25 Year Cold Case of Kristin Smart Finally Solved

In May of 1996, a college freshman year teen, Kristin Smart (19) disappeared after she attended her school party off-campus. The key suspect, Paul Flores was the last person who had seen Kristin alive. After Kristin went missing, her family filed a civil suit against Paul Flores. Flores has maintained his innocence in the involvement in Kristin’s disappearance, however. However, her family and the detective-in-charge never gave up on Kristin’s case.

The key suspect, Paul Flores (44) was taken into custody with a murder charge on Tuesday morning in San Pedro California, and his father Luben Flores (80) arrested on an accessory charge; San Luis Obispo County sheriff confirmed on Tuesday.

Paul Flores is being held without bail and his father, Luben Flores is being held on a bond of $250,000. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s officials served another search warrant at the Arroyo Grande property this morning. Ian Parkinson, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff held a conference at the California Polytechnic State University where Kristin went to college.

In February, authorities served search warrants on multiple members of the Flores family. Some of the “items” were discovered during searches, investigators said at the time.

In March, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office searched Ruben Flores’s home in Arroyo Grande.

A judge signed the two arrest warrants and two search warrants that were executed today. Parkinson said that the searches may continue into Wednesday, depending on what is found.

Parkinson explained that the cold cases podcast which is Lambert’s podcast, “Your Own Backyard,” brought renewed interest to the investigation. “He took a local story and expanded it into an international story,” Parkinson told reporters. “Once that message got out, we started getting more information… there are a lot of people that are students here that are not from San Luis Obispo. When they graduate, a lot of them will leave, and so they’re dispersed all over the country. That message gets out to the nation, and those people that used to live here at the time might remember something.”

The Smart family expressed how they felt when their fears of Kristin’s death became a reality, “The knowledge that a father and son, despite our desperate pleas for help, could have withheld this horrible secret for nearly 25 years, denying us the chance to lay our daughter to rest, is an unrelenting and unforgiving pain,” in a long heartbroken statement.

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Vaccine hesitancy causes Another Rapid Coronavirus Surge in the U.S.

According to NPR, Many people who are in their politically affiliated with the Republican Party don’t want to take the Coronavirus Vaccine, although there are enough doses to cover the whole region to get vaccinated as most live in rural areas.

The people who don’t take vaccine have their own excuses:

Some are worried about the side effects of vaccination, and some are distrusting of mass media that it might hide some real facts that they don’t want to reveal.

However, They still want to see their relatives in person and engage in behavior detrimental to their health.

Currently, India and Brazil are seeing a rising death toll. It is uncountable in India, and 4,000 people died on a single day leaving no space to bury the dead in Brazil.

The Northeast coast states in the U.S., California, and Florida are not much help, as people leave their homes to spend vacations and spring breaks in these states.

The positive news is that at least 32% of the U.S. population have already taken the first dose of the Vaccines, but it is not nearly high enough for herd immunity.

The one cause of low numbers of Vaccination is that almost 20% of the population are children under the age of 16 that are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine. Also, these youngsters cannot engage in social distancing in school.

Vaccine hesitancy is very risky to many Americans in danger and the quarantines will not prove to be effective the longer the pandemic continues. Adults not taking vaccines risk putting their ineligible children at further risk of permanent damage or death.

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Cuba : The First Country to Run Phase 3 Clinical Trials In South America

Cuba will take the phase 3 clinical trials as the first country amongst in South American continent. Cuba kept very low Covid-19 cases compared with other South American countries before reopening to the travelers last November. At least 44,000 people will take this phase 3 trial, according to NPR.

Cuba has been independently developing the Covid-19 vaccine. Dagmar Garcia Rivera, the research director at the Finlay Vaccine Institute in Havana stated that one of five vaccine candidates, Soberana 2 is to be very effective and entering the final stage of clinical trials.

A second vaccine candidate, Abdala has entered a phase 3 trial. Cuba is a self-sustaining country that never asked for any help from WHO or multinational corporations. Normally vaccine development takes a decade or more. Eduardo Ojito, the head of the Cuban Center for Molecular Immunology proudly announced that by the end of summer, all Cuban will be immunized enough doses with the Soverana 2.

Ojito stated that “We are preparing to produce between one and two million doses each month, and the country is on track to have 1 million doses available in April.” The Cuban government has started to distribute the vaccine to Iran, Mexico, and Venezuela.

Helen Yaffe, a specialist at the University of Glasgow, wrote about the country’s pharmaceutical sector and its previous success in developing another vaccine, such as cancer vaccine. Yaffe states there’s talk about offering vaccines to the tourists who enter the country at the airport upon arrival in Havana.

The Cuban government would provide the vaccine to international tourists and be open to international tourism again if this phase 3 vaccine trials succeed.

