×
this is awful
September 30, 2018

The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday grew by Sunday to 832 people, with hundreds of additional injuries. Rescuers have struggled to reach remote areas as communication services remain down.

Dozens of people are thought to still be trapped inside two hotels and a mall that collapsed in the city of Palu. "We are trying our best," said rescue chief Muhammad Syaugi. "Time is so important here to save people. Heavy equipment is on the way."

While initial reports estimated the tsunami at 10 feet tall, updated estimates say waves were up to twice that large. The death toll is expected to continue to rise. Bonnie Kristian

June 20, 2018

Some migrant children separated from their parents at the border are barely children at all. They're babies.

Infants as young as 3 months old have ended up in Michigan after their parents are detained far away, the Detroit Free Press reports. They arrive on planes in the middle of the night, often with no idea where they're headed, and are placed in foster homes, says a foster care supervisor.

That's a far cry from the account of a Homeland Security official, who told BuzzFeed News on Friday that "we do not separate babies from adults." Yet the next day, an 8-month-old and an 11-year-old arrived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, after weeks away from their parents, per the Free Press. They're among 50 immigrant children — average age: 8 years old — who have landed in Michigan instead of "tender age" detention facilities near the border.

Michigan foster parents are used to taking in unaccompanied migrant children. But the migrants are usually old enough to cross the border alone and know how to find their families already here, New York Times immigration reporter Miriam Jordan said on The Daily podcast Wednesday.

Children arriving in Michigan today are only getting younger, the foster care supervisor told the Free Press. They now come to the U.S. with family, but are torn away when their parents are detained, and they may go a month without even reaching their parents on the phone. Read more at the Detroit Free Press. Kathryn Krawczyk

May 18, 2018

A Cuban commercial plane carrying 110 people crashed shortly after taking off Friday, killing nearly everyone aboard, Cuban state media reports. The jet, a Boeing 737 being operated by Cuba's Cubana de Aviación airline, reportedly crashed a few minutes after noon local time, Cuban newspaper Granma reported.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said only three people survived, and they were seriously injured. Four people were initially transported to the hospital, Reuters reported, but one later died. The plane's passengers included five children, alongside nine crew members; all were reportedly foreigners, though their nationalities have not been released.

Video from the scene shows thick black smoke rising in the air, while "the crushed fuselage of the plane, seemingly ripped in pieces, lay in thick vegetation as firefighters doused it with hoses," The New York Times reports. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. Kimberly Alters

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

May 18, 2018

A gunman opened fire Friday morning at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, killing at least 10 people and injuring 10 more, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R). The fatalities include students and adult staff of Santa Fe High School, roughly 30 miles outside of Houston.

The suspected shooter, identified as 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, has been arrested. Abbott said that Pagourtzis was armed with a shotgun as well as a .38-caliber revolver, both of which are believed to legally belong to his father. A second 18-year-old suspect, thought to be a possible accomplice, has been detained for questioning, and there is another potential person of interest.

The attack occurred just before 8 a.m. local time, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. A student named Paige Curry told a local TV station that she "heard really loud booms" but didn't realize what was happening until she heard students screaming. "It's been happening everywhere," Curry said, per NPR. "I always felt like eventually it would happen here."

The Santa Fe Independent School District said that "possible explosive devices" had been found at and near the school; authorities are sweeping the area to disarm them. Abbott said that "various types of explosive devices" had been found, both in "a home and in a vehicle." CNN reported that the explosives included pipe bombs and pressure cookers.

A motive has not been identified, though Abbott said that the suspect had expressed a desire to commit the shooting, as well as commit suicide, in journals.

President Trump said in remarks Friday that "everyone must work together at every level of government to keep our children safe," while Abbott implored every parent to "hold your child close tonight." "We have two goals going forward," Abbott said: to investigate and prosecute the crime in full, and to "do more than just pray for the victims and their families. It's time, in Texas, that we take action." Kimberly Alters

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

March 12, 2018

Police in Austin, Texas, are investigating three package explosions this month that they believe to be related. Officials said they have identified "similarities" between the incidents, two of which were fatal.

A Monday morning explosion that killed a teenage boy and caused a woman life-threatening injuries was followed just hours later by a second blast, which left a 75-year-old woman in critical condition. On March 2, a man was killed when he picked up a package that exploded.

