Floods Kill at Least 7 in Seoul Area, With More Rain Coming | Big Indy News
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Floods Kill at Least 7 in Seoul Area, With More Rain Coming

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SEOUL — At least seven people were killed as some of the heaviest rainfall in decades struck the Seoul area overnight, flooding homes, streets and subway stations, South Korean officials said on Tuesday.

Three of the dead, two sisters in their 40s and a 13-year-old girl, were found early Tuesday as emergency workers pumped out the water that had flooded their semi-basement home in southern Seoul. Another was a municipal employee, apparently electrocuted while removing a tree that had fallen onto a sidewalk, the police said.

In addition to the seven confirmed deaths, officials said six people were missing after floodwaters pulled them into manholes, underground passages or streams.

Nearly 17 inches of rain poured down in southern Seoul between early Monday and early Tuesday, roughly the same amount that falls in a typical summer month, weather officials said. In one district, 5.4 inches fell in a single hour, breaking an 80-year-old Seoul record.

More heavy rain was expected Tuesday in the capital area and in provinces east and south of it, the Korea Meteorological Administration said.

The flooding turned Seoul’s Monday evening rush hour into chaos. Some subway stations were closed, and drivers abandoned cars in the upscale Gangnam district as roads became impassable. Homes and other buildings experienced power outages.

Photos on social media showed commuters wading through waist-deep water, drivers stranded on car roofs and rainwater cascading down the steps of subway stations. Some of the images from Tuesday morning, after the floods receded, resembled a disaster movie, with cars strewn across city streets.

Hiking paths on the mountains around Seoul were closed on Tuesday, and the government issued alerts warning that landslides were possible. Businesses were urged to adjust their working hours so employees could avoid traffic jams and potential hazards.

President Yoon Suk-yeol, whose approval ratings have plummeted since he took office in May, said on Facebook that he had “ordered the related government agencies to evacuate people from dangerous areas to avoid human casualties.”

North Korea has also been hit by heavy rainfall in recent weeks. Several bodies found in South Korea near the countries’ border last month were believed to be those of flood victims, swept downstream from the North, the South Korean police said.

In the past, flooding has also brought land mines from the North into the South. Officials warned South Koreans living near the border to exercise caution, saying that the North had released floodwaters from nearby dams.

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Scientist who worked at Wuhan lab says COVID was man-made virus

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A scientist who worked at a controversial research lab in China has claimed that COVID was a man-made virus that leaked from the facility, according to a report.

Andrew Huff said COVID leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China two years ago and blamed authorities for the “biggest US intelligence failure since 9/11,” Britain’s The Sun reported Saturday.

The lab has been at the center of fierce debates about the origins of COVID, with both Chinese government officials and lab personnel denying that the virus leaked from the facility.

Scientist Andrew Huff said COVID leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China two years ago.
AndrewHuff.com

Huff, an epidemiologist said in his new book, The Truth About Wuhan, that the pandemic was the result of the US government’s funding of coronaviruses in China.

He said that China’s gain-of-function experiments, which were carried out with lax security, led to a lab leak at the Wuhan lab.

“Foreign laboratories did not have the adequate control measures in place for ensuring proper biosafety, biosecurity, and risk management, ultimately resulting in the lab leak at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” he said in his book, which was exclusively excerpted in the newspaper.

Virologists work in the P4 lab of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China.
Virologists work in the P4 lab of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China.

A picture of the cover of a book written by Dr. Andrew Huff.
“Foreign laboratories did not have the adequate control measures in place for ensuring proper biosafety, biosecurity, and risk management…” Dr. Huff wrote in his book.

Over the last two years, increasing evidence has suggested that the virus was man-made.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology, a state-run and funded research facility home to China’s riskiest coronavirus research, has been under immense pressure by the ruling Chinese Communist Party to produce scientific breakthroughs to raise China’s global status despite lacking resources, according to a recent investigation published by ProPublica/Vanity Fair.

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Texas Man Threatened Boston Doctor Who Treats Gender Nonconforming Children, U.S. Says

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A Texas man was arrested on Friday on a federal charge that he left a voice mail message threatening to kill a Boston doctor who provides care to gender nonconforming children, the authorities said.

The man, Matthew Jordan Lindner, 38, of Comfort, Texas, was charged with one count of transmitting interstate threats, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. He is being held without bail pending a court hearing next week. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and three years of supervised released and a fine of up to $250,000.

Efforts to reach a lawyer for Mr. Lindner late Friday were unsuccessful.

According to federal prosecutors, false information began to spread online in August that doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital were providing hysterectomies and gender affirmation surgery to patients under the age of 18. The hospital does not perform those procedures on minors, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors allege that on Aug. 31, Mr. Lindner called the Boston-based National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center and left the threatening voice mail for one of the center’s doctors.

Repeatedly using profanity, Mr. Lindner said in the message, “you’re all gonna burn,” according to prosecutors, adding that there was “a group of people on their way to handle” the doctor. “You signed your own warrant,” Mr. Lindner allegedly said, again naming the doctor. “Castrating our children. You’ve woken up enough people. And upset enough of us. And you signed your own ticket.”

Mr. Lindner also called two phone numbers associated with a Rhode Island university where the doctor is a faculty member and called a medical practice where the doctor had previously worked, prosecutors said in the criminal complaint.

The National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center, which is part of the Fenway Institute, provides educational programs and health care for the queer and transgender communities. The center did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

The doctor who received the threat was not publicly named. Prosecutors said she is an advocate for gender-affirming care and the use of puberty hormones and blockers.

Prosecutors said that phone records had been used to identify Mr. Lindner. They also said that they had matched the voice on the call that threatened the doctor with that on videos that Mr. Lindner had previously posted on Facebook.

Rachael S. Rollins, the U.S. attorney in Massachusetts, said in a statement that she was committed to “vigorously” investigating and prosecuting people who threaten members of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, including health care professionals.

“Death threats instill fear and terror in their targeted audiences,” Ms. Rollins said. “Mr. Lindner’s alleged conduct — a death threat — is based on falsehoods and amounts to an act of workplace violence.”

Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Division, said in a statement that the doctor had been targeted because she was caring for gender nonconforming children.

“No one,” he said, “should have to live in fear of violence because of who they are, what kind of work they do, where they are from, or what they believe.”

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82-year-old Alabama woman arrested for not paying $77 trash bill

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An 82-year-old Alabama woman was left in tears after being handcuffed, arrested and thrown in jail for failing to pay a $77.80 trash bill.

Martha Menefield told KTLA she initially thought two officers from the Valley Police Department were joking when they arrived at her home Nov. 27 and told her they were there to arrest her for failing to pay a garbage service bill covering the months of June, July and August.

“Don’t cry, Ms. Martha,” Menefield recalled one of the officers saying, while she again broke out in tears while describing the ordeal.

‘I’m just happy my grandkids weren’t here to see that,” the octogenarian said. “That would have upset them. I was so ashamed, and it’s been bothering me.”

Police Chief Mike Reynolds defended the arrest in a statement.
City of Fayetteville

Her misdemeanor arrest for “failure to pay solid waste fees” drew outrage on social media, along with offers to pick up the bill.

But Valley Police Chief Mike Reynolds on Tuesday posted a statement on Facebook defending the arrest, saying multiple attempts were made collect the debt and that Menefield has history of suspended service.

After she didn’t appear at a September court date for a citation, an arrest warrant for “Failure to Pay-Trash was issued,” he added.

Menefield said she never received a notice to appear in court about her trash fees.
Menefield said she never received a notice to appear in court about her trash fees.
Facebook/Lee Hedgepeth

Menefield said she never received any notice to appear in court. 

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