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Hundreds Line the Street to Pay Honor to Fallen Officer Eric Talley in Colorado

Hundreds of people lined up for farewell as slain police officer Eric Talley’s body was moved from the coroner’s office to the funeral home. He had worked to save the citizens from the recent grocery store mass shooting.

Eric Talley (51) was one of 10 people killed at the grocery market in Boulder, CO. He was the first responder to arrive at the King Soopers supermarket and was killed by the gunman.

This death has brought the gun debate to the forefront, as many people are panicking about the range of guns available in the market, which can have a great impact on the number of people hurt by those abusing their guns. Officer Talley leaves his wife and 7 young children behind, aged 5 to 17. He had been a member of the Boulder police force since 2010 and is the first officer to be killed in the line of duty since 1994.

What’s even more notable is that those at the grocery stores were simple, ordinary people; some of them were essential workers performing their duties during this ongoing pandemic.

The hearse stopped by at the Boulder Police Department and headed to the funeral home in Aurora.

On March 24, President Biden praised Officer Talley’s heroism, and VP Harris brought the gun control law to the Senate floor.

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GWA Today : 12 high-schoolers of COVID-19 Positive, A man possesses Long gun with unregistered ammunition detained at the VP’s Mansion in DC

Loudoun County, VA – A dozen high school students tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a cheerleading competition in Richmond, VA, according to NBC.

Dr. David Goodfriend, health director for Loudoun County stated the risk increases for young people and parents involved in club sports that aren’t following the social distancing and mask guidelines imposed during in-school activities.

Of course, many students and families are very careful to minimize possible exposures, but when in-school activities are involved, it can be much more difficult to stay vigilant. Loudoun County Public Schools said close contacts were quarantined, and the students who tested positive are staying home until they recover.

Washington, D.C.- A man in possession of a long gun with high-capacity ammunition magazines was arrested outside the vice president’s mansion in Washington, DC, on Wednesday.

Secret Service detained Paul Murray (31) from San Antonio, Texas around 12:15 p.m., and charge him for carrying a rifle or shotgun outside of a business, possession of unregistered ammunition, and possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.

Cops in Texas tipped off DC area authorities that a suspicious person was at the Naval Observatory mansion at 3400 block of Massachusetts Avenue.

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Korea and Japan: Too close to be Forever Friends or Forever Enemies

Throughout East Asian history, Japan has worked hard to gain its power over the Asian continent for centuries. Granted, East Asian history has spanned thousands of years, with power shifts between many different parties. However, the last villain has been Japan. During World War II, Japan forced many women into sexual slavery, including those from Choson (the last dynasty in the Korean peninsula), China, Russia, Mongolia, and even Europeans like the Dutch, to fund its imperialist military. Japan has taken many artifacts from various cultures it invaded during this time as well.

Due to its proximity and the strategic placement of Korea as a peninsula to the great Asian continent, Japan often sought to invade Asia through Korea. It seems that whenever Japanese governments needed to reorganize themselves and repress dissent, they’d use Korea as a tactic, engaging in war. However, ultimately, Japan has maintained its “victimhood,” refusing to accept that they were defeated in the last war, and maintaining their “innocence” in all matters, even though Japanese citizens that participated in the war had repeatedly revealed the truth of the sexual slavery Japanese government forced on the women of its colonized empire.

A few weeks ago, a Harvard professor and a Mitsubishi scholar John Mark Ramseyer argued that “comfort women” were actually contracted prostitutes rather than sex slaves. It brought outrage amongst the academic community. To add to his lack of credible assertion is the absolute lack of evidence to support his assertion. For example, if these sex slaves were actually contracted prostitutes with the government, where were the documents? He had none.

Yet Japan is a major player in East Asian politics, and they are also heavily invested in the economy of ASEAN countries. Korea and Japan are currently allies and maintain an amicable international relationship. For example, in 2011 Japan was devastated by a massive earthquake, and South Koreans collected funds and sent it over to Japan.

At the time, the Japanese media said, “We don’t need help from a lesser country,” infuriating the Koreans who vowed never to help Japan again.

However, in 2021, as Japan seeks to get the Olympics moving, Korea is one of the biggest walls against Japan. South Korea questions the safety of holding Olympics in a country that is currently storing a large amount of radioactive waste (Fukushima) as well as during the Pandemic. It seems many countries agree with South Korea.

Recently, the Japanese government has thanked South Korea for its kind donations during 2011, which they rejected 10 years ago. It is a political ploy to get South Korea to loosen up on its opposition to Japan holding the Olympics this year.

Korea and Japan can never be fully friends, and they can never be fully enemies. They’re too close to each other and hold a lot of emotions against each other. However, South Korea might wise up to Japan’s behaviors and learn to play against Japan’s passive-aggressive tendencies and play frenemy just as well, instead of continuing to reach out like a friend and getting used up every time until it gets too emotionally angry to be a “friend.”

