WQAD News

Police: Man admits to drowning 6-year-old Washington boy, leaving body in dumpster

Dayvid Pakko

LYNNWOOD, Wash. — A 19-year-old man admitted to drowning a 6-year-old Washington state boy with autism and leaving his body in a dumpster, officials said Tuesday.

The suspect, from Kerville, Texas, but believed to be a family member, was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for first-degree murder. He is not being identified because he has not been formally charged with a crime.

The body of Dayvid Pakko was found early Tuesday at the apartment complex where the boy’s family lived in the 15700 block of 44th Ave. W in Lynnwood, Washington, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department.

During questioning, the unidentified suspect admitted to filling a bathtub and holding the child under the water, according to authorities. After several minutes, the 19-year-old allegedly changed his clothes, wrapped Dayvid in a blanket and placed him in a cardboard box which he took to the dumpster.

The official cause of death is still pending.

Ireton said investigators would be processing evidence at the scene for at least another 24 hours.

That is building 6-yr old Dayvid Pakko lived. The dumpster next to it where his body found. Waiting on search warrants for both #Q13FOX pic.twitter.com/q2wxlpFIa0

— John Hopperstad (@JohnHopperstad) October 17, 2017

Detectives, Search and Rescue personnel and volunteers began the search Monday night for the  6-year-old boy with mild autism.

Dayvid was last seen in his apartment around 2:30 p.m. Monday and was reported missing at 5 p.m., Ireton said. There was an adult inside the apartment at the time.

More than 40 volunteers helped with the search.

Ireton had asked people who live in the area to turn on their outside lights and look to see if the boy might be hiding in their bushes or around their home.

Neighbors who helped search for the boy say they are also looking for answers.

“I don’t want to ever feel what I am feeling again because it’s horrible what’s happened,” said neighbor Anthony Micallef.

Outside Beverly Elementary staff members put a message of mourning on the announcement board.

A message of mourning for a 6 YO Lynwood student.. Snohomish county detectives are investigating the child's death as a homocide #Q13FOX pic.twitter.com/XhQOQvtGiC

— Steve Fedoriska (@photog_feds) October 17, 2017

A memorial of flowers and candles has been growing outside of the Bristol Square apartment complex.

Boy falls into deep sleep for 11 days, baffling doctors

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A 7-year-old Kentucky boy fell into a deep, 11-day sleep and doctors can’t explain why, WDRB reports.

Amy Shaw said she and her son Wyatt were at a wedding and Wyatt was the life of the party.

After the wedding, she expected the 7-year-old to be tired, but couldn’t have expected what happened next.

Wyatt fell asleep and wouldn’t wake up for 11 days. He has been a patient at Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville since the first week of October.

Medication usually used to treat seizures woke the boy up, but doctors are still stumped, as every test on Wyatt came back clear.

“[The doctors] said, ‘We’ll probably never know, but we’re just going to treat him now with rehab to get him better,'” Shaw said.

Wyatt is having trouble walking and talking but seems to be improving, according to WDRB.

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‘Fearless’ goat-herding dog Odin refuses to leave flock amid California wildfires

SANTA ROSA, Calif. — A goat-herding dog is receiving attention after it stayed by a flock of goats amid the California wildfires last week.

The dog’s owner Roland Tembo Hendel detailed his courageous dog’s act in a lengthy Facebook post.

“By 11:10 we could see the first of the flames across the valley. By 11:15 they were growing larger and the winds went mad. We had loaded up the dogs and cats, but Odin, our stubborn and fearless Great Pyrenees would not leave the goats,” Hendel wrote.

Hendel said he made the decision to leave Odin, saying he was doubtful he could convince the dog to come along. “He just sat down, looked me square in the eye – and he wasn’t budging,” he told KTVU. “I didn’t have time to figure out what to do. He was determined to stay and he’s his own being.”

The decision to leave wasn’t easy, and Hendel said it brought him to tears.

“Later that morning when we had outrun the fires I cried, sure that I had sentenced Odie to death, along with our precious family of bottle-raised goats,” Hendel wrote.

