The Daily Moth 8-23-2018

August 23, 2018

69 Earthquakes in 48 Hours; Verizon Caps ‘Unlimited’ Data Service for California Firefighters; OSU Suspends Football Coach Urban Meyer From 3 Games For Handling of Asst. Coach Domestic Violence Allegations; Updates on Murder of Mollie Tibbetts; South Africa’s Controversial Land Expropriation Program​

Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, August 23. Ready for news?




69 Earthquakes in 48 Hours


In the past week, 144 earthquakes were reported around the world, with 69 earthquakes happening within 48 hours.


On Sunday, 53 earthquakes all happened in the area known as the Ring of Fire.


The Ring of Fire describes a horseshoe shaped area of the Pacific, which includes Australia, Asia, North America and South America. This ring is 25,000 miles of coastline, has 452 volcanoes, and is where two of the Earth’s largest tectonic plates meet.


Last Sunday, at least 16 earthquakes registered above magnitude 4.5 on the Richter scale. Indonesia, Bolivia, Japan and Fiji were among some of the countries impacted by the earthquakes. Fiji was hit with 5 major earthquakes above 4.5 since Monday; one registered at 8.2 but was fortunately too deep to cause any major damage.


On Tuesday evening, at 5:31 local time, Venezuela was struck by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake. There have been no immediate reports of casualties following the quake in Venezuela.


Yesterday, on Wednesday evening, Oregon was struck by an 6.2 earthquake about 170 miles off the coast. A few hours later, the area reported a 3.5 aftershock.


The heightened seismic activity in the Ring of Fire has prompted fear and worry, as North America’s West Coast lies on the Ring of Fire and is due for a ‘big one’.


However, the US Geological Survey has not issued a formal warning over these earthquakes.  




Verizon Caps ‘Unlimited’ Data Service for California Firefighters​


Verizon Wireless is facing public criticism for their common practice of slowing down data speeds.


Last month, when the Santa Clara Fire Department was actively battling the Mendocino Complex fire, they found themselves also battling slow internet speeds, despite having an unlimited data plan with Verizon.


The SC fire department discovered that their data rate had been reduced to 1/200 or less than normal speeds, which made sending emails or updating a google documents almost impossible. This severely impacted their ability to receive, respond and transmit important data to various emergency responders all throughout the state.


When the fire department contacted Verizon directly and asked them to lift the restriction for public safety purposes, Verizon told them they would have to first upgrade to a more expensive plan before Verizon would remove the speed restrictions. The fire department was already paying $37.99 for an unlimited data plan, and Verizon suggested they upgrade to a $99 plan that was capped at 20gb, for faster speeds.


The fire department had to borrow cellular data from other sources— such as personal phone plans and other agencies’ internet connections— to maintain communication and implementation of emergency responses to the fire.


Verizon did not remove the restrictions until after the fire department upgraded their plan.


The SC fire department submitted this incident as evidence in a lawsuit against the FCC to reinstate net neutrality, citing that internet service providers were likely to take advantage of emergencies to get people to pay for more expensive plans.


Verizon responded, in a statement to CNN, that they usually “remove data speed restrictions when contacted in emergency situations,” and “should have lifted the speed restriction” when the fire department contacted them. Verizon also stated that it was a customer support mistake and had nothing to do with net neutrality.




OSU Suspends Football Coach Urban Meyer From 3 Games For Handling of Asst. Coach Domestic Violence Allegations


Ohio State University said they will suspend Urban Meyer, their head football coach, for the first three games of the upcoming season without pay for how he handled domestic abuse allegations against an assistant coach, Zach Smith.


There was a school investigation on if Urban knew about Zach’s now ex-wife Courtney Smith’s claims in 2015 that she was being abused. The investigation said it was likely he knew about it, but didn’t do anything.


All of this came up when a reporter said last month that Zach was arrested in 2015 for domestic violence and had another abuse incident in 2009. He was an assistant coach with Urban both times, at the University of Florida and then at Ohio State.


