Iran’s deputy minister for sports: yes, women can go to watch big matches

Iran has said it will allow female fans to attend big sporting events alongside men, overturning a long-standing ban that made international headlines when a young British-Iranian woman was jailed for trying to attend a men’s volleyball match last year.

The deputy minister for sports, Abdolhamid Ahmadi, told the state news agency on Saturday that the country’s national security council had approved a government proposal to allow women to watch games this year.

Iranian authorities detained Ghoncheh Ghavami, 26, in June for trying to attend a men’s volleyball match.

Ghavami, who spent five months in jail before being released on bail, was arrested after taking part in a protest with other activists in front of Tehran’s majestic Azadi complex, wearing a white scarf and holding a placard, demanding to be allowed to watch the match between Iran and Italy.

Now it has emerged that an appeals court has dismissed charges against her and she will not have to return to prison, although a travel ban imposed on her is still in place.

In reaction to her detention, the international volleyball federation said it would not allow Iran to host international events while women were barred from stadiums.

Speaking to the Observer, Ghavami, who is in Tehran, welcomed the news. “Although this proposal is likely to be enforced with some limitations in the beginning, fortunately the issue of women demanding to be allowed in stadiums has gained much public support in the country thanks to the efforts of women’s rights activists in the past 10 years,” she said.

“The new government has supported the ban to be lifted but we want to make sure there will be a guarantee women will be allowed to attend all sporting events in future.”

It was not clear from Ahmadi’s comments which sports women can watch, but they are likely to include basketball and volleyball. The move will pave the way for women to watch football matches. Hassan Rouhani’s vice president for women and family affairs, Shahindokht Mowlaverdi, welcomed Saturday’s news in a tweet.

“This proposal is designed according to our cultural, social and religious sensibilities and for certain sports which are exclusive to men, families [and women] cannot attend matches,” the deputy minister said, presumably referring to swimming.

Although women in Iran engage in a variety of sports from martial arts to car rallies so long as they obey the Islamic hijab, they are not allowed to do certain sports in public where men can watch, such as swimming.

But the Iranian society is slowly, steadily changing and women are increasingly allowed greater sporting activities. Iranian women’s struggle to be allowed to enter stadiums was highlighted in a 2006 film, Offside, made by prominent Iranian director Jafar Panahi, which features a group of girls attempting to enter a stadium to watch a World Cup qualifying match.

The mandatory hijab for sportswomen has caused obstacles in the past. In 2011, Iran’s women’s football team was banned from an Olympic qualifier recently after Fifa ruled that their full-body strip broke the organisations rules.

In 2013, soon after Hassan Rouhani won the election in Tehran Shirin Gerami, made history after persuading Iranian officials to allow her to compete in a world championship in London as Iran’s first female triathlete.

She was the first Iranian women to take part in triathlon, which involved swimming in public, for her country’s tricolour green, white and red flag.

Rouhani, who tweeted a picture of Gerami after the competition, has called for gender equality since taking power, but such decisions are not entirely in his hands.

Ghavami’s detention embarrassed him but Iran’s judiciary, which was behind her arrest, acts independently of government. The president has advocated women being allowed to enter sporting events, such as volleyball matches.

Efforts to allow women to watch sport started under Ahmadinejad’s rule but hit a gridlock when a group of hardline Iranian MPs and influential clerics objected. Fatemeh Alia, a female MP, was quoted as saying last year that women are for “taking care of their babies and husband – not watching volleyball”.

It is not clear if the new announcement will meet any sabotage by the conservative-dominated parliament.


Jeb Bush Gives One Of His Most Revealing Interviews Yet

Jeb Bush previewed his plans Monday to attack one of Hillary Clinton’s supposed strengths, criticizing her foreign policy record and blaming current global unrest in part on her term as secretary of State.

“She can’t do the Heisman on the first four years of the Obama foreign policy” and then disown the current unrest abroad, Bush said Monday while appearing on The Hugh Hewitt Show.

