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Anderson Cooper Tells Conan Haiti Is 'Among The Richest Countries I've Ever Been To'

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CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday gave Conan O’Brien a glowing review of Haiti before the talk show host’s trip there. In a chat on “Conan,” Cooper declared the Caribbean nation “among the richest countries I’ve ever been to.”
O’Brien announced he was visiting Haiti for a “Conan Without Borders” episode to get in President Donald Trump’s face for reportedly calling Haiti a “shithole” (or was it “shithouse”?) during a White House meeting on immigration policy. 
Cooper, who visits Haiti often, applauded the comedian’s plan and offered his own travel guide.
“It’s the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but a country can be poor economically and rich in culture and rich in the strength of the people and rich in so many different ways,” Cooper said. “And Haiti is in that way among the richest countries I’ve ever been to. The Haitian people are incredibly strong, carry themselves with such dignity, and for generations have had governments which have not paid attention to them, which have stolen from them, and yet, whatever adversity they have faced, they faced it head-on.”
Too bad O’Brien couldn’t pack that in his suitcase.
It was Cooper’s impassioned defense of Haiti last week after Trump’s remark that inspired O’Brien’s travel plan. And now, the funnyman is packing his bags. Go get ’em, Conan, and spread some goodwill while you’re there. 

Aunt of 13 siblings allegedly held captive tried 'for years' to get in touch with the family

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The aunt of 13 siblings allegedly abused and held captive by their parents in a Southern California home says her family tried "for years" to get in touch with her sister but "she just shut us out of her life."
"I want to reach out to the kids, I want them to know that for years we begged to Skype, we begged to see them, the whole family,” Elizabeth Jane Flores said tearfully in an interview today on ABC News' "Good Morning America" with co-anchor Robin Roberts.
Flores' sister Louise Anna Turpin, 49, was arrested Monday along with her husband, David Allen Turpin, 57, for allegedly holding their 13 children "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings" inside their home in Perris, California, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. 
The siblings, ages 2 to 29, "appeared to be malnourished and very dirty," the sheriff's department said.
"I was shocked because my sister and I haven’t really had a sister relationship for about 20 years. So other than maybe like a call every once in a while, and sometimes those calls are like a year apart. So I was shocked, I was devastated," Flores said. "We were never allowed to be a part of their lives."
Flores said she lived with her sister and brother-in-law for a few months when she was in college. At the time, the couple only had four children and the eldest was in elementary school, Flores said.  
"I thought they were really strict, but I didn't see any type of abuse," she said of the parents. "Now that I'm an adult, I look back, I see things that I didn't see then."
She too had to follow strict "rules" and was "treated like one of the kids" when she lived with her sister, Flores added. She also said she had "uncomfortable" experiences with her brother-in-law but never told anyone because she was "young" and "scared."
"He did things that made me feel uncomfortable," she said. "If I were to get in the shower, he would come in there while I was in there and watch me, and it was like a joke. He never touched me or anything."
The Turpins have lived at their home in Perris since about 2014, authorities said, and had previously lived in Murrieta, California, and in Texas. )
Flores said she saw her sister frequently in 2008 when she and her husband moved to Texas, only a couple hours away from where her sister lived at the time. But her sister would usually come to their house to visit and she was rarely invited to her sister's home, Flores said.
"I was only allowed in the driveway," she said. "There was never any children, it was just always her and David. I would always say, 'I wish you would bring the kids.'"
Flores said her mother drove hours to visit the family in Texas at one point, but the Turpins didn't let her inside the house either. A few years later, Flores said, her father bought a flight ticket to see the family but his daughter told him not to come, insisting she would visit them instead. The family never showed up and didn't answer any phone calls, Flores said.
"When that happens for 20 years ... you don't think it's abnormal. You just think that they were always funny and private anyway, even before they had children," she said. "They shut us out years and years and years ago."
The investigation began early-Sunday morning when a 17-year-old girl left the home through a window and called 911, saying her 12 brothers and sisters were being held captive there, the sheriff's department said. The teen was slightly emaciated and "appeared to be only 10 years old," responding officers said.
The siblings, who are all believed to be the biological children of the Turpins, were home-schooled, according to authorities. There is no indication there were any other children at the home, authorities said, but the investigation is ongoing.
The Turpins were arrested on charges of torture and child endangerment and are being held on $9 million bail each, according to the sheriff's department. The couple is expected to be arraigned Thursday.
Flores said she still loves her sister but she too wants explanations.
"I want her to know that she's still my blood and I love her. I don't agree with what she did and her actions have made the whole family suffer. But I want her to know that I'm praying for her salvation and that we do love her," Flores said in between tears. "I love Louise, but the kids are my concern."

