could save the older females from male cannibalization.

Kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro

Kidnapping suspect Ariel Castro


Authorities in Cleveland are currently holding a press conference on the dramatic story of three missing women being discovered in a home in Cleveland. You can watch it hear or on CNN.

If there are new developments today, I’ll update in a later post.

What’s on your mind today? What are you hearing and reading? Please post your links on any topic in the comment thread.

33 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: A Mixed Bag of Breaking News”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    CNN compares last night’s dramatic story to another Cleveland case: Cleveland abductions a chilling reminder of ‘House of Horrors’

    • bostonboomer says:

      CNN breaking news says the women have been released from the hospital.

      They are taking questions in the press conference now. The FBI is investigating the story and is aware of the possibility that this could involve a national story (I guess he means human trafficking).

    • I remember that case, and thought the same thing this morning…what a nightmare. I am so glad that these women are okay…and that they are finally home safe. Charles Ramsey is fabulous…damn what an amazing 24 hours he has had.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    From Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter:

    • bostonboomer says:
  3. bostonboomer says:

    Plain Dealer: Cleveland girls’ kidnapping and escape among a trickle of similar sensational cases worldwide

    The disappearances of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Elizabeth Knight and their escape yesterday are the latest in a thread that dates back decades and probably includes cases that never became sensational. One thing most websites that cover the stories generally note: Escapes are very rare. ABC News says just 0.04 percent of such kidnapping cases end in the victim’s release or escape.

    • A Cleveland police official says a 6-year-old girl found in the house where three missing women were kept for years is the daughter of one of them.

      A frantic 911 call led police to a house near downtown Cleveland, where the three women were found Monday.

      Police say Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held inside the house since they were in their teens or early 20s.

      Cleveland police Deputy Chief Ed Tomba says the girl is believed to be Amanda Berry’s daughter.

    • bostonboomer says:

      They said in the news conf. it is Amanda’s daughter. That seemed pretty clear, since they were in the same hospital room (see photo on earlier post)

  4. bostonboomer says:

    NYT: U.S. Directly Blames China’s Military for Cyberattacks


  5. bostonboomer says:

    Cleveland Kidnap Suspect Was ‘Charismatic’ Guy, ‘Ashamed’ Neighbor Said


  6. Pat Johnson says:

    There is something even “creepier” about this story when 3 brothers are involved for over 10 years and their own families “had no clue” about their activities.

    Right now we have few answers to how this was kept secret for 10 years, especially when one young girl apparently gave birth during this period, but I would be looking at those family members as well.

    • bostonboomer says:

      One neighbor said he once heard screaming from the house and reported it, according to ABC news. It was on a link I posted above.

      • Fannie says:

        Police investigated and heard nothing, so didn’t enter home, got in their car and left, and did not return.

      • NW Luna says:

        Investigators also said Tuesday that they had no record of any tips or calls about criminal activity at the house in the years after the victims vanished, but that they were still checking their files.

        However, two neighbors said they were alarmed enough by what they saw at the house to call police on two occasions.

        Elsie Cintron, who lives three houses away, said her daughter once saw a naked woman crawling on her hands and knees in the backyard several years ago and called police. “But they didn’t take it seriously,” she said.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Oh. My. God.

  7. bostonboomer says:
  8. bostonboomer says:

    Minnesota man arrested by FBI for planning a “terrorist” attack was a right wing militia type. Will he still be called a “terrorist?”

    Law enforcement indicates that Rogers was a member of the “Black Snake Militia.” He had a cache of explosives and weapons at his address.

    He reportedly hung an upside down American flag on his property, a sign that he believed America was in distress.

    On his Facebook page, Rogers engaged in right-wing conspiracy theories, warning about “FEMA camps” and the New World Order. He also posted pictures of himself in paramilitary gear and showcased a tattoo he had of the band Insane Clown Posse.

    Sounds like a real winner…

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Diabetic high school student in Alabama falls asleep in study hall, gets assaulted by cop and jailed.

    Ashlynn Avery and her mother Tieshka Avery sued the City of Hoover, its Police Department and Board of Education, police Officer Christopher Bryant, and school employees Don Hulin and Joshua Whited, in Federal Court.

    On May 3, 2011, “Ashlynn Avery was in Hoover High School’s In-School Suspension (ISS) for what was termed ‘skipping class,'” the complaint states….

    “As a result of a combination of Ashlynn’s chronic medical conditions, including sleep apnea, Type II diabetes, and asthma, Ashlynn dozed off during ISS.

