Ancient pharaonic city unearthed
CAIRO– Egyptian archeologists have unearthed a 3,000-year-old lost city, complete with mud brick houses, artifacts, and tools from pharaonic times. Noted archeologist Zahi Hawass said an Egyptian mission discovered the mortuary city in the southern province of Luxor. It dates back to what is considered a golden era of ancient Egypt, the period under King Amenhotep III of the 18th dynasty. “Many foreign missions searched for this city and never found it,” Hawass said in a statement Thursday. The city, built on the western bank of the Nile River, was once the largest administrative and industrial settlement of the pharaonic empire, he added. Last year, archeologists started excavating in the area, searching for the mortuary temple of King Tutankhamun. However, within weeks, the statement said, archeologists found mud bricks formations that eventually turned out to be a well-preserved large city. City walls, and even rooms filled with utensils used in daily life are said to be present. “The archaeological layers have laid untouched for thousands of years, left by the ancient residents as if it were yesterday,” the press release said. The newly unearthed city is located between the temple of King Rameses III and the colossi of Amenhotep III on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. The city continued to be used by Amenhotep III’s grandson Tutankhamun, and then his successor King Ay. Betsy Brian, Professor of Egyptology at John Hopkins University, said the discovery of the lost city was the most important archeological find since the tomb of Tutankhamun. Archeologists have also found clay caps of wine vessels, rings, scarabs, colored pottery, and spinning and weaving tools. Some mud bricks bear the seal of King Amenhotep III’s cartouche, or name insignia.
Major eruption rocks volcano
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — An explosive eruption rocked La Soufriere volcano on the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent on Friday following mandatory evacuation orders from the local government. Emergency management officials said the ash column rose about 20,000 feet high and that the ash was headed east into the Atlantic Ocean. However, heavy ashfall also was reported in communities around the volcano, said Erouscilla Joseph, director of the University of the West Indies Seismic Center. “More explosions could occur,” she said in a phone interview, adding that it was impossible to predict whether they might be bigger or smaller than the first one. There were no immediate reports of casualties from the eruption that occurred four days short of the 42nd anniversary of the last sizable eruption. In the coastal town of Barrouallie, about 9 miles from the volcano, evacuees trudged toward shelters carrying backpacks, duffel bags and shopping bags stuffed with personal belongings after the explosion. Some prepared to stay there, while others were expected to board cruise ships or go to nearby islands that have offered help. Others still waited for transportation to a shelter, including one family who stood for at least an hour by the side of a road under the sun with their children and suitcases as they awaited a ride from someone. The volcano last erupted on April 13, 1979, and a previous eruption in 1902 killed some 1,600 people. The new eruption followed mandatory evacuation orders issued Thursday for the roughly 16,000 people who live in the red zone near the volcano in the island’s northern region. Roughly 2,000 people were staying in the 20 shelters the government had opened, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said.
Sentenced in crash that killed 2
TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida judge sentenced a 21-year-old man to 24 years in prison for killing an Ohio mother and her young daughter in a 2018 traffic crash. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Christopher Nash heard hours of testimony on Thursday before announcing his decision to send Cameron Herrin to prison. “It’s impossible to have greater harm than occurred in this case,” the judge said. Herrin’s family members began to weep as sheriff’s deputies placed him in handcuffs after the hearing. “I feel responsible for this accident,” Herrin’s mother, Cheryl Herrin, told the judge on Thursday. “If I could, I would step in front of Cameron, and I would accept the punishment you might render.” Herrin hit Jessica Reisinger-Raubenolt and her 1-year-old daughter Lillia with the Mustang he’d received for his high school graduation two days earlier. They were visiting Tampa from Jeromesville, Ohio. He was heading to a gym on the morning of May 23, 2018. Witnesses later told investigators that Herrin and his friend John Barrineau, who was driving a Nissan, appeared to be racing on Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard. Police said Reisinger-Raubenolt, 24, was pushing her daughter in a stroller when Herrin’s car hit them. Barrineau also pleaded guilty and is serving a six-year prison sentence. The Mustang topped 100 mph moments before the crash, rapidly decelerating to 30 and 40 mph at the time of impact.