When the family finally made it back to their property, every structure was in ruins and some trees were still burning, according to Hendel.

But miraculously…

“Yet, eight goats came running to see us and get cuddles and kisses. Dixon has a burn on his back the size of a nickel. Other than that they are perfectly fine. Odin’s fur is burned and his whiskers melted. He is limping on his right leg. And he has adopted several baby deer who huddle around him for safety and water from their trough, which is miraculously intact and full of relatively clean water,” Hendel wrote.

As of Hendel’s last Facebook update Monday, Odin is recovering well and was about to get a “a full grooming and shampoo later this afternoon! All after a steak brunch.”

LIHEAP applications available for qualified individuals

MidAmerican Energy is reminding customers that applications are now available for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

The program helps customers pay their winter heating bills.

Applications for the elderly and disabled are being accepted right now, while all other qualified individuals can start applying November 1.

To apply, you can visit Iowa.gov or Illinois.gov.

 

Davenport man sentenced for distributing heroin, possessing a firearm

DAVENPORT, Iowa — A Davenport man with seven prior felony convictions was sentenced to over a decade in prison for distributing heroin and possessing a firearm.

On Monday, October 16, a United States District Court Judge sentenced Anthony McKinley Harris, 27, of Davenport, to 175 months in prison for conspiracy to distribute heroin and 120 months in prison for felon in possession of a firearm.

He was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $100 to the Crime Victims’ Fund for both counts.

McKinley plead guilty to the charges in March of this year after a months-long investigation into him selling heroin. According to officials, McKinley sold heroin to several people in the Davenport area, including a confidential informant working for law enforcement.

During the investigation, executed search warrants at McKinley’s residence and a hotel room where he was staying. They recovered six grams of heroin, a loaded .380 semi-automatic Lorcin, and approximately $1,900.

The case was investigated by the Davenport Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Burlington man arrested, charged in domestic violence incident

BURLINGTON, Iowa — Around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 17, Burlington Police Officers responded to a home in the 1600 block of Lincoln Street for reports of a domestic problem.

Once officers arrived, they encountered Garret Scott Selters, 29, of the same residence.

According to the Burlington Police Department, while checking on the welfare of the other person in the home, officers found an unresponsive female with life-threatening injuries. The victim was transported to Great River Medical Center before being air-lifted to University of Iowa Hospital.

Garret Selters was transported to Great River Medical Center to be evaluated before being arrested. Selters is currently charged with Willful Injury, a class C felony. There is no bond pending his initial court appearance.

The condition of the victim is unavailable at this time.

Advancing technology prompts new Iowa law to protect victims of domestic violence

DAVENPORT, Iowa---According to the Stalking Resource Center, 7.5 million people are stalked every year in the United States.

In the Quad City area alone last year, 383 people turned to Family Resources in Davenport to get away.

“It’s all about power and control and so knowing where a victim is or a survivor is, is one more tool in a perpetrator’s tool box,” says Nicole Cisne Durbin, program service manager at Family Resources.

Family Resources will be hosting several events throughout October to raise domestic violence awareness.

The idea is to show people how difficult getting away from a victimizer can be.

“It doesn’t allow the survivor to have any privacy to be able to start their lives over,” she says.

This year, Iowa lawmakers added the use of GPS trackers as a crime if used in cases of stalking or abuse for repeat criminals.

Private investigator, Darwin Rittgers says the addition to the law is essential, because stalkers are getting more high tech.

“Cell phones are being used to track people more and more all the time…That’s how technology has evolved here, you just have to stay a step ahead,” says Rittgers.

If convicted, repeat offenders will be denied parole or work release until they serve at least one year behind bars.

The maximum sentence for some cases of domestic violence is five years in prison.

In the meantime, Investigator Rittgers says there are a few things you can do to stay one step ahead of a stalker.

If you suspect someone may be using your cell phone to track you, take it to an expert.

If they can’t give you the answers you’re looking for…. I typically just tell (clients) to replace the phone,” says Rittgers.

