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Google Doodle recognizes ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin on birthday

Crikey! Google Doodle is paying tribute to the late “Crocodile Hunter” on what would have been his 57th birthday Friday.

>> Read more trending news 

Internet users with Google as their web browser homepage were treated to a cartoon drawing of Steve Irwin, the zookeeper and animal conservationist, to honor his memory and Australia’s National Wildlife Day, Newsweek reported.

Google also put together a slideshow of illustrations featuring the Australian native holding a crocodile and spending time with his wife, Terri, and children Bindi and Robert, CNN reported.

Irwin died Sept. 4, 2006, when a stingray barb went through his chest as he was filming an underwater documentary “Ocean’s Deadliest.”

 >> Steve Irwin posthumously gets star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Terri Irwin, in a blog post for Google, wrote her husband once said, “I don’t care if I’m remembered, as long as my message is remembered.” 

"Today's Google Doodle acknowledges the life and achievements of my husband Steve Irwin, whose efforts to protect wildlife and wild places have been recognized as the most extensive of any conservationist," Terri Irwin wrote.

Steve and Terri Irwin filmed the nature series, "The Crocodile Hunter" together from 1996 to 2004.

California high school senior banned from wearing MAGA hat

A California high school senior is fighting a ruling that banned her from wearing her “Make America Great” hat on campus, KGPE reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Maddie Mueller, who attends Clovis North High School in Fresno, belongs to Valley Patriots, a conservative activist group, KOVR reported. The group asked members to wear their MAGA hats Wednesday, but Mueller said school officials denied her permission, citing school dress code rules, the television station reported.

Mueller said her First Amendment rights were being violated.

“How does being a patriot in trying to show pride in your country, how is that inappropriate?" Mueller told KGPE. "To my knowledge (President Donald) Trump is not a logo it's a last name, it's just our president. You can't claim the president is a logo, sports team or affiliated with any gang."

Kelly Avants, spokeswoman for the Clovis Unified School District, said the ruling was a matter of safety.

"Bottom line for us is the dress code is for kids to feel safe at school and free of distractions so they can focus on learning." Avants told KGPE. "Here we are closer to shouting fire in a crowded theater."

According to former federal district judge Oliver Wanger, while Mueller’s First Amendment right is being infringed, the school may have the right to do it.

"If the hat is something that could invoke violence or invoke controversy, then for the sake of the safety for students the school is in their legal right,” KGPE reported

Mueller said she will continue to fight the ruling.

"I don't care if I offend anybody, I'm just showing support for the President and what I believe," Mueller told the television station.

Syrian refugees who fled country’s violence lose all 7 children in Canada house fire

A Syrian family who escaped violence in their homeland in 2017 lost all seven of their children to a house fire in Canada early Tuesday morning.

Halifax police officers, firefighters and emergency responders were called out just before 1 a.m. Tuesday to the family’s rented home in the Spryfield community, where they found parents Ebraheim and Kawthar Barho outside the home. Officials with the Halifax Regional Police said the children’s mother escaped the blaze with minor injuries, but Ebraheim Barho suffered life-threatening injuries. 

He remained in critical condition Thursday, Canada’s Global News reported.

>> Read more trending news

The family’s next-door neighbor, Danielle Burt, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) she awoke to a loud noise in the early morning hours. 

“I heard a huge bang (as) I was laying in bed with my daughter, followed by a woman screaming,” Burt told the CBC. “So I jumped up out of bed and looked out the back window, and all I could see was flames shooting out from the back door going out onto their deck.”

Burt grabbed her own four children and ran outside, where she was among several neighbors who called 911, the CBC reported. 

“It happened all so fast,” Burt said. “The house went up really quickly.”

Later that morning, officials confirmed the horrific news that the couple’s children, including their Canadian-born 4-month-old son, died in the fire, which the CBC described as the most deadly blaze in recent Nova Scotia history. 

Leaders at the Al-Barakah Masjid mosque, which the Barho family attended, identified the children as Ahmed, 15, Rola, 12, Mohammed, 9, Ghala, 8, Hala, 4, Rana, 3, and baby Abdullah. Their funeral was being planned for as soon as the children’s bodies are released by investigators. 

“Please pray for this family, for the father to survive, for the wife to be OK soon, for these little kids to rest in peace,” Imam Abdallah Hussein wrote on Facebook.

Imam Ibrahim Al-shanti, who presides over the mosque, said Kawthar Barho told him she’d gone downstairs to prepare formula for her infant son when she found the first floor of the house on fire. She screamed for her husband, who ran downstairs and tried to extinguish the blaze.

