Kilauea Update, Cuban Plane Crash, More on the Santa Fe Incident, and five more stories!


This is the transcript for the news segment on The Morning Brew for May 21, 2018. The show airs Monday-Friday at 10:30 AM EST.

You can catch the edited stream on YouTube here (If not available, it’s probably still uploading/rendering):

You can also find a temporary archive on Twitch.

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Hawaii volcano eruption LIVE updates: One injured in HUGE lava splatter as Kilauea BLOWS

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On Saturday, authorities reported the first known serious injury from the eruptions when one resident’s leg was shattered.  The man’s leg was hit by a hot, solid lump of lava called a “lava bomb” while standing on the third-floor balcony of his home.  Mark Clawson, a friend of the victim, said he heard screaming and saw the harrowing aftermath.  Apparently, a fiery 5-pound “lava bomb” about the size of a dinner plate was launched from a fissure just 200 yards from the house and landed on his neighbor.  It also started a small fire, which Clawson helped douse as he tried to help his friend.  The lava bomb caused such damage, doctors had to pick sharp, hardened fragments of lava out of the wound, but they say the prognosis is good for the victim.

Civil defense notices cautioned motorists, boaters and beach goers to beware of caustic plumes of “laze” formed from two streams of hot lava pouring into the sea after cutting across Highway 137 on the south coast of Hawaii’s Big Island late on Saturday and early Sunday. Laze (a blend of lava and haze) is lava that hits the ocean water, which causes hydrochloric and steam into the air with fine glass particles mixed in.  Under Sunday’s conditions the laze plumes could extend as far as 15 miles (24 km), mostly along the coast and offshore. Acid rain from laze has corrosive properties that have been likened to diluted battery acid. The bulletins also warned that reports of toxic sulfur dioxide gas being vented from various points around the volcano had tripled, urging residents to “take action necessary to limit further exposure.” 

As if Hawaii didn’t have enough to deal with, they were hit by yet another massive earthquake on Sunday, registering at magnitude 4.9.  Meanwhile The USGS has tweeted that “several small ash emissions have taken place at Kilauea Volcano’s summit today, with robust plumes of gas and steam billowing out of the Overlook vent and drifting to the SW.” Finally Officials at the Hawaii Volcano Authority have warned that even hotter lava could pour from fissures across Big Island, with fountains spurting as high as 182 metres into the air. This new risk will create even more viscous lava as it heats and oozes across the land and into the ocean, creating a further risk of ‘laze’.

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110 dead in Cuba plane crash as investigators recover cockpit voice recorder

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The fiery crash of an ageing Boeing passenger jet close to Havana’s main airport killed 110 people while three survivors remain gravely ill in hospital, making it the Caribbean island’s deadliest air disaster in nearly 30 years. Investigators said they had retrieved the black box cockpit voice recorder, which may offer clues to the as-yet unanswered questions about why the state-run airline Cubana’s stricken Flight 972 crashed.  Skies were overcast and rainy at the airport at the time of the accident and state television said the 39-year-old Boeing 737 veered sharply to the right after departing on a domestic flight to the eastern city of Holguin.  Eyewitness Rocio Martinez said she heard a strange noise and looked up to see the plane with an engine on fire.  “In flames, here it comes falling toward the ground and it seems (the pilot) saw it was an area that was too residential and makes a sharp turn,” Ms Martinez said. “To avoid (the houses) … to avoid a tragedy, because there would have been a massacre.”  Among the dead are 20 clergy members of an evangelical church and the Mexican pilots and cabin crew.  Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said a special commission had been formed to find the cause of the crash. The plane had 104 passengers and six crew members.