Perris parents face life in prison for starving, torturing children, say prosecutors

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At first, the Turpin children were tied up with rope at their family home. But as they tried to get free, they were hogtied. Living in filth, they were only allowed to shower once a year. They were starved to the point of stunted growth, and their parents taunted them with food, buying apple pies and leaving them on the counter uneaten.
Beaten, choked and chained up for months at a time, the children began devising a plan to make their escape  — two years ago. It wasn't until Sunday that one captive, a 17-year-old daughter, was able to muster the courage to escape through a window. Her 911 call from an inactive cell phone eventually lead authorities to the house of horrors in Perris, where David and Louise Turpin are accused of imprisoning their 13 children. 
Calling the case an extreme example of "human depravity," Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin detailed the allegations against the couple at a press conference Thursday. At an afternoon arraignment, the couple was charged with multiple crimes, including torture, that could land them in prison for the rest of their lives. David Turpin also faces one count of committing a lewd act by force or fear, the first indication from authorities that the case may involve sexual abuse. Both have entered not guilty pleas. Their bail was set at $12 million each. 
"I will tell you as a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you, they haunt you," Hestrin said. "Sometimes in this business we are faced with human depravity. That is what we are looking at here."
The couple was arrested Sunday after police discovered the children, ranging from age 2 to 29, trapped inside their unassuming house on Muir Woods Road. Police hailed as a hero the daughter who escaped and called 911. They subsequently learned that one of her siblings wanted to go with her, but got scared and ran back to the house.
"She was frightened, that's all I can say," Hestrin said. 
The district attorney told a packed room of at least 50 reporters and photographers that the children endured years of severe emotional and physical abuse that started when the family was living in Ft. Worth, Texas, and then continued after they moved to Murrieta and then to Perris. 
What started out as neglect became severe and prolonged abuse that eventually involved beatings and chokings, Hestrin said. 
The victims, who were supposedly being home schooled, developed cognitive impairment and nerve damage from the prolonged abuse, Hestrin said, adding that they "lack basic knowledge of life." Some didn't know what a police officer or medication was, he said. 
He said the victims were forced to sleep during the day and stay up all night. The parents brought new toys to the house, but would not let the children take them out of the box. 
The children, who were allowed to shower only once a year, were so malnourished that their muscles were wasting away. One victim, age 12, had the weight of an average 7-year-old. The 29-year-old daughter weighs just 82 pounds, Hestrin said.
The children also were restricted from using the bathroom. If they got water on their wrists while washing their hands, they were punished for "playing with water." 
At one point, in Texas, the parents lived separately from the children, and stopped by occasionally to drop off food. 
Hestrin said one of the older males was allowed to take classes at a school, which investigators would not identify, but his mother always waited outside for him. 
In other ways, the Turpins appeared to be a normal family. David Turpin worked as an engineer at Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. The family bought their home in Perris in 2014 for $310,000, and the family's Facebook page includes photos posted in 2012 of the parents and the kids, except for the baby, at Disneyland. Other photos show the couple renewing their vows in 2011 at a chapel in Las Vegas as their children smile and appear to be celebrating. 
The kids' only entertainment was writing in journals, hundreds of journals, which authorities have recovered and are "combing through for evidence."
“I think those journals are going to be strong evidence of what occurred in that home,” Hestrin said.
Full charges include 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse or neglect, 12 counts of false imprisonment, one count of lewd act against a child by force or fear against David Turpin.
If convicted, the suspects face 94 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors have not filed a torture charge in connection to the youngest victim, a 2-year-old, who appeared to be the only Turpin child fed enough. 
The district attorney urged anyone with information about the Turpins and their lives in Texas or California to contact authorities.
“Someone must have seen something. Someone must have noticed something. We need their help,” Hestrin said.
Over the past week, the stunning case has cast a horrifying shadow over Perris’ once-quiet Monument Park neighborhood. Neighbors are grappling over clues that might have helped stop the torture if law enforcement had been told something seemed amiss at the home.
Stories of eccentric behavior among family members emerged as past and current neighbors shared stories about the Turpins, who they described as "odd," "private" and "standoffish."
The family rarely interacted with neighbors while living in communities where residents routinely said hello to each other. The few times anyone actually saw the family was in the middle of the night, when they were spotted working in the yard or being loaded into a van. The siblings dressed alike, had similar haircuts and sounded like "robots" on the few occasions they talked to their neighbors. 
No one knew exactly how many siblings existed, nor were their ages clear as most people assumed the oldest children had to be in their early teens.  
Just days after the discovery, investigators could only confirm a few details.
Riverside County Sheriff's Capt. Greg Fellows said a "foul smell" lingered through the home, which was described as "extremely dirty." Fellows added that Louise Turpin appeared "perplexed" about why authorities were swarming the home.
Riverside County Department of Public Social Services officials said they had never communicated with the family prior to this week and sheriff's officials also said they were never called to the home. 
Corona Regional Medical Center CEO Mark Uffer said his staff was "horrified" by the condition of the siblings.
Their conditions have since improved and, Uffer added, they were all doing well and were in good spirits.
The Riverside University Health System foundation launched a support fund for the siblings and officials are requesting monetary and gift card donations.
"We recognize financial gifts will not eliminate their trauma, but these additional resources will be extremely important in helping these victims address their long term educational and physical needs," said Erin Phillips, executive director of the foundation.

