Five dead, including gunman, in Texas nursing home shooting: official

(Reuters) - Five people were shot dead, including the suspected gunman, in a Friday night attack at a Texas nursing home and the home of one of the people slain, city officials said.

Police in Robstown, Texas, outside Corpus Christi, responded to reports of an active shooter at a nursing home about 7 p.m. local time (midnight GMT), where they found two men and a woman dead, said Herman Rodriguez, city secretary, in a video interview with the Caller Times of Corpus Christi.

Officers later found two more bodies at a home connected to one of the people slain at the nursing home, Rodriguez said.

“We do feel the crimes are related,” Rodriguez said.

Officials said the shooter was a male and that it was a murder-suicide.

No further details were available.

  • Published in World

A Patch of Garbage in the Pacific Is Now Twice the Size of Texas

Imagine trillions of pieces of plastic debris that, if strung together end to end, would line every inch of coastline in the world at least three times over.

That’s how much garbage researchers found pollutes a remote area in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. The phenomenon is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and researchers with The Ocean Cleanup foundation estimate it covers more than 600,000 square miles, more than twice the size of Texas:

It's growing, too. A study published last month in Scientific Reports reported it is four to 16 times bigger than in previous estimates.  

Records of the patch have been around since as early as 1988, but the concentration of debris received a significant amount of media attention in the 2010s. The environmental charity Plastic Oceans Foundation and social media company LADBible went so far as to campaign for the patch to be recognized as a sovereign nation in 2017.

While the name may suggest an actual land mass, an island of garbage floating far out in the ocean, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is nothing like that. Rather, it's a concentration of particles ranging from 10 kilograms of debris per square kilometer to over 100.

"There's been a lot of different wording for this area, people call it like, 'plastic soup' or 'plastic smog,'" said Laurent Lebreton, head researcher at The Ocean Cleanup and lead author of the recent study.

Instead, it's a patch in that there is a consistent concentration of plastic within the estimated bounds, he said. The phenomenon is observed in each of the world's oceans: accumulations of debris at the center of large-scale circular current patterns called "ocean gyres," which are created by winds and the Earth's rotation.

"It really is a 'patch.' It's an area that keeps its integrity … the concentration of plastic inside this area is one to two orders of magnitude [larger] than outside," Lebreton said.

In other words, the patch would not be visible from a satellite or even a plane, but close inspection reveals enough debris to impact marine life.

The Ocean Cleanup determined the concentration and extent of the patch through observation with boats, nets and aerial imaging. Researchers projected the full extent of high concentrations of debris using an algorithm.

The patch is made up of trillions of pieces of debris, from the size of large fishermen's nets down to particles less than 0.05 cm in length. Most of the patch's mass is debris wider than 50 cm:

Because the bulk of the patch's mass is larger debris, The Ocean Cleanup says cleanup is possible, if it's rolled out soon.

"We need to clean up as much as we can before everything degrades into microplastics," Lebreton said.

It would cost between $122 million and $489 million just to hire enough boats to clean the Great Pacific Garbage Patch for a year, according to a U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimate from 2012.

And The Ocean Cleanup projects the patch, and others like it in oceans across the planet, will continue to grow at faster rates if nothing is done to curb disposal of plastic into the ocean.

Lebreton said that any solution toward prevention and cleanup will require "drastic measures" in the form of policy and planning at many levels — governments, corporations and cities.

"Plastic pollution in the ocean starts in the street — everything goes down waterways, streams, rivers," Lebreton said. "So that’s how we tackle this. We need to stop putting plastic in anything that leads to the ocean."

Puerto Rico: Controversy among Wolves

Half year after the mighty hurricane Maria wrecked havoc in Puerto Rico President Donald Trump did not prioritize the help to that territory.

This Wednesday the far-right journalist of Argentinean origin, Andrés Oppenheimer, columnist for the New Herald, wrote that Trump sent far greater aid to the victims of hurricane Harvey in Texas than to those of Puerto Rico, although the island suffered much bigger losses.

He highlighted that soon after the hurricane that swept over Puerto Rico, he received many critics for pointing out the "late and not very enthusiastic" answer of Trump to the humanitarian crisis of that island.

The journalist affirmed that Trump "seems foreign to the fact that the 3,4 million people that there are North American."

In his column, he affirmed that the president visited Texas twice after Harvey, Florida five days after Irma, while he visited Puerto Rico two weeks later.

