Disneyland honors woman’s free admission pass from 1985

(CNN) — A lot of things have changed at Disneyland since 1985.

For starters, Captain Jack Sparrow is now the star of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and you can buy and drink alcohol inside Oga’s Cantina.

But one thing hasn’t changed: Canadian woman Tamia Richardson’s love for Disney.

In August 2019, the park honored visitor Richardson’s free entry pass from 1985. Although decades have passed since Richardson received the pass, she was allowed in without so much as a surcharge.

Tamia Richardson, center, enjoys her trip to Disneyland in August 2019.

Tamia Richardson, center, enjoys her trip to Disneyland in August 2019.

Disneyland Resort

Richardson, who lives in the Edmonton suburb of Sherwood Park, Alberta, was planning a girls’ trip to Disneyland with her mother, aunt, and daughters Mia and Maren when she found the coupon.

The mom of two first visited Disneyland in 1985 when she was 14 years old. That was also the year that Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California, celebrated its 30th birthday.

“As part of the 30th Anniversary, Disneyland featured the Gift Giver Extraordinaire, which gave out prizes to every 30th guest,” a Disney spokesperson explains to CNN Travel. “Tamia won a pass to use for a return visit. She kept the pass for 30 years and used it today for admission.”

“Disney’s big in our family,” says Kent Richardson, Tamia’s husband, who has been keeping the home fires warm back in Canada. “They’re having the time of their lives.”

Richardson's first visit to the park was in 1985.

Richardson’s first visit to the park was in 1985.

Disneyland Resort

Still, not every old pass or ticket that you find buried in the attic will necessarily be honored at the House of Mouse.

Passes that are confirmed not to be copies and that do not have expiration dates will be accepted for entrance into Disney parks, while “A B C D E” tickets (used for admission to individual rides or attractions) are not good for general admittance.

In the past, some Disney staffers have reportedly used a “Book of Life” if they needed to verify a particular pass.

Hong Kong protests for 11th consecutive weekend

Protesters hold signs as part of a pro-democracy march in Victoria Park on August 18, 2019. Protesters hold signs as part of a pro-democracy march in Victoria Park on August 18, 2019. Joshua Berlinger/CNN

Thousands of protesters have streamed into Victoria Park ahead of today’s rally, which is expected to start at 2:30 p.m. local time (2:30 a.m. ET). Many are here despite the humidity and heavy rain.

The majority of the crowd are dressed in black, the color scheme that has become a signature of the pro-democracy movement.

What happens after the initial rally is unclear. Police denied organizers permission to march from the park through the city to central Hong Kong, a common route that’s often used during big demonstrations.

Previous attempts by police to deny organizers permission to march have failed to prevent demonstrators from following pre-planned routes.

Organizers called the decision to deny the march “unreasonable.”

The Civil and Human Rights Front (CHRF)’s Bonnie Leung said the group expects a huge turnout and is urging protesters to gather nonviolently.

The week in 19 photos

Police take shooting suspect Maurice Hill into custody after a nearly eight-hour standoff ended in Philadelphia on Thursday, August 15. Six police officers were wounded in the standoff, which began when police attempted to serve a narcotics warrant on a row house. Elizabeth Robertson/AP

Girls cover their faces as they ride on swings in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday, August 11. It was the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang breaks down in tears Saturday, August 10, while speaking at a gun-safety forum in Des Moines, Iowa. Yang became emotional when discussing gun violence with a woman who said she lost her daughter to a stray bullet. Charlie Neibergall/AP
A soldier carries an infant to safety while a flooded area of Sangli, India, is evacuated on Sunday, August 11. Heavy monsoon rains caused devastating landslides and floods that left more than 150 people dead in India, according to local government reports. Stringer/Reuters
A couple of male penguins face the sunlight as the one on the right incubates an egg at the Berlin Zoo on Tuesday, August 13. The same-sex couple was handed an abandoned egg by zookeepers, and the two followed their instinct and adopted it as their own. Omer Messinger/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
From left, specialists Glenn Carell, John O’Hara and Robert Nelson gather at a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, August 14. The Dow fell 800 points on Wednesday, which is the worst day of 2019 so far. Richard Drew/AP
A boy poses in front of the Iowa State Fair’s famous butter cow on Friday, August 9. Since 1911, the fair has had a cow sculpted out of butter. Each year, much of the butter is recycled. It can be reused for up to 10 years. Mark Peterson/Redux for CNN

This aerial photo, taken on Saturday, August 10, shows people partying at the annual Street Parade in Zurich, Switzerland. It has been billed as the world’s largest celebration of electronic and techno music. Alexandra Wey/AP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a reception for hospice workers Monday, August 12, at No. 10 Downing Street in London. At center is his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds. Never in living memory has a UK Prime Minister had an unmarried partner while in office. Downing Street/Handout/Reuters
An American flag flies near the Statue of Liberty on Wednesday, August 14. Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, revised the words to the statue’s iconic poem during an interview with NPR published on Tuesday. When NPR’s Rachel Martin asked him if the words “give me your tired, give me your poor” are part of the American ethos, Cuccinelli said they are. “Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” he said, tweaking the famous poem from Emma Lazarus. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A relative of a detained man looks out as police leave their home in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday, August 9. More than 1,000 South African service members have been deployed to Cape Town to support police in their efforts to prevent and combat crime. Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images

