BYHALIA, Mississippi (AP) – A tour bus overturned on an icy highway southeast of Memphis on Wednesday afternoon, leaving two people dead and injuring all 44 others aboard as a storm blasted parts of the South with sleet and light snow, authorities said.
Sgt. Joey Miller with the Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop E said in a statement that the bus traveling from Huntsville, Alabama, to Tunica County, Mississippi, crashed at 12:35 p.m. on Interstate 269 in the northern part of the state. His statement called the crash “weather-related” but didn’t elaborate, though he said the 44 hurt were taken to several hospitals with an array of injuries.
The bus was operated by Teague VIP Express, located in Anniston, Alabama. The company posted a message on its Facebook page that said: “Our hearts and prayers go out to victims of this tragedy. Please keep everyone involved and families in your prayers.”
The red tour bus with white and gray stripes was being towed later Wednesday from the crash site. The bus windows appeared mostly missing or shattered and a smell of gasoline hung in the air. Large scratches and other damage were visible on the driver’s side as workers cleared the highway of debris.
The company has only three buses and three drivers, according to licensing information from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and it hasn’t had any crashes in the last two years.
A hospital spokeswoman, Ayoka Pond, said 19 passengers were transported from the crash site near Byhalia to Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto in Southaven, Mississippi, and three of them were in serious condition there. She said seven others were taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Collierville in that Tennessee suburb of Memphis.
An additional 18 passengers were taken to Methodist Hospital Olive Branch in that Mississippi city, said spokeswoman Mary Alice Taylor. The hospital couldn’t immediately provide conditions of those patients.
The identities of the dead and injured were not immediately released and it was not immediately clear the specific end destination of the bus in the Tunica area, a casino town in south Mississippi.
It was the second charter bus excursion to a Mississippi casino town to end in fatalities in the last two years. A bus carrying Texas senior citizens to a Gulf Coast casino in Biloxi, Mississippi, got stuck on train tracks and was slammed by a freight train in March 2017. The crash resulted in four deaths and 38 injuries. The National Transportation Safety Board found that the probable cause of the crash was the failure of a railroad and the city to work together to improve the safety of a sharply humped railroad crossing, even though it was well known that vehicles occasionally got stuck there.
NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said the federal agency hasn’t determined yet whether it will investigate Wednesday’s crash.
On Wednesday, the Mississippi Department of Transportation reported icing on roads and bridges in 10 northern counties from the storm. A wintry mix of snow and sleet prompted some school, church and museum closings in west Tennessee during the day.
After days of heavy rain and storms along a cold front, flurries left a thin layer of snow atop vehicles in western Mississippi overnight, and a Mississippi River bridge turned white in Greenville, Mississippi. Light snow or freezing rain was possible with no accumulations into northwest Alabama, forecasters said.
The National Weather Service, meanwhile, issued a freeze warning for Louisiana through western Alabama as far south as the Gulf Coast into early Thursday, saying temperatures could drop into the upper 20s (- 6 Celsius range) in some areas. A flash flood watch remained in effect for north Georgia and the Carolinas, which forecaster say could get another 3 inches (8 centimeters) of rain.
In Virginia, NASA said, the planned launch early Thursday of an unmanned cargo rocket to the International Space Station had to be rescheduled because of bad weather. NASA said the launch would now take place early Friday. The unmanned Cygnus cargo craft will lift off from Wallops Island along the Eastern Shore carrying groceries, hardware and research to the station.
Heather Thomas learned to turn trash to treasure when the recession hit and her family lost everything.
Now, through God’s faithfulness, she’s living in her dream home and wants to share her tips and tricks for all things DIY.
Watch the video above and see the steps below to learn how to spruce up that dining room table just in time for Thanksgiving.
Decorative Sleeve Pumpkin
• sweater or long sleeve shirt sleeves
• Rubber bands
• Polyester fiberfill
• Jute twine
• Glue gun
Step 1: Cut off sleeves from a sweater or long shirtsleeve. Turn the sleeve inside out. Wrap a rubber band tightly around the end of the sleeve. Turn the sleeve back to the right side.
