• Teen Who Died from Online Challenge Donates His Organs & 'Honor Walk' Is Giving People Chills

    Joann Jackson Bogard/FacebookViral video challenges have been making a lot of headlines in the last year — and usually not for good reasons. Most of them involve risky and sometimes life-threatening behavior, which have left countless kids and teens hospitalized, and in some cases have even claimed lives. Sadly, this was the case for Indiana teen Mason Bogard, who died May 4 of injuries sustained while doing the viral "choking challenge," according to Local 12.As his devastated mother later shared on Facebook, Mason tried to choke himself "to the point of almost passing out," as the challenge dictates.It was something he had seen on social media, and wanted to try himself. But tragically, it went too far, and shortly after the teen was discovered, he was rushed to the hospital. According to his mom, Joann Jackson Bogard, doctors and medical staff at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville did everything they could to save Mason's life. But in the end, there was nothing that could save him.Though grief-stricken by losing their son, the Bogards are doing their best to see the bit of good that has come from his passing.“While we are devastated that we will never experience so many things with Mason again, we are able to find some comfort in the fact that Mason will save the lives of others,” the teen's mother wrote on Facebook.After exploring organ donation, the family decided to move ahead with the procedure shortly before Mason was due to be taken off life support. Incredibly, he was able to save five lives with the organs harvested by medical staff.A video of the teen's "honor walk" is now going viral, showing hospital staff silently honoring Mason's life, as well as those he was about to save."Our hero saved 5 lives!" reads the caption alongside the video, which was originally shared on Facebook by his mother, Joann.It was filmed by an Indiana Donor Network representative on behalf of the Bogard family, according to Local 12. In it, Mason is seen being wheeled through a hospital corridor as medical staff bow their heads and respectfully stand in silence as he passes by. Right before heading into surgery, doctors paused for a moment of silence, and then — while surrounded by Mason's family — a short letter was read aloud describing the caring, "adventurous" young man so many knew him to be in life.Deaconess Hospital also flew a “donor flag” outside the hospital for three days in Mason’s honor, his mother shared.The rise in dangerous viral challenges has been concerning parents, health officials and authorities for some time. First came the headlines about teens eating Tide Pods in January 2018. Then in spring 2018, they were allegedly snorting condoms. There's also been the dangerous trend of car surfing, which led a 10-year-old to be hospitalized earlier this year when he was run over by his own parent. And the recent Snapchat craze known as the "shell on challenge," in which kids attempt to eat a food item in its packaging, even plastic.Sadly, the "choking challenge" (sometimes called the "pass out challenge") isn't new — and neither are the deaths it has caused. According to a Time report last year, 82 people between the ages 6 and 19 died as a result of the game between 1995 and 2007 (the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). That means it's been making the rounds long before YouTube was even a thing."Choking someone else until they pass out, or choking yourself until you almost pass out, has been around for decades," wrote Mason's mother in a Facebook post earlier this month. "But the internet provides youth with a new medium to actually watch others do it and then wake up and laugh about it ... The problem isn't that they hear about a challenge or see a video ... the problem is the AMOUNT that they are exposed to [it] ... and the types of things that they see and hear online ... their brains are not equipped to handle the emotions that go with that act, which can lead to all sorts of other emotional issues."The danger of some of these teen challenges is real and, quite frankly, it is terrifying.But families like the Bogards, who have lost a loved one as the result of them, hope that by sharing their stories, they can help prevent others from meeting the same fate.On Facebook, Joann Bogard has become quite vocal about sharing what she's been calling MasonsMessage. In a May 15 Facebook post, she shared a YouTube video by another mom highlighting her son's story and urging others to stop the choking challenge now."Please watch her video," Joann wrote. "This is the message that we are trying to share. Educate yourselves on the dangers, the signs, the possible consequences."Hopefully, others are listening — especially teens — and the message Mason's family is so passionately sharing right now will not be in vain.This story was originally published on Mom.me sister site CafeMom.

