There is no longer a question mark as to who is playing The Riddler in “The Batman.”
Dano’s green and lean quizzing machine has some prominent names to live up to. Frank Gorshin and John Astin played the bad guy on TV in the 1960s while Jim Carrey did the honors on the big screen in “Batman Forever” (1995).
The movie also announced this week that Zoe Kravitz was playing Catwoman as the cast of formidable foes takes shape to torment Robert Pattinson’s Batman.
Dano directed and starred in Showtime’s 2018 prisoner series “Escape At Dannemora,” for which he earned an Emmy nomination. He also appeared in “There Will Be Blood” (2007) and “Love & Mercy” (2014), the latter yielding a supporting actor Golden Globe nomination for Dano.
Warner Bros. is eyeing a June 25, 2021, release for “The Batman.”
During a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas Thursday night, President Donald Trump compared the Turkish assault on Kurds in Syria that he enabled—which has killed dozens and displaced an estimated 160,000 civilians—to two kids fighting in a parking lot.
“Sometimes you have to let ’em fight,” said Trump to cheers from his supporters. “Like two kids in a lot, you gotta let ’em fight, then you pull ’em apart.”
“This little quip speaks volumes,” tweeted S.V. Dáte, White House correspondent for HuffPost. “The president is talking about genocidal slaughter and hundreds of thousands of war victims like it’s a playground squabble.”
The comments, wrote another critic, show the president “has absolutely no respect for human life.”
Trump just continues to embarrass and destroy the credibility of the United States, now at the cost of actual human lives.
George Nelson Shaw Sr. died at a VA hospital in West Virginia in 2018. His death was ruled a homicide by an Armed Forces medical examiner. It’s one of 10 deaths under investigation by authorities. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY
Nurse Charles Cullen worked at nine hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, killing dozens of patients by spiking saline IV bags with deadly doses of drugs physicians did not order and patients did not need.
Donald Harvey, who worked as an orderly among other hospital jobs, roamed units at three hospitals in Cincinnati and Kentucky where he killed more than two dozen patients.
The health care killers used insulin, heart drugs or poisons such as cyanide. They had access to frail patients on hospital floors. Ultimately, they were convicted of murdering patients under their care.
Cullen moved from hospital to hospital, taking new jobs when managers began to suspect his deadly ways. Although investigators collected forensic evidence implicating him, prosecutors did not charge him until a fellow nurse, wearing a wire, coaxed a confession.
Harvey’s arrest was a matter of luck. He used cyanide to poison a man hospitalized after a motorcycle crash, unwittingly triggering an Ohio law requiring autopsies on all motorcycle fatalities. The medical examiner who performed the autopsy had a genetic ability to smell cyanide, which triggered the investigation.
There are no formal statistics tracking the number of health care workers convicted of murdering patients. Such cases are distinct from medical errors in which doctors, nurses or other clinicians inadvertently harm or even kill patients through carelessness or mistakes.
These serial killers are often called “angels of death,” but those familiar with their behavior say the moniker rarely describes their crimes. More often, they kill with intent and out of compulsion, not compassion.
Elizabeth Yardley, a criminology professor at Birmingham City University in England, studies nurses who kill. In a 2014 research paper, she identified 16 convicted of murder over the past four decades in the United States, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.
Insulin was the drug most frequently used to poison patients. But health care killers also used sedatives, muscle relaxers, blood thinners, heart drugs and even bleach. Some started with one drug and moved to another as the pace of their killings increased.
In most cases, the killers poisoned patients with drugs taken from the hospital where they worked. Some nurses had legitimate access to the medicines. Others stole the drugs, bypassing safeguards to secure medication.
“This is the challenge of investigating homicide in a health care setting — the suspects you are looking at are members of a staff,” Yardley said. “Those members have legitimate access to victims. They have the opportunity to harm them.
“It can be an investigative nightmare.”
‘You can’t prove anything’
Cullen’s string of suspicious deaths began in the late 1980s, after he landed his first nursing job through a staffing agency at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey.
