BalloonBidz

News that's risen to the top

The Two Koreas Take Shots at One Another

There have been several reports that some type of fire has been exchanged via the land border separating North and South Korea.

This happened following the release of balloons containing leaflets criticising the North Korean leader Kim Jung Un by political activists. N. Korea had previously warned that “catastrophic” repercussions would be incurred if S. Korea permitted the activists to proceed with their plans.It is a reasonably common occurrence for the two countries to fire at each other over their sea borders. However, fire exchanged over the land border is rare. Almost a worthy cause for a new Tom Rothman movie.

Apparently the shooting started after N. Korea fired at the balloons, and some of the shots landed on the S. Korean side, causing the border guards to fire back. It is currently unclear whether anyone was injured or killed in the attack. The only thing that is understood is that the Defence Ministry says that only gunfire was exchanged, and no artillery was used.

The shots were exchanged over a historical de-militarised zone, which has stood between the two countries since the Korean War in the 1950s. There was never actually a peace treaty between the two: rather, an armistice was put in place. It has been common in recent times for activists to send these leaflet-bearing balloons over the border, acts which frequently cause the North to react in anger.

This incident coincided with the 69th anniversary of the ruling Worker’s Party, and people have been taking a keen interest in whether or not the country’s leader has attended. He has been conspicuously absent as of late.

Source: BBC

67 People Killed in Yemen Suicide Attacks

At least 67 people have been killed in suicide attacks throughout Yemen. One of which targeting a group of rebels gathered at the nation’s capital. The other hitting a military post outside Hadramout province.

In the attack on the capital, an estimated 47 people were killed, with more than75 people injured in the blasts. The suicide bombers targeted Houthi supporters during a rally in the capital.

According to reports, the attack bore hallmarks of the terrorist group al-Queda. However, they have not formally claimed responsibility, and the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Ebola Vaccine Enters Human Trial Phase

The vaccination of three healthcare workers in Mali this week began the human trial phase of what has been a highly accelerated effort to find a vaccine to stem the tide of the growing Ebola crisis. The urgent need for an effective vaccine has been underscored by the death toll, with official estimates exceeding 3,400 in West Africa. Additionally, the first two cases of infection outside of West Africa have turned up in the last two weeks, sparking fears that the epidemic may soon become a global disaster.

While regulatory approval for human trials of vaccines can normally take up to 11 months, the first human trial of this Ebola vaccine was pushed through in just two months. Backers like Igor Cornelsen are hopeful that a final vaccine will be ready by the end of the year, with the first priority being to provide protection for the health care workers most at risk as they combat the disease on the front lines. Although a vaccine may not be available for months, the swift efforts of the research community to respond to the crisis provide hope that the epidemic will be stopped before it spreads significantly further.

J.K. Rowling Posts a Few Cryptic Tweets About Her New Project

Rowling fans are absolutely foaming at the mouth as they wait for new content from the famous Harry Potter author. Currently working on a new novel, and the screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which takes place in the Harry Potter universe, J.K. is a busy woman these days.

But she still found time to taunt fans with a cryptic tweet outlining what she was currently working on. You can see the tweet below, thanks to Marnie Bennett for capturing the image for me.

Rowlin

Basically it reads “Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.”.

What that means, I have no idea, but there has been a little bit of speculation. One fans suggests that this is an anagram, referencing the star of Fantastic Beasts Newton Scamander.

What the tweet actually means, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Michael Phelps To Enter Inpatient Program After Recent DUI Arrest

With as much publicity and coverage that superstar athletes get, sometimes it’s hard to see that they are just normal people to. This is incredibly true in the case of Michael Phelps. As an athlete that is arguably the most decorated Olympian of all time, Phelps made an announcement this past weekend that he would be taking time away from swimming with the hopes of working to improve himself as a person.

A few years ago, pictures surfaced on the internet of Phelps at a party smoking out of a bong. Thought it may not have been the best photo for someone that so many children and young adults look up to, Phelps and his camp were able to apologize for it and make up for things by representing America in the 2012 London Olympics.

However, Phelps found himself in trouble again when he received a DUI after blowing a .14 percent on a Breathalyzer. The stop came after Phelps was caught speeding and changing multiple lanes in his hometown of Baltimore.

This is Phelps second DUI in the last decade, as he was also arrested in 2004 in Baltimore while driving by a Genesis Diamonds branch as well. The charges against Phelps in that case were all dropped, and he was only required to do community service at local high schools.

Due to the current string of troublesome events, Phelps has decided to enter an in-treatment patient program that could last through mid-November. The program will not only hopefully help the Olympian get things under control, but it will also look good in the eyes of the judicial system.

