this is scary
September 16, 2020

A nationwide survey out Wednesday reveals millennials and Gen Z Americans have a disturbing ignorance of the Holocaust.

For what organizers are calling the first nationwide Holocaust knowledge survey, 1,000 Americans age 18 to 39 — 200 from each state — were asked if they knew about the systemic murder of more than 6 million Jews and other minorities during World War II. Just 17 percent of them were aware of basic facts regarding the Holocaust, while not many fewer, 12 percent, didn't think they'd even heard the word Holocaust before, the survey found.

Among the most shocking findings was that 63 percent of respondents said they didn't know 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust. About a third of them — 36 percent — said they believed 2 million or fewer Jews were killed. A bit less than half of those surveyed couldn't name even one of the 40,000 concentration camps and ghettos, while 56 percent didn't recognize the name of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Perhaps most disturbingly, 56 percent of respondents say they've recently seen Nazi symbols and propaganda used in their communities or on social media.

In all, just 17 percent had heard of the Holocaust, knew 6 million Jews were killed, and could name a concentration camp, constituting what the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany called a basic knowledge of the genocide. Alaska, Delaware, Maryland, and New York had the lowest Holocaust knowledge scores of all the states. Still, 80 percent of respondents say it's important to learn more about the Holocaust so it doesn't happen again. Find the whole survey here. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 17, 2020

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is defending a disturbing scene in Portland, Oregon, by brandishing a not-so-disturbing reality.

After President Trump sent an unknown number of federal agents to Portland to supposedly protect property, residents started sharing videos of unmarked agents detaining people off the streets with no explanation. Wolf defended those agents in a Friday tweet thread by sharing examples of what he said "violent extremists" were doing in the city: spraying graffiti, apparently. He then showed photos of those agents dressed in camouflage, which wouldn't actually do its job given the rainbow-painted environment.

Federal agents have been reported "detaining people on Portland streets who aren't near federal property," and it isn't "clear that all of the people being arrested have engaged in criminal activity," OPB reported Thursday evening. Videos have shown people being detained and taken into unmarked vehicles with these officers, with bystanders given no explanation for the arrests. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 29, 2020

Many Los Angeles residents and businesses aren't following reopening guidelines, and it's becoming a problem, health officials say.

While Los Angeles County has been California's COVID-19 epicenter since the virus first started spreading, its situation was relatively contained in comparison with the East Coast. But new data shows that fate is changing, with Los Angeles County's Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer warning of "alarming increases in cases, positivity rates, and hospitalization," in a Monday press conference.

So far, 98,000 people have tested positive and 3,300 people have died in L.A. County from COVID-19. Those trends have seen an uptick in the last few weeks, with L.A. County’s Director of Health Services Christina Ghaly noting growing hospitalizations is seemingly stemming from an "increase in transmission." L.A. health experts said the transmission rate began spiking over Memorial Day weekend, as businesses reopened and people failed to wear masks and take other measures to keep safe as they returned to normal life, and Ferrer specifically cited an "explosion of new outbreaks in workplaces."

The skyrocketing transmission rate will soon turn into a skyrocketing hospitalization rate, health leaders said Monday. So for the first time since the coronavirus began to subside in Los Angeles, the county is now predicting it could run out of hospital beds in two to three weeks. ICU beds could also be filled up sometime in July, though hospitals around the world have found ways to increase their capacities throughout the pandemic. Read more at the Los Angeles Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

June 18, 2018

A troubling new study released this month by an Indian government think tank finds that 21 cities, including New Delhi, will run out of groundwater by 2020, and by 2030, about 40 percent of the population will have no access to clean drinking water.

Roughly 600 million Indians are facing high to extreme stress over water, the report said, and at least 200,000 people die every year because they do not have access to uncontaminated water. Experts say that rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are part of the problem, and so are poor choices — crops that need a lot of water are being planted in unsuitable areas, waste is being dumped in canals, and buildings are going up over bodies of water.

The report warns that without enough water, conflicts will erupt and there will be a "significant food security risk." Already, India is fighting with China, Pakistan, and Bangladesh over sharing water from rivers that cross their borders, and people in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have died in protests over Cauvery River water. The focus needs to be on sustainability, water conservationist Rajendra Singh told Al Jazeera, not charging more for water, as some are suggesting. Catherine Garcia

February 23, 2018

Former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin forced a Los Angeles-area high school to close Friday after making a cryptic post on Instagram, the New York Post reports.

