Midday Roundup: West Virginia teacher helped avert school shooting

by Leigh Jones
Posted 8/26/15, 11:55 am

Heroic actions. Police are hailing a West Virginia teacher as a hero after she helped talk down a 14-year-old boy who took a class hostage for several hours. The teacher, whose name has not been made public, kept the boy calm during the ordeal at Philip Barbour High School in Philippi, W.Va., and persuaded him not to let the next group of students enter the room when class ended. Those students alerted school administrators, who called 911. Philippi Police Chief Jeff Walters helped persuade the teen to free his hostages and surrender. He’s been taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. At first, the other students at the school thought the “code red” alert was just a drill. When they realized what one happening, they all held hands and prayed, one 17-year-old girl told reporters. “I just thank God everybody is safe, and hopefully we’ll never have a repeat of that again,” Barbour County Schools Superintendent Jeffrey Woofter said.

Long overdue. Ahmed al-Mughassil, the suspected mastermind behind the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers residence at a U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia, has been captured in Kuwait. The attack killed 19 service members and wounded almost 500 others. In 2001, the FBI described al-Mughassil as the head of the military wing of Saudi Hezbollah. He was one of 13 people indicted in the attack and the first to be arrested. In 2006, a U.S. district judge ruled the Iranian government financed the attackers and ordered it to pay $254 million to the victims. Iran has repeatedly denied any involvement.

Untimely end. Marcy Borders, made famous by an iconic photo taken shortly after the first World Trade Center tower fell on 9/11, died Monday of cancer. The photo of Borders, who became known as the “Dust Lady,” became one of the best-known images of that terrible day. Borders, then 28, had just taken a job with Bank of America in the World Trade Center. But in the years following the attack, her life fell apart. She suffered from depression and started smoking crack, only finding “peace of mind”after Osama bin Laden’s death in 2010. Four years later, Borders was diagnosed with stomach cancer, an illness she blamed on the particles she inhaled on 9/11. Although many people believe debris from the building’s collapse caused cancer and other diseases, researchers have not been able to find a direct link. Some types of cancer and other illnesses are covered by the Sept. 11 compensation fund.

More email fallout. The New York Post reports one of Hillary Clinton’s emails contained detailed travel and security plans for U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed along with three other Americans in the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Last week, Clinton again insisted she never sent or received any email marked classified. She said attempts now by the intelligence community’s inspector general to retroactively deem some email classified is just a case of interagency squabbling. “What you’re seeing now is a disagreement between agencies saying, ‘you know what, they should have,’ and the other saying, ‘no they shouldn’t.’ That has nothing to do with me.” But the revelation that one email contained plans for evacuating Stevens in the event of an attack is fueling speculation that al Qaeda or another terrorist group could have hacked Clinton’s server.

Obamacare reprieve. The Obama administration cannot force nuns to provide contraceptives to employees under the Affordable Care Act—at least not for now. Last month, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Little Sisters of the Poor, giving the government the green light to fine the nuns for not complying with Obamacare regulations. But yesterday, the same court put a hold on its ruling after the nuns asked for a stay pending their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Especially with the outpouring of support from 20 states, from Orthodox Jews, and from a variety of religious and secular legal organizations and ministries, we’re hopeful that the court will be paying very close attention to this issue,” said lawyer Daniel Blomberg with The Becket Fund, which represents Little Sisters. The nuns argue the government is forcing them to either violate their consciences or pay ruinous fines.

WORLD Radio’s Mary Reichard and Jim Henry contributed to this report.

Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Houston with her husband and daughter. She is the news editor for The World and Everything in It and reports on education for WORLD Digital.

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