And when he finally did visit he offended the victims by throwing sanitary paper rolls.

He refers to what was published in the website polí about a detailed report ratifying the double-standard of the current White House Administration with the hurricanes in Texas and Puerto Rico.

A few examples on this regard:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved 141,800 million dollars for the victims in Texas, while single 6 thousand for those of Puerto Rico.

During the first nine days he gave 5,100 million of meal boxes and only 1,600 to Puerto Rico.

The federal government sent 30 000 workers to Texas and 10 thousand to Puerto Rico.

After two and a half months 39% of the federal applications on behalf of the Texas victims were approved while the 28% of those from Puerto Rico.

After six months funds were approved for nearly a dozen projects to repair of schools and highways in Texas and none in Puerto Rico.

Oppenheimer considers that there may be some extenuating circumstances, like the prohibition that Puerto Ricans can vote in U.S. elections and the reiterated scorn that the president shows toward the Latin immigrants living in the United States.

Finally, the columnist in his article points out that "Donald Trump has called Latin immigrants delinquent and rapists and he described El Salvador and Haiti as shitholes countries".

And he added: "it’s difficult to exclude the contempt - or racism – as one of the main reasons of Trump’s late answer to the tragedy of Puerto Rico. If something resembles a duck, swims like a duck and sounds like a duck, it most likely is a duck."

This controversy between Oppenheimer and Trump is interesting because we are witnessing progressive personalities, just the opposite.

This time with a singularity that the first one tells harsh truths to the second and leaves him without a believable answer.

But if there’s something that fuses them as a whole: they are both wolves of the same pack.

Cubasi Translation Staff - Amilkal Labañino Valdés

USA: That Huge Target

This Sunday, the Associated Press (AP) informed that in a small church of Texas, massacre took place where 26 people were killed and other 20 were wounded.

It’s a temple which its parishioners took pride as the heart of their community, now changed into a somber scenario.

Among the victims appeared the daughter of the shepherd Frank Pomeroy.

The church was surrounded by detectives and local and federal policemen.

Richard Rodríguez, 51 years old, who attended the church every Sunday is unaccountable for so far, as her daughter, Regina Rodríguez manifested who said: "I believe I have just lost my father."

Another of the victims Crystal Holcombe was eight month pregnant.

Experts have attributed that the repeated firearm tragedies in the United States it’s due to the simplicity of purchasing firearms at commercial stores.

So far all efforts to stop this selling have failed due to the ocean of money the National Rifle Association contributes to politics officials of the United States, a group really close to Donald Trump.

Their shield, an amendment passed many years ago when circumstances in this country were very different to those nowadays.

This has enabled several North American politicians to obtain large amounts of money for their electoral campaigns.

The same politicians who have later been against restricting the firearm sales to any citizen.

What is the biggest concern among analysts?

That that said has become something natural in the breast of that society.

That is, the incorporation of the culture of armed violence to the American Way of Life as hours ago corroborated the events in the tragedy at the Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Equal to say, the changing of that other territory in a huge target.

Amilkal Labañino Valdés / Cubasi Translation Staff

  • Published in Specials

1 dead as Harvey spins deeper into Texas; full scope of damage is unknown

Harvey spun deeper into Texas and unloaded extraordinary amounts of rain Saturday after the once-fearsome hurricane crashed into vulnerable homes and businesses along the coastline in a blow that killed at least one person and injured up to 14.

Throughout the region between Corpus Christi and Houston, many people feared that toll was only the beginning. Authorities did not know the full scope of damage because weather conditions prevented emergency crews from getting into the hardest-hit places. And they dreaded the destruction that was yet to come from a storm that could linger for days and unload more than 40 inches (100 centimeters) of rain on cities, including dangerously flood-prone Houston, the nation's fourth-largest.

In the island community of Port Aransas, population 3,800, officials were unable to fully survey the town because of "massive" damage. Police and heavy equipment had only made it into the northernmost street.

"I can tell you I have a very bad feeling and that's about it," said Mayor Charles Bujan, who had called for a mandatory evacuation but did not know how many heeded the order.

Some of the worst damage appeared to be in Rockport, a coastal city of about 10,000 that was directly in the storm's path. The mayor said his community took a blow "right on the nose" that left "widespread devastation," including homes, businesses and schools that were heavily damaged. Some structures were destroyed.