As recounted in the book “The Good Nurse” by journalist Charles Graeber, Saint Barnabas nurses in February 1991 noticed two patients in the hospital’s critical care unit mysteriously crashing from low blood sugar levels. The patients appeared to get better as soon as they were disconnected from an IV bag.
Hospital security staff discovered the IV bags contained insulin, which wasn’t ordered by doctors. Investigators found small needle marks on the perimeter of the bags. A review of records uncovered reports of several patients unexpectedly crashing from hypoglycemia.
Making the case for foul play was not easy. The patients had a range of health conditions that made them vulnerable, and completing a complex medical investigation proved difficult. Hospital security installed cameras in the medical storage room and the administration tightened requirements for staff accessing insulin.
Cullen was interviewed about the tampered IV bags but he was defiant. According to “The Good Nurse” he told security, “You can’t prove anything.”
Cullen was right. Though the hospital suspected him, it lacked evidence to prove he sabotaged IV bags by injecting insulin, “sending them out like grenades” to vulnerable patients, as Graeber wrote. And when security informed the local police department, the department’s chief had little interest in taking on the case.
Saint Barnabas moved Cullen off the work schedule. He easily found another nursing job, a pattern that continued over the next decade and a half at hospital after hospital.
The hospitals did not collect meaningful evidence. They did not publicly report “sentinel events” — unexpected incidents involving death or serious injury — even though they were required to under federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid rules for all participating hospitals.
“He was caught over and over again, or at least suspected strongly enough that he was removed from the hospital,” Graeber said. “What happened time and time again is he was moved on with neutral or positive references.”
Cullen’s actions finally caught up to him at New Jersey’s Somerset Medical Center, after four people died from non-prescribed doses of insulin and the heart drug digoxin. He was suspected, but the hospital wanted to conduct its own probe before notifying outside investigators.
More patients died before Somerset administrators, under pressure from the director of the state’s poison control center, finally went to police. Detectives, however, could not gather enough forensic evidence to seal the investigation. They convinced a nurse who was friendly with Cullen to wear a recording device. During a conversation, Cullen told her he wanted to “go down fighting.”
He confessed, pleaded guilty to killing 13 patients at Somerset and agreed to cooperate with authorities in lieu of the death penalty. He was sentenced to life in prison. It’s unknown how many people he killed during his nearly two decades of nursing. Cullen told detectives he killed as many as 40, but Graeber’s research put the likely death toll at about 400.
Before he was arrested, Cullen knew Somerset suspected him in the string of deaths. He was preparing to move on to another hospital like he had so many times before.
“Cullen had another job lined up,” Graeber said. “It really did take a confession to be able to put him away. Everything else was circumstantial, difficult to prove.”
Testing for insulin is tricky
Vincent Marks, a pathologist and retired University of Surrey professor, is among the world’s foremost experts on insulin killings.
He became interested in low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, as a doctor in the late 1950s. He discovered a patient with unexplained low blood sugar had a tumor that was secreting insulin. He went on to write the book, “Insulin Murders: True Life Cases.”
He said the first known case of insulin murder occurred in 1957 and involved an English nurse, Kenneth Barlow, who was convicted of poisoning his wife.
“He was successful, but he didn’t really succeed,” said Marks. “It takes such a long time to die from insulin poisoning. He gave up and drowned her.”
To prove homicide by insulin, Marks said investigators need foresight to collect the right evidence and perform the right tests in a timely manner. Blood must be drawn while the patient is alive or within hours of death, he said, and both the presence of insulin and an absence of C-peptide, which measures insulin made by the body, must be detected.
Immunoassay tests commonly used to measure insulin might not be sensitive enough to prove fatal insulin doses. A newer technology, called mass spectrometry, is often required but rarely used, Marks said.
“Unless they actually have thought about it and collected the blood … done the tests during life or immediately after death, and used the best possible methods, it can be deceptive,” he said. “It is extremely difficult to prove.”
It’s especially important to use correct testing when a victim is injected with insulin analogs, a newer synthetic form of insulin preferred by many people with diabetes, Marks added.
“If you can identify an analog in somebody’s blood, or vitreous (eyeball tissue) you know somebody has been doing something they shouldn’t have done,” he said. “If you find natural insulin, you can’t be sure whether it is from the bottle or from somebody’s own body.”
