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Posted by Kristan Roland

A 16 year old student armed with two knives went on a stabbing spree in his Pennsylvania high school, injuring 20 people before being tackled by a police officer and the assistant principal.

Pennsylvania High School Stabbing

The stabbings took place early in the school morning and response was almost immediate.  One victim, a security guard, was stabbed in the stomach.  All victims are expected to survive, but four were flown to area hospitals to be treated for serious injuries.

Franklin Regional High School, roughly 15 minutes from Pittsburgh, is now a bloody crime scene that will be closed until further notice.  The suspect in the stabbings has been taken into custody with a minor hand wound.  There is currently no known motive -- most students described the alleged attacker as "a pretty normal kid."

One student who saw what was going on pulled the fire alarm, which helped alert others and get them out of the building.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett released the following statement:  "As a parent and grandparent, I can think of nothing more distressing than senseless violence against children. My heart and prayers go out to all the victims and their families," Corbett said. "I have directed the Pennsylvania State Police to assist local law enforcement in its investigation in any way possible. Other state resources will be made available to the community, if needed. I assure the citizens of Murrysville that they have the full support of my administration."

Photo:  Associated Press

Posted by Kristan Roland

Two people were killed and twenty three were injured, five critically, when an allegedly drunk driver crashed through a barrier at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas.

The perpetrator was fleeing from an officer who attempted to pull him over for driving under the influence.  The driver continued to drive after hitting several pedestrians, hitting others, including a couple on a moped who were later pronounced dead.

After hitting a taxi, the driver exited the car and attempted to flee on foot before being subdued with an officer's stun gun.

The crash took place near the East 9th Street and Red River Street and East 10th Street and Red River Street intersections, near Mohawk, a bar where Tyler the Creator was performing.

The driver of the vehicle is facing two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault with a vehicle.

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Posted by Andrea

Maria Von Trapp, the last surviving member of the family made world-famous by "The Sound of Music," has died at the age of 99.

Maria Franziska, the last of the seven brothers and sisters from the Austrian family, died in her sleep at her Vermont home.

"It was a surprise that she was the one in the family to live the longest because ever since she was a child she suffered from a weak heart," a family friend told the Austrian Times.

"It was the fact that she suffered from this that her father decided to hire Maria von Trapp to teach her and her brothers and sisters," she continued. "That of course then led to one of the most remarkable musical partnerships of the last century."

The family sang and performed instruments together, which proved fortunated after Baron Von Trapp lost his fortune in 1935 during the world economic crisis. They fled their home in Salzburg, Austria when the Nazis arrived, and ended up performing around the United States, eventually inspiring the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical which tells their story.

Her stepmother Maria and father Baron Von Trapp had three more children together and settled on a farm in Vermont in 1942.

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Posted by Meg
banned words

Lake Superior State University in Michigan has released their 39th annual List of Banished Words and Phrases as we usher in 2014.

The group has receive tens of thousands of nominations for the list, and are getting close to having banished 1,000 words from ever again tripping off the tongues of the good citizens of the planet.

This year, according to the word-watchers, the list leader is SELFIE, the act of taking a photo of one's self and posting it to social media.

They explained, "People have taken pictures of themselves since the advent of film and cameras.  We fear that to continue the over-used term might morph into DUALIES, to describe taking a photo of one's self and a friend.  Heaven forbid!

TWERK/TWERKING is another set of terms they abhor.   They suggest we harken back to something that worked well, "Let's just keep with the time-honored 'shake yer booty.'"

Another offender is HASHTAG.  They assert, "It's #obnoxious #ridiculous #annoying and we wish it would disappear."


So let's get this straight.  We can no longer say 'Washington is morally bankrupt and politics and Obamacare totally suck?'  Got it...

Photo: WENN

Posted by Meg
new years around the world

A million New Year's Eve revelers witnessed first hand the Times Square Ball Drop despite the frigid temperatures in Manhattan.

The crowd cheered and kissed while ringing in 2014 shortly after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a Bronx native, led the 60-second countdown and pushed the button that sent the shimmering ball on its descent.

A 20-year-old university student visiting from Ireland said, "It's unbelievable here.  The lights, seeing the ball, hearing the music, all the people.  It's amazing."

Across the Atlantic, London rang in 2014 with futuristic fireworks.  An estimated quarter of a million people converged on the banks of the River Thames to watch a spectacular display set to music.  The "multi-sensory" show featured peach-flavored snow and edible banana confetti that fell from the sky.

The Dubai skyline featured a 30-minute display of pyrotechnics that engulfed the city's man-made island - an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest display featuring 400,000 fireworks.

The Sydney Opera House over Harbour Bridge featured a $5.4 million fireworks record setting display that was split into a series of events that took place at 9 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and midnight.

Photo:  WENN, Video Screen Grab
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Posted by Meg
funeral selfie goes viral

While attending the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa, a potentially sleep-deprived President Barack Obama took part in what might be construed as a disrespectful act.

He appeared to be having a grand time interacting with the Danish Prime Minister as his wife tried to maintain the proper decorum reserved for such occasions.

We loved this Twitter response that was posted by self-described talker and writer Erick Erickson of

well said

He prefaced the above remark with this tweet, "Did the President really take a selfie at a funeral?  It appears the First Lady did not approve."

POTUS posed for the controversial funeral selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Helle Thorning-Schmidt.  The Danish Prime Minister captured the moment with her smartphone.

Judging by the look and body language exhibited by First Lady Michelle Obama, she was NOT amused.  A series of photos showing Obama and Thorning-Schmidt, 46, laughing conspiratorially were captured by photographers and have since gone viral on social media - see below.

