Thursday Reads: Happy New Year!!Posted: January 1, 2015
New Year’s Celebrations Around the World
The Latest News
Sadly, the New Year’s celebration in Shanghai was marred by a terrible tragedy.
SHANGHAI, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) — The death toll of a fatal stampede during New Year celebrations late Wednesday in Shanghai rose to 36 as of Thursday afternoon, local authorities said.
Seven injured have checked out of hospital. Among the 40 injured being treated in local hosptals, 13 are suffering from serious injuries, the municipal government said.
The tragedy happened at a crowded square in Shanghai’s gleaming Bund area at around 11:35 p.m. There were 25 women among the deceased whose ages ranged from 16 to 36, said the authorities of Shanghai, a metropolis that is home to a population of over 23 million….
Survivors described the stampede as “horrific and hellish.”
Some said they were standing on the steps adjoining the major road and the sightseeing platform when the deadly incident happened.
“The steps leading to the platform were full of people. Some wanted to get down and some wanted to go up,” said a witness who gave her surname as Yin. “We were caught in the middle and saw some girls falling while screaming. Then people started to fall down, row by row.”
The woman said she covered two kids in front of her with her arms in the chaos. Her son followed her.
“When we brought him out of the crowd, his forehead was bruised, he had two deep creased scars on his neck, and his mouth and nose were bleeding,” said the mother.
Dirty shoe prints covered her son’s clothes when the 12-year-old boy came to safety.
“The crowd was in a panic. We stood in the crowd, feeling squeezed and almost out of breath,” another witness, surnamed Yu, said. “Some yelled for help, but the noise was too loud.”
Other survivors said police rushed to the scene and tried to pull out people who were stuck, but without much success.
“The chaos lasted several minutes, then some of the injured were seen being carried out of the crowd,” Yu said.
From the Independent, China New Year’s Eve crush: At least 36 killed and 47 injured in Shanghai stampede.
State media and witnesses have said the incident at Chen Yi Square was at least partly caused when people scrambled for coupons that looked like dollar bills that were being thrown out of the window of a bar on the third floor of a building overlooking the Bund.
A man who brought one of the injured to a local hospital said the fake money had been thrown down from the bar as part of New Year’ Eve celebrations, which he claims triggered the stampede. But Shanghai police could not confirm the cause of the tragedy and have asked people to be patient, according to state television.
Many of the dead and injured were students, and 28 of the dead were women, state media reported.
The trouble is believed to have broken out about half an hour before midnight. Pictures published by Xinhua and on social media outlets showed several people lying on the floor with rescuers attempting to revive the injured as police tried to restore order.
BOSTON (WHDH) –As Boston’s First Night activities began Wednesday afternoon, so did demonstrations by people protesting racism and police brutality.
The protesters started gathering at 2:30 p.m. on the steps of Boston Public Library.
Protesters said they heard calls from Mayor Marty Walsh and Police Commissioner William Evans asking them not to disrupt the family event.
But, they said, the protests aren’t a disruption. They are just an extension of the other family events around the city.
“When kids see people dying in in the middle of the square maybe they’ll ask their parents ‘why is America like this?’” Martin Henson said.
“When the police officers respect black lives and respect us, and we don’t get killed because things are happening because we have children and we have brothers and sisters, that’s when this will stop,” Courtney Hambrick said.
A die-in happened in Copley Square right in front of the library at 5 p.m. Nearly 100 protesters participated while a large crowd gathered to watch.
See tweets and more photos from the protest at Boston.com.
ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A group of approximately 75 marched throughout downtown St. Louis Wednesday before gathering outside of Police Headquarters.
The protesters posted an “Eviction Notice” on the door of the headquarters which listed reasons that “Chief Sam Dotson and all other occupiers of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department” would be “removed from power.”
News 4’s Russell Kinsaul was at the headquarters and said there was a line of police officers outside the front door preventing people from entering the building. He said the officers used pepper spray when the protesters attempted to enter the building.
Protesters said they would be at the headquarters for about four hours to represent the hours that Michael Brown’s body lay in the street.
According to The Daily Beast, NYPD officers are staging their own protest against public criticism of police officers shooting and killing black men: Ground Zero of the NYPD Slowdown.
The end of 2014 in New York City has felt like the end of days. The last week of the year was marked by strained relations between Mayor Bill DeBlasio and the rank and file of the NYPD following the shooting of two officers: Rafael Ramos and Wejian Liu, shootings blamed by President of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, on the Mayor’s response to the Eric Garner protests.
In the wake of this turmoil, the New York Post reported that the police had stopped policing. In the week starting Dec. 22, arrests were down 66 percentcompared to the same week in 2013. According to the Post, citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587. Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination fell 94 percent—from 4,831 to 300. And drug arrests dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.
The numbers reinforce another article in the Post, in which cops confessed to “turning a blind eye” to minor crimes. An NYPD supervisor told the Post, “My guys are writing almost no summonses, and probably only making arrests when they have to—like when a store catches a shoplifter.” In the later article, the Postquotes the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which warned its members to put their safety first and not make arrests “unless absolutely necessary.”