Since Bush began considering a run for president late last year, he has been virtually absent from the influential conservative talk-radio circuit. But this was his second appearance in as many months on Hewitt’s program, even coming in-person to Hewitt’s Southern California studio Monday. In recent months, Hewitt has emerged as the go-to pundit for the Republican Party establishment.

On the show, Bush sketched out his lines of attack against the presumptive Democratic nominee. “The pullback began then,” Bush said of Clinton’s tenure. “The reset with Russia, the discussions with Syria, the red line, all these things created the beginnings of what we’re now seeing.”

Bush repeatedly flapped his hawkish wings in the talk-radio appearance, saying he would have abandoned nuclear negotiations with Iran “a long time ago,” criticizing President Obama for showing “incredible disrespect” for Israel and for the administration’s handling of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “trash-talking the guy and doing nothing.”

He went on to channel his brother, former President George W. Bush, calling some of America’s foes in the Middle East “barbarians” and “evil doers.” And he defended the controversial domestic spying program, blaming Obama for failing “to persuade people that their civil liberties are being protected by the systems we have in place.”

In the 30-minute interview, Bush also opened up a bit about his Catholic faith and religious freedom laws, something he has been reticent to do, as documented this week in National Journal.

He embraced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s recent signing of a controversial religious-freedom law calling it “the right thing” to do. The legislation has sparked intense backlash from Democrats and gay-rights groups, but Bush noted that President Clinton had signed a similar measure two decades ago.

“This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs, to have, to be able to be people of conscience,” Bush said. “I just think, once the facts are established, people aren’t going to see this as discriminatory at all.”

In recent weeks, some of Bush’s biggest skeptics in the faith community had specifically mentioned wanting to hear from Bush on the issue of religious liberties. His comments Monday put him publicly in line with the conservative evangelical right that he is quietly wooing ahead of his expected presidential run.

Unsolicited, Bush also brought up the fact that Tuesday marks the 10-year anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman whom Bush helped keep alive against the wishes of her husband through a legal and legislative battle that captured the nation’s attention. Her ultimate death, Bush said, “was one of the most difficult times in my life, to be honest with you.”

Bush went on to speak about the extent to which his Catholic faith informs his policy-making. “I’m going to get my economic policy from Milton Friedman and others like that, not from the Pope,” he said. “And as it relates to social doctrine, I do think where my faith comes into play is most as it relates to the most vulnerable in our society.”

Toward the end of the interview, Bush declined to address questions about whether Hillary Clinton should turn over the server that held her private emails (Bush maintained a private email account himself as governor), saying only that, “I put my money on Trey Gowdy,” the Republican leading the House’s investigative committee.

“That guy is a superstar,” Bush said. “He respects the rule of law. He’ll be a gentleman about it, but he’s not going to give up on this notion that she needs to come clean with what she knows about that information and other things, for sure.”

As for acknowledging that he’s actually running for president, Bush took a pass.

“Not today,” he told Hewitt.

Tim Alberta contributed to this article.


Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Was Treated for Suicidal Tendencies

BERLIN—The Germanwings co-pilot suspected of deliberately crashing an airliner into a mountainside last week had undergone psychotherapy years ago because of suicidal tendencies, a situation experts say is hard for airlines to detect.

In this case, the German prosecutor in charge said treatment had taken place before Andreas Lubitz, 27 years old at the time of the crash, obtained his commercial pilot license. While Mr. Lubitz had been under treatment, the prosecutors said, he hadn’t exhibited suicidal or violent tendencies recently.

“A few years ago, the co-pilot had been in psychotherapeutic treatment with noted suicide risk over a long period before he gained his pilot license,” Düsseldorf prosecutor Ralf Herrenbrück said.

French and German investigators have been combing Mr. Lubitz’s life for clues about motives for what French prosecutors have said was his apparently deliberate decision on March 24 to lock Flight 9525’s more experienced pilot out of the cockpit and fly the airliner into an Alpine ridge at 400 miles an hour.

