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Iguanas Were Falling From the Trees

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  • Weather forecasters even predicted this, and look at that, they were right. 



It’s winter across the United States, and this year especially, even the south is feeling it. Florida experienced especially low temps, and it wasn’t good for the iguanas.

South Florida residents were warned with the possibility of falling iguanas, due to the cold. The National Weather Service warned people that the unseasonably cold temperatures could cause the rigid reptiles to fall out of the sky, or more realistically, out of the trees. 

The motionless creatures were seen in the middle of sidewalks and backyards. Iguanas become “cold”and sluggish once the temperature drops below 50F and are susceptible to actually freezing once temperatures drop around 40F. 

It’s because of this cool down that they so easily fall out of the trees they’ve been living in. Although they appear lifeless, they are not dead.

Florida residents shared videos and Twitter saw the real deal when it came to these cold creatures. One Twitter user even captured the resurrection of an iguana as it “came back to life.”

An iguana was covered in sunlight and after being warmed slowly crawled back to life after being temporarily frozen. Did you know that iguanas are not even Florida natives?

It’s hard to believe, because they are everywhere in the state, but it’s true. Iguanas are actually an invasive species and are a nuisance when they are not frozen. 

Not only do they poop and leave their droppings on decks and inside swimming pools, but they can also cause infrastructure issues due to digging small burrows into sidewalks and foundations. Wildlife conservationists recommend people don’t touch or attempt to warm the iguanas. According to them, iguanas may come back to life due to your efforts, but then feel threatened if a person is close. 

 

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Dutch Cops Arrest Six After Discovery Of Horrifying Torture Chamber

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  • We all would’ve been better off without this particular horror story coming to life

We’ve covered events that resembled famous movie scenes before. This is one more of those, but this time the genre has switched to horror.

On July 7, Dutch police officers raiding a criminal gang’s hideout made a bloodcurdling discovery. The gang had constructed a torture chamber that could just as well have been a set for one of the ultraviolent Saw films.

The police discovered seven shipping containers in a warehouse used by the gang in the town of Wouwse Plantage in southern Netherlands. The criminals had converted six of the containers into makeshift prison cells, according to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service.

Each container’s walls were lined with heat-insulating foil and sound-proof plates to muffle the intended victims’ screams. Metal handcuffs had been attached to the walls, floor and ceiling, and a single chemical toilet was the only furnishing.

The gang had fitted the containers with cameras to keep an eye on their would-be prisoners. Additionally, sets of police clothing, bulletproof vests and flashlights laid on the floor of one of the containers.

The Heart of Darkness

But the true horror of the gang’s intentions became clear only when the police entered the seventh container.

In it, they found a dental chair with handcuffs and straps to keep the victim’s limbs in place. In addition to the chair, the container held a sickening collection of implements of torture.

“The police found pruning shears, loppers, branch saws, scalpels, pliers, extra handcuffs, finger cuffs, tape, balaclavas and black cotton bags that could be pulled over the victim’s head,” the Public Prosecution Service said in a statement.

“The objects were presumably intended to torture or at least put pressure on victims.”

Adjacent to the torture chamber, the gang had built a sitting and sleeping area. The police suspect its purpose was to allow guards and torturers to stay in the warehouse longer and reduce suspicious traffic.

The warehouse also housed a weapons cache, with seven small firearms and a Chinese variant of the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle. In investigations related to the torture chamber, the police found 17 more firearms and more than 50 pounds of the drug MDMA.

Six people have been arrested over the discovery of the torture chamber. Their impressively long list of suspected crimes includes “preparation for kidnapping, taking hostages, serious abuse and extortion, participation in a criminal organization, and possessions of illegal weapons”.

Covering Two Bases

The Dutch police got onto the gang’s tracks in April, when they arrested a 40-year-old man from The Hague. The man was involved in drug trafficking, and investigations into his finances revealed that he used a warehouse in Wouwse Plantage.

The police immediately put the warehouse they had found out about under surveillance. Since mid-April, they observed men working on the seven cargo containers on a nearly daily basis.

They also found out about a second warehouse the gang was using near the city of Rotterdam. Several of the people spotted in Wouwse Plantage were also seen there.

“The second warehouse seemed to serve as the base for the criminal abduction team, housing fast cars, weapons and bullet-proof vests,” said the Prosecution Service.