He also suggests taking your car to a mechanic to look under your car for any hidden GPS trackers.

They can be as large as the palm of your hand, or as small as a garage opener.

And to always contact the police, if you ever feel threatened.

 Click here to find a private investigator in your area.

Stepdad of alleged 13-year- old attacker talks to News 8

DAVENPORT - A man who identifies himself as "like the step-dad" of a 13-year-old boy accused of helping to beat and rob a man now on life support , says the teen is a "great kid" and "normal child."

"Whatever's going on, it's the first time we've heard about it. I can't imagine him doing anything like that. He goes to school every day," said Beshar Goodwin, of Davenport, who lives in an apartment with the mom of Daryon Jackson.

Jackson and another 13-year-old, Christopher Shadrick of Davenport are accused of hitting and kicking a man on the bike path last week.

The victim, 47-year-old Lester Norton, underwent emergency brain surgery and is now on life support.

"If it's true, it's bad. I hope he pulls through, whether it was done by the teenagers or not, I want him to pull through," Goodwin said.

"He has an attorney, and we are gonna have to work this out, it's too early to really be commenting now. I support Daryon. I'm 49-years-old and I've been accused of doing a lot of things. Until that's proven, leave it at that," he said.

The two boys are being held in the Scott County Juvenile Detention Center. They are charged with  first degree robbery and willful injury.

Police say Norton was walking his bike on the Duck Creek Trail Parkway when the teens knocked him over and tried to steal his bike.  When Norton tried to get up, the teens allegedly attacked him and stole his cell phone and sweatshirt.

 

 

 

Henry County discussing township consolidation

CAMBRIDGE, Illinois - The Henry County Board is looking at ways to save money and run the county more efficiently.

"Our leaders are constantly telling us that there`s too many taxing districts and that`s whats killing the state," said county board chairman Roger Gradert

A new Illinois law allows residents to consolidate townships and that got the board thinking, what if they also combined school districts, or park districts and libraries? Right now, the county has 155 taxing bodies, 24 of those are townships.

"What can they eliminate? What do they think should be combined," said Gradert.

The county would look at all taxing bodies. For example, it wouldn't eliminate schools but instead, there would be one school district for all schools in the county.

"Do we need 14 different school districts or could one school district, one set of administration handle the schools? 55,000 people that`s not even the size of Rock Island County and Rock Island has one school district," said Gradert.

Gradert says consolidation could help the county save money on administrative costs and prevent some of the overlap taxpayers see on their bills.

"I live in a rural area by Andover I pay Cambridge school district, I pay Andover township, I pay Osco fire department so right there are three overlays now that you have in your area," said Gradert.

The county's executive committee will hold a special meeting to discuss what taxing bodies should be consolidated and how they should get the public's input. Whether it's a referendum on the November 2018 ballet or through a survey sent out.

A date for that meeting hasn't been set yet.

 

 

University of Iowa students patrol downtown Iowa City as part of new SHOUT program

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Some University of Iowa students are turning into security guards.

It's all part of the SHOUT program, or Students Helping Out. Students carry police radios and wear orange shirts but they're not officers and their job isn't to arrest people.

But it is to help keep people safe.

Nine SHOUT members walk and drive through downtown Iowa City on weekends, checking on people and making sure they get home safely. It allows actual police to respond to more serious calls.

After receiving positive feedback from Iowa City Police, University of Iowa's Department of Public Safety is already considering expanding the program.

 

Black Hawk College employee recognized for leadership

MOLINE, Illinois -- A 40-year employee of Black Hawk college was recognized today for her contributions toward helping students find work.

Glenda Nicke was given the "Individual Leadership Award" from the Illinois Department of Commerce. Nicke was one of five people recognized statewide.

While the award was for an individual, Nicke took the time to acknowledge the many people at the college that are part of its success.

 

Dozens of students walk out of New Jersey high school protesting teacher’s ‘speak American’ comments

CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. —Students in New Jersey staged a protest by walking out of school Monday morning in response to the viral video showing an English teacher telling students to “speak American,” according to WPIX.