Aviation attorneys say that Lufthansa and its insurers will likely maintain liability for the Germanwings crash, despite reports that the co-pilot hid his illness from the airline.
Andreas Lubitz taking part in a run on Sept. 13, 2009, in Hamburg, Germany. He underwent psychotherapy because of suicidal thoughts before obtaining his pilot license, German prosecutors said.
In recent years, U.S. airline officials have repeatedly confronted cases of severely depressed or otherwise emotionally unstable pilots killing themselves, though all those suicides occurred when aviators were off duty.

But in an interview, Bill Yantiss, an industry consultant and former head of safety and security at United Airlines, said passengers shouldn’t lull themselves into believing the Germanwings tragedy couldn’t be repeated in the U.S. or elsewhere.

“There probably are [members of] flight crews out there with the same mental state” as Mr. Lubitz, he said, and under certain circumstances they could snap. “The risk is out there,” Mr. Yantiss said. “It could certainly happen again.”

Under rules in Europe, the U.S. and most other places, pilots are largely on their honor to report any problems that arise between medical checks.

The prosecutor’s statement confirms comments from a person close to the investigation last week, who said Mr. Lubitz had been treated for depression and had concealed his condition from his employer.

It could shed light on a perplexing gap in Mr. Lubitz’s biography—a monthslong interruption in his pilot training a year after he enrolled in flight school in 2008.

The prosecutors said their investigation and interviews with witnesses had uncovered no sign that Mr. Lubitz was planning to deliberately crash an airplane. Neither could they establish a motive for such an act, they said.

Prosecutors had searched Mr. Lubitz’s Düsseldorf apartment on Thursday, uncovering doctor notes that excused him from work over a period covering the day of the crash. His employer said it hadn’t been aware of these notes.

The medical documents seized in the course of the investigation didn’t suggest that Mr. Lubitz was suffering from any physical ailments, prosecutors said. A person close to the investigation said at the weekend Mr. Lubitz had consulted doctors in the weeks before the crash about vision problems that could have affected his ability to fly.

Guohua Li, director of Columbia University’s Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention, described current medical standards for airline pilots as “outdated, inadequate and inconsistent,” especially regarding mental-health assessment. “These standards need to be updated, strengthened and made internationally compatible.”

As an example of what tighter standards can accomplish, Mr. Li said random alcohol and drug testing of U.S. pilots has virtually eliminated substance-impaired flying nationwide.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG, the parent company of Germanwings, has said it had no indication that Mr. Lubitz was suffering from depression or had any other mental problems. But owing to German privacy protection rules, the airline knows only whether a pilot passed the physical and mental-fitness tests that are a prerequisite for flying.

Mr. Lubitz’s medical certificate, last renewed in July 2014, showed he had an unspecified medical condition requiring regular checks, according to Germany’s Federal Aviation Office.

“The only medical information we get from our pilots is the annual medical check, and it’s a yes or a no,” a Lufthansa spokesman said.

—Shirley S. Wang contributed to this article.