On Wednesday afternoon in the predominantly black Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, many had noticed the police slowdown. A car mechanic who goes by the name “Big Perm” said he noticed a change in the neighborhood. “They just walk around, they ride in their patrol cars, and they just pass by,” he said. He does not approve of the police slow down, like most people I spoke to. Big Perm worries that the lack of policing the “small fry” will lead to more crimes by “big fry.” In the meantime, he is keeping his children at home.
A young man who wouldn’t give his name also noticed the police slowdown over the past week in a neighborhood he says is usually teeming with police activity. “I see the streets are different, they have a different look to them. I’m not seeing the police like I usually see them,” he said. But he said the streets are calmer, too. “More police makes it crazy. If they see me and my friend having a conversation, and my cousin comes down the street, it’s a problem. I just try to keep out their way most of the time.”
The Steve Scalise story is still in the news, but it doesn’t appear that The Louisiana Congressman will be resigning his Majority Whip post anytime soon. Perhaps that is because, as the New York Times reports, David Duke’s ideas now represent mainstream attitudes in the Republican Party.
Unless further evidence emerges of liaisons with the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, or EURO, Scalise will take his oath next week for the 114th Congress as the No. 3 leader of the chamber’s GOP — the party’s largest majority since 1928.
That was the message tucked into the bouquet of supporting statements Scalise received Tuesday from Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other prominent Republicans….
Scolded and scalded, Scalise was still standing.
Suffice it to say that the whip’s protestations of innocence about EURO and its views have strained credulity, both in Washington and in Louisiana. EURO was co-founded in the 1990s by David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader and American Nazi. Duke at that time had run for governor and for the U.S. Senate as an insurgent Republican, doing well enough in both cases to distress the national GOP and attract news attention from around the world.
That’s pretty shocking, but I guess it shouldn’t be. Republicans have become the party of ignorance, racism, sexism, and nativism.
North Jersey.com notes that the Republican record on race has become so awful that Scalise actually suggested that speaking to David Duke’s was no different than talking to the League of Women Voters.
A WHITE supremacist organization is not akin to the League of Women Voters. That should be obvious to anyone, let alone the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives. But it was not to Steve Scalise of Louisiana back in 2002 or even this week.
The House majority whip is dealing with the backlash over the revelation that in 2002 he addressed the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, or EURO, an organization founded by David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader. Scalise claims he had no idea about the group’s ideology; he was a state politician at the time, understaffed, and he would talk to anyone about tax policy.
While that is hard to accept, given the very high profile of Duke in Louisiana, even if taken at face value, the congressman’s comments to the Times-Picayune earlier this week, when he tried to defend himself, show a lack of understanding about racial divisions in the United States.
“I spoke to the League of Women Voters, a pretty liberal group. … I still went and spoke to them. I spoke to any group that called, and there were a lot of groups calling,” he offered in his defense. The League of Women Voters wants citizens to get out and vote; in what definition of “democracy” does encouraging voter participation become “pretty liberal”?
The League of Women Voters is completely nonpartisan and welcomes both Republican and Democrats to its membership.
How valuable is Tom Brady to the New England Patriots? The Sporting News reports: Tom Brady takes one for the team, helps Patriots remain perennial contenders.
On Sunday, Tom Brady earned $24 million in future contract guarantees with the Patriots. On Monday he volunteered to eliminate those guarantees in return for an extra $1 million in salary each year to help his team pay for players in free agency.
The reason for the contract restructure is to allow the Patriots to avoid having to place his $24 million in salary, which would be earned from 2015 through 2017, in escrow early in the the 2015 League Year. Salary that is guaranteed at the start of the year for skill must be funded in entirety by the team, meaning the Patriots would have had to set aside $24 million for future payments. Once those skill guarantees are eliminated so is the need to set aside the money in advance. This is a common reason teams use vesting guarantees when signing a contract.
Brady has been a dream come true for the Patriots and their ability to remain competitive, not just on the field but off it. Brady’s $8 million salary and $14 million cap charge in 2015 rank just 17th in the NFL. Meanwhile his closest contemporaries of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Tony Romo will carry cap charges of $21.5, $26.4, and $27.7 million and actual salaries of $19, $19 and $17 million. He is a unique talent and team player the likes of which we many never see again.
Brady has been giving his team hometown discounts ever since his first Super Bowl win in 2002, in stark contrast to so many greedy professional athletes.
More News Headlines
Jameis Wilson will suffer no consequences for raping a fellow college student in 2012.
The Daily Beast: Jameis Winston Cleared of Rape Like Every Other College Sports Star, even though the hearing that cleared him was a pathetic joke.
Here’s an excellent piece on the reality of “false accusations” of rape from Autostraddle.
Christian Science Monitor, Judge rules that Boston Marathon bombing trial will begin Monday.
What else is happening? Have a great New Year’s Day, Sky Dancers!!