Friday, August 28, 2015

Happy Friday Everyone; And, What a Week It's Been!

The show leads off the day with none other than Donald Trump and then they segued into news about Hillary Clinton and how she is starting to hit hard on that GOP (and how they affect women's issues). This is an important week for the Hillary campaign. She is trying to get her 'ducks in a row' with regard to the email issue and again, she is comparing the GOP with analogy about women's issues and terrorism. Which is a bit of a stretch but anyway, here we go. Oh and looky there. I thought Joe was off today but he is indeed here asking if he can talk. She did not really compare it per se, but she mentioned how terrorists act towards women. Then, began to talk about how the GOP treats women but again, she did not say they are alike. I think the campaign wants to emphasize issues when it comes to women.

In Cleveland, Hillary Clinton blasts GOP views on women's issues.
The weekly firestorm in the 2016 presidential campaign was lit Thursday in Ohio by Hillary Clinton when she likened GOP candidates’ views on women to those of terrorists.

“What an obscene person,” was the reaction of Ohio Republican Chairman Matt Borges.

Ohio Right to Life’s Michael Gonidakis tweeted: “If HRC can’t tell difference b/t pro-life supporters & murderous rapists in ISIS it’s no wonder she messed up Benghazi so badly!”

Republican National Committee press secretary Allison Moore called for an immediate apology “for her inflammatory rhetoric.” Moore said, “For Hillary Clinton to equate her political opponents to terrorists is a new low for her flailing campaign.”

While saying “this election can’t be a race to the bottom” in her first official Ohio campaign speech this year, Clinton took shots at Ohio Gov. John Kasich as well as other GOP presidential hopefuls for their anti-abortion stances and calls to defund Planned Parenthood.

“I would like these Republican candidates to look the mom in the eye who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening for cancer, or the teenager who didn’t get pregnant because she had access to contraception, or anyone who’s ever been protected by an HIV test,” Clinton told several hundred supporters at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

“Now, extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world. But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be president of the United States.”

Clinton’s swipe at Kasich — she didn’t mention him by name — came in response to the 2013 state budget bill he signed that included a ban on state-funded rape-crisis centers counseling women about abortion, although she characterized it a bit differently.

“Hillary Clinton’s trail of scandal is decades long and only continues to worsen,” said the Kasich campaign in a statement. “Not surprising she thinks the only way for her to compete in Ohio or elsewhere is to launch negative attacks against John Kasich.”

Otherwise, Clinton’s talk on a cool, partly sunny day stuck close to her standard stump speech. The former secretary of state never mentioned the email controversy dogging her campaign. She is under fire for using her personal email server instead of the State Department’s; investigators are determining whether that put classified information at risk. The issue is prompting Vice President Joe Biden to consider entering the Democratic race.

A day after the shooting deaths of two TV journalists in Virginia, Clinton said she would tackle the gun issue even though past attempts have fallen short.

“I’m not going to sit by while more good people die,” she said.

“I strongly believe we’ve got to have common-sense reforms to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, the violently unstable, domestic abusers and even terrorists, who find it pretty easy in our country to get ahold of a weapon if they so choose,” she said. “It’s time to really come to grips with this.”

She cited the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot by a Cleveland police officer nine months ago while playing with a pellet gun.

“He should be alive,” Clinton said, calling for a frank national discussion on the issues of race, justice and guns. “We do have to stand up and say loudly and clearly, black lives matter.”

The former first lady also took a new tack in saying both her husband and Barack Obama inherited ailing national economies from their GOP predecessors.

“I don’t think President Obama gets the credit he deserves for pulling us out of that ditch,” she said.

But Clinton added, “I’m not running for President Obama’s third term. I’m not running my husband’s third term. I’m running for my first term.”

Her visit comes as a new national poll shows that Biden does slightly better in prospective matchups against top GOP presidential candidates.

For example, Clinton tops Rubio by 1 point, Bush by 2 points and billionaire Donald Trump by 4. Biden beats all three but by margins of 3, 6 and 8 points respectively. The poll’s margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

And when asked an open-ended question about the first word that comes to mind for Clinton, “liar” is far and away the leader, followed by “dishonest” and “untrustworthy.” In a separate query, barely a third said she is honest and trustworthy.

In all, 51 percent in the Quinnipiac University Poll said they viewed Clinton unfavorably, compared to 39 percent with a favorable view. Perhaps more politically significant, 61 percent of independent voters are in the “unfavorable” column, just 28 percent are part of the “favorable” group. Among various demographic groups, only black and Hispanic voters have a favorable opinion of her.