Medics look after a protester who received a facial injury during clashes between protesters and police in Hong Kong on Sunday, August 11. Many protesters are now wearing eyepatches in reference to the woman’s injury. Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

A goat rides next to a boy on their way to a livestock market in Hebron, West Bank, on Friday, August 9. Hazem Bader/AFP/Getty Images

Performers use their cell phones as they wait to take part in the closing ceremony of the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, on Sunday, August 11. Rodrigo Abd/AP

Newborn white lions rest in a basket after drinking milk at an animal sanctuary in La Mailleraye-sur-Seine, France, on Sunday, August 11. LOU BENOIST/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

An iceberg floats near a cemetery in Kulusuk, Greenland, on Thursday, August 15. Greenland’s ice sheet usually melts during the summer, but the melt season typically begins around the end of May. This year, it began at the start. Felipe Dana/AP
US Sen. Kamala Harris, center, rides her campaign bus in Iowa on Friday, August 9. She was among the many presidential candidates who attended the Iowa State Fair this past week. Maddie McGarvey/The New York Times/Redux
People in Gaza City sit and take pictures by the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday, August 13. See last week in 23 photos Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images

Artificial gills for humans could become a reality

Written by Ana Rosado, CNN

Breathing underwater, without the help of voluminous equipment, seems as unrealistic as flying overseas must have before the first non-stop transatlantic flight.

Designer Jun Kamei’s interest in the designs found in nature has led him to create Amphibio, a 3D-printed accessory that works as a gill and may one day provide humans with an alternative way to breathe underwater.

Artificial gills for humans could become a reality

Royal College of Art graduate Kamei, in partnership with RCA-IIS Tokyo Design Lab, was inspired to create a lightweight underwater respiratory device because of predicted rises in sea levels.

“I was looking at how the future of our urban environment will change with global warming, and got deeply interested by figures of water level rise,” said Kamei.

Inspired by the gills of water-diving insects, Amphibio is a two-part 3D-printed garment consisting of a vest and a mask made of a “superhydrophobic” (or extremely water-repellent) material. Simply put, the porous garment extracts oxygen from surrounding water and dissipates carbon dioxide.

Visual prototype of the gill garment, designed by Jun Kamei.

Visual prototype of the gill garment, designed by Jun Kamei. Credit: Jun Kamei

Amphibio is currently just a working prototype, tested at small scale in an aquarium. The next step is to prove that it can be used by humans, though Kamei believes that this will require a gill with a surface of 32 square meters (344 square feet).

Rendered future vision of how Amphibio is used.

Rendered future vision of how Amphibio is used. Credit: Rendering by Kathryn Strudwick

“The difficulty is our large oxygen consumption. We humans consume too much. Although you have oxygen dissolved in the water, the rate it needs to be drawn through the gill is huge, and this makes the gill wide in surface area,” said Kamei, adding that the material can be improved to allow for faster gas exchange.

Even though Kamei’s initial inspiration was a dystopian future where big cities are heavily flooded, he also envisages Amphibio being used for leisure purposes.

Proof Obama was better for the stock market than Trump

President Donald Trump has repeatedly pointed to the stock market as one of the best ways to measure his administration’s policies.

During Trump’s presidency, the S&P 500 has gained 25% from inauguration day through August 14. How does that stack up to stock performance at the same point in other modern presidencies? (646 trading days, to be exact).

Stocks were stronger under Barack Obama and far weaker under George W. Bush.

S&P 500 performance under Trump compares more closely to stocks under Bill Clinton (they were up 29% at this point in his presidency) or stocks under Ronald Reagan (they were up 21% at this point in his first term).

CNN Business updates this tracker periodically.

S&P 500 in the first 646 trading days of each presidency

Ronald Reagan

+21%

George H.W. Bush

+35%

Bill Clinton

+29%

George W. Bush

-25%

Barack Obama

+39%

Donald Trump

+25%

Ronald Reagan

Diana Walker/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan’s first four years in the White House weren’t particularly lucrative for Wall Street.

Crushed by Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker’s war on inflation, the economy stumbled into a brief recession in July 1981. Unemployment spiked to nearly 11%.

But Volcker’s rate hikes and Reagan’s corporate tax cuts eventually broke the back of inflation, setting the stage for rapid economic growth. Under Reagan, America drastically ramped up defense spending in a successful bid to bring down the Soviet Union.

Despite the strong economy, Wall Street suffered its worst day ever under Reagan. The Dow plunged an astonishing 22.6% on Black Monday — equaling about 5,500 points today.

Nonetheless, the S&P 500 posted five separate years of double-digit growth on the Gipper’s watch, including a 26% spike in 1985.

