Today’s Top 7s: Big Stories, Global Headlines

By Tara MacIsaac
Tara MacIsaac
Tara MacIsaac
Tara MacIsaac is an editor and reporter who has worked on a variety of topics over the course of her ten years with The Epoch Times, including science, the environment, and local New York news. She is currently working with The Epoch Times edition based in Southern California.
August 21, 2013 Updated: August 21, 2013

Global Headlines to Start Your Day

(See below: Today’s Big Stories)

1. India: Around 15,000 people killed every year in rail accidents

NEW DELHI: Even as the railways tries to shift the blame of the Bihar train tragedy on the state government, such mishaps on rail tracks have become a regular phenomenon. 

A high-level safety review committee appointed by railways in 2012 had found that almost 15,000 people were killed every year while crossing rail tracks, and had described it as an annual “massacre” due to poor safety standards. …

Times of India

 

2. Thailand: Street racers to be electronically tagged from November

The use of electronic monitoring tags to keep track of offenders serving home detention will begin in November, and young daredevils on motorcycles roaming the streets and causing trouble are the first target.

The timetable was unveiled by Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri on Wednesday. The scheme will later be expanded to other prison inmates if the trial on rascally dek waen proves successful.

Electronic monitoring tags fitted to offenders enable authorities to track their position through use of GPS technology and location verification units. It is part of a plan to ease the massive overcrowding in prisons and juvenile homes across the country, and release selected inmates into home detention. …

Bangkok Post

 

3. New Zealand: Caregiver’s bizarre explanation for $274k fraud 

A caregiver who defrauded the benefit system of more than $274,000 over a 14-year period pleaded guilty today.

When investigators finally caught up with Beverley Anne Malzard, 54, she admitted failing to declare her employment.

But she offered up a bizarre explanation, saying she “believed that she was two separate people” …

New Zealand Herald

 

4. Chile: Five private entities own more than half Chile’s protected land

Study identifies more than 300 private conservation initiatives, including land financed by former North Face CEO, Goldman Sachs and President Piñera.

In Chile, a proliferation of privately-owned conservation areas signals a growing trend in which individual landowners, corporations and philanthropists are taking on the role of conservationists.

Last week, the Environment Ministry released results of a study conducted by conservation group Fundación Senda-Darwin which concluded that the country has more than 4 billion acres of privately protected land. …

Santiago Times

 

5. UK: Oakwood and Drake Hall prison inmates paid to work in call centres

Convicted criminals in the West Midlands are being paid to work in call centres.

The inmates at HMP Oakwood, near Wolverhampton, and Drake Hall, in Staffordshire, are employed to carry out market research for insurance companies.

The Centre for Crime Prevention has branded the scheme “incredibly naive” …

BBC

 

6. France: French top cop’s immigration comments spark outrage

Interior Minister Manuel Valls has sowed discord at the heart of the Socialist-led French government after making controversial comments about the country’s immigration policy and its large Muslim population.

During a closed-door ministerial meeting on Monday, Valls, who is in charge of French police, suggested that in ten years France’s immigration system would need fundamental reforms to tackle the influx of foreigners, especially from Africa. …

France 24

 

7. Democratic Republic of Congo: The Role of Women in Resolving DRC’s Conflict

By aggressively pursuing the inclusion of women, peacemakers can push for progress in areas that have resisted reform, particularly in the governance, security and justice sectors. …

All Africa

 

Today’s Big Stories 

 

1. Bradley Manning to be sentenced. Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning is set to be sentenced Wednesday after being convicted on 20 charges of espionage. He faces a maximum sentence of 90 years.

 

2. Syrian opposition claims ‘poisonous gas’ attack. Syrian regime forces fired intense artillery and rocket barrages Wednesday on the eastern suburbs Damascus amid a fierce government offensive in what two pro-opposition groups claimed was a “poisonous gas” attack that killed dozens of people. The claims came as a 20-member U.N. chemical weapons team was in Syria to investigate three sites where chemical weapons attacks had allegedly occurred in the past. The timing raises questions on why would the regime employ chemical agents during a visit by the U.N. experts. The government promptly denied the reports of Wednesday’s chemical weapons’ attack as “absolutely baseless.”

 

3. Parents wait, worry after Georgia school shooting. Rufus Morrow was at work when he got a phone call with the worst news he could imagine: Shots fired at his daughter’s elementary school. He drove “about 90 mph” to Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy where 800 or so students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade had been evacuated Tuesday in an Atlanta suburb. The police chief says a 20-year-old man with an assault rifle and other weapons was able to slip into the school where visitors must be buzzed in by staff. The suspect, identified as Michael Brandon Hill, held one or two staff members in the front office captive for a time, the police chief said, making one of them call a local TV station. As officers swarmed the campus outside, he shot at them at least a half a dozen times with an assault rifle from inside the school and they returned fire, said DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric L. Alexander. Hill then surrendered. No one was injured. 

Morrow said he almost cried as he told his supervisor why he needed to leave.

“Just the mere thought of what happened at that other elementary school happening here, it was just devastating to my soul,” he said, referring to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut in December that left 26 people dead, 20 of them children.

 

4. Hannah Anderson could be James DiMaggio’s Daughter? Wednesday morning, CNN reported that James DiMaggio’s family wants a sample of Hannah Anderson’s DNA to see if DiMaggio was her father. They want the same tests to determine if he fathered her brother as well. According to CNN, Anderson was also seen sitting in DiMaggio’s car before he allegedly killed her mother and brother, set their house on fire, and kidnapped her.

 

5. Last Nixon tapes to be released cover key period. The final installment of secretly recorded phone calls and meetings from President Richard Nixon’s White House will be released Wednesday, marking a final chapter in a campaign for public access that continues as memories of Watergate fade. The recordings cap the chronological release of 3,000 hours of tapes Nixon recorded between February 1971 and July 1973 that have been released by the National Archives and Records Administration. The final installment covers the tumultuous three months when Watergate was closing in on the 37th president.

 

6. Sudan could halt South Sudan’s oil as deadline reached. On Wednesday, Aug. 21, Sudan may halt the oil flow to South Sudan unless the South ends its alleged support of rebels in Sudan. Sudan had given South Sudan a deadline of August 21 to end rebel support. 

 

7. ACT: Only quarter of grads ready for all subjects. Just a quarter of this year’s high school graduates who took the ACT tests have the reading, math, English and science skills they need to succeed in college or a career, according to data the testing company released Wednesday. The numbers are even worse for black high school graduates: Only 5 percent are fully ready for life after high school.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Tara MacIsaac
Tara MacIsaac
Tara MacIsaac is an editor and reporter who has worked on a variety of topics over the course of her ten years with The Epoch Times, including science, the environment, and local New York news. She is currently working with The Epoch Times edition based in Southern California.