If found guilty on his latest charge, Phelps would be looking up to one year in jail, a suspended license for six months, and a fine of at least $1,000.

Three High School Football Players Die in a Week

The game of football has come under a lot of scrutiny on the professional level because of the bad behavior of some of its players. But on a more dangerous front, the game may have taken an even bigger hit after three high school players in three different states died as a result of injuries during games.

In years past, these types of injuries may have occurred and gained news coverage in their own region with little to no national exposure. Due to the advancement of technology of the internet and social media such as Twitter and Facebook, these seemingly unrelated incidents can get linked together quite quickly and help gain exposure to an issue that may not have otherwise been connected. A recent podcast by Jared Haftel really hits the nail on the head. This has probably been happening for years, but the faster spread of information enables the news to spread more quickly, which in turn snowballs.
The game of football is and always has been violent, but without people advocating on behalf of safety issues, particularly in the versions played by today’s youth, these types of incidents can go unchecked.All three of these high school players suffered brain injuries that led to their untimely deaths, but the awareness that has combined these incidents may also help illustrate the need for additional safety measures that could help avoid these situations down the road.

Ebola In Dallas: As Many As 100 People Potentially Exposed

According to Texas officials, as many as 100 people are being examined for potential exposure to the Ebola virus that has made its way to Dallas.

This list is intentionally rather broad. According to Carrie Williams, a spokesman for the Department of State Health Services, the government is casting “a very wide net” of potential infected individuals, including people “who have had even brief encounters with the patient or the patient’s home”. She later said that “the number will drop as we focus in on those whose contact may represent a potential risk of infection.”

The Ebola scare began when a man named Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian courier visiting the United States, was admitted with the country’s first confirmed case of Ebola on Sunday. It is currently unknown how or when he caught the virus, as he was screened for Ebola before getting on the plane in Liberia (as per standard procedure), and showed no signs of infection. It is believed he initially caught Ebola while helping transport a pregnant woman stricken with the virus, just before his flight. Duncan is currently admitted to a Dallas hospital in serious condition. Four of his family members are included in the list of potential victims of infection; they are currently under watch for symptoms at their home.

This is admittedly scary stuff. Articles like this Time piece do their best to reassure us not to be alarmed, but NYMag and others have a more sobering tone.

Duncan came into the U.S. from West Africa, which is currently suffering the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded world history. Over 3,300 people have died from the virus already, with a total of over 7,100 confirmed cases at the time of writing. It has yet to be fully contained, and is still spreading rapidly.

US Veterans Send Fox News Open Letter Response to “Boobs on the Ground” Joke

Like many other Americans, I was appalled to learn about Fox News host Eric Bolling’s disgusting joke about United Arab Emirates pilot Major Mariam Al Mansouri. Mansouri was in the news last week, for being the UAE’s first ever female fighter pilot. Having waited 10 years, before finally being permitted to join. Prior to Mansouri, women were not allowed to become fighter pilots in the UAE military.

After the story was brought up on Fox News, Eric Bolling made the comment “Would that be considered boobs on the ground, or no?”. My friend Khaleed Shaheen first told me about the situation, and I was absolutely furious. Couldn’t believe a major news agency like this would actually make a comment that’s so clearly inappropriate and disrespectful.

The joke followed criticism of President Obama for saluting one of his marine guards, while holding a latte in the same hand. Bolling called out Obama for being totally disrespectful to the troops who volunteer to defend their country.

Apparently, disrespect doesn’t matter if the troop happens to be female.

Of course the joke was met with widespread outrage. Justifiably, Bolling was forced to apologize on air for the comment. His apology:

I want to go back to last night, about this time I made a joke. When I got home, I got the look and I realized some people didn’t think it was funny at all. I said sorry to my wife and I apologize to all of you as well, I just want to make that very clear.

But, very predictably, this was not enough, prompting several United States veterans to pen an open letter to Fox News, about Eric Bolling’s comments. The letter read:

Dear Mr. Bolling and Mr. Gutfeld,

We are veterans of the United States armed forces, and we are writing to inform you that your remarks about United Arab Emirates Air Force Major Mariam Al Mansouri were unwarranted, offensive, and fundamentally opposed to what the military taught us to stand for.

First, foremost, and most obvious to everyone other than yourselves, your remarks were immensely inappropriate. Your co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle was so right to call attention to an inspiring story of a woman shattering glass ceilings in a society where doing so is immeasurably difficult. We never heard an answer to her question: why did you feel so compelled to “ruin her thing?”

