Video: Returning military dad pops out of box to surprise 3-year-old

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Over Presidents Day weekend, a YouTube video from September went viral.

It’s easy to understand why.

Joshua Carr, who declined to specify his rank or branch of service in an interview with Stars & Stripes, was on his second deployment and about to return home from Afghanistan when he had an idea:  Because his daughter, Bridget, was about to celebrate her 3rd birthday, why not turn himself into the present? Continue reading

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Maps: Deaths caused by road crashes vs. cancer

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A study released this month by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute compares deaths from vehicle crashes with other leading causes in 193 countries.

Two takeaways: 1) Don’t move to Europe if you want to avoid cancer. 2) Move to a small spot with fewer highways to stay alive on the road. (Duh!) Continue reading

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4-year-old found wandering desert alone

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unhcr-syrian-boy-via-twitterA photo of a little boy who became separated from his family while fleeing Syria is going viral.

Members of the U.N. Refugee Agency found Marwan wandering alone in a barren landscape, Andrew Harper, the UNHRC representative to Jordan, tweeted on Sunday. The 4-year-old was toting a plastic bag, containing his possessions, that was nearly as big as he is.

The U.N. helped Marwan cross into Jordan and he was safely reunited with his mother minutes later, Harper tweeted two hours ago.

Harper tells the BBC that Marwan’s plight is not uncommon in the “chaos and confusion” of the Syria crisis.

In Jordan, there are about 600,000 Syrian refugees, a fraction of the 2.4 million displaced by the civil war.

 

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Food stamp purchases at military commissaries up 5%

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U.S. troops and their families used food stamps to buy $103.6 million worth of groceries in fiscal 2013, MoneyWatch reports.

The amount nearly doubles the $52.9 million in 2009, and it’s a 5% hike from 2012.

Newbie soldiers earn about $18,300 per year, and a two-person household would qualify for food stamps on that income, MoneyWatch notes.

Which begs the question: Why are we paying active-duty troops so little?

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Mamma mia! Cardinal issues warning to momma’s boys

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Take my mother-in-law, please.

Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa and head of Italy’s bishops conference, is making headlines with his warning to men: Grow up.

If husbands remain too close to their mothers, their marriages will be shaky, the cardinal told a regional Catholic tribunal last week, according to the Telegraph. “When you rely totally on your parents for every step, a spouse does not know what to do or not to do because he’s constantly seeking the consensus of a third person,” Bagnasco said.

Monsignor Paolo Rigon, one of the tribunal judges, agreed.  “Psychologically, the parent becomes the true spouse and the person he married is replaced,” he said.

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A forgotten battle: 70th anniversary of Eniwetok

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Photo by George Strock | Courtesy of Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Photo by George Strock | Courtesy of Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

On Feb. 17, 1944, the U.S. assault on a now-forgotten atoll in the Pacific begins. The battle for Eniwetok, a small northwest point of the Marshall Islands, forms part of the island-hopping strategy to overtake Japan. It’s north of Guadalcanal, won a year earlier, and due east of Guam, which would be retaken five months later.

Tiny Engebi island is key because it holds a Japanese airstrip that allows the enemy to refuel. After U.S. gunships pound the terrain, 15 Marines with the 22nd regiment and one photographer with Life magazine are the first ashore. George Strock is “actually … on the beach taking pictures of the initial assault and greeting the landing troops” as they arrive, reports Marine First Lt. John M. Popham of Brooklyn, a public relations officer. Continue reading

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Nazis’ secret biological weapon? The mosquito

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It carries a disease that has defeated armies for centuries, so it is perhaps not surprising that the Nazis tried to harness it for their own twisted purposes.

The existence of an offensive biological warfare research program in Nazi Germany has been confirmed, according to an article in Endeavour, a science journal. Continue reading

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