Hacking the Communications

In a separate investigation, the police got access to the encrypted chat network EncroChat. The police intercepted the gang’s messages and at times they could even follow their conversations as they happened.

You can only imagine the cops’ reactions when they read the disturbing messages.

The gang members sent each other pictures of the “treatment room” they were constructing. They talked about kidnapping and torture, and the intricately planned plot to carry out the abductions.

“If I have him on the chair, more will come,” one message read. We probably really don’t want to know what that “more” is.

However, with their meticulous planning the criminals’ ended up sabotaging their own plot. Through the messages the police were able to deduce the identities of the gang’s intended victims.

“They were warned by the police and went into hiding. As a result, and thanks to continuous CCTV surveillance in and near the warehouse, the prepared kidnappings, hostage-taking and other serious violent crimes were prevented,” the Prosecution Service said.

A Criminal Network

The EncroChat service that became a crucial source of evidence and clues in the case is a now-defunct communication network. It operated out of France and at its height had an estimated 60,000 users, according to the BBC.

Accessed through customized Android phones, the system offered encrypted communications with the messages set to self-destruct after being read. It also had a “panic button” that would wipe all data on the user’s device.

Gee, it almost sounds like the thing was tailor-made for shady activities. Wonder why it got shut down.

An international team cracked the system’s encryption in April, said the Independent. The security breach gave law enforcement officials a chance to take peek inside the network.

Surprise, surprise – the cops found out that the secretive messaging service was used by criminals the world round. Matt Horne, deputy director of the UK National Crime Agency, said the “Encrophones” had become a “requirement” in organized crime.

Since the police got access to the network in April, they have made 746 arrests in the UK alone. In addition, they have seized more than $68 million in cash, 77 firearms, 1,800 rounds of ammunition, and more than two metric tons of various drugs.

Now they can add a fully-equipped torture chamber to that list. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that they caught it before it was ever used.

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‘Challenging’ Rescue Operation For Horse Stuck In Mud

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  • It’s said that art imitates reality, but in this case it’s the other way around

Have you ever seen The NeverEnding Story? If you have, then you will remember the horse in the swamp scene. It’s one of the most heartbreaking moments in film history and seeing it as a child scarred many of us for life.

An incident very reminiscent of the infamous clip played out near Bognor Regis on the southern coast of the UK. Only this time, the horse had a happy ending.

On the evening of July 29 a white horse named Millie got herself stuck in deep mud. She’s even the same color as Artax, the horse from the movie. It’s just too uncanny.

Around 6 p.m. that night, the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service got a call for help from Millie’s owner. According to the owner, Millie was stuck shoulder deep in a muddy pond.

Firefighters from the Bognor Regis Fire Station and officers from the service’s Technical Rescue Unit rushed to Millie’s aid.

The TRU Crew Manager Adrian Kirkpatrick said they arrived to a scene that wasn’t quite as dramatic as the one in the movie. Sure, Millie was stuck but she seemed calm and the owner wasn’t wailing.

“We found Millie standing quite calmly in the water, but she was unable to climb back out again as the bank was so muddy, and quite steep,” Kirkpatrick recounted.

The rescuers began the operation by doing the same thing they do whether dealing with people or animals – talking.

“The first and most important action you can take is to try and talk them in to the side without having to go into the water yourself,” said Kirkpatrick.

“But despite all our reassurances, and those from the owner as well, Millie was having none of it and was unable to climb out on her own.”

Time for Action

And so, the rescuers decided it was time to get down and dirty. Two officers from the team, trained in swift water rescue, geared up and got into the water.

Carefully wading waist-deep through the mud, they reached Milly and fitted her with a harness. But even though they tried several tricks to get her moving, the horse wouldn’t budge.

“It became clear quite quickly that she would need to be lifted out as she wasn’t going anywhere under her own steam,” Kirkpatrick said.

He complimented Millie’s owner for deciding for calling the rescue service.

“The owner was right to give us a call to get Millie out of the water, as we would never advise members of the public to attempt a rescue from water – especially when there is a large animal involved.”

With horse- and manpower having failed, the rescuers decided to rely on machinery. They connected the harness wrapped around Millie to a winch attached to one of the rescue service’s off-road vehicles.

“After lining the bank with some thick plastic sheeting so she wasn’t injured as we hauled her out, we pulled her slowly back up onto dry land,” said Kirkpatrick.