As part of the recent investigation into the suspicious deaths at the West Virginia VA hospital, the bodies of Army veteran Felix Kirk McDermott, 82, and Air Force Veteran George Nelson Shaw, 81, were exhumed.
Both deaths were classified as homicides. A federal medical examiner concluded insulin was injected into McDermott’s abdomen and Shaw’s autopsy revealed injection sites tested positive for insulin. Neither man had diabetes. The insulin injections sent the blood sugar levels of both veterans crashing to fatally low levels.
Family members interviewed by investigators say they were told a person of interest, who has since been removed from patient care, may have been responsible for the deaths of as many as 10 patients on Unit 3A by insulin injection.
The person has not been charged. A hospital spokesman said the person was removed from patient contact.
Marks said he is not familiar with the specifics of the West Virginia cases, but notedinvestigators face an enormous challenge building a case solely on forensic evidence.
“It (insulin) disappears quite rapidly once somebody dies,” he said. “I am very skeptical about this idea of exhuming bodies and finding insulin.”
‘They want it swept under the carpet’
Cases of health care workers poisoning patients with insulin are rare. Most nurses convicted of mass murder carried out their killings in the 1990s and 2000s, Yardley found, and many exhibited “red flag” behaviors.
The killer nurses had higher death rates on their shift, struggled with mental instability or depression and made colleagues feel anxious. They also were more likely to volunteer for the night shift and move from hospital to hospital.
Frequently changing jobs might be a sign that the nurses left jobs when their actions became suspicious, she noted.
“It could be the case that they have killed before and it hadn’t been detected,” Yardley said. “Very often, hospitals want to be very careful with their public relations. They don’t want patients to know there had been some type of issue like this. They want it swept under the carpet.”
Harvey, the Cincinnati orderly and nursing assistant, had been on his third hospital job when he was arrested and charged in 1987. His health care career included stints at a London, Kentucky hospital, the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and finally Drake Hospital in Cincinnati.
A man named John Powell crashed his motorcycle and soon found himself on Harvey’s floor. Powell’s injuries were not life threatening until Harvey put cyanide and water in a feeding tube.
Like all motorcycle crash victims in Ohio, Powell was autopsied — and a deputy coroner happened to have a genetic ability to smell cyanide.
‘It was pure luck,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said.
Harvey confessed and pleaded guilty to killing 37 people at the three hospitals using cyanide, arsenic, insulin and other substances. In media interviews, he admitted to killing even more patients.
“He initially claimed it was a mercy killing,” said Deters. But a psychiatrist concluded, “he liked to kill people. This is not a mercy killing. He has a compulsion to kill.”
Harvey died in 2017 after a beating by another inmate at an Ohio state prison.
Deters said investigators learned Harvey was fired from the VA for storing organ samples in his locker, but Drake Hospital never checked his work history. After the murders were uncovered, the administrator changed his application to make it appear the hospital had checked with past employers. The hospital administrator was charged and convicted for doctoring the application.
Graeber’s research on Cullen showed a similar pattern. Hospitals where he worked often delayed reporting sentinel events that should have triggered an investigation by state health department inspectors.
“There is always going to be one bad guy out there in any field,” Graeber said. “You have institutions that are supposed to safeguard their people and not prioritize limiting liability.”
In Clarksburg, veterans and family members want answers about the suspicious deaths at Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center. They’ve questioned the hospital’s oversight. They’ve grown frustrated with the pace of the investigation.
Debbie Cutler is the daughter of a Korean War veteran John Hallman, 87, who died in June 2018 after a night at the Clarksburg VA hospital. Federal agents told the family he died under suspicious circumstances with his blood sugar plummeting. His death has not been classified as homicide.
“There hasn’t been any arrest – that’s what we’re still waiting for,” Cutler said. “They are working on having a rock-solid case against this person. That is what they tell us every time we talk to them. We will have to be patient and wait.”
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/10/18/clarksburg-west-virginia-veterans-affairs-deaths-medical-murders/3936045002/
Rodman is accused of striking a patron in a Delray Beach bar — twice — while he was celebrating his 58th birthday in May, according to a police report. It wasn’t immediately clear why it took so long for Rodman to be charged.