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  • Donald Trump storms out of infrastructure talks with Democrats after 'jaw-dropping' rant

    Donald Trump pulled the plug on infrastructure talks with Democrats in spectacular fashion on Wednesday, storming out a meeting over their refusal to drop “phony investigations” into his administration.  In what political opponents described as jaw-dropping behaviour, the US president reportedly refused to shake hands at the White House talks, instead delivering a five-minute rebuke.  Mr Trump told the gathering of senior Democratic congressmen that he would not negotiate on new legislation, such as an infrastructure spending bill, unless their inquiries into his presidency were dropped.  The US president is said to have the left without waiting for a response, walking into a press conference in the White House’s Rose Garden which was unexpectedly called to accentuate his message.  Mr Trump said that Democrats could not go down “two tracks” at the same time, adding: “You can go down the investigation track or you can go down the investment track."  Democrats pointed to the pre-printed poster about Robert Mueller's probe as proof that Donald Trump's rebuke was planned and not 'spontaneous' Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci He pinpointed a comment by Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, who earlier in the day had accused Mr Trump of overseeing a “cover-up”, as a trigger for his move.  However Democrats pushed back, insisting they had come to the White House in good faith – attendees included senior congressmen who control relevant committees – in their own press conference after talks collapsed.  Ms Pelosi accused Mr Trump of “taking a pass” on infrastructure, saying: “For some reason, maybe it was lack of confidence on his part, he really couldn’t match the greatness of the challenge that we had.” Chuck Schumer, the most senior Democrat in the Senate who also attended the meeting, said: “To watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop.” He said Mr Trump’s actions were not “spontaneous” but “planned”, noting that the room’s curtains had been drawn and an area left clear for Mr Trump to deliver his rebuke.  Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the most senior Democrats in the House of Representatives and Senate, gave their own press conference after talks collapsed He also noted that a poster listing facts about the scale of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation which was pinned to Mr Trump’s podium during his press conference must have been printed in advance.  The row has been brewing for weeks, with the Democrats using their majority in the House to launch a string of investigations into Mr Trump’s administration, including topics covered in the Mueller report.  Mr Trump has repeatedly criticsed the investigations and attempted to slow their progress, stopping witnesses from appearing and blocking the release of documents – prompting Ms Pelosi’s “cover-up” comment.  Mr Trump and leading Democrats had gathered last month in a meeting on infrastructure which was lauded by both sides as positive. But with talks now broken down there is little chance of progress in the near future.  Ms Pelosi later said that Mr Trump's behaviour, including the rejection of subpoenas issued by Democrat-controlled congressional committees, could amount to an "impeachable offense".  She said: “The fact is, in plain sight, in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he's engaged in a cover-up. And that could be an impeachable offense."

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  • ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Thoughts and Oh No, Hold Up, Wait: Is Bran a Mass Murderer? (Podcast)

    Now that we’ve had some time to reflect on “Game of Thrones,” we can all agree, whatever our thoughts on the finale may be, that OH WAIT WHAT? IS BRAN A LOW-KEY MASS MURDERER? (That’s the gist of our latest “Low Key” episode, which you can listen to on Apple or right here or immediately below.)After a period of reflection, your three hosts — House Aaron, House Keith and House Tim — discuss the cinematic majesty of HBO’s series, which forever expanded the sweep and ambition of television and — okay, but seriously though, it seems like Bran Stark could have used his warg powers to stop Drogon from killing all those innocent people in King’s Landing, right? Right?After much guessing as to how David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would conclude their epic tale, inspired by the novels of George R.R. Martin, it would seem that they choose to go out not with a bang, but a whimper. But make no mistake, it was their choice — a realization that after all the carnage that came before, the most shocking thing the show could do was turn its sharp eye to the mundanity of governing, and a discussion of public facilities that wouldn’t be out of place even in our own… sorry. It’s not that we think Bran was wrong to allow all of those awful things to happen — is someone with the power of time-travel obligated to go back and undo wrongs? Or would doing so cause even more damage, in a kind of step-on-a-butterfly effect? — but we have to say, it’s kind of suspect that all of the terrible things Bran allowed, in spite of his Three-Eyed Raven powers, just happened to lead up to his becoming King Bran the Broken of the Six Kingdoms. And landed his sister Sansa the power over the North. We’re just saying. It reeked of nepotism and self-dealing.Also Read: Gwendoline Christie 'Very Much' Hopes for a 'Game of Thrones' Reunion in 10 YearsAnd so, whatever our thoughts on the “Game of Thrones” finale (House Tim enjoyed it, Houses Aaron and Keith were less pleased), surely we can all agree that it was the defining show for our era, a time when nothing was as it seemed, up was down, down was up, and look, we appreciate that Bran acted like he might be able to warg into Drogon, which I guess gave us some reassurance that he couldn’t have done it during the attack, but c’mon, he once warged into a human being, for Chrissake, are we supposed to believe Drogon is less susceptible to mind control than Hodor? At least Hodor can speak, even if his vocabulary is larger than Drogon’s by a single word.We’re kind of getting into an “Avengers: Endgame” situation here where we have to wonder why (spoiler alert) time-travel Captain America didn’t use what he knows now, to kill, for example: Hitler, Thanos, and multiple serial killers. This is by no means a complete list. Similarly, it seems like Bran could have warged any number of past dragons into killing or better yet not killing any number of past people, thereby preventing countless horrors. But then he wouldn’t have gotten to be king, would he?Also Read: When Santa Cruz Had Two Serial KillersAnyway, we hope you enjoy the episode as we look back on the proud legacy of one of our favorite shows, “Game of Thrones.” And ponder: If you could have prevented a murder, but didn’t, aren’t you kind of at the very least an accomplice to murder? King Bran?Read original story ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Thoughts and Oh No, Hold Up, Wait: Is Bran a Mass Murderer? (Podcast) At TheWrap