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Texas school shooter killed girl who turned down his advances and embarrassed him in class, her mother says

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More details emerged about the shooting that left 10 people dead and 13 (the previous count was 10) injured at the Houston-area school. The student who authorities said confessed to the attack was being held in isolation Saturday as officials identified the victims.  One of shooters’ classmates who died in the attack, Shana Fisher, “had 4 months of problems from this boy,” her mother, Sadie Rodriguez said “He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no.”  The shooter continued to get more aggressive, and she finally stood up to him and embarrassed him in class, Rodriguez said. “A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn’t like,” she wrote. “Shana being the first one.”  Fisher’s friends said they could not corroborate the mother’s claims.  The gunman repeatedly taunted students during the attack, according to another harrowing account posted to Facebook by one survivor’s mother.  After scrambling to escape the shooter’s blasts in the art room, Isabelle Van Ness,  could hear the shooter in a next-door classroom yelling, “Woo hoo!” while shooting, according to her mother, Deedra Van Ness.  “The gunman then comes back into their room and they hear him saying … are you dead? Then more shots are fired By this time, cell phones all over the classroom are ringing and he’s taunting the kids in the closet asking them … do you think it’s for you? do you want to come answer it? Then he proceeds to fire more bullets into the closet and tries to get in.”  Police arrived within 10 minutes later as Isabelle hid among the bodies of her classmates, and she could hear the shooter reloading after an “exchange” with police, her mother wrote. The dead included two teachers, Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, along with Shana Fisher and seven of her classmates: Kimberly Vaughan, Angelique Ramirez, Christian Riley Garcia, Jared Black, Christopher Jake Stone, Aaron Kyle McLeod and Sabika Sheikh, an exchange student from Pakistan.  Two bombs that the shooter allegedly brought to the school Friday were “intended to be IED s,” improvised explosive devices, but turned out to be “nonfunctional,” Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said Saturday.  The Shooter is being held without bond while facing charges of capital murder and aggravated assault on a public servant.  His schoolmates were allowed to return to parts of the school Saturday to retrieve their abandoned belongings.   According to a probable-cause statement, the shooter said that “he did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told.”  One of the wounded, school police Officer John Barnes, remained in critical but stable condition Saturday after nearly dying from blood loss, according to police officials.  A close friend, Capt. James Dale of the Houston Police Department, said Barnes might lose his right arm.  “We want to know exactly what went on in there,” Dale said. “All we know is he was the first one in there and he was shot in both arms.”  Though the school is now believed to be free of explosives, all district schools will remain closed until at least Tuesday as officials sort through the crime scene.

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New ‘zero tolerance’ immigration crackdown fills border courts

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A new policy the Trump administration announced this month, migrants caught crossing the border illegally are charged in federal criminal court, including those without criminal records and parents traveling with small children. In other words, no catch and release with a pending court cases. The result: scores of cases flooding the federal courts, especially here in southern Texas, the leading pathway for illegal immigration into the U.S.  As U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Ormsby explained, the first-time migrants face a misdemeanor charge, with a maximum penalty of $10,000 and six months in jail.  Most plead guilty and are sentenced to time served at their first hearing. Then they serve their sentence and are transferred to administrative immigration court for deportation. If they are caught crossing again, they will face a federal felony charge and heftier sentence.  Before the new policy was announced, most parents were charged with administrative immigration violations. They were either held by ICE with their children in family detention or released at the border – some with ankle monitors, others with notices to appear in federal immigration court.  Under the new policy, some parents are separated from children and jailed. The agency says it aims to reunify parents with their children once they are released or placed in family detention.  Border Patrol caught more than 100,000 people illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in March and April, the highest monthly totals since Trump was elected. Immigrant advocates say the “zero tolerance” policy impedes asylum claims and lets the government use children as leverage, forcing parents to agree to deportation so families can reunite.  The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in California on behalf of parents separated from their children and detained.