The 25-second recording at Cliffside Park High School has gone viral and it has provoked a debate online.

"…men and women are fighting. They are not fighting for your right to speak Spanish," the teacher can be heard saying, "They are fighting for your right to speak American."

This comment prompted three students to immediately walk out of the classroom. One accused the teacher of being prejudiced on her way out.

"You’re being racist," the student can be heard saying. "I know how to speak English."

Parent Blanche Lopez, whose daughter attends the middle school, said the encounter "has nothing to do with race or nothing like that."

"If someone doesn’t speak the language, I’m gonna speak English to them," she said.

Students said the teacher, who was substituting in a junior-senior level math class that day, has chastised them for speaking other languages before.

"She would usually be in the hallways and tell you not to speak Spanish," freshman Omar Toledo said. "Which would be really messed up because we are not in her class and we have the right to speak what we want to speak."

The protest began with about 15 students outside the high school in between third and fourth periods, but soon after, students began to pour out of the school. Some waved flags out of the school windows and on the front lawn to represent their culture.

"We wanted to make a statement obviously and let it be known hopefully this is the last time it will ever happen," junior Jasmeen Velesco said.

About an hour-and-a-half into the protest, the school’s fire alarm was triggered and the entire building was evacuated. It remains unclear who or what set off the alarm, but most students returned to class soon after.

WPIX has reached out to the school's superintendent for comment twice with receiving a response.

Several more days to dry out before next rain chance arrives

Another winner of a day as temperatures topped around the 70 degree mark this afternoon.

Overnight lows will also remain on the mild side with the mercury only dipping around the upper 40s.

Sunshine and lower 70s will be felt both Wednesday and Thursday before this warm stretch of air peaks by Friday with daytime highs around the mid 70s.

Clouds will be increasing on Saturday as a front moves in from the west.  This will bring our next round of showers by the time Saturday evening approaches.  Last of the raindrops will end by Sunday morning before cooler but comfortable 60s are felt both Sunday and Monday.

Chief meteorologist James Zahara

Download the News 8 Weather App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Download the free News 8 App — for iOS, click here and for Android, click here

Senators reach deal on resuming payments to health insurers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Key senators reached a breakthrough deal Tuesday on resuming federal payments to health insurers that President Donald Trump has blocked. Insurers had warned that unless the money is quickly restored, premiums will go up.

At the White House, the president spoke favorably about the bipartisan compromise, which is still likely to face opposition in Congress.

The agreement would involve a two-year extension of federal payments to insurers that Trump halted last week, said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. Unless the money is quickly restored, insurers and others say that will result in higher premiums for people buying individual policies and in some carriers leaving unprofitable markets.

Alexander and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., have been working for weeks on health care legislation, separate from repeated and unsuccessful efforts by GOP leaders to dismantle Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Emerging from a closed-door GOP luncheon on Tuesday, Alexander said, “Senator (Patty) Murray and I have an agreement,” and added that Trump has encouraged them and the “president likes this idea.”

While the agreement is a breakthrough, they still need to secure the support of fellow Republicans and Democrats. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was noncommittal while Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., welcomed the agreement as a step forward that will provide stability for insurance markets in the short-term.

Murray hailed the bipartisan effort, saying “when Republicans and Democrats take the time ... we can truly get things done” for the American people.

In brief comments at the White House, Trump offered support.

“It is a short-term solution so we don’t have this very dangerous little period,” the president said.

Murray and Alexander began talks on extending the payments months ago, when Trump was frequently threatening to stop the subsidies. Both had said they were close to a deal, but GOP leaders shut the effort down in September when the Senate revisited the Republican drive to repeal Obama’s law. The repeal effort failed, as did an earlier GOP attempt to dismantle the law in July.

Trump’s halt of the payments and worries about its impact have galvanized lawmakers in both parties to take action to prevent it.