The alleged victim told the Florida Sun-Sentinel in May that the slaps were unprovoked. “I was like, ‘What is your problem?’” he told the newspaper. “It was out of nowhere. He just hit me and I was blindsided.”
Rodman told TMZ at the time: “Whatever happened, happened, but it didn’t happen.” (Check out the video above.)
A lawyer for Rodman said: “We deny that any incident occurred.”
On Thursday, a defense lawyer entered a plea of not guilty to the charge in a Delray Beach court, NBC reported.
Rodman’s most recent claim to fame has been his unusual friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which started when Rodman traveled to Pyongyang to watch an exhibition game by the Harlem Globetrotters in 2013.
On Thursday, Rodman refused to take Tucker Carlson’s bait on Fox News and bash LeBron James for criticizing an NBA manager who praised the Hong Kong protesters. “NBA players have an obligation to do one thing — it’s to play sports,” said Rodman. “When you put politics with sports, it doesn’t mix.”
Rodman could face a maximum of a year in jail if convicted.
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A former NFL defensive lineman was arrested Wednesday after allegedly shooting a woman at a Colorado business.
Justin Bannan, 40, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault with extreme indifference, first-degree assault with intent to cause serious bodily harm and first-degree burglary after shooting and wounding a woman outside a business in Boulder, police said.
The woman, who was shot in the shoulder, identified the gunman as Bannan and was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to The Denver Channel.
Police said the shooting appeared to be “random” as Bannan and the woman worked in the same building but were distantly acquainted, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.
The woman reportedly told police she only knew Bannan because he was the owner of the building. Bannan is the owner of Black Lab Sports and the woman worked for a company that operates inside the same building.
Justin Bannan #97 of the Denver Broncos reacts during a 35-24 comeback win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 15, 2012 in San Diego, California. (Getty)
The woman was in the building about to unlock a therapy room when Bannan was already in the room and shot her in the shoulder, the newspaper reported, citing a police affidavit.
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, police said officers found Bannan and said he was carrying a duffle bag with two loaded handguns, an extra magazine and two rolled-up $20 bills coated with a white powdery substance which later tested positive for cocaine.
Bannan reportedly told officers he “didn’t mean to shoot her” and he was in the therapy room hiding because he believed the Russian Mafia was after him and tracking his cellphone. He said he fired the gun on “accident.”
Bannan also told officers he suffers from hydrocephalus, which can lead to the loss of reasoning skills, according to FOX 31 Denver.
NASA will try to conduct an all-female spacewalk months after the first attempt had to be canceled because of a lack of available spacesuits. USA TODAY
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Men have floated out the hatch on all 420 spacewalks conducted over the past half-century.
That changes Friday with spacewalk No. 421.
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture outside the orbiting outpost at about 7:50 a.m. ET Friday and spend over five hours replacing a broken battery battery charger, or BCDU. NASA will livestream the spacewalk starting at 6:30 a.m. ET.
The units have previously been replaced using a robotic arm, but the newly failed unit is too far away for it to reach.
The units regulate how much energy flows from the station’s massive solar panels to battery units, which are used to provide power during nighttime passes around Earth. Three previous spacewalks had been planned to replace lithium-ion batteries, but those will be rescheduled until the latest BCDU issue is resolved.
The hardware failure does present some concern, especially since another BCDU was replaced in April and there are only four more backups on station. In total, there are 24 operational BCDUs.
The battery charger failed after Koch and a male crewmate installed new batteries outside the space station last week. NASA put the remaining battery replacements on hold to fix the problem and moved up the women’s planned spacewalk by three days.
All four men aboard the International Space Station will remain inside.
Friday’s spacewalk will be Koch’s fourth and Meir’s first.
Koch and Meir will have some time leftover during their extravehicular activity, or EVA, to finish additional tasks like hardware installations for the European Space Agency.
The planned EVA comes almost seven months since the first all-female spacewalk was canceled due to a lack of properly sized spacesuits for astronauts Koch and Anne McClain. Astronaut Nick Hague ended up joining Koch instead.