Unlike Atrax in the movie, Millie rose from the mud and laid down on the ground beside the pond. But all was not yet well.

Further Complications

Despite her having gotten out of the water, Millie made no effort to get back on her feet. Could it be that she had been injured by the operation?

Luckily, that was not the case. Kirkpatrick explained that not all horses will happily bounce back onto their feet after such an ordeal.

“Their legs can go to sleep if they’ve been in the water for a prolonged period of time, and sometimes the shock of the situation they find themselves in can all just be too much,” he said.

It wasn’t the rescue service’s first time helping out a horse and they knew just what to do. With great care, they rolled Millie over from laying on one side to the other.

“This did the trick,” Kirkpatrick said. “This was the adrenaline rush she needed to get back up again.”

For all their strength, horses can be surprisingly delicate creatures. Especially their legs are prone to various injuries and ailments. So, a lot could have gone wrong during the operation.

“Horse rescues can be incredibly complex, and this one was no exception,” said Kirkpatrick.

“Thankfully, Millie was none the worse for wear for her ordeal, just a little damp and wet from being in the water.”

Cause for Concern

This particular horse rescue ended well, but it’s one more number in a concerning statistic. Incidents with sick or injured horses in West Sussex – and all of the UK – have gone up during the coronavirus pandemic.

Between March and May 2020, West Sussex alone had 32 such cases, reported Spirit FM. While Millie ended up stuck by accident, a lot of the other cases have sadly involved intentionally abandoned horses.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said that equine welfare charities were already under immense strain. A lot of horses were taken in to different charities some ten years ago due to the 2008 market crash.

Now, with the coronavirus cutting into horse owners profits, cases have increased again. Charities are buckling under the increased number of cases and the financial strain they cause.

Those of our readers wanting to help save UK horses from the impacts of coronavirus can make a donation to the RSPCA.

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Kanye’s Running for President and His Platform Is What You’d Expect

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  • Kanye announced his bid for the presidency on the Fourth of July via Twitter.
  • Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian-West tweeted out their support soon after.

On July 4th, Kanye tweeted, “We must now realize the promise of America by trusting God, unifying our vision and building our future. I am running for president of the United States!” garnering 1.2 million likes. At this point in 2020, why not? Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian-West tweeted out their support. But the general response from political pundits and others was one of skepticism and indifference. 

Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

At most, those following the 2020 campaigns seem to feel, he’ll split the vote and give the Trump campaign a boost in its re-election bid. But in this bizarro-world we’re inhabiting with a worldwide pandemic, protests, and rampant natural disasters, doesn’t it seem like Kanye could win? 

 

At least, he stands as much of a chance as the last person to run without political experience. He’s also pretty open about his shortcoming as a political candidate, as revealed during a four-hour interview with Forbes. The entire thing is worth a read, but let’s go over a few of the highlights. 

The Kanye Campaign, in Brief

Photo by Srikanta H. U on Unsplash

“I haven’t done enough research on that,” he said about taxes. I mean, none of us have, otherwise why would filing your taxes every year induce a flop-sweat panic. It’s complicated, and you have to believe that Kanye isn’t a fan of the tax-the-rich model. He’s open to the advice of “the strongest experts that serve God.”

 

“I’m gonna use the framework of Wakanda right now,” to manage the White House, which sure, why not? Worked well in Black Panther. He goes on, “we’re going to work, innovate, together.” 

 

“I don’t know if I’d use the word policy for the way I would approach things,” he replied when asked about his platform regarding foreign policy. He made some comparisons to designing with Nike and Louis Vuitton. But maybe that’s just a semantic difference? Design foreign strategies? Sure. 

 

“They want to put chips inside of us, they want to do all kinds of things, to make it where we can’t cross the gates of heaven,” sums up Kanye’s feelings on vaccines, right after he called them the “mark of the beast.” Which isn’t exactly the attitude you want from your president during a pandemic desperate for a vaccine so we can all go to Buffalo Wild Wings or wherever. 

 

The interview also revealed that Kanye had COVID-19 back in February. His campaign slogan is “YES,” but he’s missed the deadlines in several states to get on the ballot for the fall, and his window of opportunity in the rest of the country is closing, so maybe no? He’s not worried, “God just gave me the clarity and said it’s time… I’m not crazy.”

 

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