1st term

+30%

Jan. 20, 1981 – Jan. 20, 1985

2nd term

+67%

Jan. 20, 1985 – Jan. 20, 1989

George H.W. Bush

Ron Edmonds/AP Photo

George H.W. Bush

The economy and stock market surged in President George H. W. Bush’s first year in office. The S&P 500 climbed 27% in 1989.

But then the savings-and-loan crisis and Gulf War struck. Oil prices more than doubled after Iraq invaded Kuwait. Growth slowed, and the American economy slipped into a mild recession in July 1990.

While the recession ended in March 1991, the recovery was choppy. Two years later, unemployment remained around 7%. The sluggish economy led to Bush’s defeat in 1992.

1st term

+51%

Jan. 20, 1989 – Jan. 20, 1993

Bill Clinton

Reuters

Bill Clinton

The roaring 1990s were very kind to Wall Street.

Stocks spiked — the S&P 500 increased 210% under President Bill Clinton — as investors celebrated the rise of the Internet and brisk economic growth. Clinton presided over two of the S&P 500’s top 10 years: 1995 and 1997.

GDP topped 4% in five of Clinton’s eight years in the White House. Inflation remained stable. Unemployment dipped below 4%. And the United States enjoyed the longest period of uninterrupted economic growth in modern history.

The era was punctuated by the dotcom boom, which amounted to the creation of an entirely new industry. The Nasdaq spiked sevenfold between 1993 and its peak in early 2000. The mania created vast amounts of wealth — much of which would disappear as the bubble inevitably popped.

1st term

+79%

Jan. 20, 1993 – Jan. 20, 1997

2nd term

+73%

Jan. 20, 1997 – Jan. 20, 2001

George W. Bush

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

George W. Bush

Investors who bet that a businessman in the White House would translate into strong returns were badly disappointed during President George W. Bush’s presidency.

The S&P 500 declined 40% under Bush, the worst among modern administrations.

Bush inherited the dotcom bust, which spawned the 2001 recession. The downturn was deepened by the 9/11 terror attacks.

Growth gathered steam in 2004 and 2005, fueled in part by low interest rates and the housing boom. But that bubble also popped in spectacular fashion, ushering in the Great Recession and the scariest financial crisis in a generation.

In the final quarter of Bush’s tenure, GDP plummeted at an 8.4% annual rate. Unemployment began rising rapidly. The S&P 500 plummeted 38% in 2008, its worst year since the Great Depression.

1st term

-12%

Jan. 20, 2001 – Jan. 20, 2005

2nd term

-31%

Jan. 20, 2005 – Jan. 20, 2009

Barack Obama

Jeff Zelevansky/Reuters

Barack Obama

The Wall Street meltdown continued during the first few months of President Barack Obama’s presidency.

The financial and auto industries teetered on the brink of collapse before government bailouts saved them both. Unemployment would peak at 10% in 2009, doubling in barely a year.

The stock market bottomed out in March 2009, but then the economy slowly healed, beginning what would eventually become the longest bull market in American history.

Digging out of the depths of the Great Recession was a long and slow process, though. Annual GDP growth never topped 3% in the Obama era.

Hoping to juice the economy, the Fed kept pumping easy money into the system. The unprecedented experiment helped send stocks soaring — the S&P 500 nearly tripled during the Obama era — but also contributed to wealth inequality and populism.

1st term

+85%

Jan. 20, 2009 – Jan. 20, 2013

2nd term

+53%

Jan. 20, 2013 – Jan. 20, 2017

Donald Trump

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump’s upset victory initially fueled a breathtaking rally in the stock market.

His pro-business agenda of tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending carried the Dow from 18,332 on Election Day above 21,000 by March 2017.

Trump’s signature legislative achievement – the tax overhaul – sent the market boom into overdrive. The Dow eventually surged above 26,000. Economic growth accelerated above 4% in mid-2018. Corporate profits spiked. And the unemployment rate plunged below 4%.

Since then, markets have been in for a choppier ride, largely due to jitters over international trade — but overall, the upward trend remains intact.

Cumulatively, the S&P 500 is up 25% from Trump’s inauguration to the market close on August 14, 2019.

Current term

null

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Russia is tightening its grip on Africa, but Moscow doesn’t want to admit it

Central African Republic (CNN) There’s nothing secret about Russia’s presence in the Central African Republic. The streets are plastered with propaganda posters proclaiming “Russia: hand in hand with your army!” A local radio station churns out Russian ballads and language lessons. New recruits to the army are being trained in Russian, using Russian weapons.

But the Russian campaign in this war-torn country is anything but straightforward, drawing on a mix of guns-for-hire and clever PR to increase Moscow’s influence, outmaneuver its rivals and re-assert itself as a major player in the region.