Step 2: Fill the sleeve with polyfill to the desired fullness of what you want your pumpkin to look like.
Step 3: Wrap a rubber band at the top to secure the polyfill from coming out.
Step 4: Tie the jute around the rubber band securely and begin wrapping the remaining sleeve to begin forming the “stem”.
Step 5: Cut the excess sleeve off once you get the desired length of the stem.
Step 6: Hot glue the end of the jute to secure in place.
Add special garnishes such as leaves, berries, or extra twine.
Burlap Napkin Ring
Paper towel/toilet paper holder
Strips of burlap
Step 1: Cut toilet paper holder to desired length (in half works great).
Step 2: Lay cut toilet paper holder on the burlap for sizing. Simply cut the strip to size (length & width) so it wraps completely over the holder (plus a little overlapping).
Step 3: Wrap the burlap around the holder using the glue gun to keep it in place.
Step 4: Find a cute napkin and pull it through!
Additional, low-cost items include a roll of brown packaging paper, pine cones, and an old piece of barn wood.
While Hamas rained down hundreds of rockets on Israeli citizens this week, several student groups at George Mason University are targeting Israel in a different way. Well, Israeli hummus, to be exact.
Four progressive student organizations at GMU have launched a petition to have the Sabra hummus brand removed from campus.
The petition argues that selling Israeli hummus is akin to supporting the “illegal occupation of Palestine and the system of apartheid in Israel.”
The groups include GMU Student Power, Transparent GMU, GMU Young Democratic Socialists of America, and GMU Students Against Israeli Apartheid.
In the petition, they say they are “disturbed” by the presence of Israeli products on campus.
“In accordance with the call issued by Palestinian civil society for a boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign against the benefactors of the illegal occupation, we demand that you cease to stock, offer, and buy the Sabra family of products. Sabra Hummus is co-owned by the Strauss group, which support the Israeli Defense Forces’ Golani and Givati Brigades,” the petition says.
The students say boycotting Israeli hummus is their “duty.”
So far, the petition has only a mere 125 signatures out of its goal for 1,000.
Meanwhile, GMU’s Hillel and the Israel Student Association has raised at least 150 signatures to keep the hummus on campus.
They also held an event that teaches students how to make their own Israeli hummus.
The Israel Student Association told The Fix it is “saddened to see student groups being so easily misled into supporting anti-Semitic causes.”
This is the first time Sabra has been targeted by university students.
The University of Oregon student senate voted in May to ban the student government’s purchase of Israeli products that are “complicit in Israeli settler colonialism and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”
An atheist group’s attempt to remove a cross-shaped World War I monument in Maryland has garnered backlash from service members who view the case as an attack on American values and those who have died defending them.
The nearly 100-year-old Peace Cross, constructed between 1919 and 1925, faces potential demolition, pending a ruling from the Supreme Court, The Daily Signal reported.
Peace Cross in Bladensburg went up in 1925 to honor the soldiers from Prince George’s County killed in the “War to end war” 100 years ago. The Supreme Court will now decide whether it can remain or as a religious symbol must be taken down. @ABC7News at 4. #VeteransDay18 pic.twitter.com/9v1qbYi32x
— Brad Bell (@ABC7Brad) November 12, 2018
This WWI Anniversary Could Be The Last For The Bladensburg Cross https://t.co/2STyAW5tZb
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) November 10, 2018
The controversy began in 2014, when the American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit to have the public memorial honoring 49 men from Prince George’s County, Maryland, who died serving in World War I, removed.
According to the secular group, taxpayer-funded government maintenance of the cross-shaped monument violates the First Amendment by promoting the religion of Christianity.
“It [the cross] is 40 feet tall; prominently displayed in the center of one of the busiest intersections in Prince George’s County, Maryland; and maintained with thousands of dollars in government funds,” Judge Stephanie D. Thacker wrote, as reported by The Daily Signal. “Therefore, we hold that the purported war memorial breaches the ‘wall of separation between Church and State.’”
