Egyptian man climbs Great Pyramid of Giza and throws stones at security

WORLD NEWS Egyptian man climbs Great Pyramid of Giza and throws stones at security

Pakhnyushchyy/iStock(CAIRO) — An Egyptian man climbed to the top of the Great Pyramid of Giza, removed parts of a wooden mast put in place in the late 19th century to measure the actual height of the pyramid and threw stones at security forces, an official said.

Mostafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said the man, who he had not identified, approached the Khufu pyramid Wednesday as an ordinary visitor before catching a security guard cold.

“The security forces who are stationed in the area went after him when he started to climb … they tried to discourage him from doing that, but he responded by throwing scattered stones their way,” Waziri told Egyptian television channel Al-Hayat.

“For no apparent reason, he removed part of a wooden mast placed on top to show visitors the original height of the pyramid and threw it.”

A video circulated on social media purportedly showed the man standing atop the pyramid, throwing what appeared to be projectiles.

He was eventually arrested and referred to the prosecution, Waziri added, although it is not yet clear if any charges will be leveled against him.

Climbing the pyramids is not explicitly outlawed, although climbers can fall afoul of several elements of the antiquities law.

In December last year, a Danish couple sparked outrage in the conservative Muslim-majority country after posing for nude photos on top of the Great Pyramid.

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Posted On 02 May 2019

Man suffers major stroke from cracking neck

sankalpmaya/iStock(OKLAHOMA CITY) — A 28-year-old man cracked his neck and nearly lost his life after he suffered a major stroke.

Josh Hader ended up at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City after tearing his vertebral artery, which leads to the brain, ABC affiliate KOAT-TV reported.

“His wife had been telling him, ‘Don’t pop your neck. You’re going to cause a stroke,'” Dr. Vance McCollom of Mercy Hospital told KOAT-TV.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Cracking your neck — or having it “manipulated” — can carry a risk of stroke, according to Dr. Nura Orra, a family medicine physician and member of the ABC News Medical Unit.

It “places the vertebral artery in a precarious position prone for injury,” Orra said. “Studies have shown a correlation between increased risk of stroke and people who get their necks manipulated.”

Hader was on the younger side to experience a stroke, Orra said. But cracking his neck likely led to one because “a tear in the lining of the artery caused an obstruction of blood flow to the brain.”

Hader has been recovering from the stroke, which left him wearing an eye patch because of an injured nerve, according to KOAT-TV, and using a walker for several days. He also had hiccups for a week and a half, the station reported.

As a father, Hader has been unable to care for his two young children very much because of the stroke.

“I can’t pick him up out of the crib, give him milk in the middle of the night,” he told KOAT-TV. “I can’t do any of that.”

Still, Hader is lucky — he could have ended up with locked-in syndrome or dead, McCollom said.

This is why Orra recommends remembering “the keyword for stroke symptoms,” F.A.S.T. — standing for facial droop, arm weakness, slurred speech and “time to call 911.”

“The moment I heard the pop, everything on my left side started to go numb,” Hader said. “I got up and tried to get an ice pack from the fridge, and I remember I couldn’t walk straight.”

As his symptoms developed, Hader’s father-in-law ultimately brought him to the emergency room, where he was treated.

While the risk for getting a stroke from cracking your neck “may be small overall,” Orra said, “the biggest risk factors for stroke are hypertension, heart disease and smoking.”

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West Virginia lands $37M settlement against pharmaceutical distributor for ‘massive’ pill dumping

Moussa81/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The state of West Virginia has landed a $37 million settlement against a pharmaceutical wholesaler that is accused of dumping “massive quantities” of prescription painkillers into communities.

McKesson Corp. settled a lawsuit filed against the company by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Gov. Jim Justice for allegedly supplying thousands of hydrocodone pills to several small towns, including Kermit, West Virginia, with a population of 400.

A congressional report released last year found that McKesson had supplied “massive quantities” to one pharmacy in Kermit that received nearly 10,000 pills a day on average.

McKesson denies the allegations in the lawsuit as well as any wrongdoing.

Although drug makers have settled similar cases for hundreds of millions of dollars, West Virginia officials say they believe this $37 million settlement represents the nation’s largest state settlement against a pharmaceutical distributor.

McKesson Corp. is the 13th pharmaceutical company West Virginia has settled with — bringing the state’s settlement total to $84 million.

The McKesson settlement resolves allegations by the state related to the distribution of controlled substances to West Virginia-licensed and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-registered dispensers in the state. It does not resolve any allegations brought by counties, municipalities or other political subdivisions within West Virginia.

