Toronto Van Attack Kills 10 People; Trump Welcomes French President Macron to White House; Updates on Trump Nominees for Secretaries of State and Veterans Affairs; A2 Milk Shakes Up Dairy Industry; Updates on Arrest of Waffle House Shooter; Deaf Palestinian Killed During Gaza Protests; Deaf Woman Selected On Obama Foundation Fellowship Program
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Tuesday, April 24. Ready for news?
Toronto Van Attack Kills 10 People
Yesterday afternoon in Toronto, Canada, a man purposely drove a rented white Ryder van to hit people walking on the sidewalks. 10 people died and 15 people were injured as the van moved down for about a mile on busy Yonge Street.
The suspected driver is Alek Minassian, 25. He is from an area close to Toronto.
About 30 minutes after the ramming, a police officer confronted him at gunpoint as the van was stopped on a sidewalk.
Minassian then yelled and pointed an object at the officer, and it would look like he had a gun and was trying to shoot him. There are reports of him telling the officer to shoot at him.
The officer didn’t fire his weapon, instead ordering him to lay down. He dropped his object and was arrested on the sidewalk. The object was not a gun.
Although this looks like a terrorist attack, Canadian authorities say Minassian is not being called a terrorist, because there is no national security connection. It appears he had mental health issues.
Police said they don’t know his motive and that they have nothing about him on their files.
He was briefly enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces, serving for two months, and left after about two weeks of recruit training.
Minassian appeared in court this morning and was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.
Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said this was a senseless attack and a horrific tragedy.
Not all the identities of those who died have been released, I’ll share more when we have the full information.
Here is one additional update about Minassian. Several news sources have reported that just before the van attack, he posted on Facebook a statement praising American Elliott Rodger, who killed six people in 2014 in a stabbing and shooting rampage.
Facebook confirmed that it was his page. The account has been deleted.
The similarities between Rodger and Minassian is that both are viewed as people who had made negative statements against women, possibly expressing frustration at not being able to have relationships with them.
Trump Welcomes French President Macron to White House
President Trump and First Lady Melania welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigette to the White House today in a formal ceremony.
Macron and Trump gave a joint press conference and had private talks during the afternoon to discuss foreign policy strategies. The two countries worked alongside with the U.K. in the missile strikes against Syria two weeks ago.
Trump, when discussing terrorism, said France was the U.S.’ oldest ally, and that they would always be there for them.
Trump also said France was a key partner in putting maximum pressure on North Korea. Trump said he has had good discussions with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, that he has been very open and very honorable, but warned he would walk away if the “deal” is unfair.
Both leaders discussed the Iran deal, which is due to be extended in May. Macron said he didn’t want to rip up the deal and have nothing, but instead have something better. Trump continued to criticize the deal, and said if Iran threatened them, they would pay a price.
Media footage showed Macron and Trump having a warm relationship, joking with each other, having awkward handshakes, and complementing one another.
Updates on Trump Nominees for Secretaries of State and Veterans Affairs
Here are updates on two people that President Trump has picked to become new secretaries for the State Department and Veterans Affairs. Both have faced roadblocks.
The first is the pick for VA, Rear Admiral and doctor Ronny Jackson, is the White House doctor.
Senators on the VA Committee said they have received concerns and allegations that Jackson behaved improperly through his career and doesn’t have enough experience. Now his confirmation hearing seems to be delayed. There is no information on what the allegations are.
Today reporters asked Trump about this. He said he has not heard what the allegations were. He said Ronny was treated unfairly by the press and Democrats, and that Ronny would make a decision to drop out or to continue pursuing the position. He said if it was him, he would drop out.
Now the second person is the pick for Sec. of State, Mike Pompeo, who is the CIA Director. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was divided on whether they supported him or not, but Sen. Rand Paul (R, Ky) announced he would support him, which gives Pompeo a clear path forward.
Pompeo has enough support from the full Senate to be confirmed.
Paul’s concerns was that Pompeo would not support Trump’s pledge to pull troops out of Afghanistan and wanted to make sure that Pompeo agreed with Trump that the Iraq war was a mistake.
Paul said Pompeo told him he agrees with Trump on the two issues, so he will support his nomination.
A2 Milk Shakes Up Dairy Industry
Got milk? Over the last four years milk sales have fallen about 7% every year. This is due to increasing popularity of new alternatives such as almond milk and dairy-free ice cream.
In New Zealand a company invented a new type of milk called A2 milk. This milk is different from regular milk because regular milk has two proteins in it: A1 and A2, but the new type of milk only has the A2 protein. The company’s name is a2 Milk Co.
People who support A2 milk say that it is the A1 protein that causes indigestion. They say that lactose-free milk still causes indigestion because it has A1 proteins in it.
Opponents of the new milk say there isn’t enough research. There are a few studies out there that are supportive but they are funded by a2 Milk Co.
Some major dairy companies like Nestle and Fonterra that originally criticized A2 milk are now selling it.
Fonterra said it changed its mind because customers like to have choices and there has been a steady rise in sales. They are now partnering with a2 Milk Co. to produce their new A2 milk product.
Nestle has been selling A2 infant formula in China. They said that the feedback has been very positive so far and sales are up.
A2 milk is already being sold in different parts of the U.S. in stores like Wegmans in the NorthEast and some Whole Foods stores in California.
The U.S. National Dairy Council released a statement saying that there is no current evidence that A2 milk has more nutritional or health benefits than regular milk.
