CNN-National & Wolrd

A 50-car train derailed in south Minnesota

By Andy Rose, CNN

A 50-car train derailed Saturday afternoon in Albert Lea, Minnesota, according to local authorities.

The accident happened by Goose Lake, per the Albert Lea Police Department, about 10 miles north of the state border with Iowa. Albert Lea is about 100 miles south of Minneapolis.

It was not immediately clear how many cars left the train tracks or whether any hazardous materials were on board. Video released by the police department appeared to show at least one tanker overturned, along with a freight car carrying lumber.

The train was a Union Pacific train, according to a Facebook post from the police department.

Police have asked nearby residents to shelter in place, but there are currently no orders to evacuate.

This is a developing story.

CNN’s Laura James contributed to this report.

CNN-National & Wolrd

University of California system will no longer require SAT and ACT scores for admission after settlement reached

By Chris Boyette, Hollie Silverman and Theresa Waldrop, CNN

The University of California system will no longer require SAT and ACT scores for admission after reaching a settlement agreement, a statement from the UC system said.

UC first announced the new policy on April 1, 2020, for incoming freshman in fall of 2021, and in May of 2020 the regents board extended the policy for 2022 and 2023.

However, the UC system said it would allow campuses to make the tests optional for freshman admissions for fall 2021 and 2022.

A judge ruled in September, though, that campuses could not consider scores from students who still chose to submit them.

The “test optional” policy at most UC campuses afforded privileged, non-disabled students a “second look” in admissions, said Brad Seligman, the Alameda County Superior Court judge who issued the preliminary injunction in the case of Kawika Smith v. Regents of the University of California.

“The University complied with this decision, but it strongly disagreed with the court’s decision and filed an appeal,” UC said in the statement.

UC said it also “explored the possibility of a settlement with the plaintiffs that would provide certainty for students and their families, counselors, and high schools.” The Board of Regents approved the settlement on Thursday.

Under the settlement, the university agreed not to consider test scores in admissions or in scholarship decisions for fall 2022.

“The Board of Regents had already decided in May 2020 that SAT or ACT scores would not be considered for fall 2023 admissions and beyond,” UC said. “And all the UC campuses have announced plans not to consider SAT or ACT scores for fall 2022 admissions.”

Many universities suspended using SAT and ACT test scores for admission last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. But activists who view the tests as unfairly favoring privileged students and as an inaccurate reflection of a student’s academic ability had expressed hope that that would lead to permanent change.

Scores from the tests may be used for other purposes, such as fulfilling the English subject-matter requirement or course placement, the UC statement said.

The plaintiffs in the case are five individual students and six organizations: College Access Plan, Little Manila Rising, Dolores Huerta Foundation, College Seekers, Chinese for Affirmative Action and Community Coalition.


Meet the 9-year-old activist using social media to send oxygen to COVID-19 patients in India

By Jackie Dunham, Writer

Click here for updates on this story

    Toronto, Ontario (CTV Network) — As India continues to attempt to contain a massive outbreak of COVID-19 that has killed more than 266,000 people, a prominent nine-year-old climate activist is taking matters into her own hands and using her online influence to save lives.
In the last few weeks, Licypriya Kangujam has been sending much-needed oxygen concentrators and other medical resources to COVID-19 patients throughout India who are struggling to breathe.
“Right now, my country is facing the worst humanitarian crisis ever in history due to the shortage of oxygen, medicines and beds,” Kangujam told CTV News Channel on Saturday. “Thousands of people are dying every day, hundreds of children are dying every day.”
Kangujam said the dire situation in India has kept her awake at nights and unable to eat. When she heard on the news in April that people were dying due to a shortage of oxygen in hospitals, she shifted her focus from climate change activism to the pandemic.
“I felt I shouldn’t stay silent at home,” she said. “I decided to spend my savings to buy oxygen concentrators to save lives, as many as possible.”
The young activist, who began her climate activism when she was only six, used her life savings and award money she received for her climate work to buy 100 oxygen concentrators that were sent to hospitals.
Since then, Kangujam’s social media accounts have been flooded with requests from strangers begging her to send them oxygen concentrators too for their loved ones. She has used her substantial social media following to raise money through donations to buy more of the machines from China and other countries and send them to desperate families.
“So far, I’ve saved more than 100 lives here and I hope I can do more,” she said.
That’s why Kangujam has been appealing to people around the world to send her donations through Ketto, an Indian crowdfunding site.
On the campaign site, Kangujam said the oxygen concentrators will be directly handed to the families in need without any association from government agencies or private medical colleges and hospitals.
Kangujam has been highly critical of the Indian government’s handling of the pandemic.
“I want the government to announce a national lockdown for a couple of weeks to contain the virus,” she said. “This crisis might not be happening today if our leaders take this crisis as a crisis.”
While India’s two largest cities, Mumbai and New Delhi, reported a drop in daily new infections on Saturday, the government is warning of surging cases in the country’s rural areas where two-thirds of the population live.