The plaintiffs, which also include West Virginia’s Departments of Health and Human Resources and Military Affairs and Public Safety, intend to use their portions of settlement funds to further the collective fight against drug abuse in West Virginia.

Terms require McKesson to pay $14.5 million within three business days of the case’s dismissal, followed by five additional payments of $4.5 million per year, through 2024.

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Venezuela’s Maduro makes show of force with military as US-backed opposition uprising hits a wall

WORLD NEWS Venezuela's Maduro makes show of force with military as US-backed opposition uprising hits a wall

Edilzon Gamez/Getty Images(CARACAS, Venezuela) — Two days after Venezuela’s U.S.-backed opposition said they were finally ready to oust socialist president Nicolas Maduro, their efforts seemed to have stalled.

That would leave the Trump administration back at square one, even as it says it continues to consider “all options,” including the use of the U.S. military.

At least four people died in the two days of protests, the Venezuelan Observatory of Social Conflict, a human rights group, told ABC News — with 239 injured. Foro Penal, a Venezuelan prisoner rights group, reported that 205 people had been detained this week, including 15 minors.

Maduro, who has faced months of protests over the country’s economic collapse and his consolidation of power, made a show of force Thursday, appearing on state television with soldiers and vowing to combat “traitors.”

“Something good came from evil, which is loyalty, in full combat,” Maduro said. “The time has come to defend the right to peace.”

The streets of the capital Caracas appeared to have settled Thursday after two days of clashes between security forces still loyal to Maduro and supporters of Juan Guaidó, the leader of the opposition controlled-National Assembly who was sworn in as interim president by that body in January. The U.S. and 53 other countries, including neighbors Colombia and Brazil, have recognized Guaidó as the country’s legitimate leader and urged Maduro to exit.

On Tuesday, that seemed likely. Guaidó appeared in a predawn video with opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, who had been under house arrest, saying their push to oust Maduro had entered its “final phase.” They called for an uprising in the streets and said they had the support of some of Maduro’s key aides.

In particular, three senior officials — Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, Presidential Guard chief Ivan Hernandez Dala, and Supreme Court chief justice Maikel Moreno — were in talks with Guaidó’s supporters to declare their allegiance to the constitution, according to U.S. officials. Maduro himself was prepared to depart the country and fly to Cuba, his airplane ready on the tarmac, according to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who blamed Russia for a last-minute intervention that caused Maduro to stay.

But at the end of the day, none of that had come to pass.

Instead of joining demonstrators, security forces met them with force. Dozens were injured after an armored vehicle plowed through a crowd and rubber bullets and tear gas were used to disperse demonstrations.

A second day of protests on Wednesday met the same fate. Thousands marched through Caracas, many in support of Guaidó and some in support of Maduro. Security forces again clashed with opposition protests, but there were no major defections.

Although the chief of Venezuela’s intelligence service abandoned Maduro, the majority of his senior officials did not — especially Padrino, who has made multiple appearances in support of Maduro.

Lopez went into hiding at the Spanish embassy with his family in Caracas, while Guaido was not seen on Thursday.

The top Trump administration officials met at the White House Wednesday to consider next steps. Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford convened a meeting — although it’s unclear what, if any, decisions were reached.

Bolton has warned that “all options” remain on the table, setting a red line over Guaidó’s protection: “We want a peaceful transfer of power, but we are not going to see Guaidó mistreated by this regime,” he told MSNBC Wednesday.

But senior Pentagon officials have seemed to shoot down the prospect of any use of American force. Kathryn Wheelbarger, acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, told Congress Wednesday that the department was not preparing for a military conflict in Venezuela: “We of course always review available options and plan for contingencies, but in this case we have not been given sort of orders that you’re discussing,” she told one Congressman.

Diplomacy, instead, is still in the lead. Pompeo spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Wednesday to urge the Russian government to end its support of Maduro. The Russian Foreign Ministry in turn blamed the U.S. for an “illegal” intervention in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.

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Posted On 02 May 2019

Church of Scientology cruise ship quarantined in St. Lucia due to possible measles

WORLD NEWS Church of Scientology cruise ship quarantined in St. Lucia due to possible measles

iStock(CASTRIES, St. Lucia) — The cruise ship quarantined in St. Lucia as medical officials investigate a possibly confirmed case of measles is the Freewinds, which belongs to the Church of Scientology, according to St. Lucia Marine Police.

Sgt. Victor Theodore of the St. Lucia Marine Police told ABC News on Thursday that no one had gotten on or off the ship since it was quarantined.