GitHub Still Fighting DDoS Attack

GitHub is still battling what it says is the largest DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack in the service’s history.
What began around 10 p.m. Eastern Wednesday was still underway on Monday morning, according to GitHub’s Twitter feed.
In a Friday blog post, GitHub suggested that the attack was launched “to convince us to remove a specific class of content.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, the ongoing cyber assault directed massive volumes of traffic from China’s popular Baidu search engine to GitHub, paralyzing GitHub’s website in what appears to be an attempt to shut down anti-censorship tools.
Citing unnamed security experts, the Journal said traffic was directed specifically to two GitHub pages with links to websites that are banned in China—one from that helps users circumvent government censorship, the other the New York Times’ Chinese-language site.
As of press time, Greatfire’s website was reporting a connection error; the company has asked Twitter users to send samples of the code behind the attack.
The Times declined to comment to PCMag.
GitHub did not speculate about who is behind the onslaught, saying only that it is “completely focused on mitigating this attack.”
“Our top priority is making sure is available to all our users while deflecting malicious traffic,” the company said.
Just before 8 a.m. ET, the GitHub status page said “All systems reporting at 100%. Attack traffic continues, so we remain on high alert.” The same messages was tweeted by the company about 12 hours before.
“It is reprehensible that the censorship policies and actions of a nation-state are affecting” the largest code host in the world, Richard Bejtlich, chief security strategist at FireEye, wrote in a recent blog post.”The Chinese government is forcing GitHub to expend its private resources in order to continue serving its customers.”
Bejtlich called on the U.S. and other “like-minded governments” to “tell the Chinese to immediately stop this activity.”
Confirming reports that HTTP traffic originating outside of China was being redirected elsewhere, Baidu told PCMag that its security team is conducting a thorough investigation.
“[We] can say that we did not experience a security breach,” the company said in a statement, “and do not appear to have been hacked. We have informed other security organizations and are working with them to get to the bottom of this.”
According to cybersecurity firm F-Secure, the attack likely involved Chinese authorities, and used traffic from people outside the country, making the attack harder to block, the Journal said.
A bit closer to home, Rutgers University in New Jersey said it is also battling a DDoS attack, which possibly originated in Ukraine, NBC New York reported.


Hernandez trial: Fiancee says she dumped box day after killing

FALL RIVER, Mass. — The day after Odin L. Lloyd’s murder, on June 18, 2013, Aaron Hernandez instructed his fiancée to get rid of a box stored in the basement of their North Attleboro house.
Shayanna Jenkins, who has been granted immunity from the prosecution to testify, said Monday in Bristol County Superior Court that she found the 2-foot high by 12-inch wide cardboard box in a storage area. She said that the box weighed 35 to 40 pounds and she never looked inside to see what it contained. She said that it had a strong odor of marijuana.
Jenkins, who has a 2-year-old daughter with the former New England Patriots tight end, testified that she placed the box in a large black trash bag. A surveillance camera at the house captured Jenkins taking the bag to the backyard patio.
That same morning, Jenkins said her younger sister, Shaneah, stopped by the house seeking comfort. She had been dating Lloyd, who was fatally shot in a gravel pit less than a half-mile from the Hernandez house. Hernandez is on trial for first degree murder in the slaying.
Shayanna Jenkins testified that she borrowed her sister’s car and placed the bag and box in the trunk. She said she left the house for 45 to 60 minutes and drove to North Attleboro, Plainville and Foxboro. She testified that she disposed of the bag and box in a dumpster in a residential neighborhood.
“Where was the dumpster?” asked William M. McCauley, the lead prosecutor.
“I don’t know,” Jenkins said.
Prosecutors have previously said that they believe the .45 caliber Glock handgun that was used to kill Lloyd was in the discarded box. The murder weapon has not been found, but investigators recovered six .45 caliber shell casings at the murder scene and from a rental car, a silver Nissan Altima, Hernandez had the night of the slaying.
The testimony on Monday marked the second straight day Jenkins spent on the witness stand. She was the sole witness on Friday and remained in the witness box for more than five hours on Monday.
During cross examination, Charles W. Rankin, one of Hernandez’s defense lawyers, posed a series of questions to Jenkins about her relationship with the former football star. She said that she had known him throughout their lives in Bristol, Conn.
After he signed a contract with the Patriots, Jenkins said she discovered that Hernandez had been cheating on her with another woman. She also said that Hernandez was upset when his mother began an extramarital affair with Tanya Singleton’s husband.
Singleton was Hernandez’s first cousin. She spent several months in jail for refusing to answer questions before a grand jury that investigated the Lloyd slaying.
Jenkins said that Hernandez moved into Singleton’s house and she served as a mother figure. Singleton is 14 years older than her cousin.
Earlier in the day, Jenkins testified that on Father’s Day, June 16, 2013, Hernandez repeatedly used her cellphone to make calls and send text messages to Ernest Wallace, a co-defendant in the murder of Lloyd. The messages continued after midnight.
“Did you have reason to be texting [Wallace] that night?” McCauley, the prosecutor asked.
“No,” Jenkins said.
On Father’s Day night, Hernandez, Jenkins and four friends met at the South Street Café in Providence. The group ate and drank heavily for more than three hours.
Prosecutors have said that Hernandez summoned Wallace and Carlos A. Ortiz to his house in North Attleboro that night. Wallace and Ortiz are also charged with first-degree murder and face trial later.
Around 1 a.m. on June 17, the three are accused of driving to the Dorchester section of Boston, picking up Lloyd and fatally shooting him in the North Attleboro Industrial Park.


