Vanilla Ice documented drama as 100 people fall ill on Emirates flight

Vanilla Ice on the Emirates flight from Dubai to New York that was quarantined after 100 passengers fell ill today.

The Ice Ice Baby rapper took to Twitter to reveal he was caught up in the incident, which saw three passengers and seven crew members taken to hospital for treatment after they they were struck down with "fevers of over 100 degrees and coughing.

Fortunately for the 50-year-old star, he was one of the lucky ones who was on a different deck to the affected area.

In a series of tweets, the Cool as Ice star - whose real name is Robert Matthew Van Winkle - told his followers: "So I just landed from Dubai and now there is like tons of ambulances and fire trucks and police all over the place.

Now I'm stuck on the runway with like 1000 police, ambulances, fire trucks, this is crazy. Apparently there is over 100 people sick on the bottom floor, so happy I'm up top, it's a double-decker plane A380"

The jumbo aircraft was said to have 500 people on board and landed at 9:10am local time.

A spokesperson for the airline later confirmed they were taking the required measures to control the situation.

They said: "All passengers were screened by the local health authorities prior to disembarkation and three passengers and seven crew were transferred to the hospital for further medical care and evaluation.

"Nine passengers underwent additional medical screening at the site near the aircraft and were released afterwards.

"The rest of the passengers were allowed to leave and clear customs."

The jet landed at New York’s Kennedy Airport after several passengers and crew members fell ill with flu-like symptoms. Source: Associated Press



US federal agency admits losing track of 1,488 'vulnerable' migrant children

Twice in less than a year, the US federal government has lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children after placing them in the homes of sponsors across the country, federal officials have acknowledged.

The Health and Human Services Department recently told Senate staffers that case managers could not find 1,488 children after they made follow-up calls to check on their safety from April through June.

That number represents about 13 per cent of all unaccompanied children the administration moved out of shelters and foster homes during that time.

The agency first disclosed that it had lost track of 1,475 children late last year, as it came under fire at a Senate hearing in April.

Lawmakers had asked HHS officials how they had strengthened child protection policies since it came to light that the agency previously had rolled back safeguards meant to keep Central American children from ending up in the hands of human traffickers.

"The fact that HHS, which placed these unaccompanied minors with sponsors, doesn't know the whereabouts of nearly 1,500 of them is very troubling," Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, the panel's chair, said.

"Many of these kids are vulnerable to trafficking and abuse, and to not take responsibility for their safety is unacceptable."

HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley disputed the notion that the children were "lost".

"Their sponsors, who are usually parents or family members and in all cases have been vetted for criminality and ability to provide for them, simply did not respond or could not be reached when this voluntary call was made," she said in a statement.

Since October 2014, the federal government has placed more than 150,000 unaccompanied minors with parents or other adult sponsors who are expected to care for the children and help them attend school while they seek legal status in immigration court.

Yesterday, members of a Senate subcommittee introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at requiring the agency to take responsibility for the care of migrant children, even when they are no longer in their custody.

An Associated Press investigation found in 2016 that more than two dozen unaccompanied children had been sent to homes where they were sexually assaulted, starved or forced to work for little or no pay.

At the time, many adult sponsors didn't undergo thorough background checks, government officials rarely visited homes and in some cases had no idea that sponsors had taken in several unrelated children, a possible sign of human trafficking.

Since then, HHS has boosted outreach to at-risk children deemed to need extra protection, and last year offered post-placement services to about one-third of unaccompanied minors, according to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

But advocates say it is hard to know how many minors may be in dangerous conditions, in part because some disappear before social workers can follow up with them and never show up in court.

The legislation comes as the Trump administration faces litigation over its family separation policy at the US-Mexican border, which while it was in effect sent hundreds more children into the HHS system of shelters and foster care.

Some of those children have since been reunited with their families, while others have been placed with sponsors.

Oakley did not respond to questions regarding whether any of the children who the agency lost track of had been separated from their families before they were sent to live with sponsors.

The legislation is aimed at ensuring HHS does more to prevent abuse, runs background checks before placing children with sponsors, and notifies state governments before sending children to those states, the bill's sponsors said.

"The already challenging reality migrant children face is being made even more difficult and, too often, more dangerous," said the panel's top Democrat, Senator Tom Carper of Delaware.

"This simply doesn't have to be the case and, as this legislation demonstrates, the solutions don't have to be partisan."

The White House has accused Democrats and the media of exploiting the photo. Source: US ABC / 1 NEWS

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Radio station already playing Christmas songs, but it's to ease dying toddler's pain

A radio station in the US is already playing Christmas music.

But it's not a shameless bid to further commoditise the holiday that some listeners have mistakenly assumed. The station has agreed to play the music months ahead of schedule to help dying toddler Brody Allen.

The two-year-old, who has a rare form of brain cancer, has asked to celebrate the holiday early in case he doesn't make it that long.

Cincinnati, Ohio, radio station WARM 98 has promised to add a little Christmas cheer to its broadcast at least once an hour.

"You should see the Facebook comments that we're getting," radio host Jim Day told news outlet WKRC. "As soon as we explain it, they're like, 'Oh, that's a really good reason', and they're fine with it."

The station has also organised another "Christmas miracle" for tomorrow in which staff and listeners will sing carols in the child's neighbourhood, which is already adorned with decorations. A Christmas parade will take place on Monday.

"Just all over the world he's touched people," said radio station co-host Amanda Orlando, explaining that little Brody has received Christmas cards from as far away as Australia, Lebanon and Japan.

It was a sentiment echoed by Brody's father, who choked back tears earlier this week as he spoke about the community and worldwide effort with a reporter for local station Fox19.

"To have so many people across the world reach out to my son and to tell him, 'Merry Christmas, we're thinking about you and we love you', is just the greatest gift that I as a father could ever give him," Todd Allen said.

Cards can be sent to the family at 9696 Adair Court, Cincinnati, Ohio 45251, USA.

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Mother of Spanish golfer slain in US talks about her daughter's special shine

The parents of slain top amateur Spanish golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena spoke about their daughter on Wednesday, saying she had a "special shine."

Her mother Miriam Arozamena spoke near their family home in the northern Spanish village of Puente San Miguel.

Looking distraught, the mother told reporters that she used to speak with her daughter every day and that she was an intelligent, studious and organised person.

The golfer was finishing her degree at Iowa State University when she was killed.

Collin Daniel Richards, a former inmate from small-town Iowa with a history of violence, was charged with stabbing Barquin Arozamena to death during a random attack while she was golfing by herself in broad daylight on Monday morning.

Celia Barquin Arozamena was playing a round in central Iowa when she was allegedly attacked by Collin Daniel Richards. Source: Associated Press


Ozzy Osbourne confirms two New Zealand shows as part of farewell world tour

Ozzy Osbourne has confirmed two final shows in New Zealand in March 2019 as part of his farewell world tour, No More Tours 2.

The former Black Sabbath singer will play shows in Christchurch at Horncastle Arena on March 13 and Auckland’s Spark Arena on March 16.

Heavy metal legends Judas Priest, who are on their first New Zealand tour, will open for Osbourne.

The 69-year-old will celebrate a career which began in 1968 when Black Sabbath was formed alongside long-time collaborators, guitarist Zakk Wylde, Blasko on bass, drummer Tommy Clufetos and Adam Wakeman on keyboards.

Ozzy Osbourne.