German minister Schaeuble bows out, convictions intact

Published: Monday, October 09, 2017 @ 6:25 AM
Updated: Monday, October 09, 2017 @ 6:23 AM


            German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is greeted by ministers as he attends a round table meeting of eurogroup finance ministers in Luxembourg, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. Wolfgang Schaeuble, the long-time German finance minister, is attending his final meeting of his peers in the 19-country eurozone on Monday. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is greeted by ministers as he attends a round table meeting of eurogroup finance ministers in Luxembourg, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017. Wolfgang Schaeuble, the long-time German finance minister, is attending his final meeting of his peers in the 19-country eurozone on Monday. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who championed austerity as the only way countries like Greece could avoid bankruptcy and continue to use the euro currency, is winning plaudits at his final meeting with European peers.

Schaeuble, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, has been a controversial figure at the eurogroup meetings over the past few years, not least because of his insistence that countries requiring financial bailouts had to implement tough austerity measures, such as big spending cuts and tax increases, in return for the money.

His supporters, mainly in northern Europe, argue that Schaeuble's approach helped stabilize the euro currency in what was its biggest crisis since its launch in 1999. They note that no country has ditched the euro and of the bailed-out countries, all but Greece are standing on their own two feet. Even Greece, with its annual budget in much better shape is due to exit its bailout era next year.

Schaeuble's critics though have accused him of being cold-hearted and impervious to the damage wrought to vast sections of society from the austerity prescribed. In return for the hundreds of billions of euros that allowed the bailed-out countries — Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus — to meet their debt obligations, governments have had to undertake wide-ranging reforms to their economies as well as pursuing strict budgetary constraint. In Greece, the austerity has been widely blamed for a deep recession that saw the Greek economy lose a quarter of its output, and unemployment and poverty levels rise markedly.

"Eight years is enough," said Schaeuble as he entered the eurogroup meeting of the bloc's 19 finance ministers in Luxembourg. "In a tough time, we kept the euro stable."

Since the euro's launch, Germany has always been the most-important member of the single currency bloc, both because of the size of its economy but also because of its well-earned reputation for financial stability over many decades. Under Schaeuble, the country's power became even more pronounced, particularly with regard to Greece after its debt crisis exploded in the autumn of 2009. In 2015, Greece came close to going bankrupt before the left-wing Greek government under new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras relented and accepted the country's third international bailout on similar terms to the previous two.

"He played a crucial role," said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the top official in the 19-country eurozone. "He will be missed," Dijsselbloem said, before adding "his sternness sometimes." He also said Schaeuble was known for his advice "sometimes asked, sometimes unasked, but always welcome."

Spain, which saw some of its banks bailed out during the crisis, had warm words, too.

"At the end of the day, he only looked to the best for the whole of the eurozone," said Finance Minister Luis de Guindos.

___

Dave McHugh contributed from Frankfurt.

Taco Bell is testing Kit Kat quesadillas at some locations

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 8:18 PM

Some Taco Bell restaurants in Wisconsin are testing quesadillas with Kit Kats instead of savory cheese and chicken.
Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Taco Bell/Getty Images for Taco Bell
Some Taco Bell restaurants in Wisconsin are testing quesadillas with Kit Kats instead of savory cheese and chicken.(Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Taco Bell/Getty Images for Taco Bell)

Taco Bell is no stranger to unique food mashups, and the latest menu item the fast-food restaurant is testing is no different.

According to Mashable, the chain is testing the Kit Kat Chocoladilla. As its name may imply, the product is a flour tortilla with broken bits of melted Kit Kats inside. Brand Eating was among the first to report the new item.

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A representative for Taco Bell confirmed the item to Mashable. It’s being sold for $1.

Before heading out to the nearest Taco Bell to sample the treat, it’s worth noting that it is only being tested at some locations in Wisconsin, where it’s been tested since Oct. 5. Testing will continue through mid-November. Other locations in the state have a Twix version, according to Brand Eating.

The item itself isn’t new to the chain. Taco Bell UK had the item last year.

The rep for Taco Bell told Mashable that “customer response” to the testing will determine if there will be Chocoladillas for all.

12-year-old girl accused of setting 10-year-old brother on fire

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 5:06 PM

10-Year-Old Boy Allegedly Set On Fire By 12-Year-Old Sister

Police arrested a 12-year-old Alabama girl over the weekend after authorities said she set her younger brother on fire, according to multiple reports.

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Dothan police told WTVY that family members took the girl’s 10-year-old brother to the Southeast Alabama Medical Center on Friday night with serious burns on his body.

Police investigator James Harvey told the news station that investigators believe both siblings were at their family’s house when the 12-year-old girl “sprayed or poured hair spritz on her brother’s back and ignited the substance.”

Harvey told AL.com that another person was home when the incident occurred, but he could not elaborate.

“The girl was arrested and charged with first-degree assault,” Harvey told the Dothan Eagle. “At this time, due to her age, she has been released into her parents’ custody ... with mandatory guidelines and rules that must be followed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources. At a later date she will go before the Houston County Juvenile Courts.”

Because of the ages of the children, police declined to identify them.