Even so, strong opposition by some conservatives means the congressional fate of a compromise would be uncertain. For their part, Democrats believe Republicans in control of Washington will be blamed by voters for future health care problems and are reluctant to bend too far toward GOP demands for opening loopholes in Obama’s law.

Alexander said Trump has twice in recent days urged him to reach a deal with Murray.

“He says he doesn’t want people to be hurt in this interim,” said Alexander, a reference to Trump’s desire to revisit the effort to scrap Obama’s statute next year.

Trump repeated his gloomy assessment of a law that’s expanded health coverage to 20 million people and required insurers to cover specified services and limit costs, but has also seen premiums rise and limited competition in some regions.

“Obamacare is virtually dead. At best you could say it’s in its final legs. The premiums are going through the roof. The deductibles are so high that people don’t get to use it. Obamacare is a disgrace to our nation and we are solving the problem of Obamacare,” he told reporters in the Oval Office.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Trump’s stoppage of the payments “showed that he’s willing to take a wrecking ball to our nation’s health care for the sake of politics.” He said congressional support for an agreement between Alexander and Murray would show lawmakers have “no intention of going along with President Trump’s reckless sabotage of the nation’s health care law.”

Under Obama’s 2010 overhaul, the government must pay insurers for reducing out-of-pocket expenses for lower-earning customers.

A federal judge has ruled that Congress hadn’t legally approved the payments, but Obama — and initially Trump — continued them anyway. Trump halted them last week, even though by law insurers must continue reducing costs for lower-income consumers.

Trump and some Republicans consider the payments to be bailouts to carriers. But Democrats and some Republicans say halting them would create chaos in insurance market places.

The so-called cost-sharing reductions cost around $7 billion this year and lower expenses like co-payments and deductibles for more than 6 million people.

Trump takes credit for ISIS ‘giving up’

(CNN) — President Donald Trump took credit for the fact that ISIS is in retreat during an interview Tuesday, claiming that ISIS wasn’t on the run before because “you didn’t have Trump as your president.”

The comment comes as US-backed forces fighting ISIS in Raqqa said “major military operations” in the city have ended and that the jihadists have lost control of their self-declared capital.

American officials have not yet formally announced that the fight is won, but the development marks a significant moment for the war on ISIS.

“I totally changed rules of engagement. I totally changed our military, I totally changed the attitudes of the military and they have done a fantastic job,” Trump said on “The Chris Plante Show.” “ISIS is now giving up, they are giving up, there are raising their hands, they are walking off. Nobody has ever seen that before.”

When Plante asked why that hadn’t happened before, Trump took the bait.

“Because you didn’t have Trump as your president,” he said. “It was a big difference, there was a big, big difference if you look at the military now.”

Once Raqqa is completely liberated, US-backed forces will have claimed two of their most significant battlefield victories against ISIS while Trump has been president — the other being the defeat of ISIS in Mosul, Iraq this summer.

Touting his administration’s success in the fight against ISIS is nothing new for Trump who — according to senior defense officials — turned to the Pentagon earlier this year to raise the public profile of efforts to defeat the terror group on the battlefield.

But Trump has often skimmed over the fact that the ISIS campaign began under former President Barack Obama — including operations to retake both ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

In May, Trump’s top generals held a news conference to emphasize the impact of changes made since Trump ordered a review of the ISIS strategy when he took office. It was the news conference the President wanted, officials told CNN at the time.

“Because you didn’t have Trump as your President”

Trump continued that theme in his interview on Tuesday, attributing key victories against the terror group to the “big, big difference” he has made on the military since assuming the presidency.

One such difference — according to Trump — was that he “changed the rules of engagement.”

Trump has overseen a steady transfer of power from the White House to the Pentagon since becoming President, handing off several warfighting authorities that previously rested in his hands — and those of past presidents of both parties — to the Pentagon and the commanders overseeing the US military campaigns.

Trump administration officials have described the changes as a deliberate effort to empower the military and reverse the protocols that defined the Obama administration’s oversight of military campaigns that much of the top brass described as micromanagement that needlessly hamstrung commanders.

