This adorable giraffe calf was born at the Dublin Zoo on June 27 and could grow up to weigh over 400 pounds.
Talk about a big baby! The Dublin Zoo is welcoming their newest addition this week, a female Rothschild giraffe calf who already towers over the savanna at six feet tall!
Born at the end of June, this "little" girl has already joined her herd at the zoo, but still hasn't been given a name as yet. Zookeepers are asking the public to submit suggestions based on the giraffe’s African origin.
This calf is the second born to her mother Maeve, who also has a two-year-old calf named Arria.
According to a press release from the zoo, this calf belongs to the most threatened of the nine giraffe sub-species. There are currently fewer than 700 Rothschild giraffes living in the wild, making this young female a very welcome arrival at the zoo.
If you want to suggest a name for this adorable calf, you can submit your idea on the Dublin Zoo Facebook page and at the Learning & Discovery Centre at the zoo in person.
"She is very confident for her age, as most calves would not join the herd until a week after they are born, however she has integrated very well," Helen Clarke-Bennet, team leader of the African Plains at the Dublin Zoo, said in the press release.
Zookeepers offered tips to the public on names they would be interested in, stating in the press release: "We like names that are original, based on the animal's country of origin and [that] tell us something about the newborn."
Gunfire and gas attack erupt during midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo.; 71 shot, 12 killed and suspect arrested in parking lot, police say.
Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes was buying guns, dropping out of neuroscience graduate school
James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting.
By Pete Williams, Bill Dedman and NBC News staff
James Eagan Holmes, suspected of carrying out the Colorado movie theater shooting while wearing an outfit of black ballistic gear, was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate student in neuroscience who started buying his four weapons legally in May, about the time his grades fell and he began the process of dropping out of school.
A law enforcement official confirmed that Holmes had two handguns, a shotgun and a semi-automatic rifle, was wearing an outfit of black ballistic gear, had his hair brightly colored red or orange, and told police that he was the Joker, the fictional villain in earlier Batman comics and films. Holmes is not cooperating with authorities, other than to divulge that his apartment was rigged with explosives. He is represented by an attorney.
The 24-year-old from San Diego was a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado Medical School campus in Aurora, a university spokesman told NBC News.
"The University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus can confirm that Mr. James Holmes was in the process of withdrawing from the University of Colorado Denver's graduate program in neurosciences," the university statement said. "Mr. Holmes enrolled at the university in June 2011."
A poor last semesterThe Washington Post reported that a neuroscience faculty member at Colorado who said he taught Holmes said he immediately thought of Holmes when he heard that a student was accused of the shooting. He was “very quiet, strangely quiet in class,” and said he seemed “socially off.”
Holmes did very poorly on his comprehensive exams last semester, the instructor told the Post, and the school was considering placing him on academic probation, but was not considering expulsion.
Aurora, Colo., police say they are working on disarming "flammable or explosive material" in the home of James Holmes, the suspected movie theater shooter, and NBC's Pete Williams has more details on the shooter's apartment.
The university website listed one of his courses as the Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders. He was listed on the class website as making a presentation in the spring on MicroRNA biomarkers.
The University of California, Riverside, confirmed that a student named James Eagan Holmes, with the same date of birth, graduated with a bachelor's degree in neuroscience in 2010. He graduated in four years, attending from the fall of 2006 to spring 2010. Public records show that the Holmes living in Aurora had a previous address at a Riverside dormitory.
Have information? Do you know James Holmes? If you have information, send an email to Bill Dedman of NBC News.
'A little strange,' 'very smart'
A student who lived across the hall from Holmes at Cal-Riverside, who asked not to be named, said Holmes completed the honors program and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honor societies.
"I always thought that he was a little strange. I could never put my finger on it, but something told me to not get to close to him, female instincts I guess," the female student told NBC News. "I had tons of classes with him and lived across from him in the Honors dorms. He was a very smart guy though. He was a little bit of a weird guy, but we were honors students, so weird people were kind of common."
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said Holmes, born Dec. 13, 1987, is the man who is believed to have killed at least 12 people early Friday, shooting 71 people in all, at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, a suburb of Denver. Holmes has not yet been charged with any crime, and will appear in court on Monday.
