Grandmother strangles rabid bobcat after it attacked her

‘As soon as it took the first step, I knew I was in trouble. All I thought was: ‘Not today’. I wasn’t dying today’

By Maya Oppenheim, The Independent

A 46-year-old has strangled a rabid bobcat to death after the large feline attacked her.

DeDe Phillips said the wild animal, which is a relative of the lynx, emerged next to her pickup truck in Georgia while she was in her front driveway on 7 June.

“As soon as it took the first step, I knew I was in trouble. All I thought was: ‘Not today’. I wasn’t dying today,” the grandmother told local television station WGCL.

 She said she had just put a bumper sticker with the slogan: “Women who behave rarely make history” on the back of her new truck, and when she came outside to take a photo she was faced with the prowling animal.
 Ms Phillips, who lives in rural Hart County (about 100 miles northeast of Atlanta), told the Athens Banner-Herald: “The cat took two steps and was on top of me. It came for my face.”
  Her father-in-law used to trap bobcats, she said, but she herself had never come across one in the flesh before.

“They go for the jugular. When they can get the vein you’re dead in a couple of minutes,” she said.

The cat leapt at her face, but she managed to grab hold of its shoulders and push it back, dragging it to the floor.

She said: “I took it straight to the ground and started inching my hands up to its throat. I knew that was the only way I was getting out of this”.

 Ms Phillips then squeezed the predator’s throat while still holding it down and called for her daughter-in-law to get help. Her son then came with a knife and stabbed it “four or five times” to make sure it was dead.

Her five-year-old granddaughter was sleeping inside her home when the attack took place, so Ms Phillips reportedly did not even scream for fear of waking the child up.

 The attack also left her with broken fingers on both hands and bruises and cuts to her body.

She is now forced to get an expensive series of shots to make sure she does not catch rabies from the bobcat, with the first round already costing her $10,000.

Ms Phillips’s cousin has set up a fundraising effort to help with the medical expenses. As of Sunday night, it had already managed to raise more than $26,000.


Apple sets up iPhones to relay location for 911 calls


Apple is trying to drag the U.S.’s antiquated system for handling 911 calls into the 21st century.

If it lives up to Apple’s promise, the iPhone’s next operating system will automatically deliver quicker and more reliable information pinpointing the location of 911 calls to about 6,300 emergency response centers in the U.S.

Apple is trying to solve a problem caused by the technological mismatch between a 50-year-old system built for landlines and today’s increasingly sophisticated smartphones.

An estimated 80 percent of roughly 240 million emergency calls in the U.S. this year will come from mobile phones, most of which are capable of precisely tracking where their users are.

Emergency calling centers, however, don’t get that detailed location information from mobile 911 calls. Instead, they get the location of the cellular tower transmitting the call, and must rely on other methods to figure out where the caller is.

That can take up precious time and often isn’t very accurate, especially when calls come from inside a building. Emergency responders are sometimes dispatched a mile or more away from a caller’s location.

Apple’s upcoming 911 feature relies on technology from RapidSOS, a New York startup. The approach developed by Apple and RapidSOS sends location data from an iPhone to a “clearinghouse” accessible to emergency calling centers. Only the 911 calling centers will be able to see the data during the call, and none of it can be used for non-emergency purposes, according to Apple.

Individual call centers will each have to embrace the technology required to communicate with the RapidSOS clearinghouse. Some centers already have the compatible software, according to Apple, but others will have to install upgrades to their existing software.

Apple expects calling centers for large metropolitan areas to upgrade more quickly than those in rural areas.

Tom Wheeler, a former chairman for the Federal Communications Commission, believes Apple’s new approach for locating 911 calls will set a new industry standard. “This is going to save a lot of lives,” said Wheeler, now a visiting professor at Harvard University. He said he hopes other phone makers will follow Apple’s lead.