But this time, the right spacesuit hardware is in place.
NASA, meanwhile, is asking schoolteachers to share photos of their students celebrating “HERstory in the making.” The pictures might end up on the spacewalk broadcast.
Russia holds claim to the first spacewalk in 1965 and also the first spacewalk by a woman in 1984. The U.S. trailed by a few months in each instance.
As of Thursday, men dominated the spacewalking field, 213 to 14.
Meir, a marine biologist who arrived at the orbiting lab last month, will be the 15th female spacewalker. Koch, an electrical engineer, is seven months into an 11-month spaceflight that will be the longest by a woman.
A 93-year-old former SS private, who as a teenager stood guard in a watchtower in a Nazi Germany concentration camp, began trial Thursday in Hamburg state court where he’s accused of being an accessory to 5,230 murders in the finals months of World War II.
Bruno Dey, who entered the courtroom in a wheelchair Thursday, was in his late teens when he worked at the Stutthof concentration camp more than seven decades ago outside of Danzig, which is now the city of Gdansk in Poland.
Prosecutors argue that while Dey was not directly involved in a killing in Stutthof, he was a “small wheel in the machinery of murder” committed during his time as a guard from August 1944 to April 1945 given he actively stopped inmates from escaping the camp, which was one of the last to be liberated.
Dey also allegedly told investigators he could hear the screams of Jews dying in the gas chambers below his watchtower and witnessed the daily carting off of their dead bodies to the camp’s crematorium. His attorney, Stefan Waterkamp, questioned why his client was being prosecuted now, saying that before a recent change in German legal reasoning, “nobody was interested in the simple guards.”
“Where does responsibility end?” he asked the court in his opening statement. “That is the question this trial must answer.”
93-year-old former SS guard Bruno Dey in the concentration camp Stutthof near Danzig is sitting in the regional court in Hamburg, Germany, Oct.17, 2019. The prosecution accuses the 93-year-old man of aiding and abetting the murder of 5230 people. The defendant was only 17 or 18 years old at the time of the crime. That’s why the trial takes place in front of a juvenile delinquency chamber. About 25 survivors of the concentration camp appear as joint plaintiffs. (Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP)
In recent years, prosecutors have successfully convicted former death camp guards using the argument that by helping to operate camps like Auschwitz and Sobibor, they were accessories to the murders there. The 2015 conviction of former Auschwitz guard Oskar Groening on such reasoning was upheld by a German federal court, solidifying the precedent.
Prosecutor Lars Mahnke detailed how tens of thousands of people, mostly Jews, were gassed, shot and starved to death as part of the “systematic killing” carried out during Stutthof’s six years of operation. Stutthof was established by Nazi Germany in 1939 east of Danzig and was used as the main collection point for Jews and non-Jewish Poles removed from the city. In Dey’s case, the reasoning is being applied to a concentration camp rather than a death camp given the site’s sole purpose wasn’t murder.
“The accused was no ardent worshipper of Nazi ideology,” prosecutors argue in the indictment. “But there is also no doubt that he never actively challenged the persecutions of the Nazi regime.”
Even in concentration camps, “it was almost a certain death sentence,” said Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem who attended the opening of the trial. Zuroff, who helped locate nearly two dozen Stutthof survivors for the case, rejected Waterkamp’s suggestion that Dey should not be prosecuted because higher-ranking Nazis were never brought to trial.
“Just because more senior criminals got away with a crime doesn’t mean that the more minor criminals are not guilty,” Zuroff said.
Because Dey was 17 when he started serving at the camp, he is being tried in juvenile court and faces a possible six months to 10 years in prison if convicted. Dey himself told prosecutors his SS comrades talked of the “extermination of the Jews” and said he had “done people wrong” by serving there.
“I did not know why they were there,” Dey told prosecutors. “I knew well that they were Jews who had committed no crime, that they were only there because they were Jews. And they have the same right to live and to work like any other person. But it was just that Hitler or his party … had something against the Jews.”
Self-help books can be a very useful resource for people who are struggling or just generally seeking ways to improve their lives. And often, specific ones resonate with large audiences.