When he couldn’t douse it, he pushed his wife away from the flames and tried to save their children, Al-shanti told Global News.

The HEART Society, an East Hants-based refugee team that sponsored the family when they arrived in Nova Scotia in September 2017, also posted about the lost children. 

“It is with great heartbreak we confirm that all seven children of the Barho family perished in an overnight fire,” a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page Tuesday afternoon reads. “The children’s father was badly injured trying to rescue the children, and he is in critical condition.”

Warm welcome away from danger

The family was warmly welcomed to East Hants, a city in Hants County, Nova Scotia, Sept. 29, 2017, by a group of people waving Canadian flags and giant cardboard maple leaves at the Halifax Stansfield International Airport. The Enfield Weekly Press captured their arrival on video, which showed the Barho parents and their older children smiling broadly at members of their new community. 

“Although the Barho family moved to Spryfield in October, they missed the people of East Hants and planned to move back next week,” the HEART Society’s Facebook post read. “The four school-aged children were really looking forward to returning to their schools, Elmsdale District School and Riverside Education Centre.”

At the time of their deaths, the two oldest children attended Rockingstone Heights, an elementary and junior high school, and the younger school-aged children, Mohamad and Ghala, attended Central Spryfield Elementary School. 

“This is a tremendously difficult day for both school communities and we ask media to refrain from contacting each school at this time so they can focus on supporting the needs of their students and staff,” a statement from officials with the Halifax Regional Centre for Education stated

Additional staff was put in place at both schools to help students deal with the loss of their classmates, the statement read. 

Central Spryfield administrators tweeted their thanks Wednesday to the community for the outpouring of support being shown as the school dealt with the “unimaginable loss.” They quoted the children’s book “Charlotte’s Web.”

“You have been my friend. That, in itself, is a tremendous thing,” the quote read

Rockingstone Heights’ staff members also tweeted their thanks, saying they felt the support and appreciated the kindness being shown.

Burt said the Barho children had become good friends with her own since the family moved in next door last fall. 

“They were just over at our house yesterday,” Burt told the CBC the day of the fire. “It’s just something out of a horror movie that you just never would wish on anybody.”

The HEART Society thanked everyone in the communities where the family lived for making them feel welcome during their time in Nova Scotia. 

“Many people, far too many to name, helped bring the Barho family to East Hants and get settled,” the organization’s post read. “For the past year and a half, the children have been able to enjoy life as kids should be able to: Going to school, riding bicycles, swimming, having friends, running in the yard, celebrating birthday parties and hanging out with the neighbors on their porch swing. 

“They loved every minute of it, and it seems impossible we won’t hear their laughter and feel their hugs again.” 

Imam Ibrahim Al-shanti, who presides over the family’s mosque, described the children as “lovely” and said the family had been filled with hope as they started life in their new country. He said Kawthar Barho is struggling to cope with the loss of her children as her husband now fights for his life. 

“We have all hopes that they will survive this,” Al-shanti told the news agency

About 20 members of Halifax’s Syrian community had shown up at the hospital since the fire to offer the couple their support, the imam said. 

‘It won’t get any easier’

Support has also poured in from across Canada and beyond as government officials expressed their own grief over the children’s deaths. Canada’s immigration minister, Ahmed Hussen, told CBC settlement organizations have brought in crisis counselors to counsel those in the community who have been impacted by the devastating fire. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who attended a candlelight vigil for the children in Halifax Wednesday night, also grieved the loss in a statement. 

“Words fail when children are taken from us too soon, especially in circumstances like this,” Trudeau wrote Tuesday morning on Twitter. “My heart goes out to the survivors of the horrible fire in Halifax this morning, and the loved ones who are mourning this tremendous loss.”

A GoFundMe page set up by the Spryfield community has raised more than $450,000 of its $1 million goal in two days. The funds are intended to help the children’s parents restart their lives. 

The HEART Society is also dedicating all donations received during the month of February to helping the Barhos move forward. The organization’s fundraising page can be found here

Halifax officials said the investigation into the fire that killed the Barho children could take months. It’s the second fire in Nova Scotia in the past 14 months that killed multiple children, the CBC reported. 

The Jan. 7, 2018, fire in Pubnico Head that killed three siblings, Mya Prouty, 7, Jayla Kennedy, 4, Winston Prouty, 4 months, and a cousin, Mason Grant, 7, who was staying over for a sleepover, was caused by heat from the chimney of the home’s wood stove, the CBC reported last February. The siblings’ parents, Phil Prouty and Emma Kennedy, also survived that blaze.  

Deputy Fire Chief Dave Meldrum told the news agency firefighters who responded to the fire at the Barho’s rented home found heavy flames on both floors that made it challenging to fight. The house was gutted and the roof destroyed.