The planned changes were announced Monday in Nashville, Tennessee during a 911 convention. They’ll be part of iOS 12, the next version of Apple’s iPhone software, which the company will release in September as a free update.


6th Driver Suicide in Months Shakes NYC Taxi Industry

‘Something has to change’
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2018 7:31 AM CDT

(NEWSER) – After driving a taxi in New York City for 30 years, 59-year-old Abdul Saleh ended up hanging himself in his rented room after finding himself $300 short of his car lease payment. Saleh is the sixth taxi driver to kill himself in the city in recent months, CBS Newsreports, and the New York Taxi Workers Alliance says “something has to change.” Alliance executive director Bhairavi Desai, speaking at a rally outside City Hall on Monday, said the drivers had died because the city failed to regulate companies that “came into town with little to no regulation,” NBC News reports. “How is it possible that you have professional workers that have been driven to suicide because the poverty is so crushing and because there is such a sense of hopelessness, because of political inaction?” she asked.

Desai stressed that she wanted Uber and Lyft drivers protected, not banned. She called for measures to help all drivers, including fare rises, retirement funds, and a cap on the number of vehicles. “We now have 130,000 cars competing for the same set of fares that 65,000 cars used to do five years ago,” she said. “The math doesn’t add up, and that deficit means less money for food, less money for rent, less time with their families.” A neighbor in Brooklyn says Saleh, an immigrant from Yemen who sent money home to his mother every month, was “very upset” and had been facing severe financial problems despite working 12-hour shifts, often at night. (This driver said he would rather be dead than a “slave working for chump change.”)


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Docuseries in the Works

From Wilshire Studios, each episode of anthology ‘Immortals’ will focus on a different artist.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is getting into the episodic TV space.

The organization is teaming with Wilshire Studios to develop docuseries Immortals. Each episode of the anthology will team renowned film and TV directors with Rock Hall inductees for an exploration of the artistic and cultural significance of some of the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll legends. A network is not yet attached; Wilshire Studios will shop Immortals to streaming platforms and cable networks.

The current plan will be to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame open its collection of archival materials and artifacts and invite an acclaimed director to explore the impact of their favorite rock artist on their work and the cultural landscape as a whole.

“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is such an amazing brand to be able to partner with,” said BJ Levin, senior vp development at Wilshire Studios. “Their wealth of untapped research material and resources will allow this series to stand among some of the great music doc series.”

While the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony has been televised on HBO, Amazon will stream this year’s induction to international audiences beginning on July 1. Immortals marks the organization’s first foray into ongoing episodic TV work. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation president and CEO Joel Peresman will exec produce alongside Andrew Hoegl (High School ReunionFlipping OutThe Real Housewives of New York City).

“The mission of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is to honor the legacy and influence of our inductees,” Peresman said. “With this new partnership with Wilshire Studios, we now have another outlet to produce stories about the huge influence rock and roll has had on our lives and culture.”

Members of the Rock Hall include Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, the Supremes, Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Cash, Tina Turner, Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Elton John, Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Prince, U2, Blondie, R.E.M., Madonna, the Beastie Boys, Nirvana and N.W.A., among scores of others. Inducted during the April 14 event were Bon Jovi, the Cars, Dire Straits, the Moody Blues and Nina Simone.

NBCUniversal-based Wilshire Studios is overseen by Dawn Olmstead and George Cheeks, who also serve as co-presidents of Universal Cable Productions. Wilshire Studios, which focuses on unscripted fare, also exec produces the E!’s Live From the Red Carpet and the People’s Choice Awards, among others.


Editorial | US must stop holding children hostage

The Commercial Appeal Editorial Board / David Waters

The United States of America is currently holding 2,000 children hostage at the Mexican border. How else to describe it?

In recent weeks, federal officials have taken 2,000 children forcibly or deceptively from their mothers and fathers who were arrested for trying to enter the U.S. unlawfully.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the federal government is separating children from their parents to discourage other parents from traveling to the United States illegally.