Fukushima water to be dumped
TOKYO — The Japanese government has decided to dispose of massive amounts of treated but still radioactive water stored in tanks at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant by releasing it into the Pacific Ocean, a conclusion widely expected but delayed for years amid protests and safety concerns. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told top fisheries association officials on Wednesday that his government believes the release into the sea is the most realistic option and that a final decision would be made “within days.” A formal announcement is expected soon at a meeting of key ministers, Industry Ministry officials said Friday. A government panel, after seven years of discussion on how to dispose of the water without further harming Fukushima’s image and the region’s fisheries and other businesses, prepared a report two years ago saying a release into the sea is the most realistic method. The report mentioned evaporation as a less desirable option.
Amazon workers reject union
Amazon workers voted against forming a union at a warehouse in Alabama, handing the online retail giant a decisive victory and cutting off a path that labor activists had hoped would lead to similar efforts throughout the company and beyond. After months of aggressive campaigning from both sides, 1,798 warehouse workers ultimately rejected the union while 738 voted in favor of it, according to the National Labor Relations Board, which is overseeing the process. Of the 3,117 votes cast, 76 were voided and 505 were contested by either Amazon or the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which led the organizing efforts in Bessemer. But the NLRB said the contested votes were not enough to sway the outcome. The union said it would file an objection with the NLRB charging the company with illegally interfering with the union vote. It will seek a hearing with the labor board to determine if the results “should be set aside because conduct by the employer created an atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals.” The union accused Amazon of spreading disinformation about the effort at meetings that workers were required to attend.
Coney Island attractions reopen
NEW YORK — The Wonder Wheel began turning and the Cyclone whipped into action as Coney Island’s illustrious amusement parks reopened Friday after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered New York City’s iconic summer playground all last year. After 529 days of closure, “it’s a very emotional day. We wanted to spread positivity,” Alessandro Zamperla, the president of the company that owns Luna Park — home of the Cyclone — said at an opening ceremony. “It’s been very tough, but now is really a day of celebration, a day where we get together and we want to inspire people to come here, to really be able to have fun,” said Zamperla, whose company is called Central Amusement International Inc. It has six new attractions for youngsters coming online this year, according to its website. The attractions will be open on weekends at first, with reduced capacity and other pandemic precautions. Frontline workers got the first rides on the Wonder Wheel, which turned 100 last year. It was closed for the centennial, but Dennis Vourderis, a member of the family that owns Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, was only looking forward. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the reopening “one of the best days of the year.” “Coney Island comes back, the rides come back and now New York City will come back. You can feel it,” the mayor said before taking a spin on the Cyclone.
Airlines pull Boeing Max jets
Airlines pulled dozens of Boeing Max 737s out of service for inspections after the aircraft maker told them about a possible electrical problem, the latest setback for plane. Boeing said Friday that the issue affected planes used by 16 airlines, and that it recommended inspections before the planes fly again. The Max was grounded worldwide in March 2019 after two crashes killed 346 people. Regulators in the U.S., Europe, Canada and Brazil cleared the plane to resume flying in recent months after Boeing changed an automated flight-control system that played a role in the crashes. Boeing said Friday that the electrical issue was unrelated to the flight-control system.
Coughing woman gets 30 days
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida woman whose image went viral when she coughed on a customer at a Pier 1 store last year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic has been sentenced to 30 days in jail. A judge in Jacksonville on Thursday also ordered Debra Hunter to pay a $500 fine, serve six months probation and participate in a mental health evaluation along with anger management. She was also ordered to cover the costs of the victim’s COVID-19 test. Hunter received credit for one day already served in jail. She was arrested last June after she was recorded deliberately coughing on the other customer during an argument with employees inside the store. According to investigators, the victim, Heather Sprague, had begun recording Hunter’s heated encounter with the employees. Hunter saw her and made a rude gesture before walking up and saying she would cough on her. And then she coughed on her. Sprague, who is being treated for a brain tumor, told the judge she spent days anxiously searching for a place where she and her family could be tested for the coronavirus. The tests ended up being negative, she said.Hunter’s husband told the judge they had faced numerous hardships leading up to the incident, including losing everything they had in a house fire. “It was like air being inflated into a balloon, and it finally got to the point where she couldn’t handle any more air,” Hunter’s husband said in court. “And then she finally rubbed up against something and just popped.”