Posters across Bangui are reminiscent of old Soviet propaganda. The posters read: “Central African Republic is hand in hand with Russia” and “talk a little, work a lot.” – Credit: Sebastian Shukla/CNN

A months-long CNN investigation has established that this ambitious drive into the heart of Africa is being sponsored by Yevgeny Prigozhin — an oligarch so close to the Kremlin that he is known as President Vladimir Putin’s “chef.” He was sanctioned by the US for funding the Internet Research Agency that meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Prigozhin’s conglomerate includes a company called Lobaye Invest that funds the radio station in the Central African Republic (CAR). It also finances the training of army recruits in the CAR by some 250 Russian mercenaries, with more on the way. The dividend for Lobaye Invest: generous concessions to explore for diamonds and gold in a country rich in mineral wealth.

Prigozhin is no stranger to the world of mercenaries, or private military contractors (PMCs) as they are known in Russia. He’s thought to be the driving force behind Wagner, a secretive contractor whose soldiers of fortune played a role in Syria and eastern Ukraine. One of his veteran accomplices heads the company.

Russian mercenaries creep into Africa 6:08

Our road to the CAR starts with a witness thousands of miles away in a drab Soviet-era apartment.

A Russian mercenary sits in the gloom, chain-smoking and preparing to talk for the first time about his life in a secret army that officially doesn’t exist.

He has fought in Chechnya against separatist rebels and in Syria to support the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

He asked for his identity to be concealed, afraid of reprisals for speaking about the shadowy force that is helping to extend Russian power and influence in unstable areas of the world.

He was paid, he says, by Wagner.

Members of a Wagner mercenary unit, whose faces have been blurred, operating in the Syrian desert. – Credit: Obtained by CNN

“It’s just a fighting unit that will do anything that Putin says,” he adds.

It is a charge the Kremlin denies. In June, Putin said of military contractors in Syria: “These people risk their lives and by and large this is also a contribution in fighting terrorism … but this is not the Russian state, not the Russian army.”

But analysts say it’s inconceivable that Wagner would exist without Putin’s approval. Indeed, its training camp in Molkino in southern Russia is attached to a Russian special forces base, guarded by regular soldiers who do not welcome visitors.

Prigozhin has previously denied being connected to Wagner. Neither he nor anyone from his companies would talk to CNN, but after mixed fortunes in Ukraine and Syria the oligarch appears to have turned his attention to Africa, with various subsidiaries at work in Libya, Sudan and the Central African Republic.

In the CAR, the mercenaries’ headquarters are on the grounds of a now dilapidated former presidential palace at Berengo, a two-hour drive from the capital Bangui.

In 2017, the UN Security Council approved a Russian training mission, but other governments did not expect Prigozhin’s men to fill the void. Not surprisingly, the trainers covered their faces and refused to speak to us.

The one man who is interviewed is Valery Zakharov, a cheerful and florid former military intelligence officer who spent time in Chechnya in the 1990s and is now in charge of the training.

He views his role simply, telling CNN: “Russia is returning to Africa.”

“We were present in many countries during the time of the Soviet Union, and Russia is coming back to the same position. We still have connections and we are trying to re-establish them,” he said.

Zakharov describes the instructors as “reservists.” But neither he nor anyone else could explain who sent them and who pays them. And his own role in the country is somewhat unclear.

Zakharov told CNN he works as a security adviser for the Central African Republic’s President Faustin-Archange Touadéra.

“He pays me a salary, therefore, I work for him,” Zakharov said.

He added that he had never met Prigozhin and insisted Wagner did not operate in the CAR.

“Let’s be clear again what we mean by Wagner — if we mean the composer?” he joked. “Legally it does not exist and therefore we are going to consider that it does not exist. As regards the Central African Republic at the current time, there is no PMC (Private Military Contractor) Wagner.”

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Yevgeny V.

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Internet

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SEWA

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Yevgeny V.

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Internet

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Evro Polis

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Internet

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Part of /

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But CNN has obtained documents showing Zakharov has been paid by a Prigozhin company, M-Finans, at least once, in July 2018.

He lives at the headquarters of Lobaye Invest, in a walled compound outside the capital, Bangui. A solitary Russian flag flutters nearby; an ammunition box with Cyrillic script sits atop the wall.

Zakharov’s employer, President Touadera, told CNN there was no link between the support Russia provided in military training and “other sectors.”

But CNN obtained documents showing that Lobaye Invest had won exploration rights at seven sites to look for diamonds and gold.

English translation “Awarding of a semi-mechanized artisanal permit of exploitation for gold and diamond to the company Lobaye Invest Sarlu.”

English translation “Situated in the zone of Yawa, in the underprefecture of Boda, for a period of 3 years, renewable.”

And a trip to a mining site near Yawa — an arduous two-day journey from Bangui — suggested a close connection between the mercenaries and minerals.

A teenage villager there named Rodriguez told CNN the Russians started arriving 18 months ago, the same time the military trainers began to arrive. And he said the Russians had come from Berengo, the mercenaries’ headquarters.

The only people digging through sand and stone for a precious fragment during our visit were local youths. Rodriguez explained that hundreds of people in the area now work for the Russians. Anything they find, he said, must be handed to the Russians’ local agents.

Young men work at a goldmine in Yawa.