But the defendants maintain that the monument was erected for the purpose of honoring the brave men who made the ultimate sacrifice. It’s primary message, they argue, is patriotic, not religious.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court agreed to rule on the case.
In the meantime, American veterans have weighed in — and they’re not pleased.
WASHINGTON – Having just won back control of the House in this year’s midterm elections, Democrats now have their sights set on an issue near and dear to people of faith: the sanctity of life.
As they prepare to take over the chamber, 50 Democrats have agreed to co-sponsor legislation that would effectively cripple the 25-year-old Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That brings the total number of Democratic House legislators supporting the bill to 172.
RFRA, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, is designed to protect employers from being forced to cover abortion-inducing forms of contraception.
According to The Washington Examiner, H.R. 3222 would make it so LGBTQ rights and other progressive causes would take precedence over religious freedoms.
Leftist groups backing the measure argue that religious beliefs are nothing more than a smokescreen for bigotry and hate, the Examiner reports.
“Today RFRA is being used as a vehicle for institutions and individuals to argue that their faith justifies myriad harms — to equality, to dignity, to health, and to core American values,” Louise Melling with the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a 2016 blog.
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) echoed that sentiment during a hearing held last month by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution.
She told her colleagues that she was not so much concerned about preserving conscience protections as she was about an emerging “school of thought that weaponizes religious liberty.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called Democrats out for what many view as a blatant attack on the constitutionally protected freedom of religion.
“The purpose of today’s hearing is to learn what happens when an assault on religious liberty reaches its logical conclusion,” he told the subcommittee. “To attack religious liberty is to attack the dignity of a person. It is to deny him or her equal citizenship and to erode that which makes us free.”
For now, RFRA appears to be safe since the GOP-controlled Senate is unlikely to approve the measure.
A previously unknown painting depicting what archaeologists and researchers believe is the face of a young Jesus has been exposed at the site of an ancient Byzantine church in Israel’s Negev desert.
The find was made in the Byzantine-era village of Shivta, which also included three churches. The discovery of the painting has excited archaeologists working on the site.
Although the painting is very weathered, experts from Israel’s University of Haifa were able to reconstruct a partial facial outline, which dates to the Sixth Century A.D. The painting portrays Jesus as a short-haired youth, but it’s hard to know what the original painting looked like since only an outline has been depicted.
The research on the site was recently published in the Cambridge journal Antiquity.
The archaeologists explained in their paper that Christ’s face in the painting is an important discovery due to the fact that the icon of the short-haired Christ was widespread in Egypt and Syro Palestine, but was gone from later Byzantine art.
The painting was noted in the early 1920s but now has undergone further examination.
“The figure has short curly hair, a prolonged face, large eyes, and an elongated nose,” the study’s authors explained in their paper. “The neck and upper portion are also observable.”
They continued, “To the left of the figure, another, much larger face surrounded by a halo is visible. Paint traces throughout the apse suggest that these faces were part of a wider scene, which could contain additional figures. The location of the scene—above the crucifix-shaped Baptist font—suggests its identification as the baptism of Christ. Thus, this face portrays the youthful Christ, while the face on the left is most probably of John the Baptist.”
“The baptism-of-Christ scene is found frequently in Early Christian and Byzantine art, providing multiple iconographic and artistic comparisons for the Shivta scene,” the paper notes.
The authors explain “Christ’s face in this painting is an important discovery in itself. Early sixth-century texts include polemics concerning the authenticity of Christ’s visual appearance, including his hairstyle.”
“It is the only in situ baptism-of-Christ scene to date confidently to the pre-iconoclastic Holy Land. Therefore, it can illuminate Byzantine Shivta’s Christian community and Early Christian art across the region,” the study continued.
The authors also note that there may be more to come from this 1,500-year-old painting.
“Additional details of the painting at the scene’s centre, surrounding Christ’s face, are hidden beneath an accumulation of dust and mud, which protects the underlying paint layers from further deterioration. We aim to continue studying the painting to ensure its future preservation,” they wrote.