Martin was viciously harassed by a number of his Dolphins teammates, including Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey, starting in his rookie year in 2012, an NFL report released in 2014 found. The report concluded that the harassment eventually led "to Martin's decision to leave the team, as well [as] contribute[d] to his mental health and suicidal thoughts," SB Nation reports.

Martin used his private Instagram account to post a photo of a shotgun and bullets, as well as the names of former teammates, including Incognito and Pouncey. He also included the name of the high school he attended, Harvard-Westlake, and the text: "When you're a bully victim and a coward, your options are suicide or revenge."

In the 2014 NFL report, Martin had also expressed distress over being "a pushover, a people-pleaser," texting friends and family to say: "I mostly blame the soft schools I went to, which fostered within me a feeling that I'm a huge p--sy, as I never got into fights. I used to get verbally bullied every day in middle school and high school, by kids that are half my size."

In a statement, the school said: "Last evening, we learned of an internet post that mentions Harvard-Westlake by name. Out of an abundance of caution, and because the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority, we made the decision to close school today. We are working closely with law enforcement and will share more information when we are able." Jeva Lange

December 18, 2017

An Amtrak train derailed Monday morning in Washington state, causing "multiple injuries and fatalities," local officials said. Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, said the incident is under investigation.

Troyer said that no motorists were killed in the derailment, and deaths "are all contained to the train. It's pretty horrific." The incident caused a train car to dangle over the major Interstate 5 thoroughfare. Thirteen of the train's 14 cars jumped the track, and on the freeway five cars and two semi-trucks were also involved in accidents because of the crash.

The train was carrying 78 passengers and five crew members when it derailed roughly 40 miles south of Seattle, near Tacoma, just before 8 a.m. local time. It was the inaugural run of a new, high-speed route connecting Seattle and Portland. Amtrak said it was "aware of an incident involving Amtrak train 501." Kimberly Alters

This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout.

June 30, 2016

The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics are fast approaching, but concerns about whether or not the city is prepared to host the Games are mounting in the face of a growing list of scandals. On Wednesday, mutilated body parts, including a severed foot, washed up on Copacabana Beach near the court where the Olympic beach volleyball competitions are set to take place. Police aren't sure where the body parts came from, but they may be connected to recent violent attempts to capture a Brazilian drug trafficker that resulted in gun battles throughout the city's slums, The Independent reports.

Killings in Rio have been on the rise in the first half of 2016, according to The Associated Press. Rio's acting governor has warned the Games could be a "big failure" due to a lack of funding and security shortages. Last week, an Australian Paralympian was robbed at gunpoint in Rio while riding her bike. Meanwhile, the lab in charge of drug testing for the Games has been suspended for not conforming to international standards, and several high-profile athletes have decided to skip the Games due to fears about Zika. Jessica Hullinger

October 15, 2014

Blogger, media critic, and feminist Anita Sarkeesian canceled a Wednesday morning speech at Utah State University after an anonymous email was sent out threatening "the deadliest school shooting in American history."

On Twitter, Sarkeesian wrote that she "requested pat downs or metal detectors after mass shooting threat but because of Utah's open carry laws police wouldn't do firearm searches." On USU's website, the school posted a statement saying, "Sarkeesian was informed that, in accordance with the State of Utah law regarding the carrying of firearms, if a person has a valid concealed firearm permit and is carrying a weapon, they are permitted to have it at the venue."

The email was sent to several USU staff members by an anonymous person claiming to be a USU student, the Standard-Examiner reports. It read in part, "feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge, for my sake and the sake of all the others they've wronged." USU spokesman Tim Vitale told the Standard-Examiner that authorities "determined the threat seems to be consistent with ones [Sarkeesian] has received at other places around the nation. The threat we received is not out of the norm for [this woman]."

Sarkeesian, who runs the video blog Feminist Frequency and video series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, said on Twitter that although she canceled her speech, she's not going to stay quiet. "I'm safe," she tweeted. "I will continue my work. I will continue speaking out. The whole game industry must stand up against the harassment of women." Catherine Garcia

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