During this time last month, a judge in Ohio said Zach was an imminent danger to his ex-wife, Courtney and gave her a protective order against him. Zach was charged with criminal trespass for violating a shared parenting plan when he entered Courtney’s apartment complex to drop off their son.


A reporter, Brett McMurphy, revealed pictures of Courtney’s wounds and of threatening text messages that Zach allegedly sent to her.


When media asked Urban about all of this and if he knew, Urban said he didn’t know anything about it.


Ohio State put Urban on paid administrative leave a few weeks ago and started a investigation, which revealed that Urban’s wife, Shelley, got text messages with Courtney at the time of the abuse and that it was likely Urban knew of it.


So Urban is now suspended 3 games, and the university athletic director will be suspended for a few weeks.


Urban said he said he followed his heart, not his head, that he should have done more and that he is sorry. He said this situation has harmed the university and its athletics program.


There are several opinion articles criticizing OSU for not firing him and criticizing Urban for not mentioning or apologizing to Courtney.


Brett McMurphy Report:




Updates on Murder of Mollie Tibbetts


Here are some updates on the murder of Iowa woman Mollie Tibbetts, who body was found on Tuesday.


The murder suspect, Cristhian B. Rivera, appeared in court yesterday on a first-degree murder charge. He is jailed on a $5 million cash-only bond.


He is accused of killing Mollie when she was jogging during the evening, then dumping her body in a cornfield. Police used evidence from a home surveillance camera to track him down.


He is an undocumented immigrant, is in the U.S. illegally.


Rivera worked at a farm for the past four years and used a different name, a “false” identity to get around a background check. The farm is owned by the Lang family, who are well known in the area and involved in Republican politics.


This has sparked a debate on immigration laws. President Trump said on Tuesday that this should have never happened, that our immigration laws are a disgrace. He said we need to build the wall and Republicans to do it.


Several other Republican lawmakers said similar things.


An aunt of Mollie, Billie Jo Calderwood, said she don’t want her memory to be lost amongst politics.


She posted on Facebook a reminder that evil comes in every color. She said her family has been blessed to be surrounded by love, friendship, and support throughout this ordeal by friends from all different nations and races.


There was a vigil to honor Mollie at the University of Iowa, where she was a student, last night. Hundreds of people attended.


Aunt’s FB Post:




South Africa’s Controversial Land Expropriation Program


In South Africa, the newly inaugurated president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has decided to proceed with a controversial program of expropriating privately owned land without compensation.


Land expropriation is when local governments claim privately owned property to be used for public purposes, like highways, railroads, and airports, for example. Owners do receive payment for any land the government decides to reclaim.   


The South African land expropriation program has been around since 1994, when apartheid in South Africa was finally ended.


The goal was to redistribute white-owned farms to black South Africans in an attempt to change the economic inequality between white and black residents.


However, a government audit last year revealed that 72% of the farmland in South Africa is still owned by white South Africans.


South Africa has a population of around 57 million people, and about 4.5 million are white, which means 72% of the farmland is owned by only 9% of the population.


Those statistics is what motivated President Ramaphosa to propose an amendment to the South African constitution to allow land expropriation without compensation.


A union that represents mainly white farmers has warned that seizures of land will have a negative impact on the country’s economy in a variety of ways -- they say if farms are given to people who have never farmed before, or don’t have the resources to farm, they will end up sitting empty and unused, which contributes to a shortage in food resources and employment opportunities.  


Other critics were quick to draw comparison between a similar program, enacted in Zimbabwe during the 1990s. Zimbabwe experienced an economic crash and has not recovered since.


This morning, President Trump tweeted that he wanted Secretary Pompeo to look into what is happening in South Africa, and that he was concerned about the “large-scale killing of farmers.” The South African Government responded directly via tweet that they rejected the “narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.”


About the murders of farmers -- it is a recurring issue in the country. In 2017, about 70 farmers were killed, with most of them white. It is not thought that it is a racial issue, but more about criminals who take advantage of farms’ remote locations and assuming that they have plenty of cash and valuables.


(pic source)




That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!


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