Eight injured in Colorado stabbing spree; victims detain suspect in random attacks

A man suspected of unleashing a stabbing spree in and around downtown Colorado Springs early Monday was arrested after some of his victims helped to detain him, according to police.

Eight people were wounded in the attacks, which the Colorado Springs Police Department described as random as there was no known connection between the suspect and the victims.

Police first responded to reports of a stabbing downtown at about 1:30 a.m. and found two victims, according to police.

Witnesses told police that the attacker had fled on walking trails through America the Beautiful Park. Officers headed in that direction, and while they didn’t find the man, they did discover more victims with stab wounds.

About an hour after the initial call, police were told that more people had been stabbed near a downtown bar called Tony’s. Officers responded and found the attacker, who was being held down by some of the people he had attacked, police said.

A.J. Hinch releases statement after being suspended and fired

Former Astros manager A.J. Hinch has issued a statement after being suspended for one year by Major League Baseball earlier today and after the Astros subsequently dismissed him. His former colleague, Jeff Luhnow, also issued a statement. They are in direct contrast to each other. Whereas Luhnow shirked responsibility and sought to blame others, Hinch simply accepted responsibility.

Hinch’s statement, via Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle:

I appreciate Commissioner Manfred’s unwavering commitment to upholding the best interests of baseball. I regret being connected to these events, am disappointed in our club’s actions within this timeline, and I accept the Commissioner’s decision.

As a leader and Major League Manager, it is my responsibility to lead players and staff with integrity that represents the game in the best possible way. While the evidence consistently showed I didn’t endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry.

I apologize to Mr. Crane for all negative reflections this may have had on him and the Astros organization. To the fans, thank you for your continued support through this challenging time – and for this team. I apologize to all of you for our mistakes but I’m confident we will learn from it – and I personally commit to work tirelessly to ensure I do.

My time in Houston has provided some of the greatest moments in my career and those memories will always be near and dear to me and my family. I regret that my time with the Astros has ended, but will always be a supporter of the club, players, and staff I’ve had the privilege of working alongside. I wish them the best in the future of the game I love.

Indeed, Manfred’s report more or less vindicated Hinch. Manfred wrote, “Hinch told my investigators that he did not support his players decoding signs using the monitor installed near the dugout and banging the trash can, and he believed that the conduct was both wrong and distracting. Hinch attempted to signal his disapproval of the scheme by physically damaging the monitor on two occasions, necessitating its replacement.”

Just as importantly, however, Manfred said, “Hinch admits he did not stop it and he did not notify players or [Alex Cora, then the Astros’ bench coach] that he disapproved of it, even after the Red Sox were disciplined in September 2017. Similarly, he knew of and did not stop the communication of sin information from the replay review room, although he disagreed with this practice as well and specifically voiced his concerns on at least one occasion about the use of the replay phone for this purpose.”

Hinch, like many in the Astros organization, didn’t always have the best response when embroiled in a scandal, but he did well with this statement in the wake of his suspension and firing, especially when compared to Luhnow’s statement. One wonders if his apparent contrition might help him more easily find work in baseball when his suspension is over following the completion of the 2020 season.

Research Says Painkillers Block Ability to Feel Empathy

A new study now warns people from taking paracetamol before having an emotional conversation, stating that it blocks a person’s ability to empathise.

According to a report published in Daily Mail, the popular painkiller blunts physical pain by reducing the flow of chemicals that is responsible for making nerve endings sensitive. However, the new study finds that the chemicals keep on circulating in regions of the brain that control empathy and compassion.

The report cited an interview, Dominik Mischkowski, a psychologist at Ohio University gave to BBC, where he said that just like one should be aware that they do not drive if they are under the influence of alcohol, they should not take paracetamol before embarking on an emotionally responsive conversation. According to Mischkowski, paracetamol, or acetaminophen, warp people’s personalities by dulling their emotions, the report revealed.

In his BBC interview, Mischkowski further added that the effects of these medications in the broader context in not known, adding that “when it comes to the effects of medication on personality and behaviour… We don’t understand how they influence human behaviour.”

The study author investigated the effect of paracetamol in a study on 114 studies from Ohio University, the report revealed, adding that the volunteers were split into two groups with one half receiving 1,000mg dose of paracetamol – two large tablets – while the other was given a placebo.