On women's health, Clinton compares Republicans to 'terrorist groups'. Hillary Clinton compared Republican presidential candidates who hold conservative views on abortion and women's reproductive rights to "terrorist groups" in a Cleveland speech on Thursday.

During a riff where the candidate name checked Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Clinton said Republicans are "dead wrong for 21st century America."

"Now, extreme views about women, we expect that from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don't want to live in the modern world, but it's a little hard to take from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States," Clinton said. "Yet they espouse out of date, out of touch policies. They are dead wrong for 21st century America. We are going forward, we are not going back."

Clinton regularly hits Republicans on women's rights but Thursday's line was a departure from her usual talking points.

"I would like these Republican candidates to look the mom in the eye who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening for cancer or the teenager who didn't get pregnant because she has access to contraception," Clinton said. "Or anyone who has ever been protected by an HIV test."

Clinton told the audience of around 2,000, according to Case Western Reserve University, that she takes "it a little personal when they (Republicans) go after women."

"This is happening all over the country, even here in Ohio," she said. "Programs and services women use to take care of themselves are being cut down."

Bush said in a Tweet that the remarks were a sign of Clinton's misplaced priorities.

".@HillaryClinton compares pro-life Americans to terrorists, but defends despicable PP treatment of unborn? Her priorities are totally wrong," Bush tweeted.

Republicans were quick to pounce on Clinton's comments and called for her to apologize.

"For Hillary Clinton to equate her political opponents to terrorists is a new low for her flailing campaign," said Allison Moore, press secretary for the Republican National Committee. "She should apologize immediately for her inflammatory rhetoric."

"Hillary Clinton just said a significant portion of Americans are the same as 'terrorist groups' simply because they disagree with her," added Amelia Chassé, press secretary for America Rising PAC, an anti-Clinton opposition research group. "That is outrageous, even for a desperate politician slipping in the polls. It's the clearest sign yet that Sec. Clinton will say or do anything to win."

A national poll released Thursday showed Clinton leading the Democratic field with 45% support, as well as topping several GOP candidates in head-to-head matchups.

BTW, Donald Trump proves his hair is real (again). Donald Trump's campaign has been promising specifics for weeks now, recently releasing a detailed immigration plan. At a speech in Greenville, South Carolina on Thursday, a crowd of about 1,400 heard one more specific: The hair is real.

Trump opened his speech by reading aloud from a New York Times article about staunchly anti-Trump stories published by Hispanic media outlets. He took issue with story's opening line: "Ricardo Sánchez, known as 'El Mandril' on his Spanish drive-time radio show in Los Angeles, has taken to calling Donald J. Trump 'El hombre del peluquín' -- the man of the toupee."

Trump wanted to prove that he did not, in fact, wear a toupee.

"It's my hair!" Trump exclaimed to the laughing crowd. "I swear! Come here. Just come on up here. They're going to let you. You have to do an inspection, this is getting crazy."

He brought Mary Margaret Bannister, the South Carolina House Majority leader's wife, on stage and let her touch the most famous hairstyle in the 2016 presidential race. The woman did as she was told and went to the microphone and said, "Yes, I believe it is."

Donald Trump: Touch my hair -- it's real
This wasn't the first time Trump has revved up campaign crowds by proving his hair's authenticity. He also had a supporter join him on stage to touch his hair at a New Hampshire event in June.

Thursday's speech was hosted by the Upstate Chamber Coalition, and campaign officials said that tickets sold out five days after the event was announced. The event featured classic Trump call and response. When he mentioned Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina's Republican home state senator and one of Trump's 2016 rivals, the crowd booed heavily.

"[Graham's] out of control. Poll came out the other day and he was at zero. Zero! Even Pataki was higher. Pataki was at zero with an arrow up!" Trump said, referring to former New York Gov. George Pataki, another GOP 2016 candidate.

"I want to see the man win," said Rick Routzahn, of Myrtle Beach. Routzahn, who works in home repair, traveled to the event hoping to become a full-time volunteer for the campaign. He was wearing a customized baseball shirt with Trump emblazoned on the back. "No offense, a lot of us have a disdain for you media guys. If he's taking any of you on, it would be like, 'Yeah, go get 'em!'"

At times, Trump acted like a stand-up comedian, especially when referring to his immigration plan.

"They buy a ladder at Home Depot, and they're over the wall," Trump said, referring to the Southern border. "People aren't going over my wall."