In a press conference, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Monday that investigators are treating all three incidents as connected, retroactively upgrading the first incident to be a homicide rather than a suspicious death. The death of the 17-year-old is also being treated as a murder. All of the explosions occurred when residents found packages outside their homes, which Manley says were not delivered by the postal service or companies like UPS or FedEx.

"The evidence makes us believe these incidents are related," he said.

While investigators have not yet determined a motive, officials are looking into the possibility that the blasts were hate crimes, Manley explained. CBS News reports that the victims in the first two incidents were African-American, while the victim in the latest explosion was Hispanic. Summer Meza

February 20, 2018

A report published Tuesday by UNICEF found that every year, 1 million newborn babies do not live past their first day. The report also found that 2.6 million babies die before they have lived even a month.

More often than not, newborn mortality is greatly determined by where the baby was born. Henrietta H. Fore, UNICEF's executive director, said Tuesday that "babies born to the poorest families are more than 40 percent more likely to die in the newborn period than babies in the richest families."

The shame is that most of these deaths are preventable, UNICEF explains. More than 80 percent of the deaths are tied to premature births, "complications during labor and delivery," and inadequate health care to treat said complications. In other words, they are circumstantial deaths, rather than medical issues that doctors could not address.

High-income countries average just three deaths for every 1,000 births, whereas low-income countries report 27 fatalities for every 1,000 births. But economic prosperity is not the only determinant of newborn mortality: UNICEF points out that the U.S. and Kuwait, two wealthy countries, each report four newborn deaths for every 1,000 births, a rate that is comparatively outperformed by "lower-middle income" countries like Sri Lanka and Rwanda, which report five deaths per 1,000 births.

The lesson, UNICEF contends, is that "[investing] in strong health-care systems that prioritize newborns … can make a major difference, even where resources are constrained." Rwanda in particular — a poor country that has recently halved its newborn mortality rate — should "offer hope and lessons for other countries committed to keeping every child alive," the report says.

Read the full report here. Kelly O'Meara Morales

February 15, 2018

Nikolas Cruz has confessed to killing 17 people Wednesday at a high school in Parkland, Florida, The Associated Press reported Thursday. Cruz reportedly made the confession to investigating authorities after making his first court appearance earlier Thursday.

Cruz's confession was detailed in court documents for a probable cause hearing, The Washington Post said. In them, Cruz is quoted as telling investigators that he "began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on school grounds" at his former school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In the documents, Cruz explained that he had extra ammunition concealed in his backpack for his weapon, a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle. He also said that he decided to rid himself of his gun and ammunition vest so that he could leave the school with the hordes of evacuating students and evade detection by authorities.

Cruz was finally captured about a mile away from the school, and is being held without bail on 17 counts of premeditated murder. Kelly O'Meara Morales

February 15, 2018

On Wednesday, a gunman entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and killed 17 people with a semiautomatic rifle. The suspected shooter is 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who was a former student at the school.

During his time at Douglas, Cruz was reportedly suspended for having bullets in his backpack. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters Wednesday that Cruz was expelled last year for "disciplinary reasons." Teachers at his former high school had reportedly been warned not to let Cruz on campus after his expulsion, and a former classmate told the Miami Herald that "from past experiences, he seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this."

In recent months, Cruz had been living with the family of a friend from his old high school, after his adoptive mother Lynda passed away in November. His adoptive father, Roger, had died of a heart attack more than 10 years ago, CNN reported. A lawyer for the family that Cruz had been living with told The Washington Post that while Cruz seemed to struggle with depression, he did not exhibit any obvious violent tendencies.

Authorities, however, found two Instagram accounts believed to be Cruz's. Images on the accounts featured knives as well as an array of firearms, which the poster had described in a caption as his "arsenal." Former classmates of Cruz reportedly unfollowed him on Instagram because they were disturbed by the content he posted.

Additionally, a YouTube account posting under the name Nikolas Cruz commented on a video last September, saying, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter." This comment was reported to the FBI by another YouTube user, BuzzFeed News reported, but the investigation apparently fizzled out. Authorities said that Cruz obtained the semiautomatic AR-15 that he reportedly used to carry out the shooting legally, after passing a background check. Kelly O'Meara Morales

See More Speed Reads