Not One, But Two Afghan Landslides… And Other News

Afghan Landslides

Afghanistan can’t seem to catch a break. First the Soviets, then the Taliban, then some other stuff… and now a monster landslide.

After a landslide swallowed hundreds of homes in the Argo district of Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan, rescuers struggled to help dig out the buried residents, using shovels and bare hands to recover the missing. Then tragedy struck again. A second landslide hit, consuming the hundreds of rescuers from nearby villages. The governor’s office said at least 2,000 people died in the slides. As for those missing, they are presumed dead. “That will be their cemetery,” said Mohammed Karim Kahlili, one of Afghanistan’s two vice presidents. “It is not possible to bring out any bodies.” President Hamid Karzai declared a national day of mourning, saying there was “no hope” for most of those buried and declaring the landslide a “human tragedy.” CNN

brett-hulseyRepublicans decided to stop hogging all the bad ideas for once and let Democrat Rep. Brett Hulsey have his day in the spotlight. The Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate announced Thursday that he will hand out Ku Klux Klan hoods – or what he calls “Republican Party hats” – at the state GOP convention on the weekend. The long-shot candidate (and even longer shot now) showed off his homemade white hoods that he stitched together using $1 curtain material and his daughter’s sewing machine inside the press room at the state Capitol. Hulsey’s crazy antics were quickly denounced by both sides of the spectrum as “completely unacceptable and totally inappropriate.” But Husley says he was simply trying to call attention to what he says are “racist” policies by Republicans, such as ending record-keeping on racial profiling by police, cutting back on income eligibility limits for Medicaid, and voting changes. He has a point, but this is also the guy who he threatened to have someone dress up in a chicken suit and show up at one of the Democratic frontrunner’s events because, according to him, she’s afraid of facing him in a debate… so he’s a little out there. MSNBC

Camels MERSThanks a lot camels! After a new study suggested that camels may be behind the recent deadly surge in cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the virus has officially arrived in the United States. A man from Indiana was hospitalized last week with the first U.S. case of the mysterious camel virus that has sickened hundreds in the Middle East. The man is said to be doing well and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it’s closely monitoring the case. MERS has infected at least 400 people and killed over 100 in the two years since it first surfaced – but the camels remain unharmed. While humans fall victim to SARS-like symptoms, camels do not appear to be damaged by the virus. So far no one has figured out how humans are contracting it, but I’m pretty not at all sure it’s from camel spit. CBC News

South Korea FerryThe death toll in the South Korean ferry disaster has jumped to 260, with 42 people still missing – and that’s not even including the vice principal who was so racked with guilt he hung himself or South Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won’s career after he resigned in response to the ferry crash. “When I saw the people’s sadness and fury, I thought it was natural for me to step down with an apology,” Chung said in a nationally televised conference. Also, South Korean President Park Geun-hye certainly didn’t want to step down, so someone had to be fired over the tragedy. But if anyone should be fired, it’s probably the ship’s crew who told the students to stay in their cabins below deck while the ferry was sinking even though they themselves had already begun to evacuate. Instead of being fired, three crew members, including the 69-year-old captain, were arrested and charged with crimes relating to negligence – which is kind of worse than getting fired. CNN

Gene Robinson DivorceFirst they wanted gay marriage, now they want gay divorce! The world’s first openly gay bishop announced that he and his partner of over 25 years are getting divorced. Gene Robinson’s openly gay life ignited a controversy back in 2003 when he was elected as a bishop, prompting conservative Episcopalians in the US to break away and causing intense debate in the worldwide Anglican church. Now, after four years of legalized marriage and 21 years of fake marriage, the couple has called it quits. But they at least comforted by the fact that they can get divorced just like any old straight couple. “It is at least a small comfort to me, as a gay rights and marriage equality advocate, to know that like any marriage, gay and lesbian couples are subject to the same complications and hardships that afflict marriages between heterosexual couples.” Robinson said. And now Gene’s struggle with the church was all for nothing… except he’s still openly gay, just divorced… which might be worse?  USA Today

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