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Brooklyn Neustaeter

CNN-National & Wolrd

Black bear released into the wild after being burned in Colorado wildfire

By David Williams, CNN

An orphaned black bear cub that was suffering from injuries received during Colorado’s biggest wildfire is running free in the Rockies after wildlife officials spent nearly five months nursing him back to health.

The yearling bear was released into the wild on May 5 in the mountains in Larimer County near Fort Collins, according to a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).

Video of the release showed the bear scampering into the trees after a little coaxing from a wildlife officer, who banged and rocked the metal container he was transported in.

The cub weighed just 16.3 pounds when it was captured in December. Ranch owners reported the cub was sleeping on a porch on December 7, but wildlife officers were unable to find it when they arrived. On December 11, the cub was reported to be sleeping on a porch at the same ranch and a wildlife officer successfully captured it that evening.

The bear was covered in cockleburs and was severely dehydrated, weak and starving with its ears that were infected from frostbite, CPW said.

It had suffered burns on its feet during the Cameron Peak Fire, which engulfed 208,913 acres in the county between August 15 and December 2, 2020.

“This is an incredibly fortunate bear,” CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jason Duetsch said in the statement. “Most wild animals don’t survive the myriad of injuries they are exposed to, let alone be found, captured and treated successfully. He definitely would not have made it through much longer. It is the smallest bear cub I have ever seen at that time of the year, which helped us make the decision to try rehabilitation.”

CPW said it doesn’t know how long the bear had been orphaned, or when it was hurt, but its burns had been healing for at least a month.

“Since the foot injuries on this cub appeared to be healing well, and his other wounds were very treatable, we felt that with supportive care and nourishment his prognosis for recovery was very good,” said Dr. Pauline Nol, one of the veterinarians that treated the cub.

The cub lost portions of both ears due to the frostbite from exposure, CPW said. Wildlife officials suspect the orphaned bear didn’t have the wherewithal to find adequate shelter and was exposed to the elements.

They kept the bear awake over the winter instead of letting it hibernate, so it could eat and gain back its weight by springtime.

The bear, now 1 years old, had bulked up to 93 pounds by the time it was freed, according to the release.

“This bear went through an awful lot in its first year of life,” said Kristin Cannon, deputy regional manager for CPW’s Northeast region in the release. “Let’s hope humans can now help keep it wild by not rewarding it with our food sources and lowering its chances of survival.”

CNN’s Leslie Perrot contributed to this story.

CNN-National & Wolrd

Houston police still don’t know where a missing tiger is. Here’s what we do know

By Rachel Trent, CNN

It’s a wild story about a wild animal, but you won’t find this tiger tale on Netflix.

A Bengal tiger last seen in a west Houston neighborhood on Sunday is still missing, according to police.

Investigators have fielded hundreds of calls in connection to the 9-month-old cat named India, police said. But they still don’t know where the tiger is.

Where did this tiger come from?

It’s not clear.

The man last seen in public with the tiger, Victor Hugo Cuevas, claimed the tiger was his, according to testimony from an off-duty deputy. But Cuevas’s attorney said that the tiger does not belong to his client; he has, however, cared for it occasionally in recent months. Cuevas, 26, released a video through his attorney of him playing with the tiger as if it were a dog in what looks like a dining and kitchen area.

Cuevas was out of jail on bond for an unrelated murder charge in Fort Bend County and on a separate charge of evading arrest earlier this year in Austin County when he was spotted with the cat Sunday. He was arrested Monday and charged with felony evading arrest, according to police. He bonded out by Wednesday afternoon. On Friday, the state argued Cuevas violated bond conditions multiple times over the years, including on Sunday. A Fort Bend County judge revoked his bond on the 2017 murder charge, so Cuevas is back behind bars.

Wes Manion, an off-duty deputy who lives in the neighborhood where the tiger was seen with Cuevas, testified that he had his weapon trained on the animal as he waited for police Sunday. Manion said Cuevas came out and pleaded with him not to kill the tiger, telling the deputy, “That is my tiger,” before grabbing it by the collar, kissing it on the forehead and taking it in the house. Manion added Cuevas got into an SUV with the tiger and drove off, ignoring numerous commands to stop.

Cuevas’s lawyer said his client returned the cat to its owner Sunday night, but didn’t identify the person.

The latest on the investigation

Police believe the tiger is still in Houston and that it has been in as many as eight different locations throughout the city during the past week.