If you’re searching for a new self-help book that other people have loved, we can lend a hand. The folks at Goodreads shared the most popular titles of 2019 with HuffPost, based on how the site’s 90 million members have rated them or whether they added them to their want-to-read shelves.
The top picks cover a variety of topics and range from mega bestsellers to works from lesser-known authors, but they share some common elements, according to Goodreads.
“To look at the most popular self-help books of the year is to glimpse an over-stressed, tech-obsessed readership longing to unplug, unwind, and focus on the important things,” Cybil Wallace, Goodreads senior editor, told HuffPost. “People are looking for ways to calm down and weed out the noise of the world, and that’s being reflected in the books they are finding and loving in 2019.”
Without further ado, here are Goodreads’ most popular self-help books published so far this year:
“Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis
Goodreads description: As a follow-up to last year’s bestselling “Girl, Wash Your Face,” Hollis sounds a wake-up call in this inspiring self-help book, urging women to live to their full potential by identifying common excuses and obstacles.
“Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed” by Lori Gottlieb
Goodreads description: The bestselling author, psychotherapist and national advice columnist takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world where both she and her patients are looking for answers. With wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her life as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others.
“Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered: The Definitive How-To Guide” by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark
Goodreads description: From the hosts of the hit podcast “My Favorite Murder” comes this frank, funny, and illuminating reflection on true crime, formative life events and the importance of valuing personal safety over being “nice” or “helpful.”
“Notes on a Nervous Planet” by Matt Haig
Goodreads description: A follow-up to the bestselling memoir “Reasons to Stay Alive,”Haig takes a broader look into how modern society feeds our anxiety. He examines how social, commercial and technological “advancements” have created a world that can actually hinder our happiness.
“Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” by Cal Newport
Goodreads description: The Georgetown computer scientist makes the case that in order to live well in our high-tech world, we need to learn to unplug. He argues that our addiction to personal tech has taken a dark turn.
“More Than Enough: Claiming Space For Who You Are (No Matter What They Say)” by Elaine Welteroth
Goodreads description: Part-manifesto, part-memoir, the revolutionary Teen Vogue editor explores what it means to come into your own. Welteroth unpacks lessons on race, identity and success through her journey of having climbed the ranks of media and fashion.
“The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes The World” by Melinda Gates
Goodreads description: A debut from Forbes’ third-most-powerful woman in the world, Melinda Gates offers a timely call to action for women’s empowerment. Throughout her journey as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift a society up, invest in women.
“Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David Epstein
Goodreads description: Epstein examines the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists to discover that in most fields — especially those that are complex and unpredictable — generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel.
“Everything is Figureoutable: How One Simple Belief Can Help Us Overcome Any Obstacle and Create Unstoppable Success” by Marie Forleo
Goodreads description: Forleo sets out to train your brain to think more positively and help you break down any dream into manageable steps. She emphasizes that the problem isn’t that you aren’t hardworking, intelligent or deserving, but that you haven’t yet installed one key belief: Everything is “figureoutable.”
“Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Chose Your Life” by Nir Eyal with Julie Li
Goodreads description: From the best-selling author of “Hooked,” Eyal reveals the hidden psychology driving us to distraction. He describes why solving the distraction problem is not as simple as swearing off our devices. Instead, he lays out a four-step model of how to get the best of technology without letting it get the best of us.
“How Happiness Happens: Finding Lasting Joy in a World of Comparison, Disappointment and Unmet Expectations” by Max Lucado
Goodreads description: Only one-third of Americans surveyed said they were happy. How can this be? Based on the teachings of Jesus and backed by modern research, “How Happiness Happens” presents a surprising but practical personal plan for living that will change you from the inside out.
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A Syrian American doctor is spearheading an initiative to nominate President Trump for a Noble Peace Prize after Trump managed to convince Putin to throttle back on plans to seize the Syrian refugee city of Idlib in 2018, an attack that could have potentially killed upwards of 3 million civilians.
