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Containers of honey spark California airport evacuation

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A California airport was shut down and evacuated Tuesday after authorities claimed to have discovered “TNT” in luggage. Instead of a high-powered explosive, the substance turned out to be honey, owned by 31-year-old Francisco Ramirez, a gardener from Milwaukee.

The man was taken into custody at Meadows Field Airport in Bakersfield after a security incident was announced at 7:30 a.m. Flights were suspended and terminals were evacuated. Two Transportation Security Administration employees reported feeling ill after smelling fumes from the honey, which was discovered in five Gatoraid bottles. Both TSA screeners were rushed to Meadows Field Hospital.

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“The preliminary tests using the swabs indicated the presence of the explosives TNT and triacetone triperoxide, known as TATP,” a Kern County Sheriff’s Department spokesman told CNN.

Ramirez reportedly cooperated with authorities and informed them that the liquid was merely honey, not TNT. A second round of lab tests verified his claims and Ramirez was released without charge.

“After the all clear was given, officials said they were trying to determine why the honey tested positive for explosives and made the screeners so ill that they would need medical attention,” Reuters noted.

Other media reports said that the screeners were treated at the hospital and later released without incident. It was not immediately clear what sort of treatment the screeners received.

“Authorities are trying to determine whether Ramirez’s belongings may contain traces of chemicals he uses in his gardening,” USA Today added.

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“There is nothing inherently in honey that would trigger a false positive in an explosives test, said Sue Cobey, a staff research associate for the Department of Entomology at UC Davis,” according to the Bakersfield Californian. “The only scenario she could envision was a foraging bee bringing pesticide or fertilizer residue back to a hive.”


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Nancy Pelosi praised as ‘the only serious national leader’ in America — and Trump is ‘jealous’

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi was praised on Thursday for her leadership as she directed the House of Representatives to begin drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

MSNBC's anchor Nicolle Wallace played a clip of the Speaker's press conference, where Pelosi strongly replied after a question on whether she hated Trump that was asked by James Rosen, who works for the right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting network.

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California bars insurance companies from dropping customers in fire-prone zones

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California state regulators on Thursday banned insurance companies from dropping customers who live in fire-prone areas, a move aimed at helping some 800,000 people across the state.

The decision calls for a mandatory one-year moratorium on insurance companies refusing to renew policies in areas at high risk for wildfire.

"This wildfire insurance crisis has been years in the making, but it is an emergency we must deal with now if we are going to keep the California dream of home ownership from becoming the California nightmare," Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said in a statement. "I am calling on insurance companies to push the pause button on issuing non-renewals for one year to give breathing room to communities and homeowners while they adapt and mitigate risks, give the Legislature time to work on additional lasting solutions, and allow California’s insurance market to stabilize."

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Cheerleader who was punished for taking a knee during football game wins $145K settlement

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A former cheerleader for Kennesaw State University who took a knee during the National Anthem during a football game has been paid $145,000 in an out-of-court settlement, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Tommia Dean sued KSU’s then-President Sam Olens, alongside Scott Whitlock and Matt Griffin who worked for the KSU athletics department at the time, after her public protest with four other cheerleaders which took place in 2017. She dropped her lawsuit after settling with the Georgia Department of Administrative Services for $145,000.

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