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    A group of Turks who reached a Greek island by dinghy from Turkey are seeking political asylum in Greece, authorities in Athens said Tuesday. The 17 were reportedly Turkish civil servants and their families who fled a government crackdown in the wake of a failed 2016 coup. The coast guard said the Turks, including six children, were found Monday on the eastern Aegean Sea island of Oinousses, and taken to the nearby island of Chios where a refugee center is located. Turkey has arrested more than 50,000 people since the failed coup and fired at least 110,000 others from government jobs. The crackdown was initially launched to deal with alleged coup-plotters, but critics say it has expanded to include other government opponents, such as academics, journalists and legislators. Also Tuesday, Turkey's state-run news agency reported that local authorities detained five people who were allegedly trying to illegally cross into Greece, as well as a suspected smuggler. They were suspected of links to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for the coup. Gulen denies the accusation. The group was in a van in the western town of Havsa, near Turkey's land border with Greece that runs along the Evros, or Meric, river when they were stopped, Anadolu Agency reported. Turkish police seized an inflatable boat, a pair of oars and 10 life jackets.
  • The leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party says a claim that he gave information to a Czechoslovak spy during the Cold War is 'a ridiculous smear.' Jeremy Corbyn says claims in British newspapers 'are increasingly wild and entirely false.' The Sun tabloid last week published details of documents from Czechoslovakia's intelligence archives which, it said, showed Corbyn had met an agent three times in the 1980s. Other newspapers have repeated the claims. In a social-media video Tuesday, Corbyn said the stories were being spread by rich media barons worried by the prospect of a left-wing Labour government. Corbyn's office acknowledged that he had tea with a Czech diplomat, but said any claim he was 'an agent, asset or informer for any intelligence agency is entirely false and a ridiculous smear.
  • The Latest on the U.N. Security Council meeting on Mideast issues (all times local): 1:45 p.m. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is giving the United Nations' strong support to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stressing: 'There is no Plan B.' But he told the U.N. Security Council's monthly Mideast meeting that 'after decades of support, the global consensus for a two-state solution could be eroding.' Guterres warned that 'obstacles on the ground have the potential to create an irreversible one-state reality.' Stressing the U.N.'s opposition to such a reality, he said: 'It is simply impossible to square the circle of a one-state reality with the legitimate national, historic and democratic aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.' Guterres told council members Tuesday that 'this is a time for dialogue, for reconciliation, for reason.' He also called conditions in Hamas-rule Gaza 'dire' and mentioned the shortage of funds for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, caused by the U.S. suspension of $65 million in assistance. ___ 1:30 p.m. The U.N. Mideast envoy is warning that if the window of opportunity for peace between Israel and the Palestinians isn't seized quickly, the conflict 'will be engulfed in the whirlwind of religious radicalization that remains present in the region.' Nickolay Mladenov told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that 'the enemies of peace are growing more confident by the day' and believe 'the political odds are tilting in their favor.' Mladenov said that 'as the peace process falters and the gulf between the two sides widens, Palestinians and Israelis continue to suffer the violent consequences on the ground.' He also warned that without immediate steps to address the humanitarian crisis in Hamas-ruled Gaza and revive its economy, 'we will face a total institutional and economic collapse in Gaza.' He stressed: 'This is not an alarmist prediction — it is a fact.' Mladenov urged the international community 'not to give up on support for the moderate Palestinian leadership' and said Palestinian unity is crucial for a Palestinian state. ___ 12:50 p.m. Israel's U.N. ambassador is accusing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of refusing direct peace negotiations with Israel and is calling him 'the problem' — not the solution. Ambassador Danny Danon addressed the U.N. Security Council immediately after Abbas on Tuesday, but the Palestinian leader left the chamber as soon as he finished, and Danon accused him of 'once again running away.' He said Abbas has refused to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for 7 1/2 years 'to negotiate peace,' and he told council members that instead, the Palestinian president has been coming to the U.N. 'expecting you to deliver the results.' Danon said: 'It's not going to work that way. The only way to move forward is to have direct negotiations between Israel and Palestinians.' Abbas outlined the Palestinian vision for peace and told the council: 'We are ready to begin negotiations immediately in order to achieve the freedom and independence of our people.