Although not to the same extent, some of those complaints also stemmed from the era of President George W. Bush, military experts said.

Military officials have publicly said that the move has helped accelerate progress in the fight against ISIS.

“No longer will we have slowed decision cycles because Washington, DC, has to authorize tactical movements on the ground,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said in May. “I have absolute confidence as does the President, our commander in chief, in the commanders on the ground as he’s proven by delegating this authority to me with the authority to further delegate it and they’ve carried it out aggressively.”

The decision to allow commanders more leeway in undertaking operations on their own authority was highlighted in May by Mattis as a key change to Trump’s ISIS approach — but it is difficult to credit that decision for the totality of the battlefield success against ISIS.

Credit for local forces?

While Trump was quick to attribute the success against ISIS to his own impact on the US military, he failed to highlight the fact that the fight in Iraq and Syria has long been led by an array of local forces — with the US and coalition members acting in a supporting role.

The US and its coalition allies used artillery and airstrikes to back the Syrian Democratic Forces, a mix of 55,000 Arab and Kurdish fighters, in their assault on Raqqa.

The SDF is made up of 31,000 Kurds and 24,000 Arabs, but the coalition said the battle for Raqqa was primarily carried out by Arab fighters.

US military advisers accompanied SDF units as they pushed into the inner areas of Raqqa, but local forces made up the majority fighters tasked with retaking the city.

A diverse coalition of about 100,000 local troops led the mission to retake Mosul.

In addition to his comments on ISIS, Trump said on Tuesday that he would have “loved” to get out of Afghanistan but “had to stay in” because it has become a breeding ground for terrorists.

In August, Trump outlined his plan for the 16-year US war in Afghanistan, vowing that the US would find victory while no longer “nation-building.”

The President declared he would no longer announce troop levels but would focus on allowing US forces to target the Taliban and other terrorist groups wherever they were in Afghanistan.

Trump also claimed on Tuesday that the US was losing the war on terror before he came in.

“I changed rules of engagement about a month ago and we are fighting now to win as opposed to fighting to stay there. We were losing, now we are winning,” Trump said.

UPDATE: Police locate missing man in Whiteside County

UPDATE: Roger Cannon has been found.

Earlier: ROCK FALLS, Illinois — The Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help in locating missing 60-year-old Roger Cannon from the area of Plautz Road and IL Route 40 near Rock Falls.

Cannon is described as being a white male, last seen wearing a yellow and black flannel shirt, blue sweatpants, and black tennis shoes.

Roger Cannon

According to police, family members last saw Cannon around 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 17. They say he likes to walk the area and may have hitchhiked into Rock Falls.

Cannon does have a medical condition, causing concern for his safety.

Anyone with information is urged to call local law enforcement or the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office at 815-772-4044.

 

Secret to amazing chocolate chip cookies? Bang them

A simple addition to the baking process is being hailed as a game-changer after a baker’s online photos of her cookies caught the eye of critics. (Instagram)

MINNESOTA – “It’s all in the pan-bang,” baker-blogger Sarah Kieffer says of her unusual chocolate chip cookies. The Minnesota baker’s not-so-secret recipe had already been circulating on Instagram when the New York Times tested it out, and after the Times covered it, it went viral.

Kieffer detailed her technique after food writer Julia Moskin became intrigued by the attention the funny-looking cookies—”as wide as a salad plate and flat as a flounder”—were getting online.

She assumed the “mutant” cookies copied by food blogs were a “cry for help,” and she sought out the creator. Kieffer didn’t hold back, revealing how she makes the unusual ringed edges by opening the oven after the cookies have slightly risen and giving the baking sheet a good slam on the rack or on the top of the oven.

She repeats the whack a few times more during the baking process, sending ripples fanning out from the center. The result is a distinct soft-crunchy texture that Moskin proclaims to be “a leap forward in cookie technology.” Kieffer says she has no idea what inspired her to try the pan-bang.