While Texas law does allow ownership of a tiger with certain restrictions, it’s a violation of Houston law. City rules require wild animals that are dangerous to humans to be kept in an accredited zoo or shelter.

Animal control officers are helping police with the investigation, according to Houston’s animal shelter and adoption facility, BARC.

“In the event any such animals are found in Houston, Animal Control Officers will impound the animals and transport them to a secure location — either BARC, another shelter, or regional wildlife facility — to protect the safety of the public as well as the animals’ health,” a city spokeswoman said in a statement.

At least one sanctuary has offered to take India once he’s found.

Carole Baskin weighs in

What would a modern tiger story be without a Carole Baskin cameo?

The founder of Big Cat Rescue and star of the Netflix series, “Tiger King,” is offering a $5,000 reward to whoever safely hands over India to an accredited sanctuary and works with authorities to convict whoever was involved in the buying and selling of the tiger, she said in a video posted to her Instagram account.

Baskin told CNN this week that those in the neighborhood near the tiger were in “extreme danger.”

“Tigers are hardwired to roam hundreds of square miles, so there’s no cage that’s going to be sufficient for them,” Baskin said. “The only reason that people have tigers as pets is to try to show off to others.”

Baskin said the off-duty deputy did the right thing.

“He kept eye contact, he backed away slowly. A tiger, if you look down, if you turn, if that neighbor had run back to his door, that triggers their instinct to kill,” she said.

CNN’s Rosa Flores, Ashley Killough, Ralph Ellis, Travis Caldwell, Holly Yan, Carma Hassan, Keith Allen, Amir Vera, Eric Levenson and Julia Jones contributed to this report.


14 months after COVID-19 , parks still closed

By Brendan Kirby

Click here for updates on this story

    PRICHARD, Alabama (WALA) — Friday was a gorgeous day, perfect for youth sports or just hanging out in the park.

Just one problem in Prichard – they’re all closed.

Even as other cities long ago reopened their parks and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions, city officials here say the virus still poses too great a risk to allow people in the parks or to participate in youth recreation programs.

“The numbers are still spiking,” city spokesman TJ Pettway said.

The prolonged shutdown has drawn increasingly loud voices of protest among youth sports advocates and others.

Community activist Quinn Austin-Pugh noted that COVID-19 transmission is dramatically lower and that health experts say outdoor activities are a low risk. He questioned why Prichard can’t reopen when other cities have long ago.

“My kids live in the city of Prichard. We have to go over to Africatown, which is in Plateau to even be able to play Tee-ball right now,” he said. “You know, it’s ridiculous that I have to go outside my city with my kids to be able to, you know, give them a piece of a piece of joy in their life.”

Austin-Pugh criticized city officials for not maintaining the parks during the shutdown.

“Right now, the grass is literally up to my knees,” he said, traipsing through the football field at Fagerstrom Municipal Park, commonly known as Eight Mile Park. “The grass is literally up to my knees as we walk through now. I mean, it’s disgusting, you know what I’m saying? It’s repulsive to see how the City Council neglects its people.”

Prichard Mayor Jimmie Gardner denied that the city has failed to maintain the parks during the shutdown.

“That’s not correct,” he told FOX10 News. “They cut those parks regularly. As you know, when it rains, it grows.”

Before COVID-19, the park was alive with the sounds of kids playing football. Austin-Pugh has fond memories of generations of football games here. Now, he said, the city risks its youth getting into trouble.

And it’s not just sports, Austin-Pugh said. He noted that Highpoint Park has a brand-new splash pad built with a grant from the Mobile County Commission. He it never has been used. Since COVID, a lock has kept the gate closed.

Bryon Gill, of the Mobile Youth Football League, said Prichard’s policy is bad for youths.

“It’s having a very bad impact,” he said.

Gill added that he has pleaded with the City Council to no avail.

“I’ve given them the paperwork on the COVID situation, as well as the governor lifting the mask mandate,” he said.

James Roberson, assistant athletic director of Eight Mile Park, said the policy is “giving our kids nothing to do” and that Prichard should reopen.

“The park belongs to the people,” he said.

Roberson also is CEO of the Alabama Youth State Championships, which hosted 5,600 athletes at Sage Park in November.

“Not one person caught COVID, because we followed all the safety measures,” he said.

City Council President Ossia Edwards said the council would revisit the issue next month. But the mayor said the time is not yet right.

“We still need to be concerned about the coronavirus, COVID-19. And, from my position as the mayor of the city, I weigh more to the life of those who are living here than I do to whether or not someone is going to get into a park,” Gardner said. “And I think we should be very careful of wanting to rush right into the parks and bring our young kids and gathering with football.”