Study: Apples do not, in fact, have magic powers

An apple a day may be a better marker of your social status than whether you’ll see a doctor this year, according to a first-of-its-kind study.

In order to probe the old “apple a day keeps the doctor away” adage, researchers writing in JAMA Internal Medicine compared people who typically eat apples every day with people who don’t, measuring how much each group went to see a doctor.

The researchers — from the University of Michigan, Dartmouth, and Veteran Affairs — found that apple eaters did seem to visit doctors less but were also relatively well-educated and less likely to be smokers, both characteristics that are associated with better health. When they controlled for these socioeconomic factors (as well as the fact that apple eaters tended to come from racial and ethnic minorities), the difference between the apple eaters and non-apple eaters disappeared.

In other words, eating apples didn’t reduce doctor visits and may be a better symbol of the social determinants of health than any magical powers apples themselves confer.

There’s no solid evidence that any single fruit will improve your health

The study, published in the April Fools’ issue of the journal, was deliberately lighthearted. It’s also an observational study, which, unlike a controlled experiment, examines phenomena that are already occurring. So it can only describe correlation and not whether one thing caused another. (For more on why that matters, read here.)

But even if it were some perfectly designed experiment, it’s unlikely the consumption of one fruit would be a health game-changer, which is why the research belonged in the journal’s April 1 issue.

The greatest contribution of this study may be to illustrate how gullible we are when it comes to claims about “superfoods,” particularly given the kind of backing behind them. From the study:

Promoted by the lay media and powerful special interest groups, including the US Apple Association, the beneficial effects of apple consumption have been variably attributed to fiber, essential vitamins and minerals, and flavanoids.” Apples have also been “associated with positive health effects as far reaching as weight loss, prevention of neurologic degradation, cancer suppression, reduction in asthma symptoms, and improved cardiovascular health.

This latest finding about apples builds on the revelation that contrary to fruit-industry group hype, oranges do not have magical powers to prevent or treat sickness, either.


Chinese company creates 3D-printed car for just $1,770

Chinese 3D tech company Sanya Sihai has created a bright orange electric-powered sedan which cost just $1,770 to manufacture.

Sanya Suhai unveiled the vehicle, China’s first 3D printed car, on Tuesday in the country’s southern Hainan province.

Building the vehicle reportedly took 1.5 months, with the printing part of the process taking about five days.

“The density of the material is much lighter than that of the metal, only one-seventh or one-eighth,” chief designer Chen Mingqiao explained. “Lighter weight will help save energy in the future.”

The fully functioning sedan was printed in a filament dubbed ‘Tyrant Gold’ and cost just $1,770 to build. It was printed using low-cost composite materials.

The vehicle, which is powered by rechargeable batteries, can reach speeds of up to 40 kilometers per hour (24 mph).

The world’s first 3D printed car, the Urbee, was created in the US in 2013 by design firm KOR EcoLogic, direct digital manufacturer RedEye on Demand, and 3D printing manufacturer Stratsys. Last year, the Arizona-based Local Motors printed the Strati car. The company has plans to custom print 3D cars for clients on demand.

Once more are produced, the Urbee’s sticker price will likely be between $16,000 and $50,000, while the Strati will probably cost between $18,000 and $30,000.