After the speech and a private meet-and-greet with local VIP's, Trump took questions from reporters.

"I believe very strongly in the Second Amendment," Trump said, in response to a question on gun violencein connection to the shootings of two journalists in Virginia. "We have people with mental disabilities, mental problems. It's too bad somebody can't figure it out. We have a serious mental problem."

He did not specify what his solution would be. Trump also announced that he would be holding a joint event with one of his rivals for the GOP nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz, in Washington to protest the Iran deal. In a statement, the Cruz campaign confirmed the event said its specifics are still being worked out.

Trump played down recent reports that he was beginning to seek out donations, after claiming for months that he didn't need anybody's money. He even said during the speech, to a partial standing ovation, that he wouldn't be controlled by lobbyists.

Politico reported that Trump attended a fundraiser for a super PAC trying to get him elected.

"All I do is some meet and greets," Trump said. "People ask me would I come and say hello. As you know, other than the little donations where people send in seven dollars and twenty dollars and even, you know, in some cases, hundreds of dollars. All I will do, on some occasions, I will do a meet and greet."

Anna Teasley came to the event as an undecided voter. She co-owns a paper distribution business with her husband in Easley, a suburb of Greenville, where she's lived for the last 30 years. Teasley says she came to the event out of "curiosity."

"It bothers me," Teasley said when asked about Trump's interactions with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. "It seems almost like an attack. But that's Trump. He is who he is. I think that might've been a little bit aggressive."

Teasley did go on to say, however, "He's shaking things up. We need a big shakeup."

This GOP Presidential Candidate (Bobby Jindal) Is Trying to Destroy Planned Parenthood. Now Planned Parenthood Is Fighting Back. Cuts to the health care organization threaten access to care for thousands.
Planned Parenthood in Louisiana is asking a federal judge to halt presidential candidate and state Gov. Bobby Jindal's efforts to cut Medicaid funding for the health care organization, arguing that the cut would hurt nearly 6,000 low-income women, men, and teens who access the group's services each year.

Referencing the series of attack videos that depict Planned Parenthood officials in California and other states discussing fetal tissue donation, Jindal earlier this month directed the state's department of health to terminate Planned Parenthood's contract with Medicaid, saying the organization was not "worthy of receiving public assistance from the state."

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, which operates clinics in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, does not offer abortion services in Louisiana. It does, however, provide physical exams, breast cancer screenings, and testing for sexually transmitted infections to 10,000 people each year, 60 percent of whom are enrolled in Medicaid. 

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, lawyers for the health care organization wrote that those patients will be cut off from health care access as early as next week, causing them "significant and irreparable harm," unless the court blocks Jindal's decision. Medicaid payments to Planned Parenthood, which totaled nearly $730,000 last year, are set to end September 2 unless the court steps in. 

A key issue is whether cutting off Planned Parenthood's Medicaid funding is legal. This month, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) warned Louisiana that terminating Medicaid provider agreements likely violates a federal rule requiring Medicaid beneficiaries to be able to obtain services from any qualified provider.  

The point of that provision, according to CMS, is to "allow [Medicaid] recipients the same opportunities to choose among available providers of covered health care and services as are normally offered to the general population."

Louisiana isn't the only state to cut funding for Planned Parenthood: Alabama, Arkansas, New Hampshire, and Utah have taken similar steps. And Republicans in Congress tried, but failed, to push through a bill to slash $500 million in federal funding. 

Jindal is also one of a handful of Republican governors who have launched investigations into state Planned Parenthood affiliates in the hopes of finding criminal activity related to the sale of aborted fetal tissue. Those investigations, many of which are taking place in states that don't have fetal tissue donation programs, have so far turned up nothing. The investigation in Louisiana, however, has put on hold the construction of a third Planned Parenthood clinic, which was approved by the department of health earlier this year after months of pushback.

But coming out swinging against the country's largest women's health care organization hasn't translated to a more successful presidential campaign for Jindal. He was one of two sitting governors who did not get to participate in the first prime-time Republican debate this year because the forum was limited to the top-polling candidates. National polls have consistently put him in the low single digits.