  • A Clinton-Obama sex tape using body doubles. A Facebook page promoting Texas independence riddled with grammatical mistakes. Islamic State anthems blasting out during the nightshift. The U.S. indictment centered on a Russian troll farm only scratches the surface of the St. Petersburg agency that allegedly produced online content to sway the 2016 presidential election — and glosses over how unconvincing some of its stunts could be. Many of the more eye-popping accounts of the Internet Research Agency's activities have come from former staff members. One, Alan Baskaev, told the independent Russian television channel Rain last year that the agency made a video that looked like a U.S. soldier shooting a Quran and had even hired two actors in an abortive bid to fake a sex tape of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. 'No one would buy it, clearly,' Baskaev told the broadcaster , laughing. The Associated Press couldn't confirm Baskaev's sex tape story, but a video of a purported U.S. soldier in desert camouflage firing an assault-style weapon at a Quran was posted to an American gun forum in September 2015. The fakery was screamingly obvious: The soldier's uniform was misshapen and out of date. His helmet resembled the headwear a cyclist might wear and the English he spoke was so heavily accented it was almost indecipherable. The BBC's Russian service identified the man in 2016 as a bartender in St. Petersburg, a friend of someone who worked at the troll factory. The Quran video and others like it were ignominious flops. The New York Times Magazine in 2015 identified other fake videos , including footage meant to spark panic about a chemical plant explosion in Louisiana supposedly caused by the Islamic State group. Another showed a phony shooting in Atlanta, Georgia that carried echoes of Michael Brown's fatal 2014 encounter with police in Ferguson, Missouri. The indictment that charged 13 Russians with meddling in the presidential race makes no mention of them, but the amateurish videos continued through the election. Last year The Daily Beast said it had identified 'Williams and Kalvin' — a rap duo purportedly from Atlanta that appeared in YouTube videos — as operatives of the Russian troll operation. Speaking in a thick Nigerian accent, the man who went by Williams slammed Hillary Clinton as a racist and said, 'This is time for change.' 'Let our vote go for Trump, because this man is a businessman, he's not a politician,' he continued. 'Any businessman cannot be a racist.' The cringe-inducing quality of such videos and other pieces of the trolls' work is another aspect of the alleged interference left out of the indictment — and much of the attendant media coverage. The agency did manage to organize rallies in the U.S., but turnout appears to have been microscopic. Even online, the trolls struggled with their command of English. One of the Internet Research Agency's most popular Facebook pages, the secessionist-minded Heart of Texas, was packed with malapropisms. 'Hillary Clinton behind bars is a dream of thousands of Americans and may the god this dream come true,' reads one of the Facebook posts that journalist Casey Michael eventually collected . 'Texas is a heaven of Earth, a land give to us by Lord himself!' reads another. The nonsensical quality of the work would be no surprise to former troll farm employee Baskaev. He described a slap-dash operation whose internet connections frequently failed and whose fake profiles repeatedly got spiked by Facebook administrators. When the managers had gone home, the 20-somethings working the night shift at the troll farm ran amok, he said, playing Islamic State anthems over the sound system and jokingly saluting each other with the Ukrainian nationalist greeting, 'Glory to Ukraine!' The indictment alleges that the troll farm sent operatives to the United States. Baskaev said the same to Rain last year, but added that he doubted any of them accomplished much in the U.S. 'They probably just went out boozing and partying,' he said.