“If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally. It’s not our fault that somebody does that,” Sessions explained last month.

Last week he used New Testament Scripture to justify it.

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” President Donald Trump’s chief scribe said.

There are so many things wrong with that sentence we don’t know where to begin.

First, this is the United States of America, not the United Fundamentalists of America.

The government is not in charge of the church, and the church is not in charge of the government — no matter how badly either misappropriates law or Scripture.

Second, this is the United States of America, not the Confederate States of America.

We pledge liberty and justice for all, not just for white male citizens in positions of power and privilege.

“Romans 13 has not only been used in the past to encourage compliance with the fugitive slave law, requiring the return of runaway slaves to their bondage, but Romans 13 was also used to obtain the compliance of the Christian Church in Europe during World War II,” Ricardo B. Graham, a Seventh-Day Adventist leader, pointed out Sunday. “The abuse of Scripture to justify inflicting harm on children is truly a heinous sin.”

 Fourth, if you’re going to use the Apostle Paul’s words to justify a policy even Trump apologist Franklin Graham calls “disgraceful,” you might want to read the entire chapter.

Sessions referred to Romans 13:1: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

But, as countless others have pointed out, Paul goes on to write in Romans 13:8: “Whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” And in Romans 13:9: “Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

There is nothing good or loving or moral about separating children from their mothers and fathers who are merely seeking to protect their children and themselves from harm.

Trump, who runs all of the federal agencies that separate and detain migrant families, blamed someone else, of course. “I hate the children being taken away,” Trump said Friday. “The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law.”

There is no law that requires children to be taken from their parents if they cross the border unlawfully.

Previous administrations “established by God,” including the Obama administration, made exceptions for those traveling with minor children when prosecuting immigrants for illegal entry.

The “zero-tolerance” policy was established and is being enforced by the Trump administration.

Deliberately hurting children to punish their parents is immoral and unjust. Americans should have zero tolerance for it.


Charles Barkley’s Family Feud Answer Is Very Inappropriate

The former NBA star had everyone stunned with a strange response
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2018 5:30 PM CDT

(NEWSER) – Charles Barkley appeared on Celebrity Family Feud with fellow members of TNT’s Inside the NBA on Sunday and one of his answers has people wondering what on Earth he was thinking, Fox News reports. In their bid to beat the opposing team of former MLB stars, Barkley and company were asked by host Steve Harvey: “If a man’s zipper breaks at church, what might he use to cover it up?” The 55-year-old’s answer, in his signature deep southern drawl, was “a child.” The bizarre response elicited groans from both sides of the stage, including Barkley’s teammate and fellow former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal. Barkley quickly clarified, and in the process looked stranger still. “I meant a baby!” he explained. In a win for Barkley, however, his team was awarded points by judges who thought his answer was close enough to “People” when it appeared in the sixth position on the game board.


Barry Trotz resigns as Capitals head coach

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz has tendered his resignation from the team, becoming a free agent after leading the franchise to its first Stanley Cup on June 7.

“After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I am officially announcing my resignation as Head Coach of the Washington Capitals,” Trotz said in a statement Monday.

“When I came to Washington four years ago we had one goal in mind and that was to bring the Stanley Cup to the nation’s capital. We had an incredible run this season culminating with our players and staff achieving our goal and sharing the excitement with our fans. I would like to thank [Capitals owner] Mr. [Ted] Leonsis, [team president] Dick Patrick and [general manager] Brian MacLellan for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this great organization. I would also like to thank our players and staff who worked tirelessly every day to achieve our success,” Trotz said.

“We are obviously disappointed by Barry’s decision, but would like to thank Barry for all his efforts the past four years and for helping bring the Stanley Cup to Washington. Barry is a man of high character and integrity and we are grateful for his leadership and for all that he has done for our franchise,” the Capitals said in a statement.