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  • Prepare for difficult times, China's Xi urges as trade war simmers

    BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China must prepare for difficult times as the international situation is increasingly complex, President Xi Jinping said in comments carried by state media on Wednesday, as the U.S.-China trade war took a mounting toll on tech giant Huawei. The world's two largest economies have escalated tariff increases on each other's imports after talks broke down to resolve their dispute, and the acrimony has intensified since Washington last week blacklisted Chinese telecom equipment company Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. The listing, which curbs Huawei's access to U.S.-made components, is a potentially devastating blow for the company that has rattled technology supply chains and investors, and saw several mobile carriers on Wednesday delay the launch of new Huawei smartphone handsets.

  • Man who threatened to kill ‘as many girls as I see’ because he was repeatedly rejected set to be spared jail

    A man who threatened to murder “as many girls” as he could see may escape a jail sentence, despite pleading guilty to a charge of attempted threat of terrorism.Christopher Cleary wrote a detailed Facebook post about how he planned to become “the next mass shooter” in January 2019.The 27-year-old described himself as a virgin who had never had a girlfriend.He also said he wanted to make the fact that so many women had turned him down “right” by going on a shooting spree, according to documents filed by Provo Police.Cleary was arrested on 19 January after publishing the Facebook post.Cleary then struck a deal with Utah prosecutors, pleading guilty to a reduced criminal charge.Attempted threat of terrorism is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.But Utah prosecutors agreed to recommend him for probation, despite his extensive criminal record.A judge will decide whether or not to accept the deal at a hearing on Thursday.The 27-year-old has been accused of stalking multiple times, with at least eight alleged victims contacting the authorities about his behaviour since 2012, according to police and court records.He was on probation following a marijuana conviction in 2016 when he was charged with stalking two teenagers he had met online.Cleary was put on probation for the stalking cases but in 2017 was charged with stalking and harassing his case worker.In 2018 judges in Jefferson County, Colorado sentenced him, once again, to probation for all three stalking cases.In one of the cases a 19-year-old woman said she lived with Cleary for a fortnight in a hotel room. She said that he strangled and urinated on her during that time, court records show.Cleary was out on probation for the three cases when he was arrested in a McDonald's in January, after publishing his Facebook post.Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Utah’s county prosecutor’s office, said once the case was concluded Cleary would be returned to Colorado.Prosecutors in Denver will seek to revoke his probation and send him to prison in relation for the stalking and harassment cases, she added.“All I wanted to be was loved,” Cleary wrote in his Facebook post.“Yet no one cares about me, I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend before and I’m still a virgin, this is why I’m planning on shooting up a public place soon and being the next mass shooter cause I’m ready to die.”It is unclear how truthful the Facebook post was, as at least two of Cleary’s accusers have said they had a sexual relationship with him.Some news reports have speculated that Cleary could be part of the “incel movement”, which promotes the misogynistic idea that men are entitled to have sex with women.But a Colorado police detective, who investigated two accusations against the 27-year-old, said there as no evidence he was part of the movement.“I truly think he’s just wired differently,” he said. Additional reporting by agencies

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