Usain Bolt knocked over by man on Segway after crushing Justin Gatlin in World Championship 200m. Jamaican takes a tumble in bizarre accident after winning his second gold medal in Beijing in 19.55 seconds. Moments after clinching 200m gold in Beijing, having evaded his closest rival by nearly two tenths of a second, Usain Bolt swaggered carefree along the track.
But his momentary triumphalism, a Jamaican flag draped across his shoulders, was shattered when he failed to outrun a Chinese cameraman riding a Segway, the ubiquitous two wheeled self-propelled scooter, which then crashed into him.
The pair were unceremoniously flung to the ground when the videographer’s contraption clipped a railing, throwing the portly rider off his balance and straight into the world’s most expensive pair of legs.

Bolt performed a nimble backward roll before jumping to his feet, visibly shaken by the episode.

Silver medallist Gatlin, sitting beside Bolt, parried: “I want my money back. He didn’t complete the job.”
Bolt later insisted that the incident, which witnesses claim could have been far more serious, had not left him with any lasting injuries after he was seen holding his left leg.
“It didn’t actually hit me in my Achilles, it hit me in my calf area,” he said.
“He tried to kill me - I don’t know what he was going on? It was like: ‘You are winning too much – take him out!’”

Bolt has swept the individual sprints at this year’s global championships for the fifth time, winning a record fourth straight 200m title in 19.55 seconds.

The 100m and 200m champion had earlier jokingly chided BBC commentator Michael Johnson for not backing him to win the title.

“Michael Johnson, stop doubting me bro,” he said, to which Johnson answered: “I’m the one trying to tell Denise! C’mon Usain Leo Bolt. I’m in your corner, bro.”

Johnson, the American former world and Olympic sprint champion, had previously cast doubt on Bolt’s chances in the 200m race.

Bolt will round off his time in Beijing on Saturday when he is expected to compete in the sprint relay.

Bolt said that he remains confident in his chances ahead of Saturday’s race.

“It’s alright, I will get over it. Never a doubt [for the sprint relay race], never a doubt. I am just going to get it massaged, ice it up a bit and I should be fine,” he said.

“I wasn’t looking, I was waving to the crowd, and then I felt something take me out. It’s okay. I am happy my body came out unscathed.

“I have a few cuts. But it’s nothing I have never done to myself in training. It wasn’t as bad.”

The cameraman, who is thought to have worked for Chinese state broadcaster CCTV - a network with more than one billion viewers - has yet to comment on the accident.
The red-faced camera operator was later seen shaking hands with a visibly surprised Bolt.
The CCTV journalist is not the first person to have suffered a high profile Segway malfunction.

Former US President George W. Bush famously crashed his machine while riding around his family estate in Kennebunkport, Maine in 2013.

The device’s safety manual warns users of the Segway to wear a helmet, protective clothes and to have “a friend act as your spotter”.

Everyone wanted a piece of Bolt in the aftermath of this triumph, and not just cameramen aboard hazardous forms of novelty transport. One enterprising teenager in the crowd jumped over the barrier and stole his running spikes, only to be intercepted by a ring of strong-armed security guards as he ran off. How much more of this madness can Bolt, consummate showman that he is, take as his wonderful career draws towards a close?

Not a great deal, if we are to believe the 29-year-old’s claim that he is only “50-50” to compete at the next World Championships in London. His sponsor Puma had mandated that Bolt must continue until 2017, but he indicated that next summer’s Olympics in Rio would be a more fitting stage on which to bow out with a glorious swansong.

That debate can wait, when there are still performances such as this to savour. It is testament to Bolt’s extraordinary acts in Beijing that Gatlin had entered this competition unbeaten in 27 races, having recorded the five fastest 100m and two quickest 200m times all year. And yet Bolt, who has extended his winning run over Gatlin to 10 years over 200m, still waltzed off with the sprint double once more.

Not only was it Bolt’s fourth consecutive world title in the 200m, it was also his 10th world championship gold overall. An apt landmark, he felt, to throw back in the faces of those who had doubted him. “It means a lot to me,” he said. “I’m happy, especially when people have been saying I would lose. As long as my coach is confident, I am super-confident. There was never a doubt that I would win this one. I am No 1, and I will continue running fast.”

So fast, indeed, that Bolt could afford to ease up over the final 30 metres and run the 10th best 200m of all time regardless. He reflected that he could have been in the region of 19.3 if he had run hard through the finish but, such was his flawless intuition about whether or not he was on world-record pace, he shifted down a gear so as not to tire himself for the sprint relay. The emphasis with which he slapped his chest as he crossed the line showed how much he cherished another glory in his favourite event.