This dynamic will probably go for a very long time, and because of its roots in history, it is doubtful as to whether it will ever go away.

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File Your Taxes Early!

As Congress set a March 14 deadline for the 3rd Economic Impact Payment Plan to be submitted to Pres. Biden, two categories of people exist: those who saw an increase in income in 2020 compared to 2019 due to such things as increase in their stock market portfolio, and those who saw a decrease in income in 2020 compared to 2019 due to the pandemic.

For those that have yet to file the tax return for 2020, the IRS will pull the data from 2019 tax return to figure out how much you can get on your third stimulus check. So, if you did well in 2020 compared with 2019, it’s probably a good idea to hold off on filing 2020 taxes until later in March.

However, those that have done considerably worse in 2020 should file their taxes NOW so that they can receive the maximum $1400 check (if single) or $2800 check (if married filing jointly) when the 3rd impact payment will be distributed to Americans.

Many families did not receive their stimulus checks in 2020 because their 2019 tax returns did not meet the requirements set by Congress for financial assistance. The $1400 check is part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan to keep American families alive.

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Cute Alert: Bride-To-Be Finds Wedding Dress to be like Nothing she ordered!

A Kentucky woman wrote a furious email to a bridal company after her wedding dress arrived at her home. A tulle mermaid style dress with sweetheart neckline she had ordered seemed nothing like the dress she received.

She took photos of her dress and sent the email to the company.

However, when she received a reply, she was mortified and embarrassed to find that the reason she had not received the dress she had ordered was because she was wearing the dress inside out.

She posted the ordeal on her Facebook bridal group, so that everyone could have a laugh at her expense, and also, so that she could make up for the angry e-mail she’d sent to the company.

Ultimately, they did correct the mistake, which was pointing out to Aubrey that the dress was inside out.

In a climate with very little to laugh about, what with the Covid-19 pandemic, the US presidential election (no matter the side, there are still lingering worries), and the global economy, Aubrey brought a little laugh to those she told her story to.

Best of luck to her and her husband as they embark on this new journey.

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First Covid-19 Found in Remote Pacific Island Nation

Photo from Google Images

Vanuatu is a remote island nation in the pacific, one of the few places in the world untouched by the coronavirus. That is until this week, when a 23-year-old man returned from a travel to the U.S. tested positive while quarantining back home. He had flown back to Vanuatu on November 4 and was asymptomatic.

The health ministry confirmed that physical distancing and personal protection measures were applied and maintained during the flight, arrival, and during transport to and during registration at the quarantine facility. The man will remain in isolation until health clearance is given.

As of now, the coronavirus is active in 217 countries and territories, with 51 million cases of Covid-19 worldwide. More than 1.3 million have died from the virus since December 2019, when China reported its first case.

Vanuatu had been lucky until now, mostly thanks to its geographic location. Its closest neighbor, Australia, is more than 1000 miles from Australia and Vanuatu itself is made up of many tiny islands.

If a cluster is found within the general population, the health ministry will likely implement travel restriction and implement mask use in those with Covid-19 symptoms.

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90% Efficacy in Pfizer’s Covid Vaccine

Photo from Google Images

In the trial volunteers without evidence of prior infection of the virus, results from an interim analysis of a phase 3 study demonstrated 90% effectiveness. BTN162b2 is a messenger RNA-based vaccine candidate requiring 2 doses. Global phase 3 clinical trial began on July 27 and enrolled 43,538 participants to date, with 42% of enrollees having racial and ethically diverse backgrounds.

38,955 trial volunteers received the second dose of either vaccine or placebo by November 8, and an independent data monitoring committee (DMC) found the vaccine efficacy rate at above 90% 7 days after the second dose. This means protection was achieved 28 das after the first vaccine dose.

This vaccine has been developed on the genetic strategy, meaning that it introduces the gene that codes for the coronavirus spike protein into the cell. The cells will make the spike protein, which the immune system will recognize and create antibodies for.

About 94 people did get sick, but in general, the 90% effectiveness is a positive news.

So far, there has not been any serious safety concerns.

The study plants to continue to collect safety and efficacy data as planned, and companies plan to apply to the FDA for emergency use authorization soon after the required safety milestone is achieved.

However, the administering of this vaccine may prove to be a challenge, as the vaccine must be shipped and stored at -70 to -80 degrees celsius, meaning the product would have to be shipped on dry ice.

While this is good news, even if everything is done as scheduled, to include Americans being vaccinated later this year, it would still be many more months before there is widespread vaccination in the country.

It is still imperative that Americans use masks, contact tracing, social distancing, and hand washing to keep themselves safe.

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