Vancouver Aquarium will no longer keep whales and dolphins in captivity

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The Vancouver Aquarium is giving up its fight to keep whales and dolphins in captivity, saying the heated public debate on the issue is hindering its conservation work.
Staff at the non-profit attraction learned Thursday morning of the decision to end the cetacean program, according to CEO John Nightingale.
"We absolutely believe in the value of whales and dolphins in engaging people," he told CBC News.
"But you also have to be realistic, and it has gotten to the point where the debate in the community, with the lawyers, with the politicians ... is debilitating our work on our mission." 
Last spring, the Vancouver Park Board voted to prevent the aquarium from bringing in any new whales and dolphins, after commissioners said they were concerned about the ethics of keeping the animals in captivity. At the time, Nightingale said he would "fight to the end" against the ban.
The change in his position is the result of long deliberations over the last few months.
"We decided, through a lot of discussion in the fall, that we needed to get on with it," Nightingale said. "We've been here 61 years, the aquarium's going to be here another 61 years, so it's really important that we not tie our hands behind our backs."
The park board said Thursday it is pleased with the decision and the aquarium's recognition of "passionate public debates on this issue over the last years."
"The public told us they believed the continuing importation and display of these intelligent and sociable mammals was unethical and incompatible with evolving public opinion and we amended our bylaws accordingly. We look forward to working with the Vancouver Aquarium as it intensifies its focus on Ocean Wise research and conservation," said a statement from park board chair Stuart Mackinnon. 
Since the park board vote, two of the aquarium's three remaining cetaceans have died, leaving Helen, a Pacific white-sided dolphin.
Her fate has yet to be decided. Nightingale said the two available options are transporting her to a new facility, which comes with health risks, or bringing in a companion animal, which would mean defying the park board.
"Both choices aren't great," he admitted.
The decision to end the cetacean program won't affect the aquarium's work in rescuing stranded and distressed whales and dolphins, he added.
The difference now is any rehabilitated animal that can't be released back into the wild will have to be transferred to another facility once they're healthy enough. 
But Nightingale said he'll continue to fight for the right to temporarily house animals that aren't ready to be moved, which could mean keeping them in display pools.
"We want to be able to use the extraordinary facilities at the aquarium … on an emergency, case-by-case basis for individual animals."
He acknowledged the aquarium's visitor numbers took a dip after the deaths of two belugas in the fall of 2016, but said he believes the public will still keep coming to learn about the world below the ocean's surface once the whales and dolphins are all gone.
"As a biologist, I find the life in the oceans fascinating. I don't care whether it's a guppy or a beluga."