The margin of this win, with Gatlin a remote second in 19.74, also emboldened Bolt to try out a little trash-talk. “I really celebrated, because Gatlin said earlier in the week that he was going to bring out something special for the 200,” he said. “I thought, ‘Yo, you don’t talk about my 200 like that.’ So, I had to prove to him that I am No 1.”

Zharnel Hughes, the Anguillan-born Briton who had harboured hopes of a bronze, was fifth in 20.02. Bolt, his idol and his training partner at the Racers Track Club in Kingston, Jamaica, had delivered another masterclass to fire him on his quest to gatecrash the big boys’ party. “People were saying that he wasn’t in shape, but he is a phenomenal athlete,” Hughes said. “He is a legend.” Bolt, even as he contemplates retirement, is an icon whose preciousness to his sport is incalculable. If only somebody had thought to tell that wayward cameraman.

Tropical Storm Erika: At Least 4 Dead, Widespread Flooding Reported in Dominica; Florida Prepares For Possible Impacts. Tropical Storm Erika brought deadly flooding and mudslides to parts of Dominica in the Lesser Antilles, prompting search and rescue crews to scour the island for people who may be missing in isolated communties. 

"Erika has really, really visited us with a vengeance," Claude Weeks, assistance police superintendent, told The Associated Press during a phone interview. Because many roads and bridges are impassable, crews are trying to reach isolated communities via the ocean, he added.

"We're going to work throughout the night to see if we can get to the areas," he said. "There are people missing in different parts of the island."

The Associated Press said four people have been killed in the flooding and mudslides created by Erika's torrential rain. A blind elderly man and two children were killed in southeastern Dominica, and another man was killed in the country's capital of Roseau, the report said.

Several others remain missing and at least 20 homes have been destroyed in the storm, the AP also reported.

"The situation is grim. It is dangerous," Ian Pinard, Dominica's communications minister, told the AP.

About 80 percent of the island was without electricity and water supply was cut off. Trees and light poles were strewn across streets, and several building ssutained damage, including torn off scaffolding. AP also reports the main airport was closed because of flooding, with water rushing over at least one small plane.

"The capital city is a wreck. It is a sight to behold. It's a disaster," policewoman Teesha Alfred told The Associated Press about Rouseau. The city's main river overflowed and crashed into a main bridge.

Social media users posted images and video of a raging Roseau River Thursday morning as several bands of heavy rain pounded the small island nation.

On Thursday, 12.64 inches of rain fell in a 12-hour period from 2 a.m. EDT to 2 p.m. at the Canefield Airport near Roseau, Dominica, according to local storm reports.

The Associated Press reports that governments in San Juan, Puerto Rico, have ordered schools, airports and even casinos to close as they begin to prepare shelters. 

Schools and government offices in St. Maarten will be closed Thursday, and officials asked casinos, restaurants and other businesses to close by midnight on Wednesday. They warned that they may temporarily suspend power and water service as the storm continues to approach.

Government offices in the U.S. Virgin Islands will be closed and all airports in the U.S. Virgin Islands will be closed until Friday, Gov. Kenneth Map told the AP. 

Boats docked at Shell Beach Marina on Antigua's north coast have been removed from the water since Saturday, with people not taking chances as Erika approaches, marina employee Caroline Davy told the Associated Press.

Seaborne Airlines and LIAT, based in Puerto Rico and Antigua respectively, have canceled more than two dozen flights through Friday due to the storm. Officials in Puerto Rico said they will suspend ferry transportation between the main island and the sister islands of Culebra and Vieques on Thursday.

Cruise line Carnival was forced to cancel its St. Maarten and St. Kitts stops due to the storm. The itinerary has been adjusted to have the ship spend two days in San Juan before continuing to Grand Turk and the addition of Nassau. 

Tropical storm warnings have been issued for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Leeward Islands. 

Florida Prepares
The State of Florida Emergency Operations Center has activated to level two in preparation for possible impacts from Tropical Storm Erika. 

"We are preparing the protective and responsive measures we will need if the storm continues to develop out of an abundance of caution," said FDEM Director Bryan W. Koon.

Boat owners and area marinas in South Florida have begun to make their own preparations. Sailfish Marina dock master Austin Peters told WPTV that a handful of captains have already moved their boats to safer areas. According to him, if there is a hurricane warning, all boats are required to leave the marina, which can be difficult because many of the boat owners live out of state.

"Usually some people will go south or north to avoid the storm, or they will go to a dry dock where they will be lifted out of the water," said Peters.