Theodore said he believes the ship is scheduled to depart Thursday night for Curacao, its home port. He did not know where the boat had come from and could not confirm the identity of the person with measles.

The Freewinds website describes the ship as “a religious retreat that marks for Scientologists the pinnacle of their journey to total spiritual freedom.”

“Its position at sea is designed to provide an aesthetic, distraction-free environment off the crossroads of everyday life,” it reads. “As a center of spiritual enlightenment, it is a place where lives are transformed.”

On Wednesday, the chief medical officer on the island of St. Lucia confirmed that the Ministry of Health was investigating a possible case of measles aboard a cruise ship currently docked in one of its ports.

Dr. Merlene Fredericks James said in a YouTube video on Tuesday that the cruise ship was being quarantined because of fears that others on the ship may be infected.

James said her department had learned early Tuesday morning from “two reputable sources” that there had been a case of measles on board a cruise ship that had visited St. Lucia.

“As per the Quarantine Act, our authority under the Quarantine Act, the Public Health Act, and after internal discussions as well as discussions with external health agencies such as the Pan-American Health Organization, we thought it prudent that we quarantine the ship,” she said. “The crew and passengers aboard were not allowed to leave.”

At the time, James did not name the cruise line or the boat, and did not say where it came from.

In her YouTube announcement, James referred to the current measles outbreaks in the U.S., and advised residents traveling to the U.S. and other parts of the world that they ensure they and their children are adequately vaccinated against the disease.

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there had been 704 cases of measles reported nationally so far this year.

Preliminary global data showed that reported cases of measles have been up nearly 300% in the first three months of 2019 compared to the same time frame in 2018, according to the World Health Organization.

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Church of Scientology cruise ship quarantined in St. Lucia due to possible measles

Posted On 02 May 2019

Everest tackles 30-ton trash problem with campaign to clean up waste

WORLD NEWS Everest tackles 30-ton trash problem with campaign to clean up waste

iStock(KATHMANDU, Nepal) — You don’t need a map to get to the Everest base camp. Just follow the trash, says climber Dragana Rajblovic.

Rajblovic knows what she’s talking about: She’s the only Balkan woman to have conquered Mount Everest.

To date, 5,200 men and women have climbed to the peak of the world’s highest mountain, according to Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. Another 775 are planning to test themselves against the 29,029-foot mountain this year.

And all of them have brought — or will bring — many pounds of gear with them to enable their weekslong ascent to Everest’s summit. But what goes up does not necessarily come down. Much of it gets left behind.

According to the Everest Summiteers Association, which has, in recent years, taken tons of debris off the mountain, there are still about 30 tons of trash left on the mountain.

Since April 14, New Year’s Day on the Nepalese calendar, teams of volunteers have picked up an estimated 6,600 pounds, most of it simple trash or human waste. But more than a ton of non-biodegradable waste — oxygen canisters, torn-up tents, plastics and left-over mountaineering gear — has been flown to the capital of Kathmandu by Nepali Army helicopters for disposal.

Their goal is to pick up 22,000 pounds of trash by the end of their 45-day campaign on May 29, the 66th anniversary of the first successful summit of Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. The campaign is estimated to cost 23 million Nepalese rupees, about $206,540, according to Nepal’s Department of Tourism.

This is the first time that all stakeholders have come together to clean up the world’s highest peak, Dandu Raj Ghimire, director general of the tourism department, told ABC News.

”I don’t even know who they are. There are so many groups doing the cleaning-up campaign,” said Ang Tshering. ”I have been amazed at coming across so many ordinary people, NGOs and military picking up garbage.”

Their job has, unfortunately, been made easier by global warming. The melting snow and ice are exposing dead bodies as well as all that debris.

“Snow and glaciers are fast-melting,” Ang Tshering told ABC News.

“In 2017, seven bodies were found by climbers who were trying to clean up Everest, as well as 15 tons of human waste and many more tons of trash,” he said.

At least 303 people have died attempting to climb the mountain, according to Ang Tshering, who is a fourth-generation sherpa, or guide.

The cleanup may only be a temporary solution to the garbage problem. With 775 fresh climbers this season, and thousands more in the years to come, the abandoned waste piles will only grow. The government of Nepal now demands that each climber deposit $4,000, which is refundable only if the climber brings down at least 17.6 pounds of trash on his or her way off the mountain.

But even that may not stem the garbage tide, given that a “guided climb” up and down Everest can cost as much as $100,000. A $4,000 garbage tax may feel like “tip money.”