Fire officials have also called in crisis counselors for the first responders, according to Halifax District Fire Chief Mike Blackburn.  

“They’ll process this over time, but it’s very, very difficult and it’s not going to get any easier,” Blackburn told the CBC

Bramble Cay melomys extinction caused by human-induced climate change, officials say

A small Australian mammal has been deemed extinct due to “human-induced climate change.”

The Bramble Cay melomys has not been seen for about 10 years and was first categorized as extinct in 2016. Specifically, scientists said the animals were killed off because of rising sea levels that led to “dramatic habitat loss,” according to a 2016 University of Queensland report.

>> Read more trending news 

There were several hundred of the small rodent counted on Bramble Cay between Queensland and Papua New Guinea in the 1970s. By 1992, they were considered endangered, CNN reported.

A Greens Party senator in Australia blames the extinction on mining and the country’s use of coal, according to CNN.

The University of Connecticut found in 2015 if temperatures rise across the globe, almost 8 percent could become extinct. Australia, New Zealand and South America are at the highest risk, the study concluded.

Photos: 'Super snow moon,' largest supermoon of 2019, lights up the sky

Skygazers got a special treat Feb. 19 as the “super snow moon” – the largest supermoon of 2019 – glowed overhead.

Burberry apologizes for hoodie with noose around neck: 'We made a mistake'

Another fashion house has come under fire for a design many are calling racist. 

During its recent show at London Fashion Week, Burberry showcased a hoodie with a rope around the neck that resembled a noose. Now the company is apologizing.

>> On AJC.com: From Gucci to Prada, fashion fails evoke racist imagery

“We are deeply sorry for the distress caused by one of the products that featured in our A/W 2019 runway collection” Marco Gobbetti, Burberry chief executive officer, said in a statement to CNN. “Though the design was inspired by the marine theme that ran throughout the collection, it was insensitive and we made a mistake.”

The show's designer, Burberry Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci, added, “I am so deeply sorry for the distress that has been caused as a result of one of the pieces in my show on Sunday.”

>> Read more trending news 

“While the design was inspired by a nautical theme, I realize that it was insensitive. It was never my intention to upset anyone,” he continued. “It does not reflect my values nor Burberry's and we have removed it from the collection. I will make sure that this does not happen again.”

Despite the apology, many criticized the piece online, calling it insensitive and ignorant.

One of Burberry’s models, Liz Kennedy, even slammed the brand on social media. Although she was featured in the show that debuted the controversial garment, she said her concerns about the noose were dismissed.

>> See the post here

“Suicide is not fashion,” she wrote on Instagram. “It is beyond me how you could let a look resembling a noose hanging from a neck out on the runway.”

She said the imagery was triggering, because she has dealt with suicide within her family. She also mentioned the “horrifying history of lynching.”

“A massive brand like Burberry who is typically considered commercial and classy should not have overlooked such an obvious resemblance,” Kennedy continued. “I am ashamed to have been apart of the show.”

>> On AJC.com: ‘Apology not accepted’: T.I. calls for Gucci boycott over ‘blackface’ sweater 

The controversy comes about two weeks after Gucci was condemned for a turtleneck sweater many said looked like blackface. While the company issued an apology, many celebrities, including T.I., Soulja Boy and Waka Flocka, called for a boycott.

Super snow moon 2019: 9 must-see photos of the largest supermoon of the year

Skygazers got a special treat early Tuesday as the “super snow moon” – the largest supermoon of 2019 – glowed overhead.

>> PHOTOS: 'Super snow moon,' largest supermoon of 2019, lights up the sky

>> Full snow moon rises this week; it’s the largest supermoon of the year

Social media users are sharing their photos with the hashtag #snowmoon and #supermoon. Here are some of our favorites:

>> Read more trending news 

1. Santa Ana, California

Photo by @LOrtizPhoto_OCR, Twitter

2. Albert Park, Victoria, Australia

Photo by @davidcollinsphotography, Instagram

3. New York City

Photo by @socaboy77, Instagram

4. Providence, Rhode Island

Photo by @MikeCohea, Twitter

5. Portland, Maine

Photo by @jmiltonphoto, Instagram

6. Miami Beach, Florida

Photo by @arielitorose, Instagram

7. Great South Bay, New York

Photo by @greatsouthbayimages, Instagram

8. Southern Wisconsin

Photo by @TomPurdyWI, Twitter

9. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Photo by @NancyFromCanada, Twitter

'Kissing Sailor' from iconic Life magazine photo dies

George A. Mendonsa, who claimed to be the sailor kissing a nurse in an iconic photograph published in Life magazine on V-J Day, died early Sunday at an assisted living facility in Middletown, Rhode Island, the Providence Journal reported. He died two days shy of his 96th birthday, the newspaper reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Mendonsa claimed he was the sailor caught in a photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt in New York’s Times Square on Aug. 14, 1945, although he could never convince the editors of Life, the Journal reported. 