The widow of a murdered Mishawaka, Indiana missionary says she has forgiven her husband’s killer.
Charles Truman Wesco, 44, died October 30 after he was shot in the head during fighting between armed separatists and soldiers in the West African nation of Cameroon.
Wesco’s wife, Stephanie was sitting beside him in a car being driven by another missionary when he was shot. Although he received medical attention at a nearby hospital, doctors were unable to save his life.
Stephanie says she “has no bitterness in her soul against anyone.”
Charles Wesco is survived by Stephanie and their eight children.
Hundreds of people filled a South Bend church on Monday for a memorial service to honor and remember Wesco’s life.
The entire service, which was posted to YouTube, was filled with prayers, tributes, and hymns, reflecting Wesco’s spiritual upbringing. Both his father, Pastor Virgil W. Wesco and his brother, Pastor Timothy Wesco, presented messages to the audience.
Pastor Randy King delivered the sermon at the service. He and his family have also served as missionaries to Cameroon, for 30 years.
“We’ve all lost a friend, haven’t we?” King asked as he started his talk. “Charles definitely loved the people of Cameroon. So do we, having lived there with those precious people for 30 years. We love the Cameroonians. All of them, including the person who killed Charles.”
“We love them because Christ first loved us and came to save us from our sins,” he continued.
“Sister Stephanie (Wesco’s wife) has accessed the grace of God,” King noted. “She has totally forgiven Charles’ killer. She has no bitterness in her soul against anyone.”
“She, her children and her extended family have been praying diligently for the man that took Charles’ life,” he said. “We do not know the name of that man. But I pray as a missionary to Cameroon that I or her brother Ben Sinclair might one day have the opportunity to meet Charles’ killer to express our forgiveness to him and in love, seek to lead him to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior that he might also receive God’s forgiveness for what he did.”
“Moments after Charles was pronounced dead, a Cameroonian Christian doctor bowed and thanked Stephanie for her and her husband’s willingness to come to Cameroon to die for his people,” King continued.
A Go Fund Me account has been set up to benefit the Wesco family. “The funds will go to aid the family in getting out of Africa, funeral expenses, living expenses, etc. Every little bit will help. The family sold all of their possessions here in the states to go to Africa and they will have many needs when they return,” according to the website.
There is also a mailing address included on the website for those who wish to mail a personal check.
A tribute video to Wesco’s ministry was also shown at the service. Watch below.
WASHINGTON – While the White House is pushing for peace with North Korea, a new report reveals the regime may have as many as 20 hidden missile bases within the country.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, those hidden bases, while not specifically “launch facilities,” are capable of launching intercontinental ballistic and short-range missiles.
Since the June 12 Singapore summit, President Donald Trump has been optimistic about America’s improved relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
“The sanctions are on. The missiles have stopped. The rockets have stopped. The hostages are home. The great heroes have been coming home,” Trump told reporters.
The president doubled down on that sentiment in a tweet Wednesday, calling the report of additional bases nothing new.
“The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate,” he tweeted. “We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new – and nothing happening out of the normal. Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!”
The story in the New York Times concerning North Korea developing missile bases is inaccurate. We fully know about the sites being discussed, nothing new – and nothing happening out of the normal. Just more Fake News. I will be the first to let you know if things go bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
Meanwhile, most foreign policy experts agree Kim regime’s actions aren’t really a surprise.
“If you go back to Jan. 1 of this year, Kim Jong Un did a speech he does every year. Basically, he declared he would mass produce nuclear warheads and missiles – that’s what he’s doing,” said Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest.
So far, the administration isn’t budging on its demands that North Korea lay down its nukes.
“The president has made it very clear – no economic relief until we have achieved our ultimate objective,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
It’s a precarious game of tug-of-war.
“The North Koreans want all the sanctions lifted, at least a lot of them, before they start rolling back their nuclear weapons,” said Kazianis. “The challenge is the United States wants the exact opposite. The question is who goes first?”
It’s a question the administration may believe it has already answered. Many people see the president’s agreement to participate in that historic Singapore summit as the US making the first move. Now they feel it’s Kim’s turn to step up to the plate.