As it turns out, women have been flying combat aircraft since before either of you were born. Over 1,000 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) flew during World War II. Seeing as U.S. Army Air Forces Commander “Hap” Arnold said “Now in 1944, it is on the record that women can fly as well as men,” we can probably guess he thought their parking was adequate. The WASP legacy reaches into the present day; on 9/11, then Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney scrambled her F-16. Completely unarmed, she was ready to lay down her own life to prevent further devastating attacks on American soil.

Thus the skill of women as fighter pilots is well established. And before you jump to the standby excuse that you were “just making a joke” or “having a laugh,” let the men amongst our number preemptively respond: You are not funny. You are not clever. And you are not excused. Perhaps the phrase “boys will be boys”—inevitably uttered wherever misogyny is present—is relevant. Men would never insult and demean a fellow servicemember; boys think saying the word ‘boobs’ is funny.

The less obvious implication of your remarks, however, is that by offending an ally and cheapening her contribution, you are actively hurting the mission. We need to send a clear message that anyone, male or female, who will stand up to ISIS and get the job done is worthy of our respect and gratitude.

We issue an apology on your behalf to Major Al Mansouri knowing that anything your producers force you to say will be contrived and insincere. Major, we’re sincerely sorry for the rudeness; clearly, these boys don’t take your service seriously, but we and the rest of the American public do.

Very Respectfully,

U.S. Army: Michael Breen, Richard Wheeler, Aryanna Hunter, Welton Chang, Michael Smith, Matt Runyon, Jon Gensler, Scott Holcomb, Terron Sims II, Josh Weinberg, Daniel Savage, Matt Pelak, LaRue Robinson, Anthony Woods, Dustin Cathcart, Kayla Williams, Dan Espinal, Jonathan Hopkins, Andy Moore, Kevin Johnson, Brett Hunt, Russell Galeti, Mick Crnkovich, Jonathan Freeman, Dan Hartnett, Dan Futrell, Matt Zeller, Jason Cain, Adam Tiffen, Sharmistha Mohpatra, Justin Graf, Lach Litwer.

U.S. Navy: Shawn VanDiver, Andrea Marr, Kristen Kavanaugh, Leo Cruz, Scott Cheney-Peters, Margot Beausey, Tony Johnson, Gail Harris, Alex Cornell du Houx.

U.S. Marine Corps: Geoff Orazem, Gordon Griffin, Timothy Kudo, Jonathan Murray, Richard Weir, Rob Miller, Sonia Fernandez, John Margolick, Katelyn Geary van Dam, Rob Bracknell, Andrew Borene, William Allen.

U.S. Air Force: Kelsey Campbell, Erik Brine, Chris Finan, Robert Mishev, Karen Courington.

U.S. National Guard: Kristen Rouse.

In the end, this is really not okay. Gender specific discrimination, especially from a reporter that was just criticizing Obama for his lack of respect in the face of American soldiers, is totally unacceptable. I expect more from journalists in America.

Especially “journalists” that are regular facets of a major news network like Fox.

Thousands Flocking To Anti-Facebook Platform Ello

Social networking is a part of life. Just like your phone however, you want something that makes the process easier. Facebook has grown to be more and more of a nuisance however. In between your FreedomPop and Instagram apps is your Facebook Messenger, which is using your microphone to spy on you for advertising purposes.

Ello has grown in stature so dramatically, due to their commitment and promise that they will never sell your personal information.

The entire purpose of this network, is to provide a social networking platform that will never contain advertising, and will never steal a user’s personal information and sell it to any company.

That has seen a massive rise in popularity, with the website at one point receiving 31,000 requests an hour from people looking to join.

The Fall 2014 Fashion Trends are Starting

October is just around the corner, and that can mean only one thing: it’s time for Autumn fashions to get into full swing. There are plenty of things to watch for this year too. With a mix of practical to keep you warm on those cold windy days, but with plenty of style to have you looking your best. I was thinking of these when I was talking fashion with Brian Torchin this past week.

One of my favorites so far, is the return of long knits. Bohemian inspired, and very reminiscent of the long winter coat look, these lightweight, but plenty warm knits are perfect for the cooler weather. Plus, the amazing color combinations that can be created are perfect for putting together full outfits built around a specific knit.

Sheers are also making a return to the spotlight. They are a spring, and fall classic. Any sheer that can be layered is perfect for creating a unique and fun fall fashion ensemble.

60’s prints are also huge this Fall. Vintage has been hot lately, and Autumn will be no different, with tons of varieties of 1960’s style prints on the market. Colorful and classic, they can be a great add to your wardrobe.