It was believed that Trotz did not have a contract after this season. There was a two-year extension on his contract if Trotz won the Stanley Cup. That extension was negotiated in 2014, at a time before head coaches like Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Joel Quenneville of the Chicago Blackhawks exploded the coaches’ salary market with blockbuster deals.

“His representative wants to take advantage of Barry’s experience and Stanley Cup win and was trying to negotiate a deal that compensates him as one of the better coaches in the league, top four or five coaches,” MacLellan said at a news conference Monday in Arlington, Virginia. “I think the five-year term is probably a sticking point. You have a coach that’s been here four years, you do another five, that’s nine years. There’s not many coaches that have that lasting ability. It’s a long time and it’s a lot of money to be committing to a coach.”

“We were struggling at the time to get over the hump,” MacLellan said. “We couldn’t get out of the second round and Barry hadn’t been able to coach out of the second round yet either. I think from the organization’s perspective, some changes would’ve had to be made if we lost in the second round again.”

Trotz, 55, and the Capitals had openly discussed getting a new contract done since the team won the Cup in Game 5 over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Later, at the team’s championship parade, Trotz talked about the team striving to win back-to-back Stanley Cups, telling the crowd, “We’ll do it again.” But his optimism was cautious.

“We’ve got lots of good things going,” Trotz said. “We’ll work through what we need to do. If that’s what they want, then something will get done. If not, we’ll deal with that.”

Speculation for Trotz turns to the New York Islanders, the only NHL team currently without a head coach. As for the Capitals, they’ve been grooming associate coach Todd Reirden for a head-coaching gig. Reirden, who has been responsible for coaching their defensemen, wasn’t allowed to interview with teams last summer.

“Todd’s a good candidate for it,” MacLellan said. “We’re going to start with Todd here, and we’ve been grooming him to be a head coach whether for us or for someone else. We’ll see how the talk goes with him and then we’ll make a decision based on that. If it goes well, then we’ll pursue Todd, and if it doesn’t, we’ll open it up a little bit.”


How party dips can give you Norovirus and even HERPES (and sour cream is the worst for spreading bacteria)

  • Microbiologists reveal double dipping can spread bacteria very quickly
  • Even a small amount of someone’s saliva in a dip will allow germs to multiply
  • Bacteria in runny dips like sour cream will multiply by up to 100 times
  • But it won’t grow very quickly in thicker dips such as houmous, it’s said 

It’s not a party unless there are some chips and dip on the table, but these tasty nibbles could be hiding some very dangerous bacteria, an investigation reveals.

Norovirus, streptococcus – which gives you a sore throat – and herpes simplex – the cold sore virus – could all be lurking in your favourite sauces if just one party-goer has committed the ultimate party faux pas of double dipping: the act of putting the same crisp or crudité back in a dip after taking a bite.

Microbiologists revealed on Monday’s episode of Food Unwrapped on Channel 4 that thousands of organisms live in the tiniest amount of saliva, so when someone double dips, the bacteria can transfer and multiply.

They also revealed which dips are the worst for harbouring dangerous viruses: and it’s bad news if you’re a fan of sour cream.

The experts revealed that bacteria can grow especially rapidly at parties because dips are usually left out of the fridge for a few hours.

The viruses can multiply quickly in warm conditions, making them hot beds of contamination.

A test of three popular dips – taramasalata, houmous, and sour cream – revealed that the runnier the sauce, the easier it is for bacteria to grow and multiply.

In laboratory conditions, co-presenter Matt Tebbutt douple dipped a crisp into all three dips to see where the bacteria would grow most quickly.

In just two hours, there was more than 100 times more bacteria in the pot of sour cream than an uncontaminated sample.

Bacteria also grew quickly in taramasalata, where there was 50 times more bacteria.

Surprisingly, there was little bacteria growth in the pot of thick houmous, even after Matt had double dipped.

‘I bet it all comes down to the viscosity,’ Matt muses on the show.

He adds: ‘If you are dip sharing, it’s the runniest dips you have to be aware of as they are more likely to drip back into the tub after they have been in your mouth, hence more bacteria.’