  • Maldives' parliament on Tuesday approved a 30-day extension of a state of emergency declared by the president to strengthen his power, ignoring a plea from regional power India not to extend it. The extension of the emergency, first declared earlier this month after the Supreme Court ordered the release of his imprisoned political opponents, is the latest development in a political crisis that has engulfed the Indian Ocean archipelago nation for weeks. The regulations give wide powers to security forces to detain people and curtail freedom to protest. The speaker of parliament, Abdulla Maseeh, announced that the motion passed after 38 ruling party lawmakers in the 85-member house voted in favor and opposition lawmakers boycotted the balloting. The opposition said later that the emergency extension was illegal because there was no constitutionally required quorum in Parliament. According to the constitution, one fourth of the members are required for an ordinary vote to be taken and at least half the number of the members should be present in affairs 'requiring compliance by the citizens.' The constitution does not specify such instances. The two-week state of emergency declared by President Yameen Abdul Gayoom was to expire Tuesday evening, and he had asked the legislature to extend it by 30 days. The Maldives has been in political turmoil since Feb.1 when the Supreme Court ordered the release of a group of Yameen's political opponents who had been imprisoned after convictions criticized for alleged due process violations. Regional power India said in a statement earlier Tuesday that it expects that 'the government of Maldives will not be seeking extension of the state of emergency so that the political process in Maldives can resume with immediate effect.' 'After the revocation of the emergency, democratic institutions including the judiciary should be allowed to function independently and in a fair and transparent manner in accordance with the constitution,' the statement said also calling for the release of Yameen's rivals. 'It is important that Maldives quickly returns to the path of democracy and the rule of law so that the aspirations of Maldivian people are met and the concerns of the international community are assuaged.' The constitution requires that a state of emergency be approved within 48 hours of its declaration by the president. It can take up to two weeks if parliament is in recess, as was the case with Yameen's proclamation. Under the emergency law, Yameen had two Supreme Court judges arrested, accusing them of corruption. Later, the remaining three judges annulled the order to release Yameen's opponents. Yameen's half brother and former dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was also arrested after the emergency decree, accused of conspiring with the opposition to overthrow the government. The judges on Sunday also delayed an earlier order to reinstate 12 pro-opposition lawmakers who were expelled after siding with the opposition. Yameen's party would have lost a majority in parliament had they been allowed to participate. 'This state of emergency is illegal and void. All acts undertaken with emergency powers are illegal,' opposition lawmaker Ibrahim Mohamed Solih told reporters. 'By entirely circumventing the constitution, President Yameen has in effect hijacked the entire state and is ruling the Maldives like a military dictator,' he said.. Maldives became a multiparty democracy in 2008 after decades of Gayoom's autocratic rule. But Yameen has rolled back much of the country's democratic gains after being elected in 2013. The country's traditional political alliances have been upended in recent years. Gayoom, now an opposition leader, is allied with exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed, who unseated him in the 2008 elections. Nasheed, Yameen's most prominent rival, is among the politicians ordered freed by the Supreme Court. Maldives is an archipelago of more than 1,000 islands. More than one-third of its 400,000 citizens live in Male, the crowded capital city. Tourism dominates the economy, with wealthy foreigners flown directly to hyper-expensive resort islands. ______________ Associated Press writer Bharatha Mallawarachi contributed to this report from Colombo, Sri Lanka.