Last Spring, Chinese company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. printed 10 single-story 3D-printed homes in under 24 hours. In January, WinSun used 3D printers to create a five-story house using construction wastes. It was the tallest building to ever be 3D printed.


Russian superhighway could connect London to New York

Russia has unveiled ambitious plans to build a superhighway that, in theory, could make it possible to drive from London on one end to New York on the other.

According to a report by The Siberian Times, the head of Russian Railways is asking the government to seriously consider his project dubbed the Trans-Eurasian Belt Development, the first modern transportation corridor that would link up the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean.

Plans call for the construction of a new high-speed railway and the development of major roads that would span the length of Russia, link up with existing transportation networks in Europe and Asia — and cross the Bering Strait.

A network that would run about 20,000 km (12,400 miles) in length.

The proposal was presented at a meeting of the Russian Academy of Science and was touted, not only as a major transportation route, but as a means to create new cities and jobs in parts of Russia and Siberia that are woefully underdeveloped, and experience the hemorrhaging of young talent who leave the region for better opportunities abroad.

The new network could also be used to build pipelines for oil and gas as well as infrastructure for electricity and water supplies, said Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin.

The lofty proposal, however, comes with an equally sky-high price tag that could be trillions of dollars.

Currently, the longest international route operated by Russian Railways is Moscow to Pyongyang, North Korea, a 10,267-km (6,380 miles) journey that takes about nine days.


Migrants’ newest route to Europe means an epic Balkans trek

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East take many routes to cross illegally into the European Union, and all are fraught with likely disappointment and occasional danger. The newest path, through the EU’s Balkans back door, comes with a cruel twist: an epic 250-kilometer (150-mile) walk that is surging in popularity even though most who try it fail.

This month, The Associated Press traveled for 10 days and nights with a 45-member group of West African migrants trying to reach Germany and France via Hungary, the terminus of the Western Balkans route. Many trekkers have faced years of failure to reach the heart of Europe by other sea and air routes, and soon discover the new path makes its own peculiar demands on those who try it.

Here is the migrants’ story from their Feb. 27 assembly in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki through 10 days of mounting agony and, for all but a lucky handful, defeat.

The 32 men and 11 women packed into a two-bedroom basement apartment have left West Africa in search of a better life in Europe. It’s taken them months, some even years, to reach this moment of hope. Two of the women have brought along 10-month-old children born during the journey; the boy in Greece, the girl in Turkey.

Most have come via Turkey and, after paying smugglers around 1,000 euros ($1,100) each, sailed to nearby Greek islands to claim asylum on EU soil. But none wants to stay in Greece, with its unending debt crisis and high unemployment.

To escape means heading north to Hungary via the former Yugoslavia, and a key link in the journey — Macedonia — must be covered on foot because of stiff criminal penalties for traffickers.

The smuggler, a former soldier who provided AP access to the group on condition of anonymity, sternly tells his clients to be ready for a challenge that will require tents, sleeping bags, cold-weather gear, good shoes and plenty of socks. He promises to deliver them to the Serbian border in 10 days for a price averaging $500 a head. A few are sent to shop for last-minute supplies. All sleep fitfully on the floor.

It takes half a day for the entire group to board buses at a Thessaloniki central station full of rival groups of Asian and Arab migrants — and a large contingent of immigration police checking IDs. Two of the 45 Africans fall at this first hurdle, facing arrest for failing to carry papers identifying them as asylum-seekers.

The rest start their long walk an hour north in the Greek border town of Polikastro. They follow an active rail line over a rickety wooden bridge through woods for 10 hours, reaching the frontier with Macedonia shortly before midnight. It’s deemed too late to cross. The weather is cool but fine, and they sleep in the open air.

The next night — most hiking will be done after dark to reduce the risk of detection, arrest and deportation back to Greece — they cross the border under the noses of a hilltop police observation post. After running in small groups across a major highway, they pitch 10 tents in Macedonia amid high spirits.