Mixed reaction

While animal activists and groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals welcomed the decision, others had mixed feelings.
"I guess I can see both sides to this," said Andrew Trites, the director of the Marine Mammal Research Unit at UBC.
"I work a lot with marine mammals in the wild and understand the needs and the pressures that they're facing. And some of the questions that we have about things such as the effects of underwater noise on them — [we] can only answer those questions by working with animals in controlled settings such as at the Vancouver Aquarium.
"And so that research can still be done, we can still collect that information, but it's going to mean going elsewhere."

Scientists edge closer to creating a blood test that can detect multiple types of cancers, seeing success rates of around 70% in cancerous individuals

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Researchers say they have taken a step toward developing a blood test that would detect eight common cancers, possibly even before symptoms appear.
As they report Thursday in the journal Science, they're hoping their idea would eventually lead to a $500 test that can screen for cancer and identify people with the disease when it's in its earliest stages and more treatable.
But they have a long way to go.
There have been many attempts over the decades to develop blood tests to screen for cancers. Some look for proteins in the blood that appear with cancer. Others more recently have focused on DNA from tumors. But these methods alone don't give reliable results.
So Nickolas Papadopoulos, a professor of oncology and pathology at the Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, collaborated with many colleagues at the medical school to develop a new approach. It combines two methods into one test.
Their experimental test, dubbed CancerSEEK, focuses on eight major cancers: lung, breast, colon, pancreas, liver, stomach, ovary and esophagus.
"We selected those eight cancers based on how frequent they are, also [because] a lot of them do not have any screening modality right now," Papadopoulos says.
The researchers looked at 1,005 people who had been diagnosed with these cancers. The blood test found signs of cancer in about 70 percent of them.
They also looked at 812 people without cancer diagnoses and found just seven of them — less than 1 percent — apparently had a false reading that found cancer. A low false-positive rate is critical for any test that could be used widely to screen people for cancer.
Of course, the ultimate goal of this test is to find cancer in people who haven't already been diagnosed. And that percentage could well be lower than the 70 percent average. For example, the test was successful only about 40 percent of the time in the patients the researchers studied with the earliest stage 1 cancers.
Though 40 percent success would be far from ideal, "we still think this is a very important milestone in detecting cancers in asymptomatic people," Papadopoulos says. "That could save their life."
"I am incredibly excited by this new paper," says Joshua Schiffman, an oncologist and cancer researcher at the Huntsman Cancer Center at the University of Utah who was not involved in the study. "This is the paper that's going to set the field in motion."
But Schiffman points out that there are many issues to work out – even assuming the test proves reliable among people who have not been previously diagnosed with cancer. For instance, if the success rate is around 40 percent at detecting cancer, that means it misses cancers more often than it finds it.
"The thing we worry about quite often is ... if we have a test result that is negative we don't want to give false reassurance to the patient," he says. He is concerned that patients will think to themselves, "Even though I have this weird stomach pain that won't go away, I know it's not cancer. I'm not going to go to the doctor because the CancerSEEK test told me it was negative," Schiffman says. "And that would be a terrible thing."
Another problem is that the test results find signs of cancer, but often fail to pinpoint which part of the body is affected. "That's a tremendous problem that has to be overcome," he says.
"We've come about one step in a thousand-mile journey," says Vinay Prasad, an oncologist and cancer researcher at the Oregon Health and Science University who was not involved in the study.
First, he notes, the Hopkins team will need to demonstrate that the test will be useful in patients without symptoms. Then the researchers will need to show that the rate of false alarms remains very low, otherwise people will be sent on needless and expensive medical odysseys.
And for the test to be useful, "you've got to find cancer that's going to otherwise be lethal, and not cancer that would otherwise be destined to do nothing," Prasad says.
That's been a huge problem with previous cancer screening tests, especially for prostate cancer and breast cancer, and has led to pointless and potentially dangerous treatments, he says.
An effective screening test would hold lots of potential for cancer patients, Prasad says.
"We want this to be true, we hope that this is true, but we have learned through 30, 40, 50 years of cancer screening that we have to do the right studies at the outset to know that it's true," Prasad says.
The scientists at Hopkins have already launched their next study, which could involve tens of thousands of apparently healthy volunteers who are enrolled in the Geisinger Health Plan in Pennsylvania. Their experience will help answer the next big question, which is whether CancerSEEK will pick up cancer in people who don't have symptoms.
If that multiyear experiment succeeds, the researchers will still have to demonstrate that the test improves and extends the lives of cancer patients.
Papadopoulos is less concerned that the test could detect cancers that might not in fact benefit from treatment.
"In a personal level, I do want to know," he says. "That doesn't mean I have to go and have a surgery. However, I still think this is very useful information, knowing that something is happening and follow it up."
As for the cost of the test, Papadopoulos says the research team has tried hard to make it affordable. They're hoping to make it economical, so that each test could cost about $500. But he says Johns Hopkins holds the patent and has not licensed it as yet to a company that would ultimately set the price.

