Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Jul 11, 2018 in Stuff You Should Know

Soccer Team Rescued from Thailand Caves

Last week, btw brought you the story of the boys soccer team that was trapped in a vast cave system in Thailand. Now, after a staggering seventeen days underground, all twelve of the boys and their coach have been rescued and brought to safety.

ave entrance at Tam Lot Caves, Soppong, Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand

The Thai children trapped in a flooded cave were rescued this week. Credit: Design Pics/Keith Levit

The boys initially became trapped in the cave when heavy rains caused cave passages to flood. Infrared cameras helped authorities pinpoint where the boys were located, and showed that all twelve (and their coach) were still alive. After that, rescue efforts sped up when testing showed that the air inside the caverns was becoming toxic. Also, more heavy rains were expected soon, meaning that if the boys weren’t rescued quickly, it was likely that they would have remained trapped there for months. In order to escape, they had to scuba dive through the flooded cave passages, which was very dangerous. Former Thai navy Seal Saman Kunan died during the process.

Unfortunately, the boys will not be able to return to their families right away. They will first need to undergo intensive medical testing to assess their physical and mental health. They will also be tested for infectious diseases: the first few boys pulled from the caves had high white blood cell counts, indicating infection. Several others also show signs of pneumonia but are expected to make a full recovery. During the testing period, they will only be able to see their families through a glass screen or from a distance of 6-7 feet. For the time being, they will also wear white patches over their eyes while they readjust to the light.

Dig Deeper Saman Kunan sacrificed his life to help save the boys from the cave and is being recognized worldwide as a hero for his efforts. Use internet resources to find out more about Saman Kunan, and then write a short paragraph describing what you learn.

Going High

For the past few weeks, all around the country, activists who are angry about Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy have been holding protests and vigils. But on the Fourth of July, one woman in New York City took things a step further: she climbed the Statue of Liberty and refused to come down until all of the children separated from their parents by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) have been reunited with their families.

Her name is Therese “Patricia” Okoumou. Originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 44-year-old Okoumou made it about 100 feet up to the bottom of the statue’s robes without any ropes or climbing equipment, where she held her post for three hours. Meanwhile, the National Parks Service evacuated more than 4,000 people from Liberty Island (for safety concerns). Okoumou was then taken into federal custody and spent the night behind bars without bail. The next day, she was charged with misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct. She pleaded not guilty, raised her fist, and blew kisses to her supporters.

Okoumou is part of a political group called Rise and Resist New York City. Earlier in the day, the group had unfurled a banner on Liberty Island that read “ABOLISH ICE.” But the group’s leaders insist that they had no prior knowledge of what Okoumou was planning. Even so, they have already begun efforts to secure legal representation for her. Defending her decision, Okoumou quoted former First Lady Michelle Obama by saying, “When they go low, we go high,” and adding, “and I went as high as I could.” To date, nearly 3,000 immigrant children have been separated from their parents at the U.S. border.

What Do You Think? While some critics are calling Okoumou’s actions a dangerous stunt, others are commending her for her bravery. Think about a time when you took a risk to stand up for something you believed in. Write a short paragraph about that experience, and why you decided to do what you did.

Second Attack Spooks Great Britain

Two more people in Britain have become deathly ill after being exposed to Novichok, a Soviet-developed nerve agent. Charlie Rowley, 45, and Dawn Sturgess, 44, are in critical condition at Salisbury District Hospital, where they remain unconscious.

This is the second such attack in Salisbury this year. On March 4, a former Russian spy, Sergei V. Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, were also poisoned by Novichok. In last week’s incident, however, the victims weren’t spies and there was no reason why they would have been targeted. Authorities believe that the couple accidentally came into contact with something contaminated while traveling in Salisbury last weekend. If this is so, it means that contaminated objects from the March attack remain, potentially threatening anyone who lives in or visits the region. And if this is a fresh attack, that’s an obvious public threat as well. Novichok is unlike other nerve agents in that it remains deadly for a long period of time.

Mr. Rowley and Ms. Sturgess suffered from seizures, frothing at the mouth, and hallucinations as a result of their exposure to the deadly nerve agent. About 100 detectives are currently at work on the case. However, local health authorities insist that there is no significant health threat to the public. They advise anyone who visited the area to wash their clothes in an ordinary washing machine, wipe down personal items and accessories with sanitizing wipes, and hand-wash with warm water and detergent any other items which may have become contaminated.

Dig Deeper Use internet resources to determine what happened to ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia after their exposure to Novichok in March. Did they survive?

California Court Defends Online Free Speech

Imagine that you own a business. Now imagine that a customer goes online and slams your company with negative reviews that could possibly damage your reputation. Do they have the right to do this? According to the California Supreme Court, the answer is yes.

Last Monday, the Court ruled that Yelp, a site that reviews local businesses, did not need to remove negative comments posted by a user online. Dawn Hassell, a lawyer in San Francisco, accused a former client of posting negative reviews about her which would hurt her future business. Lower courts ruled that Yelp needed to remove the comments. But Yelp, with the help of civil rights groups such as the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), called this a violation of free speech rights. The California Supreme Court agreed.

Ms. Hassell insists that the negative comments about her on Yelp are untrue. But Yelp’s lawyers say the statements don’t officially constitute libel, which is a published false statement that is intended to damage a person’s reputation. This latest ruling means that the decision of whether or not to remove negative comments is entirely up to Yelp. Ms. Hassell is considering taking her case on to the U.S. Supreme Court.

What Do You Think? Imagine that someone posts a negative–though not necessarily untrue–statement about you on your favorite social media site. What do you do? Do you think that the social media company should be responsible for removing the statement? Why or why not?