"We are confident that he acted alone," Oates said. He said he had no way to know yet how many rounds were fired, but it was "many, many." CNN said the gunman had a magazine that would have contained more than 100 rounds.
Holmes was arrested without any resistance at his white Hyundai car in the theater parking lot, parked just outside the theater's back door.
He was wearing a black ballistic helmet, a ballistic tactical vest, ballistic leggings, throat and groin protectors, a gas mask, and tactical gloves, Oates said. The police chief did not address reports that Holmes told officers, "I'm the Joker," referring to the villain in earlier versions of the Batman story.
Weapon purchases started in May
Four weapons were found at the scene, Oates said.
Two were handguns, made by Glock. Both were .40-caliber. At least one of those was used, the police chief said.
One shotgun, a Remington Model 870, one of the most popular models. Pump action, single barrel, 12 gauge.
And one Smith & Wesson AR-15 type rifle, called by some an "assault rifle." These weapons can accommodate large ammunition "clips," but authorities have not yet said what kind of magazines were at the scene.
Officials told NBC News that all four were purchased legally, beginning in May, from two national chain stores: Gander Mountain Guns and Bass Pro Shops.
The only previous police record for Holmes is a speeding ticket in October 2011, the chief said.Bass Pro Shops released a statement saying that employees at a Denver store followed all laws when they sold two weapons to Holmes. "We want to offer our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families," said Larry Whiteley, manager of communications for the company. "This is an unspeakable tragedy, and we join with all Americans in offering our prayerful support. Based on the records we have reviewed, personnel in our Denver store correctly and fully followed all Federal requirements with respect to the sale of one shotgun and one handgun to the individual identified in this incident. Background checks, as required by Federal law, were properly conducted, and he was approved. Again, our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We also offer our support and appreciation to the law enforcement and emergency response professionals and all others who responded to give aid to these innocent victims."
NBC's Pete Williams reports the Colorado gunman identified as James Holmes carried two pistols, a rifle, and a shotgun into the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," and said authorities are looking into how he was able to get in through the theater's emergency exit.
Holmes' family, who live in Rancho Penasquitos, a well-to-do suburban community in the northeastern part of San Diego, issued a statement through the San Diego Police Department.
"Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the family and friends of those involved," the statement said. "We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time. Our family is cooperating with authorities in San Diego, California, and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy." A man believed to be Holmes' father was seen leaving with luggage, escorted by police. The Associated Press said the father is a manager at a software company.
A neighbor, Tom Mai, told reporters on the block that Holmes was a shy, well-mannered kid, clean cut and responsible, who was very active in the church. The Associated Press reported that the family attended a Presbyterian church and threw a quiet Christmas party for neighbors. Holmes had trouble finding work after college, Mai said, and then went off to graduate school.
Rooting for the villain?
Holmes attended Westview High School in San Diego, graduating in 2006, the Poway Unified School District confirmed. Classmates showed yearbooks with his photo on cross country and soccer teams.
A woman who said she knew him in high school told NBC News that Holmes was a good person, but oddly always rooted for the villains in superhero movies.
"He was a nice guy. Who very much wanted to be liked and wanted," the woman said. "He was a very, very smart guy. I honestly can not believe he could do this. I know, I know, everyone says that. But it is truly devastating to me.
"He did not have many friends for someone who wanted to be liked," she said. "He loved all the villains in superhero stuff, which I did point out as odd. Most people enjoy the hero!"
'Quiet and easy-going'
Public records indicate that Holmes lived in the Aurora building where police have found explosives, at 1690 Paris St., Apt. 10. The building is reserved for students, faculty and staff from the medical campus.
The Denver Post reported that Holmes, in an apartment rental application he last year, described himself as "quiet and easy-going." A pharmacy student who lives in the building told The Post he called 911 around 12:30 a.m. Friday because there was a song blaring from the stereo inside apartment 10, where Holmes lived. The student, who wanted to be identified only as Ben, said he couldn't make out the song but that it seemed to be the same one playing on repeat. He also said Holmes kept to himself and wouldn't acknowledge people when they passed in the hall and said hello."No one knew him. No one," he told The Post.