After leaving Yawa, we saw a 4×4 vehicle with no license plate and four men inside, an unusual sight in that area. The car drove off when we approached, and three of the four men hid their faces from our camera.

The car appeared again close to our base in a nearby town, and again left hurriedly when we spotted it.

The local police chief told us he had questioned the men and confirmed they were Russian.

From photographs of the one man we did see, we were able to identify him as a translator with a Prigozhin firm.

With the help of the London-based Dossier Center, run by exiled Russian billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky, we established the man had been in contact with one of Prigozhin’s senior executives who had been indicted in the US for his part in running the Internet Research Agency.

As CNN prepared to publish this report, a site linked to Prigozhin released a 15-minute propaganda video about our trip to the CAR, featuring surreptitiously filmed video of the team at our hotel and false accusations that we bribed locals to say bad things about Russians.

The Dossier Center funded an investigation last year by three Russian journalists into the activities of Russian mercenaries and specifically Wagner in the CAR.

CNN spotted a vehicle with no license plates tracking our team’s movements. Upon approaching the vehicle, three of the men traveling within tried to hide their faces. Police later confirmed they were Russian. – Credit: CNN

The three men were ambushed and killed on their way to a huge gold mine in a remote and volatile part of the country. No one has yet been charged in their murder. The country’s justice minister told us that investigations were continuing.

Both the US and France, the CAR’s former colonial master, have expressed concern at Russian activities in this part of Africa.

The new head of US Africa Command, General Stephen Townsend, describes the mercenaries at Berengo as “quasi-military” and closely linked to the Kremlin.

“They are using them to train some of the local armed forces,” Townsend told a US congressional hearing in April. “Some of that could be benign. Some of that is probably less than benign.”

However, the US is reducing its troop presence on the continent while Russia deploys a unique hybrid of the Kremlin’s clout and an oligarch’s pursuit of profit to spread its influence.

Moscow now has some 20 military agreements with African countries. And where the opportunity arises, Prigozhin provides the mercenaries and funding to deepen Russia’s presence and in return wins access to unexploited riches.

Model dumps Versace in T-shirt controversy as Donatella apologizes

Written by Matthew Robinson, CNN

A leading Chinese brand ambassador has quit Versace, claiming that one of the brand’s T-shirts broke Beijing’s “one China” policy.
Yang Mi, an actress and singer, issued a statement announcing the termination of her contract with the luxury fashion house in response to a design which appeared to list Hong Kong and Macau as countries, rather than cities.

Both are classed as special administrative regions of China, which have semi-autonomous governments from the mainland.

The company, and designer Donatella Versace, have both since apologized for the “unfortunate” error.

Yang’s announcement was posted Sunday on the official account of her studio, Jiaxing Xingguang, on Weibo, China’s largest social media platform.
Chinese social media users criticized a Versace T-shirt which appears to list Hong Kong and Macau as independent countries.

Chinese social media users criticized a Versace T-shirt which appears to list Hong Kong and Macau as independent countries. Credit: WEIBO

“China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable at all times,” the statement said.

“As a company of the People’s Republic of China and Yang Mi as a citizen of the People’s Republic of China, we are deeply offended.

“It is the duty of all Chinese citizens to uphold the “One China” principle and adamantly safeguard national unification,” said the statement, as translated by Chinese state-run newspaper, the China Daily.
Versace issued an official apology in response to the incident and announced that the shirt is no longer for sale. “The Company apologizes for the design of its product and a recall of the T-shirt has been implemented in July,” the brand wrote on Twitter.
Donatella Versace also apologized. “I am deeply sorry for the unfortunate recent error that was made by our company and that is currently being discussed on various social media channels,” she wrote on Instagram.

“Never have I wanted to disrespect China’s national sovereignty, and this is why I wanted to personally apologize for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused.”

Related video: Donatella Versace, fashion icon.

The issue of Chinese sovereignty has reached fever pitch in recent months in the wake of widespread anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong.

Pro-democracy demonstrators there have protested over an extradition bill introduced by the territory’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, which critics feared would have allowed authorities to transfer dissidents in Hong Kong for prosecution in mainland China.
Following widespread discontent, Lam announced that the bill was “dead,” but protests have continued as citizens fear the growing influence of Chinese authorities in Hong Kong.
Most recently, China clamped down on Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s leading airline, banning staff who have supported or participated in the protests. This sparked a three-day sit-in protest at Hong Kong’s international airport, with protesters chanting pro-democracy slogans and handing out pamphlets to arriving travelers.
This is the 10th straight weekend of sometimes violent protests throughout the financial hub.

Top image: Yang Mi (right), pictured at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012.

For 23 years, he’s brought crosses after massacres. This was his hardest week yet

Greg Zanis removes a cross from the bed of his pickup truck in Dayton, Ohio. “I’m uniting America in a unique way — United States Strong,” he said. “We’re not letting this define us.”

Dayton, Ohio (CNN) — When Greg Zanis travels to the sites of mass shootings, he brings a handmade cross for each victim, but he also carries a few extra to hand out as gifts.