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Trump vs ‘the resistance’ plays out in Washington courtroom

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WASHINGTON — When police arrested more than 200 anti-Trump protesters on Inauguration Day 2017, it touched off a long-term battle of wits and wills.  On one side: a Justice Department that has sought to incarcerate scores of people over a violent protest that smashed downtown storefront windows and set a limousine ablaze.  On the other side: an intensely coordinated grassroots political opposition network that has made Washington the focus of a nationwide support campaign, offering free lodging for defendants, legal coordination and other support.  The stand-off entered a home stretch last week when a trial began for four people, the first in a series of group trials for 58 defendants that should last the rest of the year. Charges include property destruction and conspiracy to engage in a riot.  Defendants and their supporters have framed the case as an indiscriminate police round-up followed by a concerted Justice Department effort to criminalize legitimate dissent. Umm…They broke the law and was caught, deal with it, sure your free to break the law if you like, but guess what, you have to deal with the consequences. That is called being responsible for your own actions, what a concept!  This nationwide opposition network has been a visible presence since the trial of the first six defendants began in the fall.  Tapping into fundraising efforts around the country, defendants were reimbursed for their housing in Washington. Activists packed the courtroom, some serving as media liaisons, while others prepared meals for the defendants and their supporters.  The movement focuses far more on street-level action than on winning elections. Under Trump it has begun to unify and cross-pollinate with other movements like Black Lives Matter and immigration advocates.  In supporting the inauguration protesters, social media campaigns have encouraged callers to flood the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department. Activists recently held a small rally headlined by Chelsea Manning to urge the government to drop all charges. 129 defendants so far has had the government charges dropped against them. Does anyone else feel like every single defendant that is left will walk away without paying the price of their deeds?

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Berlinah Wallace: Woman cleared of murder after acid attack resulted in ex-boyfriend taking his own life

Brought to us by HoboNinja

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Berlinah Wallace was cleared of murder but found guilty of throwing a corrosive substance with intent. Which permanently disfigured her ex-boyfriend in a harrowing acid attack that resulted in him taking his own life.  Berlinah Wallace flew into a fit of jealous rage when her boyfriend of five years, Mark van Dongen, was dating another woman in September 2015. He was sleeping when the attack happened. The 29-year-old engineer suffered serious burns to 25 per cent of his body, was paralyzed from the neck down, had half of his left leg amputated and lost most of his vision. After a year of agonizing surgeries to keep him alive, Mr van Dongen moved to Belgium where he applied for euthanasia and “died in dignity” (no such thing) on January 3, 2017.  Prosecutors pushed to have a murder charged considered by a jury following his death. But on Friday they cleared the former fashion student of murder after her lawyer claimed there was no clear link between her actions and his death, instead arguing it was van Dongen and the doctors involved  that were responsible.   She was found guilty of throwing a corrosive substance with intent.  A Bristol Crown Court heard the attack – where Wallace taunted her victim by telling him, “if I can’t have you, no one else can,” – followed a campaign of domestic violence. Van Dongen became so concerned he expressed his fears with family and lodged a complaint with police. Wallace was given a harassment warning.  She then  purchased the corrosive substance using her Amazon account for $30. After police responded to “blood-curdling” screams as van Dongen’s skin melted from his body, she told officers he had poured the acid in a glass, pretended it was water and tried to make her drink it.  Investigators later found dozens of online searches about acid attacks, which Wallace had cleared from her computer.  Mr van Dongen’s doctor told The Sun he was in extreme pain and severely distressed when he arrived in hospital.  “If my face is going to be left looking like this I don’t want to live,” van Dongen told Dr Rachel Oaten.  Wallace will be sentenced next Wednesday.

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Cell phones thrown in the trash are exploding, causing fires in garbage trucks

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Love your electronic devices all you want, but please don’t throw them in the trash when you’re done with them.