Melvin Evans, who was a bouncer at a karaoke bar near Holmes' apartment, said he recalled Holmes as a patron from checking IDs. He said Holmes would stroll into the Zephyr Lounge, sit quietly in a corner booth and have a Budweiser,but never joined in the singing. "He would just sit by himself. He wouldn’t talk to anybody," Evans said. "He was really, really mellow, really calm. You wouldn't even look twice at him, if you passed him on the street
Officials said Holmes was not on any watch list that would have alerted authorities that he was dangerous, officials said. The incident was not believed to have any connection to international terrorism, they added.
An earlier report that the car Holmes was driving had Tennessee plates turned out to be incorrect, officials said.
'He looked so calm'
Police said the gunman entered through an exit door and appeared at the front of the theater in Aurora and released a canister, thought to be tear gas, that let out a hissing sound. He apparently had bought a ticket, propped open a door, and gone to his car for his gear.
The gunman then started shooting into the crowd, sparking pandemonium.
"He looked so calm when he did it," an eyewitness told NBC affiliate KUSA. "It was like scary. He waited for both the bombs to explode before he did anything. Then, after both of them exploded, he began to shoot."
"He had no specific target. He just started letting loose," the witness added.
Witnesses told reporters that the gunfire erupted during a shootout scene in the "The Dark Knight Rises."
After being captured by police, Holmes told authorities he had explosive materials in his apartment, KUSA reported.
Local and federal officials searched Holmes' apartment building, which was evacuated soon after the shooting.
Oates, the police chief, said the apartment had been booby-trapped with sophisticated explosives or flammable material. Officers were trying to determine how to defuse the devices.
Tune in Friday night to NBC News to watch a "Dateline NBC" special on the shootings in Colorado. Ann Curry will report live from Aurora at 9 p.m. ET.
Contributors to this report include staff from NBC News: Ian Johnston, Brinley Bruton, Sevil Omer, Suzanne Choney, Rosa Golijan, Joe Myxter, Petra Cahill, Kari Huus, Dick Belsky, Lauren McCullough, Michael Brunker, Jason White, Bob Sullivan, Maggie Fox, Roland Jones, Carissa Ray, Alex Johnson, Gael Fashingbauer-Cooper, Will Femia, John Schoen, Allison Linn, Reena Joy Flores, Becky Bratu, Martin Wolk. The Associated Press and Reuters also contributed.
Friday, July 20th, marks the 1,178th day since the U.S. Senate has passed a budget—an egregious dereliction of duty on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D–NV) watch. By enacting continuing resolution upon continuing resolution (short-term measures to keep the government running, spending money at the current rate), the Senate has taken a pass on leading, all to the detriment of the poor and middle class.
The budget process forces Congress to set priorities to protect the people’s money and put it to its appropriate use. Instead, the Democrat-controlled Senate has abdicated its responsibility. The result? The deficit is soaring, causing a looming tax burden and injecting uncertainty into the economy, leaving jobs and economic growth on the table. It’s no wonder the U.S. economy’s growth is so tepid.
As the 1,179th day nears, here are some facts about America’s budget and why the Senate must take action to be stewards of the people’s money as the Constitution requires:
The last time the Senate passed a budget was on April 29, 2009.
Since that date, the federal government has spent $9.4 trillion, adding $4.1 trillion in debt.
As of January 20, the outstanding public debt stands at $15,240,174,635,409.
Interest payments on the debt are now more than $200 billion per year.
President Obama proposed a FY2012 budget last year, and the Senate voted it down 97–0. (And that budget was no prize—according to the Congressional Budget Office, that proposal never had an annual deficit of less than $748 billion, would double the national debt in 10 years and would see annual interest payments approach $1 trillion per year.)
The Senate rejected House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R–WI) budget by 57–40 in May 2011, with no Democrats voting for it.
In FY2011, Washington spent $3.6 trillion. Compare that to the last time the budget was balanced in 2001, when Washington spent $1.8 trillion ($2.1 trillion when you adjust for inflation).
Taxes paid per household have risen dramatically, hitting $18,400 in 2010 (compared with $11,295 in 1965). If the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire and more middle-class Americans are required to pay the alternative minimum tax (AMT), taxes will reach unprecedented levels.
Despite all of these blatant red flags, the Senate has utterly failed to execute the most basic, fundamental function of governance at the worst possible time—when the country’s fiscal house is in disarray, the U.S. credit rating is in continual jeopardy, entitlement spending is ballooning, defense spending is on the chopping block, and the economy is in shambles.