Not this time.

“They were trying to buy them from me in El Paso, but I need them here,” the Crosses for Losses founder said as he turned his full-size Nissan pickup, its bed packed with nine crosses, onto Fifth Street in Dayton.

This marked the first time Zanis had to drive from one shooting location directly to another. After a gunman killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and another shooter took nine more lives several hours later in Dayton, Zanis began a journey of roughly 3,500 miles.

CNN joined the 68-year-old Wednesday near the Indiana border on the last leg of his trip. He’d already driven 1,500 miles from his home in Aurora, Illinois, to El Paso, then another 1,600 miles to Dayton, despite collapsing Monday in South Texas’ 101-degree heat.

On the 3,500-mile trip, Zanis sleeps in his truck from midnight to daybreak. He brings his own food: sandwiches with no mayo made of “whatever’s in the refrigerator,” Mandarin oranges and Craisins, crackers, canned lentils and cream of chicken soup. “I’ve eaten everything I’ve brought with me,” he said. “I’ve brought two coolers, and I’m out of food.”

A map in Zanis’ truck shows the 1,600-mile route he sketched out from El Paso to Dayton. It’s the first time he’s had to make crosses for back-to-back mass shootings — 20 for El Paso and nine for Dayton. After Zanis left El Paso, the death toll climbed to 22.

“It’s the hardest week I’ve ever had in my life,” he said as he trucked east on Interstate 70. “I go out all the time, but not like this.”

Since 1996, when he found his father-in-law murdered, Zanis has built 26,680 crosses, he said on the drive. He would add nine names to his orange notebook after Dayton, he said.

He estimates 21,000 are shooting victims. He’s also taken his white crosses to the aftermath of tornadoes and wildfires, bus and boat crashes, and to Martha’s Vineyard after JFK Jr. and his relatives died in a plane crash. He took five in February to the Henry Pratt Company after a shooting unfolded in his hometown.

Asked how he staves off sadness, he said he doesn’t.

“I break down. You’re going to see me cry. I don’t mind,” he said. “I hug victims all the time, and I try to be strong, but I’m really not. I’m OK with that. I feel so good afterwards because I’ve done something.”

Zanis writes the name of Monica Brickhouse, a victim in the Dayton shooting, on a cross he constructed in his Aurora workshop. He says he’s spoken to relatives who still have crosses he made 20 years ago. “That’s all they have left, and it means everything to them.”

Though the crosses are already made when he arrives, it takes Zanis more than three hours to prepare them and place them on Fifth Street, as he stops to speak with anyone who approaches. No one is a stranger. There are never handshakes — only hugs.

Zanis is a religious man. He grew up Greek Orthodox and spent many years as a Baptist, though he’s quick to chuckle about his delinquent days “smoking pot and sleeping in the van” in Key West and racing his Pontiac Trans Am in the cross-country Cannonball Run of Burt Reynolds fame.

The shootings, he believes — and he knows the belief is unpopular — are the consequence of a country that forgot God, beginning in 1962 with the US Supreme Court decision to outlaw official prayer in school, he said.

“When you take God out, why should God help us?” he asked. “I think it’s real simple: a second generation of godless people. We don’t have to have a conscience. … You think any of these people were men of any kind of faith who do the shootings? No.”

Samiya Booker, 10, writes on one of the crosses after Zanis unloaded it from his truck. Her sister, Neveah, 11, looks on. Zanis leaves the crosses at the shooting sites for 40 days before returning and presenting them to family members. The number is arbitrary, he said. It just seems like the right amount of time.

On Zanis’ hands and arms, in permanent marker, are travel notes: the names of journalists and victims, along with the address to Ned Peppers Bar, which the Dayton shooter was approaching when a policeman gunned him down. The scrawlings are an old carpenter’s trick, he said, a way to remember measurements.

The victims’ religions, however, don’t matter to Zanis. He scans their obituaries to determine whether he should bring crosses, Stars of David or crescent moons. He’s memorialized Buddhists and atheists, as well. He never pushes Christianity, he said.

“I’ve never been an advocate or a loudmouth because I feel that people will point at me and say, ‘Look, he‘s a religious zealot.’ No, no, no, I’m a workaholic. God didn’t give me one thing he gave everyone else. What do you think that is? Well, he did not give me a lazy bone. Everyone’s got one. I don’t.”

But did he have a message for those gathering as he removed each cross from the truck bed and wrote the names of the victims on each one?

“I don’t want to alienate people,” he said. “I’m here for the victims only.”

Though the victims in Dayton are memorialized with crosses, Zanis is conscious of religion and strives to honor victims appropriately. Gerald Fischman, slain in the 2018 Capital Gazette newsroom shooting, stands out. Zanis wept recalling how Fischman, who was Jewish, wrote the paper’s Christmas editorial and volunteered to work on Christmas so others could take off.