Infighting begins as one migrant, an aide to the smuggler, loses his phone and demands everyone be searched. The group traverses a mountain ridge, a road junction, cabbage fields and streams during a 40-kilometer trek that concludes at 4 a.m. under a freeway overpass. A 34-year-old Malian woman with leg pain forces the group to stop midway. Men carry her for a half-hour, then say she must walk or be left behind.

The next morning, suspicions of theft among migrants explode into shouted insults. The smuggler warns he’ll march them all back to Athens if they don’t make peace. They do. The weather turns increasingly harsh as heavy rains turn into snow. The two 10-month-old infants cannot be consoled in the nighttime cold and, as the group falls two days behind schedule, mounting hunger gnaws at morale.

The group is reduced to 42 as a 41-year-old Ivorian who uses a cane cannot keep walking and is left near a village to be sent back to Greece.

On the sixth night of walking, the group finally reaches the town of Nogotino, still less than halfway to the Serb border. Morale is rock bottom, with many questioning why they had attempted the trip. Some blame the women and children for slowing them down.

Two days later, the snow has worsened and some tents have broken. Afghan and Syrian migrants have beaten the Africans to abandoned buildings for shelter, and the groups don’t mix for fear of being robbed.

On the ninth day, the Cameroonian mother of a 10-month-old boy says she cannot go on and they are left at night at an Orthodox church. The remaining 40 continue to follow the Vardar River north to the first large town on the route, Veles. The smuggler says they must wait until late and stick to the train tracks.

But after 145 kilometers (87 miles) on foot, their luck runs out. Youths spot the Africans and shout abuse at them. Two policemen appear and, once they see the large numbers of migrants, use their clubs on stragglers. Five are arrested, including the mother of the 10-month-old girl. Amid the melee, the child is carried away by another migrant. Another woman breaks her ankle as she flees and is hospitalized.

The next day, the smuggler and all but 13 of his group are in Macedonian custody and are shipped, with scores of Asian and Arab migrants, back to Greece in trucks.

As soon as the migrants are unloaded at the border and ordered to walk back into Greece, many of the Arabs and Asians make a prompt U-turn, dissolve into the woods and try their luck again in Macedonia. Their resilience illustrates the migrants’ maxim on this trail: Every time you fall down the map, get climbing up again.

The demoralized Africans retreat to their Thessaloniki safe house to reorganize. A few, including the mother of the 10-month-old boy, quit and return to Athens.

Ten days after the Veles debacle, the smuggler sets out again with 33 clients, including the mother of the 10-month-old girl. The child is waiting on the Serbian border, part of the 13 migrants from the first trip who reached a safe house on the border with Serbia. Without children to carry, the second mission makes better time — until police arrest all of them south of Veles.

The smuggler this week has begun a third attempt involving at least 20 veterans of the first two failures. The mother separated from her child is coming. It’s her third try in three weeks to reach her husband, mother and other relatives in Paris.

As the hike resumes, a handful of the migrants who evaded police at Veles have sent messages of triumph to their friends: They paid traffickers 100 euros ($110) a head to be smuggled through Serbia and are in Hungary, gateway for borderless EU travel.

Given enough chances, the smuggler says, all of them should make it.


President Signs Order Making Ted Cruz Ineligible for Obamacare

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) — Just hours after Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told CNN that he had no choice but to sign up for Obamacare, President Barack Obama signed an executive order making Cruz ineligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

“Clearly, the hardship of receiving Obamacare was causing Ted a great deal of pain,” the President said. “This should take care of that.”

Obama acknowledged that the executive order, which makes Cruz the only American expressly forbidden from signing up for Obamacare, was an extraordinary measure, but added, “I felt it was a necessary humanitarian gesture to protect Ted from the law he hates.”

Even as he signed the order, the President said that he was “torn” about barring Cruz from coverage, stating,”He’s definitely someone who would benefit from seeing a doctor.”

In an official statement released later in the day, Cruz blasted the executive order and accused Obama of distorting his position on Obamacare: “I never said I didn’t want to have it. I said I didn’t want everyone else in the country to have it.”