    “Joshua Whited, the ISS supervisor, noticed that Ashlynn had dozed off, walked to her cubicle and struck the cubicle with his hand, causing the cubicle to hit Ashlynn’s head, waking her up.

    “Ashlynn returned to reading ‘Huckleberry Finn.’

    “Once again, Ashlynn dozed off.

    “While she was sleeping, Whited took the book from her, slammed the book onto the desk, causing the book to bounce and hit Ashlynn in the chest.”

    Ashlynn claims she was told to leave the room, and called her mother, and that “while Ashlynn was hysterical, speaking with her mother and walking down the hall, Officer Christopher Bryan [sic], who was behind her, made aggressive contact against her by slapping her backpack.”

    The complaint continues: “Ashlynn, not knowing who was behind her, said ‘Leave me alone’.

    “While still on the phone with her mother, Officer Bryant proceeded to shove Ashlynn face first into a file cabinet and handcuff her….

    “On the ride to the police station, Ashlynn, due to her emotional state, vomited in the car.”

    Ashlynn was taken to the Children’s Health Center Emergency Department, and “while diagnosis showed no acute fractures, treatment included immobilization of her right arm with a cast, which she was required to wear for approximately one month,” the complaint states.

    • RalphB says:

      Damned idiots must grow on trees, there are so many of them. Hope they end up owning the school district!

  10. Fannie says:

    Thanks to the sky dancers who reported on Elizabeth Smart Kidnapping Case here, and then just hours later the three girls were found. Women like Elizabeth will be able to talk to the others who experienced the same, it helps with the reality of things……………The’s Castro’s were animals, filthy men. How they kept these girls tied up and hidden from the community for over a decade, and just a couple miles from home. This needs to be pointed out to the community, to all of us to become more aware and question what you see and hear, and look around, instead of turning heads, and avoiding getting involved.

  11. Fannie says:

    Wow, we have just had a bumper crops of idiot officers, and teachers, and administrators in the schools, and in the community. They need to be fired, and I hope the girl sues and gets millions for her diabeties.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Lovely artwork at the top of the post, BB. A soothing contrast to the atrocities in the news, thank you.

    • Beata says:

      My thoughts exactly. A very peaceful scene.

      Contemplating beauty – in art, music, nature – can be very healing.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks, I chose it on purpose. So much shocking stuff in the news.

  13. NW Luna says:

    Slowing health-care costs may be here to stay

    Economists concur that the deep recession and sluggish recovery are the main reasons for slowing growth in spending. During the recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs, and thus their insurance coverage; millions more struggling families were reluctant to see a physician or undergo a procedure. But the slowdown in health costs proved steeper than economists had forecast. It also occurred in populations whose health spending was mostly sheltered from the economic gyrations, like Medicare patients [sic]. ….

    Thus, while economists have cheered the flattening in health spending, families have assumed more and more of the health-care burden.

    “The slowdown in health costs is completely unreal to average people,” said Drew Altman, the president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Experts measure aggregate spending. But people’s costs have gone up 140 percent over the past 10 years, while wages only went up 40 percent.”

    • NW Luna says:

      I had to add the [sic] above. Whomever thinks Medicare patients are “mostly sheltered” from healthcare costs has obviously never talked with an average person on Medicare.

  14. NW Luna says:

    Not content with attacks on Social Security and Medicare, the Rs keep chipping away at the already meagre protection for workers in the U.S.:

    The GOP plan is an effort to change the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which requires covered employees to receive time-and-a-half pay for every hour over 40 within a work week. The proposal would allow workers to bank up to 160 hours, or four weeks, of comp time per year that could be used to take time off for any reason. ….

    Democrats say the bill provides no guarantee that workers would be able to take the time off when they want. The bill gives employers discretion over whether to grant a specific request to use comp time. Opponents also complain that banking leave time essentially gives employers an interest free loan from workers.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      And don’t forget, comp time is a 1 to 1 ratio where overtime is paid time & a half. Essentially employers get overtime work performed for the cost of regular work time rates.

      • NW Luna says:

        Absolutely right, ecocat!

        Workers get screwed (again). Screwed out of full payment for their work, and screwed health-wise as longer hours are associated with poorer health.

  15. NW Luna says:

    Impressive; my state’s Congresscritters actually declined to further cut mental-health funding, and even improved some aspects of care:

    Notable gains on mental health

    The half-dozen bills, now on Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk, will ease crisis-level access to inpatient psychiatric care, reduce untenable delays for mentally ill patients awaiting trial and give school staff better training to spot suicidal students.