Food safety expert Jonathan France also revealed that if someone has a virus such as norovirus, streptococcus, or herpes simplex, you may catch their infection even if only a small amount of their saliva has contaminated a party dip.


‘Horror Plant’ Discovered in Another US State

Giant hogweed, which can cause severe burns and blindness, has spread to Virginia
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2018 12:51 PM CDT

(NEWSER) – What ScienceAlert calls a “giant horror plant” has made its way to yet another US state, and people who come in contact with it could feel the pain. Virginia Tech’s Massey Herbarium tweeted last week it had IDed a giant hogweed (aka Heracleum mantegazzianum) plant in Clarke County, later updating that count on Facebook to 30 plants. The plant holds what Fox News deems a “toxic sap,” which prevents human skin from protecting itself from the sun’s rays, leading to severe burns that can be worsened by sweat. New York state’s Department of Environmental Conservation lists other hazards that can result from coming in contact with the plant (as well as some photos of terrible burns), including long-term sunlight sensitivity, oozing blisters, scarring, and even permanent blindness if the sap makes its way into one’s eyes.

And it doesn’t take a lot to fall prey to the poison of the giant hogweed, which resembles an umbrella or mushroom made up of white flowers: A simple brush up against its bristles can spur a reaction as soon as 15 minutes later, with “sensitivity peak between 30 minutes and two hours after contact,” per the DEC. It’s difficult to stop the spreading of the invasive plant, which is native to the Caucasus region near Russia and was introduced to the US sometime in the early 20th century. Virginia environmental officials are warning the plant may have been spotted in other parts of the state and for people who come across it to not let their bare skin make contact. It also offers a guide for very carefully getting rid of the plant. (Giant hogweed has been found in at least a dozen other states.)


Four in 10 people have deleted a social media account in the past year due to privacy worries, study says


There is a serious lack of trust in social media such as Facebook and Twitter and consumers expect brands that advertise on such platforms to urgently find solutions, according to research published Monday.

Privacy concerns and the circulation of fake news are contributing to people’s distrust of content on social platforms, said the study by public relations consultancy Edelman, with 70 percent of respondents expecting businesses and advertisers to put pressure on social media sites to address false information and remove offensive content.

Context was also seen as important by people surveyed, with 48 percent saying it’s a brand’s fault if its advertising appears next to hate speech or violent content.

 “We learned that there is a serious lack of confidence in social media in all regions of the world. This is a cry from the heart; people are scared. They are outraged about the violation of their privacy, and uncertain about the truth because of the plague of fake news,” said the consultancy’s president and CEO Richard Edelman in a statement emailed to CNBC.

The Cambridge Analytica data leak and Russian-produced fake newsthat undermined the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election have contributed to people’s concerns. In April, Facebook said that it would remove 270 pages and accounts by the Internet Research Agency, the Russian organization that attempted to influence the U.S. Presidential Election. Last month, Facebook and Twitter both announced stricter political ad guidelines ahead of the U.S. midterm elections.

Forty percent of those surveyed had deleted at least one social media account in the past year because of privacy concerns and 62 percent wanted more regulation of such platforms.

Edelman surveyed 9,000 people in Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the United Arab Emirates, U.K. and U.S. for the study that was published as part of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France.

Richard Edelman urged companies to be honest about how they use social media, such as for advertising, saying that people want clear identification when something is sponsored, as well as when their data is being collected. Consumer goods conglomerate Unilever also announced Monday that it would no longer work with “influencers” on social media who have fake followers in an attempt to help rebuild trust in digital marketing.

People also expect businesses to take on big issues such as racism and sustainability. “Consumers believe brands can do more to solve them than government can,” Richard Edelman said.

The social media study builds on Edelman’s annual trust barometerrevealed at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, which suggested that 41 percent of people globally trust social media, with drops in most western countries on 2017.