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“It’s like drinking water, breathing air “: Obligation to attend mass to be reinstated for thousands of Catholics

By Marella Porter

Click here for updates on this story

    MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — After 15 months worth of sacrifice and changes because of COVID-19, soon glaring signs of the pandemic, like roped off pews and masks, will be stripped away from many Catholic churches across South Alabama.

Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi addressed priests of the Archdiocese of Mobile in a letter, writing that regulations put in place to address COVID-19 will end on May 29th.

The latest guidance by the CDC, loosening restrictions for vaccinated people, prompted the Archdiocese to rid catholic churches of their current COVID-19 regulations.

“Now they really wanna get the last part done. They wanna take the last ropes off the pews and take the masks off and so they’re looking forward to doing that,” said Father John Lynes of Little Flower Catholic Church.

Archbishop Rodi telling Catholics across South Alabama coming to mass will no longer be optional at the end of this month, saying the “dispensation from the obligation to attend mass”will end on May 29th.

“It’s like drinking water, breathing air. Truly, just being able to come to mass is such a blessing and such a gift,” said Bette Szafranski, who was attending mass at Little Flower Catholic Church Friday afternoon.

Father John says of 800 families in his congregation 75-80% have returned to attend mass in person.

“Attending mass in person is everything for us as Catholics.”

He believes vaccines have given people confidence and is a key part to why the restrictions are being lifted.

“People are already.. they really want to come and they just.. some might need that last little push from the archbishop to get them to come.”

Some parishioners were overjoyed to hear the word from the archbishop.

“Hopefully a lot of people will be able to return now. For me there’s nothing more essential in my life than Jesus Christ and that’s why I come to mass, so I can receive him in the holy eucharist.”

Archbishop Rodi says church leaders should “use good judgment” and may continue regulations if they believe it is necessary.

At little flower, Father John says they will go back to how things were before the pandemic.

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Woman turns herself in after machete attack, police says; son still at large

By WALA Staff

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    DAPHNE, Alabama (WALA) — The Daphne Police Department says a woman wanted after a knife and machete attack several days ago has turned herself in, but her son is also wanted and remains at large.

Police say 36-year-old Tamekia Williams turned herself in but refuses to say anything regarding the whereabouts of her son, Jalin Williams, 22, also wanted in the violent incident.

Police say it was about 9 p.m. Saturday when a male victim was assaulted by the mother and son. The victim was held against his will at knifepoint for several hours at the Williams’ Daphne residence, police say.

Investigators say the victim attempted to flee the residence, and he was stabbed several times by Jaylin Williams and slashed with a machete by Tamekia Williams. They say he was able to escape on foot and sought help at a nearby restaurant.

The victim was flown to University Hospital for treatment of his injuries, which are said to not be life threatening.

Tamekia and Jaylin Williams both face charges of second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment.

If you have information regarding the whereabouts of Jaylin Williams, you are asked to contact the detective unit at the Daphne Police Department at 251-620-0150.

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Pro wrestler Jerome ‘New Jack’ Young dies at 58

By Melissa Alonso, CNN

Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) pro wrestler Jerome “New Jack” Young has died at 58, his wife, Jennifer Young, confirmed on Facebook.

The wrestler joined ECW in the mid-90s and was featured in the 1999 documentary “Beyond the Mat,” according to the entertainment data website IMDB.

The wrestling website, who spoke to the wrestler’s wife, reports Young died following a heart attack.

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) tweeted Friday night, “WWE extends its condolences to Young’s family and friends.”

Jennifer Young wrote Friday, “For all the outpouring of love from family, friends, and fans- I’m totally blown away.

“Jerome was not only my husband, he was my best friend and I’m completely gutted. He loved a lot of you very much, and you’ll never know how much I appreciate the love,” said the post which was also shared on New Jack’s Facebook page.

Young is also survived by his children.

CNN has reached out to Young’s family and representatives directly but has not yet heard back.


Oil Chem owner sentenced for violating clean water act

By Stephen Borowy

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    FLINT, Michigan (WNEM) — A businessman has been sentenced for dumping nearly 48 million gallons of untreated landfill wastewater into the Flint sewer system.

Robert Massey, the president and owner of Oil Chem Inc., located at W. 12th Street, was charged with violating the clean water act. He’s been sentenced to one year behind bars after pleading guilty in January.

Federal prosecutors say the dumping occurred over a period of more than eight years.

“This case should serve as a warning to anyone who knowingly and willfully violates the environmental laws of the United States. You will be prosecuted,” stated Acting US Attorney Mohsin. “The EPA and our law enforcement partners are committed to enforcing regulations designed to protect our communities and our treasured resources.”

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