Half of all of the adolescents in the US are sleep-deprived, according to recent estimates. These numbers are alarming considering that sleep is essential during the teenage years.
Researchers say teen development is a time of significant brain changes that affect learning, self-control, as well as emotional systems.
Besides the physical rest which the body needs, sleep acts like glue to help the brain encode recently learned information into long-term knowledge, according to Adriana Galván, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles. It also improves focus when the student is in the classroom.
Simple Solutions: Get a Comfortable Pillow
So how do you help your teenager get a better night’s sleep? Galván says her research shows a solution that may have been overlooked and it’s a simple one. Provide your teen with a comfortable pillow and bedding.
In the study, better sleep quality was reported by teenagers who were pleased with more comfortable bedding and pillows.
But one size of pillow doesn’t fit all. The research suggests letting your teen find a pillow that they feel is more comfortable for them – be it flat or fluffy.
Limiting Late-Night Tech Usage Will Help Your Teen
But today’s technology does take a toll on the quality of sleep your teenager is getting.
The Sleep Health Foundation reports that bright light from their mobile phone, tablet or laptop computer blocks the release of the sleep hormone, melatonin, after only 1.5 hours of using technology. So engaging in that much screentime before going to bed can delay restful sleep.
Melatonin is the hormone that controls the sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. According to scientists, reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall or stay asleep.
The foundation also discovered, using data gathered from more than 85,000 teenagers through an analysis of several studies of teenage sleep, that different forms of technology usage mean less sleep since teens keep playing, surfing, texting and chatting, resulting in a delayed bedtime.
Sleep researchers say your teen’s mind simply needs some time to unwind after spending the day bombarded by technology.
They suggest parents limit teenagers’ interactive screentime to the early evening and switch to more passive technology options like watching television, movies or even reading in the lead-up to bedtime.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The next generation of biotech food is headed for the grocery aisles, and first up maybe salad dressings or granola bars made with soybean oil genetically tweaked to be good for your heart.
By early next year, the first foods from plants or animals that had their DNA “edited” are expected to begin selling. It’s a different technology than today’s controversial “genetically modified” foods, more like faster breeding that promises to boost nutrition, spur crop growth, and make farm animals hardier and fruits and vegetables last longer.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has declared gene editing one of the breakthroughs needed to improve food production so the world can feed billions more people amid a changing climate. Yet governments are wrestling with how to regulate this powerful new tool. And after years of confusion and rancor, will shoppers accept gene-edited foods or view them as GMOs in disguise?
“If the consumer sees the benefit, I think they’ll embrace the products and worry less about the technology,” said Dan Voytas, a University of Minnesota professor and chief science officer for Calyxt Inc., which edited soybeans to make the oil heart-healthy.
Researchers are pursuing more ambitious changes: Wheat with triple the usual fiber, or that’s low in gluten. Mushrooms that don’t brown, and better-producing tomatoes. Drought-tolerant corn, and rice that no longer absorbs soil pollution as it grows. Dairy cows that don’t need to undergo painful de-horning, and pigs immune to a dangerous virus that can sweep through herds.
Scientists even hope gene editing eventually could save species from being wiped out by devastating diseases like citrus greening, a so far unstoppable infection that’s destroying Florida’s famed oranges.
First they must find genes that could make a new generation of trees immune.
“If we can go in and edit the gene, change the DNA sequence ever so slightly by one or two letters, potentially we’d have a way to defeat this disease,” said Fred Gmitter, a geneticist at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center, as he examined diseased trees in a grove near Fort Meade.
Genetically Modified or Edited, What’s The Difference?
Farmers have long genetically manipulated crops and animals by selectively breeding to get offspring with certain traits. It’s time-consuming and can bring trade-offs. Modern tomatoes, for example, are larger than their pea-sized wild ancestor, but the generations of cross-breeding made them more fragile and altered their nutrients.
GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are plants or animals that were mixed with another species’ DNA to introduce a specific trait they’re “transgenic.” Best known are corn and soybeans mixed with bacterial genes for built-in resistance to pests or weed killers.