One thousand days without a budget is an embarrassing number, but the level of spending, deficits, and taxation that results from the Senate’s failure to exact even a modicum of fiscal discipline is terrifying. Senator Reid has said it would be “foolish” to pass a budget, but failing to pass it is proving to be beyond irresponsible. The middle class will be left holding the bag, paying for the Senate’s reckless negligence with soaring deficits, higher taxes, and a weak economy as far as the eye can see.
Rachel's legacy: Year after girl's death, mom goes to Africa to honor her clean-water wish
Courtesy of charity:water
Rachel Beckwith asked friends to donate to her favorite charity rather than give her gifts for her ninth birthday.
By James Eng, NBC News
All Rachel Beckwith wanted for her ninth birthday was for people less fortunate than her to be able to have clean water to drink. Now, a year after Rachel’s death, her mother is traveling to Africa to see firsthand how her daughter’s wish has come true for thousands of people she never met.
“The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is seeing the actual wells where the people, because of Rachel, are going to be able to have clean water," Paul said in a telephone interview Thursday, "seeing other 9-year-old children and their moms knowing that they're going to have a 10th, 11th and 12th birthday and so on because of Rachel’s heart.”Samantha Paul, of Bellevue, Wash., accompanied by her church pastor and others, is traveling to the Tigray region of Ethiopia to visit the communities that now have access to clean water because of Rachel’s wish.
Rachel fell a little bit short of her goal by the time she turned nine. A few weeks later, on July 20, 2011, Rachel, her younger sister Sienna and their mother were in a car on Interstate 90 east of Seattle when a semitrailer jackknifed into a logging truck, sending logs spilling onto the highway. In the ensuing chain reaction, the semi rear-ended Paul’s car, critically injuring Rachel, who was in the backseat. She was taken off life support and died at a Seattle hospital on July 23, 2011.Rachel, the girl with a big smile and giving spirit, wanted to raise $300 by her ninth birthday on June 12, 2011, forcharity: water, a New York-based nonprofit that works to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. She started her online campaign after hearing Scott Harrison, founder of charity:water, speak at her church, EastLake Community Church in Bothell, Wash. Instead of birthday gifts, Rachel asked that people donate to the charity.
Word of Rachel’s birthday wish spread quickly after her death and her story was picked up by national news outlets including NBC News, The New York Times and CNN. Donations to charity: water in her name -- some from strangers across the world -- took off. In just a few weeks, pledges for the Rachel’s Wish campaign topped $1.2 million.
The money is going to projects that will bring clean drinking water to 60,000 people in Ethiopia, according to charity: water.
Ethiopia, a landlocked country of nearly 85 million in the Horn of Africa, is consistently hard-hit by drought and famine. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, and it’s estimated that only a quarter of its residents have reliable access to clean drinking water.
“Rachel’s lasting legacy will be seen in the lives and smiles of thousands of children like her that will now have access to life’s most basic need -- clean and safe drinking water,” Harrison said in a press release.
EastLake Community Church, a longtime supporter of charity: water, has raised more than $400,000 for clean water projects. The church and its members are hosting a fundraising event calledDrinks4Drinks on Aug. 3 to continue to raise awareness for the developing world’s water crisis.
'This changed actual lives'Paul, her parents and Pastor Ryan Meeks were among those departing for northern Ethiopia on Thursday night for a weeklong visit to villages where drinking water wells are being built. Harrison and other charity: water officials will also be on the trip.
A year after Rachel's death, Paul said she's still surprised at how her daughter has touched the hearts of so many strangers."We're going to actually see the work done," Meeks told KOMO News last week. "It's one thing to have your heartstrings pulled on and give money to something, but it's another thing to actually see the work proven. This went somewhere. This changed actual lives and here they are."
"A lot of kids look forward to birthdays and Christmas. She realized she didn't need anything for her birthday, she had enough. It's amazing that a 9-year-old could grasp that concept," Paul said.
In 2010, the Smiths opted to forgo presents for their birthdays in favor of donations to charity:water and asked their fans to do the same. The couple’s efforts reportedly raised more than $789,000 for charity: water.