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George H.W., George W. Bush condemn ‘racial bigotry’ in Charlottesville statement

Published: Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 12:34 PM

Former President George W. Bush (R) talks to his father President George H.W. Bush during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Former President George W. Bush (R) talks to his father President George H.W. Bush during the opening ceremony of the George W. Bush Presidential Center April 25, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Two former presidents have joined the growing chorus of political voices directly condemning racial bigotry in the wake of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

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Former Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush released a statement on Wednesday morning, addressing the past weekend’s violence. Their joint statement comes less than a day after a news conference by President Donald Trump exacerbated mounting outrage over his response to the incident, which critics said bolstered white supremacist groups.

"America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms,” the presidents said in the statement. “As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city’s most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country.”

The statement was tweeted by Jim McGrath, spokesman for the elder Bush and his wife, Barbara.

On Tuesday, Trump doubled down on blaming “both sides” for the violence on Saturday, effectively equating the anti-racism protesters who showed up in Charlottesville with the neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and white nationalists who had gathered to rally in the city. 

MORE: Theories abound over meaning of Trump’s ‘many sides’ remark 

Saturday’s violence left an anti-racism protester, Heather Heyer, dead after James Alex Fields Jr., an Ohio man, ran his car into a crowd of protesters. Fields has been charged with second-degree murder.

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Truck fatally hits two children at mud bogging event, officials say

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 5:05 PM

Two children were fatally hit at a mud bogging event Sunday in Georgia. (Photo: Pixabay)
Two children were fatally hit at a mud bogging event Sunday in Georgia. (Photo: Pixabay)

Two children, 15 and 10 years old, were hit and killed at a mudding event in Middle Georgia when a driver lost control of his truck due to a mechanical failure, the Georgia State Patrol said.

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An 11-year-old was hit and injured in the incident Saturday night at the South Creek Mud Boggin’ in Milledgeville, according to the GSP.

Shortly before 7 p.m., the driver of a 1988 Chevrolet S10 was completing his run through the mud pit and preparing to exit, GSP spokeswoman Franka Young said.

“The throttle of the vehicle stuck, the driver was unable to slow down, and he lost control of his vehicle as he exited the mud pit,” she said.

“The vehicle traveled through a cabled area and struck three small children before it overturned and came to an uncontrolled stop.”

The 11-year-old was flown to a medical facility in Jacksonville, Florida. The others were pronounced dead at the scene.

No identities have been released. The GSP is conducting an investigation.

“Our Mud Boggin’ family is heartbroken,” event officials said on Facebook. “There are no words that can ever be said to even begin to express our sorrow.”

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'At Last': School receptionist celebrates summer break with viral intercom serenade

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 2:41 AM

School Receptionist Serenades Students With Viral Intercom Serenade

A school receptionist's stunning ode to summer is going viral.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

According to USA Today, Regina Ballard, who works at North Lincoln High in Lincolnton, North Carolina, took to the school intercom Wednesday to welcome summer break with a joyful rendition of Etta James' "At Last."

The performance, which was captured on video, quickly made the rounds on social media.

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"I love my job, y'all, but I look forward to summers when I can spend time with my grands & family, sooo...here it is...At Last!!!" Ballard, 57, wrote Wednesday in a Facebook post that racked up more than 11,000 shares and 620,000 views by Sunday morning.

>> Watch the video here

I love my job, y'all, but I look forward to summers when I can spend time with my grands & family, sooo...here it is...At Last!!! Laura Thornhill Angie Turney Stump Christie Hockenberry Burke Andrea McLean

Posted by Regina Ballard on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ballard told USA Today that she's "blown away" by all the attention.

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23-foot python swallows woman whole, reports say

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 8:42 AM

Woman Swallowed Whole By Python

A 54-year-old Indonesian woman is dead after villagers say a 23-foot python swallowed her whole.

>> Severed rattlesnake head bites Texas man

According to The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse, Wa Tiba of Muna Island disappeared Thursday after leaving her village, Persiapan Lawela, to tend to her garden. The next day, searchers discovered a "snake with a bloated belly" and some of Tiba's things near the garden, said the village's chief, known by the single name Faris, the AP reported.

Faris said villagers killed the python and cut it open, the AP reported. They then "found Tiba's body still intact with all her clothes," Faris said.

Graphic photos and videos posted online appeared to show the woman's body being extracted from the dead python.

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This isn't the first time a python has swallowed a person in Indonesia, where such snakes are common, AFP reported. A farmer died under similar circumstances in March 2017 on the island of Sulawesi, according to the news service.

Read more here or here.

Dangerous Snakes

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New Jersey arts festival shooting: Suspect dead, 22 hurt, police say

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 7:50 AM
Updated: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 2:59 PM

New Jersey Arts Festival Shooting

One suspect is dead and 22 people were hurt early Sunday after gunfire rang out at an arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey, authorities said.

 

According to The Associated Press, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said two suspects began firing their weapons at the Art All Night festival about 3 a.m. EDT Sunday. Authorities said four of the victims were injured critically, and 16 of the victims suffered gunshot wounds, the AP reported.

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Onofri said one suspect, identified only as a 33-year-old man, has died. Police have apprehended the second suspect, WNBC reported.

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 2:59 p.m.: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy spoke at the Galilee Baptist Church in Trenton. “Art All Night is a time when we call come together. We cannot let gun violence tear us apart,” he said. “These are not inappropriate times to talk about gun policy. These are the most important times to talk about gun policy.”

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 2:40 p.m.: The Trentonian reported that “law enforcement sources” believed a fight that sparked the shooting was the result of an ongoing conflict between two rival groups. A social media post 15 hours before the shooting suggested that there would be gunfire at the event. A Facebook post by Danielle Grady pleaded for people to “Please, please, do not got to Art All Night! They will be shooting it up!” 

The post has since been taken down, but the Trentonian ran a screen shot of the Facebook post.

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 11:00 a.m.  EDT:Officials said 22 people were injured during the incident, 17 by gunfire. Of the four people injured critically, one was a 13-year-old boy who was in “extreme critical condition,” police said.

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 9:25 a.m. EDT: What Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said the festival does not appear to have been the target of the shooting, NJ.com reported.

"All indications are that this was a dispute between individuals that occurred at Art All Night," Onofri said.

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 9:08 a.m. EDT: At a news conference Sunday morning, Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson called the shooting “truly a tragedy” for the city. 

“All shootings, whether large or small, are a crisis. It’s a fact that our cities, as well as our suburbs, throughout America are experiencing an increase in public shootings and public unrest,” Jackson said. “This isn’t some random act of violence; this is a public health issue. We are working cooperatively and collaboratively to end this violence in the city of Trenton.”

UPDATE: June 17, 2018, 8:53 a.m. EDT: Art festival officials announced on Facebook “with great regret” that the remainder of the festival had been canceled.

“We’re still processing much of this and we don’t have many answers at this time,” officials wrote in the Facebook post.

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