Zanis keeps the names of victims he’s honored in a notebook. “It’s similar to a bomb goes off and leaves a big crater of damage, and, oh my gosh, we fill that in with flowers and candles and teddy bears, and we’re going to make a pile out of it and we’re going to win the dang devil over,” he said.

He spent about three hours accommodating the pack of journalists who rushed to his truck, granting interviews as he placed each cross in front of a growing memorial along Fifth Street.

Without a shred of fanfare or any public pronouncements — but plenty of hugs for anyone who wanted one — Zanis packed up and got back in his truck.

“I’m going home to my own bed,” he told a photographer before abruptly backing out of the parking lot and starting the 330-mile drive home.

Zanis embraces Leah Matthews, 33, of Cincinnati, who, as her shirt says, survived the 2017 mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas. Zanis honored those victims with 58 crosses, which he placed in front of the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. Clark County, Nevada, officials declared November 12 “Greg Zanis Day” and presented the carpenter with a key to the Las Vegas Strip.

Zanis writes victims’ names and the cities where they were killed on each cross, along with a Bible verse. He also welcomes others to adorn them with remembrances. After he placed the crosses Wednesday on Dayton’s Fifth Street, mourners put candles in front of each memorial.

Photo editor: Brett Roegiers

When the immigration raids were over, only the kids remained

A girl cries into her hands at a gym in Forest, Mississippi, where residents took in children until they could be reunited with their parents. Volunteers distributed food and drinks, but some children appeared to be in no mood to eat. Alex Love/WJTV

When the unprecedented immigration raids were over, only the children remained.

Some sobbed inconsolably. “Let my parents be free,” one girl cried. “I need my dad. He’s not a criminal.” Others clutched backpacks on a first day of school they would probably never forget.

The latest salvo in the Trump administration’s hardline stance against immigration came Wednesday at seven Mississippi food-processing plants. Immigration officials described it as the largest single-state workplace enforcement action in US history.

In all, some 680 undocumented immigrants were rounded up in six cities, leaving friends, neighbors and, in some instances, strangers to temporarily care for children who did not know whether they would see their parents again, according to CNN affiliate WJTV.

By Thursday, about 270 migrants detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement were released after being ordered to appear before federal courts, according to an agency spokesman. About 30 were released at the plants soon after the raids, including nursing pregnant mothers.

A parking lot near a plant in Morton became an impromptu staging area for people waiting to hear from loved ones they had last seen when they left for work in the morning.

One woman said she was there to provide the comfort of a familiar face in case members of her church had been caught up in the sweeps. She wondered how the local economy would survive without the tireless labor of immigrants.

In a video broadcast live on Facebook, bystanders sought to comfort an 11-year-old girl who implored an officer to see her mother. The officer assured the girl her mother would not be deported.

The raids likely added to an already heightened sense of anxiety in many US immigrant communities days after a gunman who apparently espoused anti-immigrant views killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

At the Koch Foods plant in Morton, friends and co-workers watch as immigration authorities carried out what they called a historic immigration enforcement action across the state. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Federal agents sweep through an agricultural processing plant in Canton — one of a series of statewide raids that led to the detention of nearly 700 undocumented immigrants. A. Mason/ICE

Workers, still wearing work boots and head covers, exit the Koch Foods plant in Morton during Wednesday’s raid. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

A young woman keeps her hands up against a chain-link fence at the Morton plant. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

A man is taken into custody at the Morton plant. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

When the raids were over, only the children stayed behind. They spent hours at a local gym in Forest waiting for news about their parents. Alex Love/WJTV

A trailer loaded with chickens passes a federal agent outside Koch Foods in Morton. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Two people are taken into custody. Officials said the series of raids were planned more than a year ago. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

A little girl covers her face as she is escorted to a gym in Forest to await news about her mother’s detention. Alex Love/WJTV

A federal agent searches the trunk of a car leaving the employee parking lot at Koch Foods. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

A worker at the Morton plant watches federal agents sweep through the facility. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Workers in Morton are escorted onto buses to take them to a processing center. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

A federal agent looks on as workers gather at an agricultural processing facility in Canton. A. Mason/ICE

Friends, co-workers and relatives wave as busloads of undocumented immigrants are taken away from their work site in Morton. Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Photo editors: Brett Roegiers and Haiyun Jiang

Is this the best way to disembark an airplane?

(CNN) — Your airplane finally lands, the seatbelt sign flashes off and you leap to your feet, ready to get out of the cabin and on with your vacation.

The problem is, everyone’s got the same idea.

You all — sort of — deplane row by row, but with everyone jostling and reaching for their luggage via the overhead locker, it’s never entirely clear whose turn it is to get off next.

Now imagine if passengers waited patiently and disembarked one row at a time. Sounds like a pipe dream, right? Except apparently it does sometimes happen — and flight attendant Louise Vadeboncoeur has the video to prove it.

Vadeboncoeur, a flight attendant with Canadian carrier WestJet, recorded timelapse footage of passengers disembarking an internal charter flight in Canada.

They’re oil rig workers, traveling from Fort McMurray in Alberta to Calgary International Airport — and they’ve got deplaning down to a tee.