Harvey declined to speculate on a motive behind the attack, although he told WTVY that it involved “foul play.”

The boy is expected to recover, AL.com reported.

Loretta Lynn returns to the spotlight to induct Alan Jackson into Country Music Hall of Fame

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 6:54 PM

Alan Jackson (L) is presented with a medallion by Loretta Lynn (R) onstage at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Medallion Ceremony to celebrate 2017 hall of fame inductees Alan Jackson, Jerry Reed And Don Schlitz at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on October 22, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall Of Fame & Museum/Getty Images for Country Music H
Alan Jackson (L) is presented with a medallion by Loretta Lynn (R) onstage at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Medallion Ceremony to celebrate 2017 hall of fame inductees Alan Jackson, Jerry Reed And Don Schlitz at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on October 22, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.(Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall Of Fame & Museum/Getty Images for Country Music H)

Alan Jackson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame at the annual Medallion Ceremony on Sunday. The honoree requested that country icon Loretta Lynn be the one to place the Country Music Hall of Fame medallion around his neck. Lynn suffered a stroke in May and has only made one public appearance since then.

When she walked onto the stage with a little help from fellow Country Music Hall of Fame member George Strait and her daughter, Patsy, the audience erupted into applause.

Lynn spoke slowly, but her thoughts were very clear as she explained why she made the effort to travel from her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee, to Nashville for Jackson’s induction.

“This is the first time I’ve been out of the house. You’re the only thing that could have brought me here,” she said. “I love you, honey, and I want to say, ‘Congratulations.’ I am so proud of you.”

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Lynn also shared the story of her first conversation with Jackson after hearing him perform a few songs.

She recalled, “The first time I ever met Alan and seen Alan, he looked like a scared little boy. He was practicing backstage going through his songs. I remember, I looked at him and I said, ‘You’re gonna be one of the greatest singers in country music.’ He hasn’t let me down.”

Strait sang Jackson’s 2003 song “Remember When” for the honoree. Lee Ann Womack delivered Alan’s 1990 debut hit, “Here in the Real World,” and Alison Krauss performed another hit from Alan’s early years, 1991’s “Someday.”

Lynn joined Alan, George and fellow Country Music Hall of Fame member Connie Smith to close out the ceremony with a singalong of the official anthem of the Hall of Fame, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

Before the event, Rare Country caught up with Jackson and his wife, Denise, to see what he was thinking going into the big event. Alan told us he’d spent most of the day just watching football and watching his wife and three daughters get ready for the ceremony.

Jackson’s daughters have inspired several of his biggest hits, most notably 2002’s “Drive (For Daddy Gene).” We asked him what they thought of their father getting country music’s highest honor.

“They are all so proud,” Jackson said. “They all say how proud they are. They’ve always been that way about my music and been such a big part of it, influencing songs and everything. I’m so happy they were able to be here tonight to be a part of this.”

Jackson said it’s a little overwhelming to realize the plaque with his name on it will now hang in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s rotunda beside the plaques of other giants of country music.

He said, “A lot of ’em are heroes I’ve patterned myself after, or tried to. All the way from Hank Williams to, more recently, Don Williams that passed away. Everyone from George (Jones) and Merle (Haggard). Just so many people that have been a part of all this history. Especially when you look at how many are members here and how many that aren’t -- I feel so blessed and special to be included with these guys and girls.”

Others inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame include late country star and actor Jerry Reed and songwriter Don Schlitz, best known for writing Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” and Randy Travis’s “Forever and Ever, Amen” among scores of other major country hits.

What is the difference between a serial killer, spree killer and mass murderer? 

Published: Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 6:47 PM

The Most Infamous Serial Killers in the U.S.

Police in Tampa, Florida, think they have a serial killer on their hands, after the shooting death of three people over an 11-day period in the same neighborhood, but do they?

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Federal authorities and criminologists actually classify people who kill more than one person into three different groups: serial killers, spree killers and mass murderers.

The dictionary defines a serial killer as “a person who kills more than one victim in more than one location in a very short period of time,” but according to the FBI that definition actually reflects the behavior of a spree killer. 

A spree killer is someone who kills two or more victims over a short period of time without a cooling-off period, the FBI said. At this point and with what we know about the case, it seems this description fits the killer in the Tampa shooting deaths better than serial killer.

Spree killers don’t resume their normal lives in between killings like serial killers do, according to Psychology Today.

“The maximum duration between murders in spree killing is generally considered to be seven days. Serial killers, on the other hand, may cool off for weeks, months and, in rare instances, even years between murders,” the magazine reported. 

The lack of a cooling-off period is the difference between a spree killer and a serial killer, the FBI said.

“This is very different than serial killers who are much more likely to stalk and target complete strangers who somehow fulfill deranged and secret fantasies that only they understand,” Psychology Today reported

The D.C. sniper case from 2002 is a good example of a spree killing when 10 people were killed over 23 days by two shooters.

>> Related: Possible serial killer on loose; Florida police link 3 separate murders

A mass murder is defined as the killing of a large number of people, usually in one place, like the attack in Las Vegas earlier this month when 58 people were shot to death from a window of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

An actor portrays serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer at Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House, at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center on October 5, 2012.(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)