“I can’t imagine a better chocolate chip cookie,” says Kieffer, whose cookie glamour shots have scored more than 2,000 likes. “I still can’t believe it,” Kieffer tells the Star Tribune.

“It’s so exciting.” Kieffer has other tips: she uses chopped chocolate rather than chips, and she chills her dough balls. Briefly freezing the dough helps it keep its shape, and it keeps “the centers gooey, and the edges crispy,” she says.

But Kieffer knows her time in the cookie limelight is limited. “You never know what someone else will think of,” she tells the Times. Get the recipe here.

(Chocolate chips were the key to these “perfect” cookies.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: Secret to Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies? Bang Them

More From Newser:

AirAsia staff accused of ‘screaming’ as flight plummets 20,000 feet

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PERTH, Australia – Passengers aboard an AirAsia flight from Perth to Bali Sunday have criticized the flight crew for allegedly screaming when the plane rapidly descended 20,000 feet, following an apparent pressurization issue in the cabin.

“The panic was escalated because of the behavior of the staff, who were screaming and looked tearful and shocked,” passenger Clare Askew told CNN affiliate Seven News Australia after the plane turned around and landed safely back in Perth.

“We look to them for reassurance and we didn’t get any. We were more worried because of how panicked they were,” she said.

Video showed oxygen masks deployed aboard AirAsia Flight QZ535, as a member of the cabin crew shouted “passengers, get down, passengers, get down.” Such instructions are in line with routine flight crew practice when seeking to quickly secure passenger safety.

“They went hysterical. There was no real panic before that. Then everyone panicked,” said another passenger, Mark Bailey.

Data from Flightaware.com shows the plane, an Airbus A320, plummeted from above 34,000 feet to 10,000 feet in a matter of minutes. It’s standard practice for pilots to descend to that altitude in the event of cabin depressurization.

AirAsia told CNN in an email that the flight was diverted after a “technical issue.”

“We commend our pilots for landing the aircraft safely and complying with standard operating procedure,” Capt. Ling Liong Tien, AirAsia Group’s head of safety, said in the statement. “We are fully committed to the safety of our guests and crew and we will continue to ensure that we adhere to the highest safety standards.”

The aircraft was being examined Sunday to find the cause of the problem. AirAsia did not comment on the allegations leveled against the cabin crew.

The budget flight company has faced similar accusations of crew behavior this year.

In June, a pilot urged passengers to pray after a technical issue caused massive shaking on an AirAsia flight from Malaysia headed to Perth.

State of emergency declared ahead of white supremacist speech in Florida

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(CNN) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for Alachua County on Monday ahead of expected protests around a speech by prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer at the University of Florida.

Spencer, the president of the white nationalist group National Policy Institute, is expected to deliver his views on Thursday afternoon at the university, and officials are wary that the incident could turn violent.

Spencer said in a phone interview with CNN that he was “flattered” by the state of emergency declaration.

“I’m up there with hurricanes and invading armies and zombie apocalypses,” he said, laughing. “I think that’s the best way to look at it.”

But he added that he thought the declaration was “overkill” and worried it would be used to shut down the event.

“The fact is, if the police simply do their job, my speech and the whole event will go off wonderfully,” he said.

Previous speeches from Spencer on college campuses have sparked protests, including at Auburn University in April and Texas A&M in December.

He also led a group of supporters carrying torches in May in Charlottesville, Virginia, in a display that critics said evoked images of the Ku Klux Klan. The display preceded the violent protests in August in Charlottesville, during which a car slammed into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one woman. The driver was arrested and faces second-degree murder charges.

Spencer said Tuesday that the protests at Auburn and Texas A&M were limited to “some mild violence” because police did their jobs. He said the state of emergency declaration in Florida might be used as a justification to cancel his speech, as happened in Charlottesville in August.

“I don’t think Florida is going to become Charlottesville in the sense that chaos will ensue, but there is a small possibility they might use this state of emergency as justification to end the event,” he said.

Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell requested the emergency declaration, she said in a statement.