  • Queen Elizabeth II has always dressed with style and flair — but Tuesday marked her first visit to the showy catwalks of London Fashion Week. The monarch squeezed in the front row, chatting with American Vogue editor Anna Wintour — who wore her trademark sunglasses — and presented an award recognizing British design excellence. It was an unusual outing for the 91-year-old monarch, who seemed totally at ease at the type of event usually frequented by stars like Kate Moss and Sienna Miller. She was elegant in a Angela Kelly duck egg blue tweed dress and jacket detailed with tiny aquamarine Swarovski crystals set off by formal black gloves. Elizabeth carried a matching handbag — of course — and wore her mostly white hair swept back. The queen didn't bother with the statement stiletto heels favored by many of the younger fashionistas, opting for sensible dark low-heeled court shoes for the awards presentation. 'As a tribute to the industry, and as my legacy to all those who have contributed to British fashion, I would like to present this award for new, young talent,' she said. The royal family has often hosted Fashion Week receptions for top designers and journalists, but the new award — and the queen's personal visit — have added a new dimension to its support for the industry. The lucky recipient was Richard Quinn, a recent fashion graduate of Central Saint Martins who started his own label in 2016 and has quickly earned recognition as part of the next wave of talented young British designers. The London-based Quinn received the first Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The British Fashion Council chose him for the prize. His provocative show included a model wearing what looked to be a decorated green motorcycle helmet with a dark visor along with black and white polka dot leggings and a gauzy top with different size dots. The queen, who has maintained an active schedule even as her 96-year-old husband Prince Philip has stepped back from public life, took to the catwalk to address the crowd and praise Britain's fashion heritage. 'From the tweed of the Hebrides to Nottingham lace, and of course Carnaby Street, our fashion industry has been renowned for outstanding craftsmanship for many years, and continues to produce world-class textiles and cutting edge, practical designs,' she said. She also toured showrooms before presenting the award on the final day of fashion week, which brought hundreds of designers, buyers and journalists to London for a series of catwalk displays highlighted by Christopher Bailey's farewell show at Burberry. The queen's visit followed a Buckingham Palace fashion reception hosted Monday night by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge — who is expecting her third child in April — and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex. The gala was attended by Wintour, model Naomi Campbell, designer Stella McCartney and other luminaries of the fashion scene.
  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a bill aimed at reintegrating the territory in the country's east controlled by Russia-backed separatists. The bill passed last month designates the areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as 'temporarily occupied' by 'aggressor country' Russia. It envisages the use of military force to get them back under Ukraine's control. The conflict in the east erupted after Russia's annexation of Crimea and has killed more than 10,000 since April 2014. A 2015 peace agreement signed in Minsk has helped reduce hostilities, but clashes continue. The bill signed Tuesday contains no reference to the Minsk deal brokered by France and Germany that obliged Ukraine to pass legislation offering broad autonomy to the separatist regions and amnesty to rebels. Most Ukrainian political forces reject that.
  • Kosovo's government has asked parliament to vote later this week on a revised version of a border demarcation deal with Montenegro. Opposition parties have steadfastly rejected the 2015 agreement, saying that Kosovo would lose territory. But the previous government and international experts deny that would happen. Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said Tuesday that he requested a parliamentary session Thursday to vote on a revised version of the deal after Montenegro's president agreed last week that his country would be willing to compromise. Montenegro, which has already approved the deal, recognizes Kosovo's 2008 independence from Serbia, which Belgrade still rejects. The European Union says Kosovo must ratify a border demarcation deal with Montenegro as a precondition for Kosovo's citizens to freely travel within its visa-free travel zone known as Schengen.
  • Chicken is still as scarce as hen's teeth at KFC's British outlets. KFC says about 470 of the fried chicken chain's 900 U.K. restaurants remained closed Tuesday because of a chicken shortage. The company says the disruption started last week, when it changed its delivery provider to DHL. Open branches are operating on shortened hours or with limited menus. The fried chicken chain first apologized for the problems on Saturday. It said it expects problems to continue throughout the week. The company declined to offer details about what it is doing to address the inadequate chicken supplies. KFC said: 'We anticipate the number of closures will reduce today and over the coming days as our teams work flat-out all hours to clear the backlog.