Boaters will be encouraged to add lines to their boats to make sure they’re secured. The marina also plans to shut down gas and water lines if the storm begins to pose a larger threat. 

FEMA recommends that, in addition to having a hurricane kit, residents should stock up a three-day supply of food and water.

A properly stocked hurricane kit should consist of: 

  • Non-perishable food, such as energy bars
  • Batteries
  • Radio, battery operated or hand cranked
  • Cellphone charger
  • LED flashlight for each member of the family
  • Lighter
  • First aid kit
  • 1 gallon of water for every member of the family associate editor Ada Carr also contributed to this report.

The Latest: Mediterranean death toll hits 2,432; will jump more after 3 shipwrecks off Libya.
The Associated Press

Here are the latest developments Friday regarding the tens of thousands of migrants trying to reach Europe.
1:35 p.m.
Trying to cross the wide, rough Mediterranean Sea on an overcrowded smuggler's boat is a deadly risk, even in the warm summer weather.
The International Office of Migration has recorded 2,432 deaths linked to Mediterranean migrant crossings this year, but expects that figure to rise because Libyan authorities are still counting the dead from three shipwrecks off the Libyan coast in the last two days.
Authorities found 52 bodies in the hull of one boat off Libya on Wednesday, and U.N. officials say another 200 migrants are missing and feared dead after two other unseaworthy boats capsized Thursday off the western Libyan port of Zuwara.
Scores of smugglers' boats leave lawless Libya every day, packed with migrants trying to reach the safety of Europe.
1:20 p.m.
The U.N. refugee agency says more than 300,000 migrants have sought to cross the Mediterranean Sea this year— nearly 40 percent more than the record number in all of last year.
The office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva said Friday that 200,000 have landed in Greece alone. Greece's eastern islands have faced a nightly influx of hundreds of Syrian refugees making the short trip by boat or inflatable dinghy from Turkey.
The arrivals in Greece alone this year are close to the record number of 219,000 migrant and refugee crossings on all of the Mediterranean last year.
1:05 p.m.
In the wake of migrant deaths at sea and on land, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees is urging authorities to crack down on the smuggling trade and to expand safe, legal ways for refugees to reach Europe.
Melissa Fleming, the spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency in Geneva, says Friday that the deaths of 71 migrants who were being smuggled into Austria in a refrigerated truck "is just absolutely shocking."
She says "we believe this underscores the ruthlessness of people smugglers who have expanded their business from the Mediterranean Sea to the highways of Europe. It shows they have absolutely no regard for human life."
Fleming also says the deaths show "the desperation of people seeking protection or a new life in Europe."
12:50 p.m.
Greece's coast guard says it has rescued 665 migrants at sea in 20 search-and-rescue operations off the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Agathonissi, Kos and Megisti in the 24 hours from Thursday morning to Friday morning.
The figures do not include the hundreds more who reach the islands' shores from the nearby Turkish coast each day, most of them using inflatable dinghies. The vast majority of those arriving in Greece are Syrian and Afghan refugees.
The migrants pouring into Greece are hoping to travel north via the Balkans and apply for asylum in wealthy European Union nations like Germany, Austria or Sweden. Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary have been overwhelmed this summer by the tens of thousands of migrants traveling through their countries.
12:40 p.m.
U.N. authorities say 100 people have been rescued off the coast of Libya amid a smuggling disaster at sea.
Othman Belbeisi, chief of mission for the International Organization for Migration for Libya, said Friday that the number rescued Thursday from two overcrowded smugglers' boats off the coast of Libya included nine women and two girls.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says an estimated 200 migrants are missing and feared dead after the two migrant boats capsized off Libya.
Belbeisi said 400 people had been packed onto one of the boats.
The bodies and the survivors were being brought back to the western Libyan city of Zuwara.
12:15 p.m.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says an estimated 200 migrants are missing and feared dead after two smuggling boats capsized off the coast of Libya.
Sink hole swallows people waiting at bus stop in China; escape with minor injuries.
Five people were swallowed up by a sink hole that suddenly opened up in the pavement in the northern Chinese city of Harbin.

At least four people were injured in the incident on Saturday, local media reported.

The dramatic scene was caught by the surveillance camera at a nearby noodle shop.

Several people could be seen standing at a bus stop when the pavement suddenly collapsed.

One woman clung to pipes below the pavement as the hole opened up, while four others fell into the hole and sustained minor injuries, according to a report by local broadcaster Heilongjiang Television.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the accident.

Regardless of it all happening this hard week, please stay in touch!