Rockport's roads were a mess of toppled power poles. A trailer blocked much of one major intersection. Wood framing from ripped-apart houses was strewn along Route 35 on the town's southern end.

Harvey's relentless wind tore the metal sides off the high school gym and twisted the steel door frame of its auditorium.

"We're still in the very infancy stage of getting this recovery started," said Aransas County spokesman Larry Sinclair.

Rockport Mayor Charles "C.J." Wax told The Weather Channel that the city's emergency response system had been hampered by the loss of cellphone service and other forms of communication.

A day earlier, Rockport Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios offered ominous advice, telling people who chose not to evacuate to mark their arms with Sharpie pens, implying that the marks would make it easier for rescuers to identify them.

As many as 14 people suffered minor injuries, including slips and falls, scrapes and a broken leg, Aransas County Judge C.H. "Burt" Mills Jr. said. The lone fatality confirmed so far was a person caught in a fire at home during the storm, Mills said. He did not identify the victim.

About 300,000 customers were without power statewide. Gov. Greg Abbott said it would probably be several days before electricity is restored.

Meanwhile, the storm slowed to a crawl of only 2 mph (3 kph). Rainfall totals varied across the region, with Corpus Christi and Galveston receiving around 3 inches (8 centimeters), Houston 7 (18 centimeters) and Aransas 10 (25 centimeters). Tiny Austwell got 15 inches (38 centimeters).

Elsewhere in the storm's immediate aftermath, Coast Guard helicopters rescued 18 people from boats and barges in distress, said Capt. Tony Hahn, commander of the Corpus Christi sector.

The Corpus Christi port was closed with extensive damage. Because the city is the third-largest petrochemical port in the nation, the agency will be on the lookout for spills, Hahn said.

The fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade came ashore late Friday about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi as a mammoth Category 4 storm with 130 mph (209 kph) winds.

Harvey weakened to a tropical storm by midday Saturday. At 6 p.m., its maximum sustained winds had fallen to about 60 mph (96 kph). The storm was centered about 70 miles (113 km) southeast of San Antonio, the National Hurricane Center said.

The hurricane posed the first major emergency management test of President Donald Trump's administration.

Trump met with his Cabinet and other senior administration officials to discuss the federal response to the damage and flooding, the White House said Saturday in a statement.

The president held a video conference from Camp David in which he instructed departments and agencies to "stay fully engaged and positioned to support his number one priority of saving lives," the statement said.

Trump, who on Friday signed a federal disaster declaration for coastal counties, also reminded department heads that the full impact of the storm will not be apparent for days. On Twitter, he commended the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency for his handling of the disaster.

In Corpus Christi, the major city closest to the storm's center, wind whipped palm trees and stinging sheets of horizontal rain slapped against hotels and office buildings along the seawall as the storm made landfall.

Daybreak revealed downed lamp posts and tree limbs and roof tiles torn off buildings. Along Interstate 45 leaving Galveston, the rain was so intense that drivers stopped under bridges because they could not see in front of them.

Rain fell on Houston at nearly 3 inches (8 centimeters) an hour, leaving some streets and underpasses underwater. The many drainage channels known as bayous that carry excess water to the Gulf were flowing freely and rising.

"Flooding is a minor issue so far," Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, the chief administrator of the county that includes Houston, said. "Most of the watersheds are well within banks, but we're not out of this."

Francisco Sanchez, with the Harris County Emergency Management Office, said the storm would be around for a while.

"Someone is going to get those very high rainfall totals," he said. "Hopefully it's not us, but we're in that possibility area."

South of the city, about 4,500 inmates were evacuated from three state prisons in Brazoria County because the nearby Brazos River was rising.

The turbulent weather extended into southern Louisiana, where motorists were cautioned about the potential for high water, road hazards, high winds and tornadoes.

Harvey came ashore as the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 13 years and the strongest to strike Texas since 1961's Hurricane Carla, the most powerful Texas hurricane on record.

The storm's approach sent tens of thousands of people fleeing inland.

Just hours before landfall, the governor and Houston leaders issued conflicting statements on evacuation.

The governor urged more people to flee, but Houston officials recommended no widespread evacuations, citing greater danger in having people on roads that could flood and the fact that the hurricane was not taking direct aim at the city.

The last Category 4 storm to hit the U.S. was Hurricane Charley in August 2004 in Florida.

  • Published in World
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