Despite international scientific consensus that GMOs are safe to eat, some people remain wary and there is concern they could spur herbicide-resistant weeds.
Now gene-editing tools, with names like CRISPR and TALENs, promise to alter foods more precisely, and cheaply without necessarily adding foreign DNA. Instead, they act like molecular scissors to alter the letters of an organism’s own genetic alphabet.
The technology can insert new DNA, but most products in development so far switch off a gene, according to University of Missouri professor Nicholas Kalaitzandonakes.
Those new Calyxt soybeans? Voytas’ team inactivated two genes so the beans produce oil with no heart-damaging trans fat and that shares the famed health profile of olive oil without its distinct taste.
The hornless calves? Most dairy Holsteins grow horns that are removed for the safety of farmers and other cows. Recombinetics Inc. swapped part of the gene that makes dairy cows grow horns with the DNA instructions from naturally hornless Angus beef cattle.
“Precision breeding,” is how animal geneticist Alison Van Eenennaam of the University of California, Davis, explains it. “This isn’t going to replace traditional breeding,” but make it easier to add one more trait.
Rules Aren’t Clear
The Agriculture Department says extra rules aren’t needed for “plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding,” clearing the way for development of about two dozen gene-edited crops so far.
In contrast, the Food and Drug Administration in 2017 proposed tighter, drug-like restrictions on gene-edited animals. It promises guidance sometime next year on exactly how it will proceed.
Because of trade, international regulations are “the most important factor in whether genome editing technologies are commercialized,” USDA’s Paul Spencer told a meeting of agriculture economists.
Europe’s highest court ruled last summer that existing European curbs on the sale of transgenic GMOs should apply to gene-edited foods, too.
But at the World Trade Organization this month, the U.S. joined 12 nations including Australia, Canada, Argentina and Brazil in urging other countries to adopt internationally consistent, science-based rules for gene-edited agriculture.
Are These Foods Safe?
The biggest concern is what are called off-target edits, unintended changes to DNA that could affect a crop’s nutritional value or an animal’s health, said Jennifer Kuzma of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University.
Scientists are looking for any signs of problems. Take the hornless calves munching in a UC-Davis field. One is female and once it begins producing milk, Van Eenennaam will test how similar that milk’s fat and protein composition is to milk from unaltered cows.
“We’re kind of being overly cautious,” she said, noting that if eating beef from naturally hornless Angus cattle is fine, milk from edited Holsteins should be, too.
But to Kuzma, companies will have to be up-front about how these new foods were made and the evidence that they’re healthy. She wants regulators to decide case-by-case which changes are no big deal, and which might need more scrutiny.
“Most gene edited plants and animals are probably going to be just fine to eat. But you’re only going to do yourself a disservice in the long run if you hide behind the terminology,” Kuzma said.
Avoiding a Backlash
Uncertainty about regulatory and consumer reaction is creating some strange bedfellows. An industry-backed group of food makers and farmers asked university researchers and consumer advocates to help craft guidelines for “responsible use” of gene editing in the food supply.
“Clearly this coalition is in existence because of some of the battle scars from the GMO debates, there’s no question about that,” said Greg Jaffe of the food-safety watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest, who agreed to join the Center for Food Integrity’s guidelines group. “There’s clearly going to be questions raised about this technology.”
Sustainability or Hype?
Gene-editing can’t do everything, cautioned Calyxt’s Voytas. There are limitations to how much foods could be changed. Sure, scientists made wheat containing less gluten, but it’s unlikely to ever be totally gluten-free for people who can’t digest that protein, for example — or to make, say, allergy-free peanuts.
Nor is it clear how easily companies will be able to edit different kinds of food, key to their profit.
Despite her concerns about adequate regulation, Kuzma expects about 20 gene-edited crops to hit the U.S. market over five years — and she notes that scientists also are exploring changes to crops like cassava that important in the poorest countries.
“We think it’s going to really revolutionize the industry,” she said.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.