Austin Bomber/Terrorist Blows Himself Up; Russian President Putin Wins Re-Election, Trump Congratulates Him in Phone Call; Over 30 People Killed by Suicide Bomber in Kabul; Two Americans, Russian Lifts Off to International Space Station; Cargo Ships Crash in Karachi, Pakistan; Dr. Nancylynn Ward, Tennessee School for the Deaf’s First Deaf Superintendent, Relieved of Her Duties
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, March 21. Ready for news?
The Austin bomber/terrorist is dead. Last night, police was able to identify the suspect by looking at packages he sent from a FedEx location in South Austin — his name is Mark Anthony Conditt (23 or 24). He has brown hair, but seemed to wear a wig in the FedEx video, and was wearing gloves.
Police were able to trace his vehicle to a hotel in Round Rock, which is just north of Austin.
When police and federal agents circled the hotel, Conditt drove away in his red SUV on I-35. As police closed in, he pulled over into a ditch and detonated an explosive, knocking an officer away. Another officer fired a round at the vehicle then confirmed that he was dead.
The interim police chief, Manley, hosted a press conference saying it was a long three weeks, and that this is the culmination of the hard work of multiple agencies.
They think Conditt built all of the bombs himself. The investigation on his motive and how he built the bombs is just starting.
President Trump tweeted that the “AUSTIN BOMBING SUSPECT IS DEAD.” He said law enforcement did a great job.
Conditt used to work at a “custom” manufacturing company since he was 19, in the purchasing and sales department, but was let go in August because he was not meeting expectations.
People said he was a quiet, introverted, and reserved person. He was home-schooled growing up, apparently with a religious family, and went to the Austin Community College.
He lived at a home in Pflugerville (east of Round Rock), and police think he made all the explosives there. He had two roommates, who are cooperating with the police, and they are not suspects.
Police are still cautioning people in the Austin area to still be careful with packages or strange objects on the streets because they don’t know if he placed other explosives in the area.
Yesterday (Tuesday) morning, as I reported, there was an explosion at a FedEx facility in San Antonio. There was a second package with an explosive inside, but it was safely turned over to police. That was one of the key pieces that helped police identify Conditt.
Police also used cell phone data to locate his phone by looking at the times of the explosions and various cell phone devices in the area. Police also looked at his Google search history and saw he did research on where to send packages. They also said he ordered “exotic” batteries from Asia. Police also looked at local stores to see who was buying household ingredients to make the bombs.
So, this is a big relief for people in Austin, but we’re still wary.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin won his re-election campaign this week for a fourth term, which was not surprising as Putin is popular in Russia.
But a main competitor was barred from the election, and some accused the government of pushing a rigged election.
Putin got 76.6% of the vote, with over 56 million votes. The second-place person got 13% of the vote.
He won while there is international controversy about Russia’s apparent involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.
President Trump called Putin yesterday to congratulate him on his re-election and told reporters that he would meet him soon.
The Washington Post reported that Trump’s advisors at the White House, prior to the call, gave him briefing papers saying to not congratulate him and to discuss the poisoning, but apparently Trump didn’t read it and congratulated him anyway.
Sen. McCain (R-Ariz) criticized Trump. See this quote:
“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.”
But for reference, previous Presidents Obama and Bush called Putin to congratulate him after his previous elections.
A White House staffer told media that during the call, Trump confronted Putin about his recent speech where he said Russia would develop a powerful nuclear cruise missile that is superior to American defenses, and told him that the U.S. was spending $700 billion to upgrade the American military and that the U.S. would win any “arms race.”
Today in Kabul, Afghanistan a suicide bomber killed at least 33 people and injured 65 others.
The terrorist group, Islamic State (IS), posted a statement online that declared responsibility.
The victims were Shiites, a minority in the country, who were on the road to visit a shrine to celebrate the Persian New Year, which is called Nowruz.
The attack happened near Kabul University, about one mile away from the shrine.
Kabul’s police chief said the attacker was able to get through the police checkpoints. He said there is an investigation in progress and that anyone who did not do their job will be punished.
Afghan President Ghani said it was a crime against humanity.
The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, John R. Bass said he was saddened by the shameful attack. Here’s a quote from his statement:
"I continue to hope that every citizen of Afghanistan soon will be able to live in peace, without fear of indiscriminate attacks by terrorists who have no respect for human life… The United States and its people remain steadfast in their commitment to working with our Afghan partners to combat terrorism and to secure peace in the year ahead."
Kabul has suffered several large terrorist attacks recently, including one in January, where a Taliban attacker drove an ambulance filled with explosives into the city, killing at least 103 people and wounding as many as 235.
Although there was this terrible explosion, later in the day many people, including women and children, came out and continued to celebrate.
Today, three men boarded a Soyuz rocket and blasted off to the International Space Station. The three men were two American Astronauts from NASA and one Russian Cosmonaut from the Russian space agency, Roscosmos.
The two Americans’ names are Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold. The Russian’s name is Oleg Artemyev. All three are experienced veterans. The trio will be joining three other people currently on the ISS when the capsule docks with the ISS on Friday. Here’s a clip of the launch from NASA.
Wow, nice launch. NASA, on Twitter, said they are now in low-Earth orbit and would go to the space station in two days.
You can see the link to the full live stream, which is long, but there are clips of the astronauts putting on their suits and other interesting activities behind the scenes. The stream has captions, but they are not very good.
NASA live stream (launch is around 2:40:00): https://youtu.be/wwMDvPCGeE0
Several news articles have shown a video of two massive cargo ships colliding, causing 21 shipping containers to fall into the ocean. No one was hurt, but both ships were damaged.
Here’s a few highlights from that video. I will include a link to a full version of the video below.
Full video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97Xp-PBmDD4
The Tennessee School for the Deaf’s superintendent, Dr. Nancylynn Ward, is no longer leading the school. She was the school’s first Deaf superintendent when she took over last summer.
Officials from the Tennessee Department of Education (TDE) sent out a message to parents on Monday saying Dr. Ward was no longer superintendent. They did not state the reason why.
The email thanked her for her service. They said the TDE Commissioner has appointed Dr. Vicki Kirk (hearing), who is the Deputy Commissioner, to take over as interim superintendent.
The email said they are committed to finding a qualified superintendent and would work on finding a new excellent leader in the coming months.
I reached out to the school and was referred to the TDE. They emailed me and repeated the message, saying Dr. Ward was “relieved” of her duties as of Monday, and couldn’t share more information.
So this a big change for the school.
If I have more information, I’ll share it.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!