“These men and women do this flight on a regular basis. As it blows my mind every time, I decided to film it,” Vadeboncoeur tells CNN Travel.

“Even though they fly often back and forth, it still doesn’t explain how they manage to all know that this would be the perfect way to deplane in a perfect world.”

So is this the “perfect” way to get everyone off an airplane?

The art of disembarking

Vadeboncoeur, who has been an air steward at WestJet for the past 12 years — she loves “almost every minute of it”, she says — explains that air crew don’t get training on how to deplane.

Airlines seem hesitant to get involved. American Airlines told CNN Travel, “we don’t have a perspective to offer on this,” while British Airways declined to comment for this story.

As a result, the crew tends not to interfere unless some passengers have tight connections and need to disembark before others, or if there are children, elderly people or disabled passengers who need assistance.

“It’s left to the passengers to figure out,” explains Vadeboncoeur, adding that doesn’t always lead to smooth sailing.

“It’s usually chaotic and people wanting to get out (or up) as soon as possible,” she says.

But the passengers Vadeboncoeur filmed on the WestJet charter flight are nothing if not orderly, deplaning one at a time, row by row.

They might get up and get their bags when the flight first lands but they always sit back down again, says Vadeboncoeur.

That’s what frequent flier Johnny “Jet” DiScala recommends. “I think people should get up and have their bag ready,” he tells CNN Travel. “Because I think that’s what takes time.

“So often you’re held up because one person is so slow at getting their bag or it’s too big to pull out or it’s stuck.”

DiScala says he always strives to be as swift as possible when he disembarks.

“Everyone’s in a hurry when they land regardless of if they’re going home or to a business meeting or making a connection. They just want to get home or get to their next place. So why hold them up? It just kind of drives me nuts when people just take their sweet time.”

Academic studies

Everyone's keen to get to their destination as quickly as possible.

Everyone’s keen to get to their destination as quickly as possible.

JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

While perfecting a speedy boarding process tends to be what airlines focus on — and, of course, how to deplane in an the event of an emergency, a whole different topic — there have been some academic studies into airplane disembarking.

Andrew Wald, Mark Harmon, Diego Klabjan of the university’s department of industrial engineering and management sciences, did simulated tests to conclude that “structured deplaning may reduce deplaning time by over 40% on a full aircraft.”

They suggested a deplaning group system — similar to group boarding systems. Depending on your seat, you’re given a group number that denotes when you can disembark the airplane.

Rather than row by row, one option is all the aisle seat passengers deplane, then the middle seats and then the windows — although the issue with that premise is you could be separated from those you’re sat with, which could be controversial if you paid more to sat next to them, a service some budget airlines offer.

aircraft-airplane-flying-2105-(1)

Disembarking an airplane can be a strangely complex process.

Courtesy Pexels

Additionally, this wouldn’t work for passengers with disabilities or small children — they’d need to be let off first.

DiScala says he thinks that, unless you’re traveling with someone who cannot be left alone, it’s usually fine to just wait for them at the gate, especially if it means you all get there quicker in the end.

There’s the aforementioned aisle-to-windows situation, the regular front-to-back, row by row option or a “pyramid” strategy, using both doors, in which front aisle and back aisle go first and other passengers follow accordingly.

Peter Vink, the head of the design engineering department at Delft University in the Netherlands, tells CNN Travel the pyramid option is the fastest.

He says the team did experiments in a Boeing 737 prototype, alongside field studies on Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft.

“Computer simulation studies show that reverse pyramid disembarking is fastest,” he says. “However it is almost impossible in practice to let passengers do this.”

Hand luggage, he says, causes the biggest issue. If a bag is too heavy or cumbersome — or if it’s been placed in locker further down the airplane and the passenger needs to walk against the flow to collect it — this all takes time.

Sometimes passengers might be too short to reach the overhead bin, or unable to for health reasons.

In his studies, says Vink, retrieving luggage was the main factor delaying disembarking. Slow walkers — often those with children or large luggage — were the second biggest.

This relates to Vadeboncoeur’s video, in which there were no children and the travelers were all frequent fliers.

“The slowest disembarking time is up to 13 minutes and the fastest [is] 6:27 minutes for an airplane minimally 80% occupied,” says Vink, clarifying that an emptier airplane takes less time.

Solutions that also worked were using both doors for disembarking, which can cut disembarking time in half, Vink says.

Traveling with no hand luggage reduces disembarking time by 80%, he adds, while traveling with one item under the seat in front of you can save up to three minutes.

All great ideas in theory — but what all these systems have in common is exactly that, they’re systems.

And a system needs to be reinforced, right? Otherwise it won’t work.

So while there’s a few tips and tricks you can take on board (literally) for speedy disembarking, you’re always going to be at the whim of your fellow travelers.

So until airlines start getting involved, or unless you’re traveling on Vadeboncoeur’s highly efficient WestJet flight, maybe the key is early check in and nabbing that front row seat to ensure you’re always first on — and first off.