Three former U.S. president's attended the funeral at FNB stadium in Johannesburg with the sitting president and his wife.  George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were among the diplomats who made the trip, along with former First Lady Laura Bush and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton.

clinton and bush with their wives

Bush posted several photos on his Instagram page -- including one with musician-humanitarian Bono:
w and bono

Check out video that shows the animated conversation between Obama and his Danish seat mate -- followed by the dirty looks that the leader of the free world got from his wife.  At some point she and he exchange places when it became apparent that the two needed to be separated:

Photos:  Twitter-Agence France-Presse, Twitter-Erick Erickson, Instagram-George W Bush

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Posted by Meg
mendela daughters at london premiere

Zindzi Mandela and her sister Zenani Mandela learned of their father's death midway through the London film premiere of 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom' Thursday evening.

The daughters of Nelson Mandela walked the red carpet at the high profile showing of the documentary detailing his life.  When asked about his health, Zindzi responded, "My father is fine.  He's just a typical 95-year-old who is frail."

It was during the screening of the movie that the Mandela sisters received a cell phone call regarding the death of their father.  They quickly decided to slip away without disrupting the screening.

Film producer Anant Singh made the difficult announcement as the biopic credits rolled at the end of the viewing.  He then led the group in a moment of silence to honor the anti-apartheid leader - bio here.

Prince William and Duchess Catherine were among those attending the premiere.  The future king told the press as he and his wife left the venue, "It was extremely sad and unsettling news.  We were just reminded what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was.  My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family."

prince william and kate at mandela premiere in london

Actor Idris Elba, who had the lead role in the film, told a reporter, "We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth.  I feel honored to be associated with him."

Photos:  WENN

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Posted by Meg
nelson mandela has died at age 95

South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela died December 5, 2013 at his home surrounded by his family.  His death, at age 95, was announced by President Jacob Zuma.

President Barack Obama made this televised statement: "A man who took history in his hands, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.  We will not see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.  It falls to us to carry forward the example that he set.  A free South Africa at peace with itself, an example to the world - that is Madiba's legacy to the nation he loved."

In 1952, Nelson Mandela emerged onto the national stage when he helped organize the first country-wide protests called the Defiance Campaign.  A decade later he was sent to prison on a charge of inciting a strike.

At his trial he said, "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.  It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and achieve.  But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

He endured 27 years of hard labor in a lime quarry before receiving his freedom.  He went on to win a Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for his leadership in ending apartheid without violence.

Mandela become South Africa's first black president (1994-1999).  He later became an elder statesman who inspired millions of people around the world.  He concentrated on his philanthropic foundation - speaking out on AIDS, which had ravaged his country.  In addition, he raised millions for humanitarian causes.

He retired from public life in 2004 but surfaced for his 90th birthday with a star-studded concert in London's Hyde Park.

The former leader's health deteriorated in 2013, with many months spent at a Pretoria hospital for a recurring lung infection.

Photo:  WENN

Posted by Missy
palin basher quits msnbc

British journalist Martin Bashir resigned from MSNBC after a three year stint on the cable network. This comes after his scathing attack of Sarah Palin during a Nov. 15 broadcast.

He announced his departure Wednesday via email to Mediate, "Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the President of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation. It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments."

"I deeply regret what was said, will endeavor to work hard at making constructive contributions in the future and will always have a deep appreciation for our viewers -- who are the smartest, most compassionate and discerning of all television audiences. I would also wish to express deepest gratitude to my immediate colleagues, and our contributors, all of whom have given so much of themselves to our broadcast."

Bashir called the former Alaska governor a "world-class idiot" and a "dunce," suggesting that someone should defecate in Palin's mouth.  The following day he apologized on-air and then requested a leave of absence.

Palin responded to the comments during an interview with Fox News Sunday and accused MSNBC of "executive hypocrisy" in dealing with Bashir's controversial comments.

Upon learning of his resignation, Palin said, "My role is to accept his apology and be humble enough to accept it and move on.  At this point I'm used to it."

MSNBC president Phil Griffin released a statement, "Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague -- we wish him only the best.”

Alec Baldwin's cable show on the same network got the boot last week after the former '30 Rock' star used a gay slur while fighting with a photographer in Manhattan.  The incident was captured on tape and the damning evidence led to the cancellation of his short-lived cable news show.

Baldwin tweeted yesterday, "I wish @MartinBashir the best of luck.  Some of these cable venues really are Off-Off Television."

Photo Credit: WENN

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Posted by Meg
sam champion leaves gma

Sam Champion will take advantage of a new opportunity on the Weather Channel after 25 years of working for ABC News.

He'll be working for a division of the NBCUniversal News Group and will assume managing editor responsibilities in addition to anchoring a new flagship morning program set to launch in Atlanta early next year.

After broadcasting more than 1,800 weather forecasts for ABC, including 'Good Morning America' since 2006, Sam will celebrate his last day with his co-workers during Wednesday's show.

ABC News President Ben Sherwood revealed in a memo to the news division this morning that Sam's storm chasing partner of the last few years, meteorologist Ginger Zee, will take over for Champion.

Sam tweeted, "Only an amazing opportunity like this at @weatherchannel could take me away from my @ABC family of 25 yrs and @GMA #blessedlife."

Weather Channel President David Clark said, "Sam is already one of the top names in morning television, as well as one of the country's most respected and trusted weather reporters.  He will add a great deal to our network and be a great addition to our already proven and stellar team of talented weather professionals."

Photo:  WENN

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