  • The Latest on migrant issues in Europe (all times local): 4:15 p.m. A Greek court in the northern city of Thessaloniki has convicted a Palestinian man of running a major migrant-smuggling ring and sentenced him to 13 years in prison. Judges ruled Tuesday that 29-year-old Jamal Owda was active during the height of Europe's immigration crisis, from July 2014 to December 2015 — when he was arrested in Britain following a Greek request. Migrants allegedly paid the ring 1,500 euros ($1,900) each to be taken from Greece to Serbia by road, at a time before Balkan countries closed their borders to check migratory flows. The traffickers' annual revenues exceeded 10 million euros ($12 million). Owda, who denied the charges, was extradited to Greece last year after British authorities rejected his asylum application. Another 22 people have earlier been convicted of belonging to the group. ___ 1:55 p.m. The head of the European Union's border agency says the number of migrants trying to reach Europe through the Mediterranean will remain high this year, with more expected to arrive through Spain. Fabrice Leggeri told reporters Tuesday that 'the irregular migration pressure on the southern borders in the Mediterranean will remain at a very high level.' He said that 'especially the western Mediterranean route is under scrutiny.' About 21,000 unauthorized migrants — mostly from Morocco, Algeria and Guinea — entered Spain in 2017. Leggeri said overall numbers have decreased since 2015, when 1.8 million people entered Europe. Crossings into Greece are down 80 percent from last year, but he said 'of course there is still pressure.' He expressed concern that EU countries are sending fewer unauthorized migrants home. ___ 10:35 a.m. Prosecutors in southwest Germany say a man who attacked and wounded three migrants with a knife apparently acted because he was angry about the government's refugee policy. The 70-year-old, who has German and Russian citizenship, seriously wounded a 17-year-old Afghan in the attack Saturday near a church in the city of Heilbronn. A 25-year-old Iraqi and a 19-year-old Syrian were also lightly injured. Bettina Joerg, spokeswoman for Heilbronn prosecutors, said Tuesday that the suspect was drunk and wanted to send a signal 'about the current refugee policy.' Germany has seen a rise in anti-migrant violence following the arrival of over a million refugees in recent years. Joerg said the suspect is being investigated for dangerous bodily harm rather than attempted homicide 'because the assumption is he didn't intend to kill.

News

  • The woman accused of screaming at a mother and her baby on a Delta flight last week has now been punished at work. >> Watch the video here According to Fox News, Susan Peirez, who claimed to work for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during the incident, has been suspended from her job with the New York state government. >> DOT reveals which airlines ranked highest for complaints in 2017 “State employees are and must be held to the highest standard both professionally and personally,” said Ronni Reich, a spokesperson for the New York State Council of the Arts, where Peirez works. “We were notified of this situation and have commenced an investigation. This employee has been removed from the office and placed on leave until further notice and until the inquiry is resolved.” >> On Rare.us: Woman kicked off Delta flight for complaining about baby Mother Marissa Rundell captured the incident on camera, and the video quickly made its rounds on the internet. The footage shows an annoyed Peirez complaining about having to sit next to a “crying baby” on the plane even though it doesn’t appear the child was crying at the time. When a flight attendant informed her that she couldn’t change seats, she threatened to have the employee fired and was soon removed from the flight.  >> WATCH: United Airlines plane loses engine cover on way to Honolulu, makes emergency landing Delta responded in a statement, saying Peirez’s actions and behavior failed to meet the airline’s standards for passengers: >> Read more trending news  'We ask that customers embrace civility and respect one another when flying Delta,' the statement said. 'This customer’s behavior toward a fellow customer on a flight from New York to Syracuse was not in keeping with those standards. We appreciate our Endeavor Air flight attendant’s commitment to Delta’s core values and apologize to the other customers on board Flight 4017 who experienced the disturbance.