The researchers found that people who took the drug felt significantly less positive empathy.

Grand Theft Auto IV isn’t being sold on Steam because of Games for Windows Live

Last week, it came to light that Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar Games’ grand open-world action game from 2008, was no longer available for purchase on Steam. Although an explanation was not provided then, Rockstar has finally released a statement (via USGamer) that sheds some light on the issue, with the blame being put on Games for Windows Live, Microsoft’s defunct online gaming service.

“Grand Theft Auto 4 was originally created for the Games For Windows Live platform,” began the statement from Rockstar. “With Microsoft no longer supporting Games For Windows Live, it is no longer possible to generate the additional keys needed to continue selling the current version of the game.”

Until this serial key shortage is fixed, new copies of Grand Theft Auto IV will be missing from the PC space. While the PC versions of Episodes from Liberty City standalone story expansions are still available for purchase from Steam, their days may be numbered considering the expansions also use Games for Windows Live. Since this is a PC specific issue, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the title are unaffected.

As for the PC version of the base game, Rockstar has said that it is “looking at other options for distributing GTA4 for PC,” and added that more information would be shared later.

This could mean that the studio is finally looking into cutting out Games for Windows Live integration from the game, maybe even attach Steamworks onto it instead. However, it’s unclear how long will a venture like this take, so we may be looking at a long wait before Grand Theft Auto IV reappears on Steam with a price tag.

Abby Huntsman departing ‘The View’ to run father’s gubernatorial campaign

Abby Huntsman announced on Monday that she is leaving “The View” to help run her father’s campaign for governor of Utah and to spend more time with her family.

The show’s executive producers, Hilary Estey McLoughlin, Candi Carter and Brian Teta, shared the news in a note to staff.

“We have some bittersweet news to share. Abby Huntsman is leaving ‘The View’ to help run her father’s campaign for governor of Utah and to spend more time with her young family,” the note said.

The producers said Huntsman, who is mother to 2-year-old Isabel Grace and 7-month-old twins William and Ruby, “made the tough decision to move on over the holiday break.”

Huntsman, 33, joined the program in September 2018.

Jon Huntsman announced in November that he would be seeking a third term as Utah governor. It’s been 10 years since he last held the post. He’s spent time as U.S. ambassador to Russia in the interim. Abby Huntsman will be a senior adviser to the campaign.

Huntsman said she is thankful to have been a co-host on “The View” and to ABC for believing in her.

“It was always a dream to sit at ‘The View’ table,” she said in a statement to People. “I have the deepest gratitude for all of my co-hosts and the team at ‘The View’ who don’t get enough credit for what they do every day — I’ve learned so much from each of them and this will always be a special place to me.”

Over the weekend, Huntsman shared a photo on her Instagram of her and her father with the caption: “Back to my Utah roots campaigning with this guy. Democracy in action.”

5 Things You Need To Know Before Going to Italy

Here are 5 things to know, courtesy of Jessica Spiegel, a Portland-based travel writer for BootsnAll Travel, and author of Italyexplained.com.

 

1. There’s No Such Thing As “Italian Food”

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We all know what to expect when we go to an Italian restaurant back home – the usual array of pasta dishes, maybe a couple pizzas, and of course a tiramisu on the dessert menu. Would it surprise you, then, to learn that in some parts of Italy you’ll be hard-pressed to find tomatoes in the local dishes at all?

Italy is a young country, formerly made up of independent city states – now called regions – with which most residents of those regions still primarily identify. Each region has its own personality, its own dialect (sometimes its own language), and its own cuisine. Moving from region to region – and sometimes from town to town – introduces travelers to new local specialties, and it’s a shock to those of us who think we already know what Italian food is.

Get to know what’s produced locally and what’s in season, and you’ll be eating the freshest and best of what that area has to offer. Steer clear of so-called “Italian food” that’s not typical of the region you’re in and you stand a much better chance of avoiding touristy (and overpriced) restaurants.

 

2. In Italy, Cash is King

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Most Italians pay for things on a day to day basis with cash – from their morning coffee to dinner that evening and everything in between. For those of us who have grown accustomed to paying for milk and bread at the grocery store with a debit card, it can be a little jarring when the waiter at a decent-sized restaurant balks when you hand him a Visa.