Rioters ignore pleas for calm
BELFAST — Police in Northern Ireland deployed water cannons for the first time in six years Thursday as they tried to disperse protesters who hurled stones, fireworks and gasoline-filled bottles at officers during another night of violence in Belfast. The violence erupted last week as tensions simmered between the Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland over COVID-19 lockdown restrictions that have restricted socializing and post-Brexit trade rules that have both economic and political ramifications. While the crowds appeared somewhat smaller Thursday, police said a further 19 officers were injured, bringing the total over the past week to 74. The latest violence came despite appeals from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Irish Premier Micheal Martin and U.S. President Joe Biden to calm tensions.
American, Russians dock at ISS
MOSCOW — A trio of Russian and American space travelers launched successfully and reached the International Space Station on Friday. NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov blasted off as scheduled at 12:42 p.m. (0742 GMT, 3:42 a.m. EDT) aboard the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan. They docked at the station after a two-orbit journey that lasted just over three hours. It is the second space mission for Vande Hei and the third for Novitskiy, while Dubrov is on his first mission. The launch came three days before the 60th anniversary of the first human flight to space by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin and the 40th anniversary of the first launch of NASA’s space shuttle. “When we started, we were competing with each other and that was one of the reasons we were so successful at the beginning of human space flight,” Vande Hei said at a pre-flight news conference Thursday. “And as time went on, we realized that by working together we can achieve even more. And of course, that’s continuing to this day and I hope that it will continue into the future.” The three will work on hundreds of experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science.
Rapper-actor DMX dies at 50
NEW YORK — DMX, the iconic hip-hop artist behind the songs “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” and “Party Up (Up in Here)” whose distinctively gruff voice and thoughtful messages in his rhymes made him one of rap’s biggest stars, has died, according to a family statement Friday. He was 50. The Grammy-nominated performer died after suffering “catastrophic cardiac arrest,” according to a statement from the hospital in White Plains, New York, where he died. He was rushed there from his home April 2. His family’s statement said DMX, whose birth name was Earl Simmons, died with relatives by his side after several days on life support. DMX — who rapped with a trademark raspy delivery that was often paired with growls, barks and “What!” as an ad-lib — built a multiplatinum career in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but he also struggled with drug addiction and legal problems that repeatedly put him behind bars. DMX made a splash in 1998 with his first studio album, “It’s Dark and Hell is Hot,” which debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The multiplatinum-selling album was anchored by several hits including “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Get At Me Dog,” “Stop Being Greedy” and “How It’s Goin’ Down.”
Stole $4.7M from nonprofit
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A former employee of a West Virginia nonprofit organization has been accused of embezzling more than $4.7 million in federal funds, according to court documents. Ruth Marie Phillips, 68, of Chesapeake, Ohio, was charged Wednesday with stealing funds from River Valley Child Development Services in Huntington. The nonprofit organization receives federal and state funding to provide programs, services and support to children and families. Phillips worked as the director of business and finance at the agency for more than 30 years and was responsible for all financial operations. The criminal complaint alleges Phillips opened a bank account under the organization’s name in 2002 without permission. She used the account to convert approximately $4.72 million of funding for River Valley Child Development Services to her own account, the complaint said. River Valley Child Development Services Director Susan Brodof said a new bookkeeping employee noticed a few “red flags,” which prompted a full review and led the agency to contact federal authorities.