That’s a plea from makers of the lithium-ion batteries that typically power our phones, laptops and even power tools. Thrown into the trash or even the recycling bin, they can cause fires at trash and recycling centers.  Last year, 65% of waste facilities fires in California began with lithium-ion batteries. And when one goes, others can, too. “If there are multiple batteries there, you will have not just a fire, you will have explosions,” said Carl Smith, CEO and president of Call2Recycle.  It’s such a big problem that this week, California launched an awareness campaign to try to get consumers to keep these ever-so-useful but also potentially dangerous items out of garbage trucks and landfills. It’s part of a national effort to keep increasingly common batteries from causing fires.  Those fires can be devastating. In March, an improperly disposed of lithium-ion battery caused a five-alarm fire at a recycling facility in Queens in New York City. It burned for two days and shut down four branches of the Long Island Rail Road for several hours, due to the thick smoke blowing onto the tracks.  That same month, an Indianapolis recycling plant also shut down after a fire blamed on batteries. Last year, a lithium-ion battery thrown into the trash caused an explosion in a New York City garbage truck when the workers compacted the waste, igniting and exploding the battery.  We use a lot of them. In 2017, 175 million pounds of lithium-ion batteries were sold into the U.S. market, according to Call2Recycle.  The problem with lithium-ion batteries is the same thing that makes them so great —  they’re small and light but still pack a serious energy punch. These are the same type of batteries that were catching fire in the recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s — as well as many other Samsung and other phone models that don’t regularly explode.  Even when they’ve pooped out in your device, there’s still enough charge in them that they can create a spark if the terminal of the battery — the metal bits that send power from the battery into the device — touch something metallic, like the side of a garbage truck.  This can close the circuit, which creates an electric charge that can create a spark.  Some areas’ recycling programs have special battery recycling.  Nationally, lithium-ion batteries can be recycled at all Home Depots, Lowes and Best Buy stores.  If you put them in your recycling bin, put them in a closed plastic bag so that the battery can’t come into contact with metal. A Ziploc bag or something similar works well.  Don’t put them in the regular garbage, which is typically crushed and shredded. That can cause fires and even explosions.

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Transparent coffee! We taste-test Asahi’s Clear Latte, marvel at Japanese drinks wizardry

Brought to us by Bitterelasticat

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In Japan, where every grocery store stocks hundreds of bottles of differently flavored and highly caffeinated ambrosia. The latest trend in the beverage business is clear caffeinated drinks.  The beverage gurus at Asahi started up their think tanks and set about engineering the impossible – alchemizing the creamy, rich taste of a latte into a transparent, fat-free, zero caffeine version.  The key ingredient, Ethiopian coffee, tastes sweet, rich and just a little sharp. In other words, it’s extremely close to what you might expect from a bottled latte.  The drink is refrigerated in the convenience store and it’s super refreshing to knock back a couple of gulps, upon which the coffee flavor hits at full power. Even when the coffee flavor is at its strongest, the water lends a mildness to the drink so that it won’t overwhelm you. Unlike slurping down a Starbucks coffee, the taste is subtler, with an understated, semi-sweet bitterness for the aftertaste. It’s a perfect drink to keep you company at the office or while working at home, because each sip perks you up with the frisson of excitement you’d expect from a coffee drink.  Let’s take a look at this message written on the bottom of the bottle, accompanied by a pretty illustration of a classic latte.

“Take out all the unnecessary extras, and you’re left with something clear [transparent].

This colorless latte has the aroma of an espresso and a mature, startling sweetness that lingers after each sip.

Our home-brewed “Clear Latte” recipe distills the latte experience down to its delicious essentials. It’s a brand new latte that you can gulp down just as easily as the natural water it’s made from.“

The “natural water” they mention here is their own bottled water brand, the flagship product of their Oishii Mizu (“Delicious Water”) line. Asahi CLEAR Latte from Oishii Mizu is available at most convenience stores, and retails at a suggested price of 124 yen (US$1.10) before tax. Please note that it DOES contain milk products due to the whey mineral extracts – and while caffeine-free, at 60 cal per bottle, it’s calorie ‘light’ rather than calorie ‘free’.

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Stories were edited by Merlin Wolfhound and produced and directed by Maddy.

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