Dr. Tarek Kteleh, a rheumatologist in Indiana and board member of a group that promotes national security issues in Syria called Citizens for a Secure and Safe America, told Fox News Thursday that Trump “deserves credit” for preventing the potentially deadly attack on one of the last remaining cities not under the control of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian military and their Russian and Iranian allies surrounded Idlib, a sanctuary city that nearly 4 million civilians fled to, ready to attack and push out the Syrian rebels by the end of summer 2018. The small province of land was a necessary stronghold for rebel forces, vital to preventing the dictator from accessing control of the Northern portion of the Middle East.
Kteleh and president of their group, Dr. Rim Al-Bezem, a cardiologist from New Jersey, met Trump at a fundraiser in Indiana specifically with the intention of bringing attention to the plight in Syria.
Al-Bezem explained to Trump the potential slaughter of innocent lives, almost a quarter of whom were children and Trump assured them that he was “not going to let this happen,” Kteleh told Fox News.
Kteleh admits he was skeptical that Trump would take action, instead believing he was trying to appease himself and Al-Bezem, both of whom had families living in Idlib at the time.
Days after their meeting, on Aug. 31, 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted about the dire situation in Idlib warning, “The U.S. sees this as an escalation of an already dangerous conflict.”
“The 3 million Syrians, who have already been forced out of their homes and are now in #Idlib, will suffer from this aggression. Not good. The world is watching,” Pompeo said.
“We thought maybe that was just an accident,” Kteleh said, after seeing Pompeo’s tweet. “But it could not be an accident— that the president said he’s not going to let this happen and then the next morning for the first time Secretary Pompeo says this.”
Two days later, Trump used his active presence on social media to further the calls for the three foreign powers to stand down in Syria.
“President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!”
“This is the first time ever in the last seven or eight years that anyone has done anything for the Syrian people and many of the civilians,” Kteleh said, singling out former President Barack Obama’s approach to interventions in Syria, and refusing to react with force to Assad’s use of chemical weapons on his people.
“Unlike your predecessor, you bombarded Assad’s military airport when he launched chemical weapons against civilians. We are grateful for this display of strength. The world now knows: you mean what you say,” Kteleh and Al-Bezem wrote in a letter to Trump Thursday.
“He said ‘the media did not give me credit for it. It’s OK. I hear it from Syrian Americans, they thank me for it,'” Trump told Kteleh and Al-Bezem, who praised him for his efforts and told him he deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
“We took it seriously and started thinking about how we could give him credit for what he’s done. Number one because he deserves the credit. Saving millions of people is an honor people need to be awarded for,” Kteleh said. “And number two because we feel that if he gets the nomination or gets considered, that will shed more light on these people who became refugees and at any point in time if Putin and Assad start assaulting them again it will give them hope and make the world recognize it.”
Kteleh and other members of his advocacy group, made up of doctors, businessmen and activists, launched a petition and Facebook page in support of nominating Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.
“We were surprised with the amount of support we got in a short period of time,” Kteleh said, adding that in less than 10 days of creating the page, it garnered almost 28,000 supporters, a number that he says continues to climb by the thousands daily, as well as 21,000 signatures on a petition.
Kteleh said that despite allegations of collusion and Russian meddling in the 2016 election, a nearly two-year investigation that has clouded much of Trump’s presidency, he doesn’t believe the president is anything other than “sincere.”
“He would not have done that,” Kteleh said of Trump working with the Russians.
“We witnessed this firsthand. We went, we talked to the president, told him this was going to happen. He went out. Put pressure on Putin and Russia to stop the massacre. I don’t believe it,” he said.
Kteleh says he also fully supports Trump’s withdrawal of nearly 1,000 troops from the northeast border of Syria, which many politicians and officials on both sides of the aisle condemned as an abandonment of U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who now struggle to fend off Turkish enemies in the region.
“We’re American first. We understand where he’s coming from. He promised he’d bring the troops home. He promised during his election and campaign. He promised he would not be intervening in wars all over the world,” Kteleh said. “He’s just trying to commit to what he promised the people who elected him.”
“When he protected the people in Idlib he did not have to commit troops or anything. All that he really did was give warnings to the Russians and the Iranians and Assad, that if you can attack and commit crimes, we’re going to respond to you. That’s all that he did. He did not have to put troops there. And we hope that he can do the same thing here. The ceasefire announced today is very similar.”