It’s interesting to see this A2 milk. What do you think of this?
Updates on Arrest of Waffle House Shooter
Here is an update about the arrest of the Waffle House shooter Travis Reinkling. He had was charged with four counts of murder and was supposed to have a hearing today for a $2 million bond, but the bond was revoked by a judge.
There was online outcry that Reinkling was even offered a bond. But now that’s gone away, the judge did not give a reason why.
He was arrested after someone saw him coming out of woods. He had clothes on, a backpack with a gun, ammo, and a flashlight. When a detective drew a gun at him, he did not resist arrest.
He was at large for 35 hours in the time between the shooting and the arrest. Police said they are still investigating what he did in that time frame.
His motive is still unknown. He has shown signs of serious mental health issues.
Police said he did another crime earlier last week — stealing a BMW vehicle and leading police on a chase. He left the car at his apartment and got away before police could identify the person — nobody was arrested then.
Deaf Palestinian Killed During Gaza Protests
News organization “Middle East Monitor” reported that a deaf Palestinian person and a hearing Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers during protests at the Gaza Strip.
The deaf person’s name is Tahrir Mahmoud Wahba, 18. He was shot on Friday and died yesterday morning.
On Twitter, a Palestinian activist showed images of Tahrir wrapped in white blankets, surrounded by his grieving family. It shows a handwritten note by him, who said, “I want martyrdom not injury.” It appears he wanted to die rather than be injured.
The Middle East Monitor said 41 Palestinians total died during the protests that started on March 30. The protests will continue until May 15, which will be the 70th anniversary of when the state of Israel was formed.
Sad to see a young deaf person killed.
Deaf Woman Selected On Obama Foundation Fellowship Program
A Deaf woman, Melissa Malzkuhn, was selected to be one of 20 people, out of 20,000 applicants, to be on the inaugural Obama Foundation Fellowship program.
The program aims to connect people around the world to work together to improve their communities with civic innovation.
Malzkuhn is the founder and Creative Director of the Motion Light Lab (ML2) at Gallaudet University, which develops bilingual storybook apps in ASL and English. She also co-founded a creative company, Ink & Salt, and co-founded The ASL App.
She has been and still is involved with international deaf organizations and advocacy efforts.
Now, let’s chat with her.
Alex: Hello Melissa! Congratulations on being selected to be on the Obama Fellowship Program. Can you tell us why you wanted to be a part of this group?
Melissa: Why did I send in my application to the foundation? Really, when I first saw the opportunity for the fellowship, I felt very inspired by the vision. I believe in the Obama Foundation values. What I have seen from Obama in his 8 years as president and his work prior to that as a community organizer. He has always worked for positive change. I share the same feelings towards positive change, I believe in that. I believe that through good, positive, exciting work, we can make changes. Community involvement is important, too. I was excited at what I saw. And the work I’ve done myself is very important, I’ve pushed for literacy access for deaf children, which means access to sign language through different tools. Our storybook apps are critical and this is massive work, yet small because we’re just a group working together. It’s impossible, so we will need the world to collaborate. I need communities, I need people to get involved in this collective work. I want to take this to the next level and I see the fellowship as a huge opportunity. That’s why I submitted my application and it is a huge honor to be selected, and I am grateful to President Obama, Mrs. Obama, and the Obama Foundation for the honor.
Alex: In what ways will you work with the other 19 fellows? Can you tell us of a potential goal?
Melissa: I am one of 20 selected for the fellowship. The other 19 people are incredible civic innovators too, who are leaders, creative people, and from a diverse group of 11 different countries. How will I work with them? I visualize meeting them, showing each other our work, I will learn so much from them and they will learn from me, too. I will bring up the Deaf community, values, our vision of sign language representation, so they will realize deaf people are everywhere. I am sure that in their work, they have approached deaf people. So I hope that will open more connections. And I look forward to learning from them and having an amazing cohort for support because it takes a community to make a significant, positive change.
Alex: Will you get the opportunity to meet Barack and Michelle?
Melissa: I believe that we the 20 fellows will work closely with the Obama Foundation, which is led by President Obama and Michelle. So I believe we will have an opportunity to work with them. I look forward to meeting them, interacting, and learning from them, because they are incredible world leaders. They will bring their insights to the Deaf community, too. We will build more connections.
Alex: Do you want to add anything?
Melissa: Your last question asked if I wanted to add anything. I took the time to think about this, and yes, I have a few things to add, so I’m going to sign them now. Firstly, who am I? I am a third-generation Deaf person, my whole family is Deaf. This means I was born and exposed to my first language, ASL. That led me to be skilled in reading and writing. Growing up, I loved to read, and I loved to write, too. I was raised in a Deaf school and graduated there. So, ASL, reading, and writing has always been a part of me. Bilingualism is within me. So literacy, what does it mean? For deaf children and people all over, literacy skills is usually viewed as being able to speak or lipread. But I don’t speak or lipread at all. I sign, read, and write. I communicate with no problems. That’s why it is important that I develop and design digital tools that push for literacy for deaf children that has both sign language and reading. That’s very important and it is designed by deaf for deaf. My being selected on the fellowship means Deaf representation on a world level. I treasure the community, our culture, and I will bring those values to protect our sign language, which is critical for all deaf children, period.
Thank you for your time, Melissa. Congratulations to her for being selected, and for the Deaf/ASL community, it’s great to know we have someone representing us in the program.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!