  • Latest updates, results, photo galleries and stories from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
  • A Minnesota man listening to emergency dispatch audio learned that his wife, a 911 dispatcher, was killed in a crash with a wrong-way driver as she headed for work, the Star Tribune reported. >> Read more trending news Jenna L. Bixby, 30, died Saturday night in the head-on crash in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park, authorities said. Her husband, Daniel Bixby, was listening to the audio that first reported the crash, according to Andrew Williams, who heads two Twin Cities scanner monitoring groups online, the Star Tribune reported. The crash was reported at 8 p.m. Two hours later, State Patrol troopers contacted Daniel Bixby and confirmed that his wife had died. “A few of us were listening at the same time last night and messaging back and forth,” Williams told the Star Tribune. “Maybe two hours later, Dan sent a message on the board that troopers came and told him it was his wife. Yeah, it’s tough.” The wrong-way driver was identified as retired minister Richard J. Shaka, 72, of Blaine. He was in critical condition, authorities said. Troopers said alcohol consumption by Shaka appears to have been a factor in the collision. Jenna Bixby worked the past 3½ years as a 911 dispatcher for the city of Minneapolis, according to city records. “Minneapolis’ Emergency Communications staff work day and night to keep people safe,” Mayor Jacob Frey said Sunday. “As a 911 dispatcher, that’s what Jenna Bixby did for years -- and what she was on her way to do at City Hall when her life was tragically taken late last night.” Shaka taught at North Central University in Minneapolis in the Bible and Theology Department from 1996 until he retired in 2011. Shaka also founded a Twin Cities nonprofit organization that builds orphanages and youth centers in his native Sierra Leone, the Star Tribune reported.
  • A substitute teacher at Western Guilford Middle School, in Guilford County, North Carolina, was fired after a video surfaced of him body-slamming a student. The student, Jose Escudero, told WGHP that the altercation started because of a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. >> Read more trending news  Jose said the teacher took the box, throwing it into a sink, WGHP reported. The 12-year-old said he waited until end of class to ask for the chocolate to be returned. Jose said he put them in his bag and the substitute teacher tried to grab the candy, WGHP reported.  Jose said the teacher then grabbed him and held him against the wall before throwing him over his shoulder to the ground. The student said he had bruises on his elbow, shoulder and back. Jose’s mother shared the video of Jose falling to the floor on Facebook saying she wants justice. Guilford County Schools spokeswoman Tina Firesheets told WGHP that the teacher is no longer a district employee. The Escuderos told WGHP that they’re looking into legal action against both the school and teacher, whose name has not been released. WSOCTV.COM contributed to this report.
  • The Latest on the deadly Florida high school shooting (all times local): 1:50 p.m. A group of students who survived the Florida school shooting have started their 400-mile trip to the state capital to pressure lawmakers to act on a sweeping package of gun control laws. The students left Coral Springs on Tuesday afternoon and expect to arrive in Tallahassee in the evening. They plan to hold a rally Wednesday at the Capitol in hopes that it will put pressure on the state's Republican-controlled Legislature. The fate of the new restrictions is unclear. Lawmakers have rebuffed gun restrictions since Republicans took control of the governor's office and the Legislature in 1999. But some in the GOP say they will consider the bills. Wednesday will mark one week since authorities say a former student killed 17 students and faculty at Stoneman Douglas High School. ___ 1:15 p.m. Three buses are preparing to take about 100 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students to Tallahassee so that they can pressure state lawmakers to pass more restrictive gun laws. Dozens of reporters and cameras swarmed the students as they prepared to leave. Many of the students wore burgundy T-shirts of the school's colors. They carried sleeping bags, pillows and luggage and hugged their parents as they loaded the bus for the 400-mile journey. Alfonso Calderon is a 16-year-old junior. He says he hopes that the trip will start a conversation between the Legislature, Gov. Rick Scott and the students over commonsense laws on guns. ___ (Corrects to three buses instead of two) 12:20 p.m. Students from several Florida high schools have taken to the streets in a show of solidarity with students from a nearby school where 17 students were gunned down in their classrooms on Valentine's Day. Video footage taken from television news helicopter crews showed several dozen students who walked out of West Boca Raton High School on Tuesday morning, apparently bound for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland. Many of the students were wearing their backpacks. The distance between the schools is about 11 miles (17 kilometers). Several dozen more students gathered outside Fort Lauderdale High School, holding signs with messages that included 'our blood is on your hands.' On Monday, students at American Heritage High School held a similar protest. Former Stoneman student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. ___ Midnight A hundred Stoneman Douglas High School students are busing hundreds of miles across Florida to its capital to urge lawmakers to act to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week. After arriving late Tuesday, they plan to hold a rally Wednesday in hopes that it will put pressure on the state's Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun-control laws. Shortly after the shooting, several legislative leaders were taken on a tour of the school to see the damage firsthand and appeared shaken afterward. Chris Grady is a 19-year-old senior on the trip. He said he hopes the trip will lead to some 'commonsense laws like rigorous background checks.