Most of us know that businesses pay a fee each time we pay for something with plastic, but in many countries businesses are willing to pay that fee because the culture leans toward the “customer is always right” end of the scale. Italy, for all its perks, is not the land of customer service. If something is an inconvenience for a shopkeeper – such as paying the Visa fee – he’d just as soon not have the machine at all. This works in Italy, because it’s already so cash-centric – it’s the visitors who sometimes get caught out.

Oh, and don’t worry – almost every hotel in the country (and certainly all the big ones) take plastic, as do train stations.

 

3. Mussolini Didn’t Make the Trains Run on Time

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There’s that great line about how “at least Mussolini made the trains run on time” – we’ve all heard it, and it’s funny, but it’s not true. It’s an urban legend (one that some older Italians still repeat – don’t try to argue with them).

Today, the trains in Italy are notorious for being a bit late, or for occasionally not running at all due to periodic labor strikes – and yet they remain, in my mind, the best way to get around most of the country. There are certainly places where you’ll want to have a car, or where a bus might serve your needs better, but in most cases I still recommend trains as transportation – especially if you’re sticking to bigger cities and towns.

I should note that while people will complain that trains are always late in Italy, that’s not licenseto show up late for your train and then be annoyed when it’s already left the station. In my experience, trains in Italy are more often on time than they are weirdly delayed.

 

4. The Waiter Isn’t Being Rude When He Leaves You Alone to Eat

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This phenomenon isn’t unique to Italy, but it bears mentioning because it catches so many off guard.

Where I live, waiters come check on you 90 seconds after depositing a plate in front of you, wondering if “everything is okay” before you’ve had a chance to even take a bite. They’ll check on you a few times during the meal, and then when it looks like you’re close to being done they’ll leave your bill on the table for you to take care of at your convenience.

In Italy, after your meal is delivered, you may not see the waiter at your table again until it’s time to clear your plates. And when you’re done with your meal, after coffee or dessert or whatever your final course was, no one’s going to come by with a bill without you specifically asking for it.

This is not the waiter being rude. This is the waiter letting you enjoy your meal and your dinner conversation for as long as you want. Restaurants in Italy are not looking to “turn over” tables every 1.5 hours – once you sit down, that’s it, that’s your table. It’s yours as long as you’re there. So when you’re ready to leave, you just flag down your waiter the next time he passes by and say, “Il conto, per favore.” You’ll get your check, and you’re not being rude for asking for it. Oh, and don’t forget to bring cash. (See point 2)

 

5. An Empty Restaurant Doesn’t Mean the Place is Bad

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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into restaurants in Italy, at what I thought was dinner time, only to find the place nearly empty. This is usually a good reason to leave a restaurant, because if the locals won’t eat there, why should you? In Italy, however, you need to check the time before you make that judgement call.

Italians eat late – not as late as the Spanish, in most cases, but the dinner hour in many cities doesn’t start until at least 8pm if not later (in Milan, restaurants don’t get busy until 9pm, even on weeknights). Many restaurants in bigger cities and towns (especially if they’re even relatively popular with tourists) will be open earlier than that, but the earlier opening time isn’t for the locals. It’s for visitors.

If you can’t adjust your dinner hour to match that of the locals, that’s fine – just remember that if a restaurant is dead quiet at 6:30 or 7 in the evening that may have nothing to do with the quality of the establishment and everything to do with the time.

 

Bonus 6th Thing: Relax

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You’ll note in a few of the things listed above that the concept of time may seem a bit fungible in Italy – and it is, in a way.

Breakfast may be a tiny shot of coffee and a pastry inhaled while standing at the bar, and Italian drivers may seem like they all think they’re in a Formula 1 race, but generally speaking Italians aren’t wedded to the clock.

You’d do well to try to adopt this mentality while in Italy (when in Rome, etc.), as it will help you avoid frustration with things like train delays and waiting to get the bill in a restaurant. Relax. You’re on vacation, after all.

Want to know more about Italy? Listen to the World Nomads podcast. A couple of places in Italy you won’t find in a guidebook – food that reduces you to tears – and what does it take to get your travel photos on the World Nomads Instagram page.