China's pink, oversized women-only car parks slammed as sexist

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Oversized female-only parking spots marked with a stiletto icon in eastern China have been strongly criticised as sexist on Chinese social media. 
The controversial parking spaces at the Jiande and Tonglu service stations in the Zhejiang province are reportedly 3.2-metres wide — or one-and-a-half times the size of "normal" parking spaces.
They join a growing number of extra-large designated women parking spots being unveiled around the country, from shopping malls in Chongqing in south-west China to Hebei in the north.
The purpose of the spaces have been hotly debated on Chinese social media site Sina Weibo, with many netizens saying they reinforce the stereotype that women are bad drivers while others say it is a considerate design.
Fang Hongying, manager of the Jiande highway service area, recently told Chinese state media Xinhua that driving skills were only part of the reason behind the women's only parking spots introduced last October.
"The women's parking spaces are closer to the exits and monitoring systems, which is more convenient for female drivers to take a break or go shopping in the main building, and much safer, especially at night," she said.
A survey conducted on the Sina Weibo found 63 per cent of the 1,700 respondents believed it was a good idea to designate female-only parking spaces.

'This treats female drivers as idiots' 

Many Weibo users were quick to label the spaces as sexist and defend the ability of female drivers.
"It is frankly discrimination against women," a user named Nanyabianfu wrote. 
"Women can do whatever men can do."
Another user, Wangyouxiaogaoderichang, said the special spaces should be changed to "novice parking". 
"'Female car parking spot is merely a form of indicating that female drivers are not skilled," they wrote.
While other users recognised the advantages of wider car spaces, they believed it discriminated against both genders.
"The design of the female parking spaces is a good and convenient design, but it is called the ladies parking space," user Caomuyiqiu_s wrote. 