  • When an accused teenage gunman opened fire on his former classmates last week, he wore a maroon polo shirt emblazoned with the logo of the school from which he’d been expelled -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The name Stoneman Douglas has become synonymous with the tragedy that ended with 17 people dead and the accused killer, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, charged with murdering them. But who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas? Douglas, who died in 1998 at the age of 108, was a journalist and advocate of the women’s suffrage movement. She may be most well-known, however, for her efforts to save the Florida Everglades, which are not far from the school bearing her name. >> Read more trending news Below are some of the details from Douglas’ remarkable life. Marjory Stoneman, who was born in 1890 in Minneapolis, showed a tendency for excellence early on. According to the National Park Service, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Wellesley College, where she was elected “class orator.” Following a brief marriage to a man named Kenneth Douglas, she moved to Florida in 1915 to reunite with her father, Frank Stoneman, who she had not seen since she was a child. The first publisher of the Miami Herald, Stoneman hired his daughter as a society columnist.  Moving through various duties at the Herald, Douglas established herself as a noteworthy writer, the National Park Service said. It was as a journalist that she embraced activism, fighting for feminism, racial justice and conservation of nature.  It was around 1917 that Douglas took on a passionate role in advocating for the preservation of the Everglades. NPR reported that most people at the time considered the Everglades “a worthless swamp,” but Douglas disagreed.  “We have all these natural beauties and resources,” Douglas said in a 1981 NPR interview, when she was 91 years old. “Among all the states, there isn’t another state like it. And our great problem is to keep them as they are in spite of the tremendous increase of population of people who don’t necessarily understand the nature of Florida.” Douglas in 1947 published her book, “The Everglades: River of Grass,” described by the National Park Service as the “definitive description of the natural treasure she fought so hard to protect.” Later that year, she was an honored guest when President Harry Truman dedicated the Everglades National Park, according to the National Wildlife Federation.   In the 1950s, Douglas railed against a major project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a system of canals, levees, dams and pumping stations designed to protect marshland -- now used for agriculture and real estate -- from flooding. The National Park Service credits Douglas with fighting the destruction of the wetlands long before scientists realized the effects it would have on Florida’s ecosystem. In 1969, she founded the nonprofit Friends of the Everglades, which continues to fight for the wetlands today.  Co-author John Rothchild, in the introduction to Douglas’ autobiography, described watching her speak at a 1973 public meeting regarding a Corps of Engineers permit: “When she spoke, everybody stopped slapping (mosquitoes) and more or less came to order. She reminded us all of our responsibility to nature and I don’t remember what else. Her voice had the sobering effect of a one-room schoolmarm’s. The tone itself seemed to tame the rowdiest of the local stone crabbers, plus the developers and the lawyers on both sides. I wonder if it didn’t also intimidate the mosquitoes. The request for a Corps of Engineers permit was eventually turned down. This was no surprise to those of us who’d heard her speak.” Douglas was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the National Women’s Hall of Fame a year later.  When discussing the issue of mankind and humans’ attitude toward nature, Douglas pulled no punches. “I’ll tell you, the whole thing is an enormous battle between man’s intelligence and his stupidity,” she told NPR. “And I’m not at all sure that stupidity isn’t going to win out in the long run.” She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She later donated the medal to Wellesley College.  On the same day she received the medal from President Clinton, Douglas was invited to witness the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly called the Brady Bill, according to the Daily Beast. The bill, named for Jim Brady, the press secretary critically injured during the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, established a federal background check for those wanting to purchase a firearm. Cruz passed a background check in February 2017 when he legally bought the assault rifle used in last week’s massacre at Stoneman Douglas.