Still, Ghimire said failure is not an option for the mission “to restore glory to the mountain.”

“Everest,” he said, “is not just the crown of the world, but our pride.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 02 May 2019

Three-year-old fighting cancer gets magical Disney ‘tattoos’ to be just like Dad

iStock(TAMPA, Fla.) — A tattoo shop just made one little girl’s day after they gave her some adorable “ink” to look just like her dad.

Trinity D’Autorio, 3, received her temporary tattoos at Ink Wolves tattoo shop in Tampa, Florida. Her mom, Skyla D’Autorio, thought it would be a fun way to take her daughter’s mind off of her battle with cancer.

“People have this misconception of tattoo artists being these big, bad people, but to see them welcome a toddler and just love on her is amazing,” D’Autorio told Good Morning America. “It really does do your heart good because, as a mom, you want to take pain away from your kids.”

Trinity was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in her neck in the summer of 2018. She also has Horner’s syndrome and Harlequin syndrome.

Trinity has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy, surgeries, blood transfusions and bone marrow biopsies, according to her mother.

D’Autorio said she often looks for fun activities for Trinity and the family that will lift their spirits. D’Autorio got the idea to get Trinity temporary tattoos since the little girl is such a fan of her father Lou’s tattoos.

“I don’t know what her fascination is with them, but she’ll sit there and kind of trace them with her finger,” D’Autorio said. “Lou has one that’s a dragon that breathes fire, and Trinity will sit there and pretend to breathe fire back at it.”

“Trinity has a speech delay — so it’s kind of in her own little words — but she loves them,” she said.

D’Autorio reached out to Ink Wolves on Facebook, and heard back that they would be happy to open their doors for Trinity.

“They designed the stencils and filled them in by hand with tattoo markers that lasted about six days,” D’Autorio said. “It was nonstop Disney music. It ended up being a really awesome day, and kind of like a second family.”

Trinity’s temporary tattoos include Winnie the Pooh, the Little Mermaid, Mickey Mouse, a cancer ribbon and more.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Leonardo da Vinci remembered 500 years after his death

WORLD NEWS Leonardo da Vinci remembered 500 years after his death

iStock(FLORENCE, Italy) — This year, myriad celebrations of Renaissance-era genius Leonardo da Vinci are opening across Europe to mark the 500th anniversary of his death.

The Italian and French presidents on Thursday commemorated him at his tombstone in Amboise, in France’s Loire Valley, where da Vinci died at age 67. Invited by the French king Francois I to live in a small castle next to the Royal Chateau D’Amboise, Da Vinci spent the last three years of his life feted in grand style.

Da Vinci’s birthplace, northwest of Florence, also is vying for attention on Thursday by opening a new exhibit to complement existing tourist attractions. The new exhibition will include small strands of dark hair that belonged to da Vinci and which were acquired from a private U.S. collection — on view for the first time.

Alessandro Vezzosi, director of the museum, and Agnese Sabato, president of the Leonardo da Vinci Heritage Foundation, hope the hair strands can be used to learn even more about the celebrated genius. They plan to carry out DNA tests on the hair strands and compare them to others they believe belong to living descendants of the artist’s brother. Results also will be compared to bones found in Amboise that some believe belonged to da Vinci.

The joint Franco-Italian da Vinci celebrations on Thursday come after months of mounting diplomatic tension between the two nations — although a feud between the two countries over his artwork goes back decades.

Earlier this year, Italy’s interior minister provoked matters by saying the Mona Lisa should be returned to Italy. Italian officials angered the French further by saying they’d refuse to loan pieces of da Vinci’s art to the Louvre for a massive show scheduled for October. It’s still unclear whether Italy will loan France these pieces.

Known also for The Last Supper and Vitruvian Man, as well as his codex, notebooks and sketches, da Vinci’s works have fascinated millions for centuries. His interests spanned art, architecture, science, music and math, to name just a few.

Inventions including the parachute, bicycle and helicopter often are traced back to studies or sketches dreamed up by da Vinci, who last month was determined to be ambidextrous by experts cited by Italy’s Uffizi Gallery. The Uffizi opened a new room dedicated to da Vinci last year and plans to analyze another 30 of the artist’s drawings in hopes of discovering even more about the man.

In 1994, Bill Gates bought the Codex Leicester for $30.8 million, the most expensive book ever sold. And a painting attributed to da Vinci, Salvator Mundi, sold for a world record $450.4 million at auction in 2017.

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Posted On 02 May 2019