Cities making public spaces more 'female friendly'

Women-only parking can be found in various designs and sizes across China and other countries including South Korea, where many are simply outlined in pink and marked with a pink skirt-wearing figure.
As a part of the 'Women-friendly Seoul' project launched in 2009, the South Korean capital introduced thousands of pink parking spots to improve safety and convenience for female drivers.
In China, airports in Beijing, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Guangzhou also offer female-only queues at security checkpoints that are staffed by female guards.
The lines were introduced to make female passengers feel more comfortable while being checked by security and to improve efficiency. 
Women-only train and subway carriages have also been established in some countries including Egypt and Japan to combat sexual harassment.
In Japan, where groping on trains is a longstanding problem, platforms and train doors are marked with signs indicating where the special carriages are as well as the days and times they are available to women only.
On Cairo Metro trains, the middle two cars of every train are reserved for women.
Women-only ridesharing services are also taking off around the world, though the concept has also been described as sexist and discriminatory.
Australia's Shebah, which only hires and pick up women, was launched on International Women's Day last year.
A special bus service in Papua New Guinea that gives women a safe and free ride, the Meri Seif (Safe Women), is now training some of the nation's first female bus drivers.

Fresno Man with daily sushi habit pulls 5.5 foot tapeworm from body

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A Fresno man with a daily sushi habit had a 5.5-foot tapeworm lodged in his intestines. He pulled it out himself, wrapped it around a cardboard toilet paper tube and carried the creature into Fresno's Community Regional Medical Center.
Kenny Bahn was the lucky doc on shift at the time. He recounted his experience on a recent episode of the podcast "This Won't Hurt A Bit."
Bahn said the patient complained of "bloody diarrhea" and expressed a desire to get treated for tapeworms.
"I get asked this a lot," the doctor said. "Truthfully, a lot of times I don't think they have it."
This man had it, which he proved to Bahn by opening a plastic grocery bag and pulling out the worm-wrapped toilet paper tube.
Bahn then asked some questions, starting with: "That came out of your bottom?"
According to the doctor's retelling, the patient was using the restroom when he noticed what looked like a piece of intestine hanging out of his body. 
"He grabs it, and he pulls on it, and it keeps coming out," Bahn recounted. He then picks the thing up, "looks at it, and what does it do? It starts moving." (Note: At this point in the podcast, the hosts audibly gasp.)
That's when the man realized he had a tapeworm stuck in his insides. He headed to the emergency room shortly thereafter, where Bahn treated him with an anthelmintic, a single-treatment deworming medication used on humans and dogs alike.
Bahn also took it upon himself to measure the specimen on the floor of the hospital. It stretched a whopping 5 feet, 6 inches — "my height," noted the doctor.
Tapeworms can be contracted in a variety of ways, but Bahn said his patient hadn't traveled out of the country or engaged in any out-of-the-ordinary behavior. The man also professed his love of sushi, specifically raw salmon sashimi, which he confessed to eating daily.
Fresno is located an ample 150 miles from coastline and is not exactly famed for its sushi. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned last February that the rise in popularity of raw fish consumption has likely spurred a recent increase of tapeworm infections.

Montreal man fools police with fake car made of snow

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Simon Laprise had a plan, some snow and a couple hours to spare.
The result? A delightful picture of a lone police officer, staring skeptically at a car parked in a snow removal zone, ticket book in hand. Little did the officer know, however, that it was all a trick.
The 33-year-old machinist and artist from Montreal was hoping to prank snow removal crews in his neighborhood with a fake car he made after a storm Monday, modeled after the Delorean DMC-12 of Back to the Future fame. 
Laprise's coup de gras was a real windshield wiper he had found across the street while working on the project, placed inconspicuously as if it were the only exposed part of the car.
The police soon came to investigate because it was parked was in a snow removal zone, only to discover after some time that the car was made entirely of snow. 
Officers did end up writing Laprise a ticket--one that said, "You made our night hahahahaha :)"
All good things must come to an end, however, and snowplows destroyed Laprise's creation the next morning.