“I appreciate Governor Scott’s support and continued concern to the citizens of Alachua County and the State of Florida,” Sheriff Darnell said. “Together with our federal, state and local authorities we have developed a comprehensive safety and security plan for the speaking event.”

“We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion, however, we have zero tolerance for violence and public safety is always our number one priority,” Scott said in a press release.

‘Make white privilege great again’

Spencer is a leader of the growing white nationalist movement in the US and identifies as being part of the “alt-right.” He has criticized diversity and inclusion as “word salad gobbledy-gook,” and often speaks about the need for a white “awakening” in the US.

Janine Sikes, assistant vice president of public affairs at the university, said in a statement that the state of emergency declaration was “not in response to any specific heightened threat.”

“It is a process that enables various law enforcement agencies to work together more efficiently. For example, agencies from multiple jurisdictions can be mobilized, if necessary, without bureaucratic delays,” Sikes said. “We appreciate Gov. Scott’s support and commitment to UF’s campus safety.”

Florida has most recently declared states of emergency for the hurricanes that have rocked the state in recent weeks. On Twitter, Spencer posted an image of his head over a map of a hurricane nearing Florida, saying that “Hurricane Ricardo” was expected to hit Gainesville.

Spencer may be best known for a controversial speech last November in which he mixed his white nationalist views with praise of Donald Trump’s election win.

“America was, until this last generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation and our inheritance, and it belongs to us,” he said.

“Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” Spencer said, as those in the crowd gave Nazi salutes, according to video from The Atlantic magazine.

In addition, Spencer said he wanted to “make white privilege great again” in an interview with CNN’s W. Kamau Bell.

“We bring a level of civilization. We’re more interested in power. We’re more interested in exploration and domination. I just want to bathe in white privilege,” he said.

Freedom of speech v. safety

Spencer’s planned visit has caused repeated headaches for University of Florida administrators.

Spencer and the National Policy Institute first requested to rent speaking space at UF in August. After violent white nationalist protests broke out in Charlottesville, the UF administration denied the National Policy Institute’s initial speaking request, citing specific threats of violence.

But as a state entity, UF is required by law to uphold the First Amendment rights that forbid state discrimination based on the content or views of a speech. The event is unaffiliated with the school, and no student groups sponsored the speech or invited him, the university said.

By law, the school must pay for the costs of security. However, given the heightened concerns, the school is providing extra security which exceeds $500,000, according to University of Florida President Kent Fuchs.

The university provided a permit for Spencer to speak, though Fuchs clarified that he strongly disagreed with Spencer’s views.

“UF has been clear and consistent in its denunciation of all hate speech and racism, and in particular the racist speech and white-nationalist values of Mr. Spencer,” Fuchs said in a statement. “I personally find the doctrine of white supremacy abhorrent and denounce all forms of racism and hate.”

In the statement, Fuchs asked the community not to give Spencer and his followers the spotlight, yet also urged people to “speak up for your values.”

“Mr. Spencer’s message is disproportionately hurtful to members of our Gator community who are targets of hate and violence simply because of their skin color, religion, culture, sexual orientation or beliefs,” he said. “Those of us in the majority must speak up for those in the minority and make our voice of love and support heard.”

The university set up an entire webpage dedicated to questions about the event, which includes details on the plans for heightened security. Several buildings and classrooms near the speech will be closed Thursday, and Gainesville Police have announced road closures that day.

‘Zombie Frap’ may come to Starbucks in time for Halloween

CHICAGO - Not crazy about the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks? The coffee giant may have another beverage for customers to try this season.

The Zombie Frappuccino is rumored to come to the coffee shops just in time for Halloween. The drink is said to be a blend of green apple caramel powder and pink powder, topped with pink whipped cream to resemble brains.

Read More: “Zombie Preparedness Month” is now a real thing in Illinois

Starbucks hasn't said anything officially about the new drink but word is leaking out from baristas on social media saying the drink will be available on October 26. A Starbucks in South Carolina posted about the upcoming drink on their Instagram page.

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McDonald’s to bring bottled McCafe drinks to store shelves

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