Mexican Police have seized 110 armored vehicles this week in the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas; officials say the heavily fortified trucks are used by cartels to transport narcotics to the US via rugged desert trails. Twenty of the vehicles were of a type termed “monsters”—smothered in bullet stifling protection, fortified with thick steel plates and reinforced with railroad tracks, some of these behemoths weigh in at up to 30 tons. They also feature multiple gun turrets to deter would-be robbers, police and US border patrol. Such heavy machinery has been born from the ongoing turf war between rival cartels. One officer involved in this week's seizure explains, "The cartels are fighting to control and protect these routes both for drug- and people-trafficking and in the opposite direction for the smuggling of weapons to Mexico, as well as to bring in a large quantity of merchandise illegally."
George Clooney celebrated his win at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards without alcohol, and says that he plans to stay sober for a few months, but not forever. Some confusion has surrounded his intentions, however. The 50-year-old actor made a new year’s resolution to lay off the booze for awhile to give his health a “boost.” But before the show he joked that he was planning to get "face down drunk" at the after party. Hollywood’s favorite playboy is known for carrying his own flask to award shows. But he left it at home this year: "I've made a little New Year's deal that I wouldn't drink for a while... I'm giving my liver a chance to catch back up," he said after the awards show. One TV host, Extra’s Mario Lopez, wasn't aware of Clooney’s new years resolution, and gave him a new flask filled with his drink of choice, vodka. The actor took home the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama for his movie The Descendants.
- As States Weigh Online Gambling, Profits May Be Small [New York Times]
- Six LSD-Taking Inmates Hospitalized [UPI.com]
- Diabetic Celebrity Chef Paula Deen to Partner With Diabetes Drug Maker [Washington Post]
- Drunk Mom Left Kids Outside in Cold During McDonald's Run [CBS News]
- Former Alabama Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick Arrested on Marijuana Charge in Florida [Washington Post]
- Bruno Mars Cocaine Case to Be Dismissed [AOL Music]
Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD) has sharply increased among military veterans, and a new study has shown that cannabis use actually prolongs the PTSD symptoms they might be hoping to avoid. Research conducted at the National Center for PTSD and Center for Health Care Evaluation at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California indicates that veterans with a CUD demonstrated less change in their symptom severity than those without a CUD. “Individuals with a CUD diagnosis who discontinued use, compared with those without a CUD diagnosis, had lower levels of change in total PTSD symptoms, PTSD avoidance-numbing symptoms and PTSD hyperarousal symptoms,” says Marcel O. Bonn-Miller, who led the study. Those with a current CUD showed treatment gains equivalent to those with no treatment at all. According to Miller’s findings, rates of CUD diagnoses within the Veteran Affairs hospital system increased by more than 50% between 2002 and 2009. Rates of PTSD diagnoses among veterans increased by 60% between 2002 and 2007.
A year after a viral video introduced the “golden voice” of Ted Williams to the world, the 54-year-old formerly homeless man has kicked his addictions to crack and alcohol, and now lives in a condo in his hometown of Columbus, OH. He’s also been putting his talent to good use with a series of recording jobs, and is serving as the official voice for New England Cable News. “It’s a hallelujah moment every day I wake up. I couldn’t have prayed for anything like this. I couldn’t have dreamed that my life would end up like this,” says Williams. He formerly worked as a radio announcer, but lost his job due to drugs and spent decades on the streets. The YouTube video of him doing fake radio announcements while panhandling was released in January of 2011, received over 18 million hits and led Williams to hit the talk show circuit. However, in the midst of his newfound fame last year, Williams admitted he was still battling addiction and put his burgeoning career on hold to seek professional help. He now plans to release an autobiography this May, entitled A Golden Voice.
A series of drug arrests related to Indonesian airline Lion Air has prompted the Indonesian Transportation Ministry to demand stepped up drug testing of pilots and crew members. A Lion Air pilot was caught in possession of crystal meth last week, while five other drug arrests involving the airline's pilots and crew members took place in 2011. The ministry is now drafting a “Drugs and Alcohol Testing Program” to apply to everyone working in the air transportation industry on a daily basis, including "air traffic controllers, ground crews, technicians and airport security personnel,” says Ministry spokesperson Bambang Ervan. An additional circular mandates that increased drug testing procedures apply to all commercial airlines. Previously, the drug prevention protocol did not apply to airlines operating with fewer than 30 seats, which included local carriers such as Airfast Indonesia and Susi Air. According to the National Committee for Human Safety, human error is the biggest cause of air accidents in Indonesia, blamed for 52% of accidents between 2007 and 2011.