Mrs. World gives up crown
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The reigning Mrs. World on Friday relinquished her title while defending her decision to pull the crown off the head of this year’s Mrs. Sri Lanka title holder, whom she claimed was unqualified to take part in the contest because she is divorced. Caroline Jurie, the winner of Mrs. World 2020, has been accused of injuring Pushpika De Silva, who was crowned Mrs. Sri Lanka on Sunday at a televised pageant in Colombo. Jurie was arrested on Thursday and later released on bail. In a video statement Friday, Jurie said she stood against “injustice” and said the pageant was “tainted.” “My only intention was to stand up for the injustice caused to the competitors throughout this competition which was tainted with heavy politicization,” she said. Jurie added she wanted to ensure that every contestant had an equal opportunity, because she had seen “from the beginning” that the contest was corrupted. She stressed she did not favor anyone. “I am now ready to hand over the crown,” she said, before removing the crown from her head. Following Sunday’s bust-up, De Silva clarified that she is separated, but not divorced, from her husband. Mrs. Sri Lanka belongs to the Mrs. World beauty contest for married women. On Friday, Jurie said: “How I is see it, the purpose of Mrs. World is to celebrate all women who are married and still strive to conquer their dreams, despite the commitment and responsibilities a married woman strives to fulfill.”
Latest bid to halt lithium mine
RENO, Nev. — Few people had ever heard of Tiehm’s buckwheat when conservationists filed a petition two years ago to list the desert wildflower as an endangered species. But federal documents reviewed by The Associated Press show the rare plant at the center of a fight over a proposed lithium mine in Nevada has been on the government’s radar for more than two decades. Conservationists who discovered the records are urging the Bureau of Land Management to take administrative action to create a mile-buffer around the flower while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers formal protection under the Endangered Species Act. “BLM recognized that the habitat of Tiehm’s buckwheat needed to be protected 23 years ago,” said Naomi Fraga, the California Botanic Garden conservation director who filed the original federal listing petition in 2019. The scientist the plant is named after — Arnold Tiehm, pronounced like a sports “team” — first suggested in 1994 the site be declared a special botanical area and made off-limits to mining. Today, the Nevada site remains the only place on earth the plant is known to exist. The Center for Biological Diversity says Australia-based Ioneer’s proposed lithium mine about 200 miles northwest of Las Vegas would destroy it.
Mideast finds outlet in Clubhouse
BEIRUT — They are boisterous, argumentative and at times downright hilarious. Hundreds of thousands of people in the Arab world are turning to Clubhouse, the fast-growing audio chat app, to mock and vent against longtime rulers, debate sensitive issues from abortion to sexual harassment, or argue where to find the best and cheapest shawarma sandwich during an economic crisis. The discussions are endless as they are breathless. More than 970,000 people from the Middle East have downloaded the new platform since it launched outside the U.S. in January. It has offered space for in-person conversations in an age where direct contact is at the mercy of the pandemic and it’s brought together those at home and the many in exile or abroad. But mostly, it has offered a release for bottled-up frustration in a region where violent conflicts and autocrats have taken hold and where few, if any, avenues for change — or even for speaking out — seem tenable. “It is an open coffeehouse that pierces through what is forbidden by the political regimes in the region,” said Diana Moukalled, a Lebanese journalist who closely follows social platforms. “Clubhouse has made people go back to debating one another.” The Middle East accounts for 6.1% of the 15.9 million global downloads of Clubhouse, which launched in the United States a year ago. Saudi Arabia ranks no. 7 globally for the invitation-only downloads, with over 660,000, just after Thailand and before Italy.
Eatery protests with mannequins
PRISTINA, Kosovo — A downtown restaurant in Kosovo’s capital filled its tables with mannequins Friday in a symbolic protest of the government’s decision to close eateries for two weeks in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases. Petrit Kllokoqi, owner of Bagolina in Pristina, brought in the mannequins at breakfast and lunchtime. “The government has not shown us any evidence that gastronomy is causing the surge,” Kllokoqi said. The Kosovo government decided earlier this week to close all restaurants during April 7-18. The order affects about 4,000 restaurants and cafes with some 14,000 employees.