The nurse in the photo -- Greta Zimmer Friedman -- died in 2016, WPRI reported. In an interview for the Veterans History Project in 2005, Friedman confirmed it was Mendonsa who kissed her that day in New York. They did not know each other in 1945 but met again in 1980 at the request of Life magazine.

Lawrence Verria, co-author of the 2012 book, “The Kissing Sailor,” with George Galdorisi, said facial recognition technology and the findings of experts in photography and forensic anthropology ruled out other sailors who had made claims, the Journal reported.

“The evidence is so overwhelming.” Verria told the newspaper Sunday night. “There really is no doubt. ... This man deserves the credit during his lifetime.”

The photo, taken by Eisenstaedt, was called “V-J Day in Times Square.” People had gathered in Times Square to celebrate the announcement of Japan’s surrender to the Allies, ending World War II.

Friedman told the Veterans History Project she “had no clue” who kissed her on V-J Day. She was wearing white that day, but was dressed as a dental assistant, she said.

“I went straight to Times Square where I saw on the lighted billboard that goes around the building, ‘V-J Day, V-J Day,’ and that really -- that really confirmed what the people have said in the (dental) office,” Friedman said in her interview. “And so suddenly I was grabbed by a sailor, and it wasn't that much of a kiss, it was more of a jubilant act that he didn't have to go back, I found out later, he was so happy that he did not have to go back to the Pacific where they already had been through the war. And the reason he grabbed someone dressed like a nurse was that he just felt very grateful to nurses who took care of the wounded.”

Friedman confirmed Mendonsa was the man who kissed her that day, and they re-enacted the scene for Life in 1980, according to the Veterans History Project.

Mendonsa told Verria he kissed Friedman because he had seen nurses helping the wounded while he was serving in the Pacific theater.

Mendonsa was on leave and happened to be in Times Square when the end of the war was announced. 

“He sees the nurse, he can’t help himself,” Verria told the Journal.

The woman in white symbolized nurses he saw helping sailors, so he grabbed her and kissed her, Verria said.

“It’s what everybody was doing on Aug. 14, 1945,” Verria told the newspaper. “Everybody was kissing and hugging. As soon as the kiss was over, they went their separate ways.”

Tedeschi Trucks band keyboardist Kofi Burbridge dead at 57

Kofi Burbridge, the longtime keyboardist and flautist for the Tedeschi Trucks Band, died Friday. He was 57.

>> Read more trending news 

The multi-instrumentalist, who moved to Atlanta in 1987 to join the band Knee-Deep, was hospitalized last month after a setback stemming from his 2017 emergency heart surgery in Atlanta. In January, the band alerted fans about Burbridge’s condition and his inability to join them on their current tour, which played Washington D.C., on Friday with fill-in keyboardist Gabe Dixon.

The news of Burbidge’s passing was shared early Saturday by former bandmate Yonrico Scott; the cause and location of death has not been announced.

In an April 2018 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Derek Trucks spoke excitedly about how well Burbridge had recovered from his 2017 surgery.

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2019

“Kofi is full force. It reminds me of ‘Lord of the Rings’ when Gandalf goes down and comes back as the white wizard -- he’s got a few extra layers of magic! His musicianship has always been amazing, but listening back to the studio (recordings) the last few days, he crossed over there for a minute!,” Trucks said in a preview of the band’s performance – with Burbridge – at SweetWater 420 Festival. 

Burbridge and his brother Oteil, a familiar presence on bass in the Allman Brothers Band and Dead & Company, met Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit in Atlanta in the late-1980s. Kofi joined Oteil in the band after Hampton departed in 1994; Kofi Burbridge joined the Derek Trucks Band in 1999 and remained with Trucks when he formed TTD in 2010 with wife Susan Tedeschi.

On Friday, TTD’s new album, “Signs,” was released -- featuring keyboards and flute from Burbridge. 

Pope Francis defrocks former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick over sex abuse charges

Pope Francis defrocked former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick on Saturday after Vatican officials found him guilty of sexually abusing minors and adults over several decades, several media outlets reported.

>> Read more trending news 

McCarrick, 88, was the former cardinal and archbishop of Washington, D.C. It is believed to be the first time that a cardinal or bishop in the United States has been expelled from the Roman Catholic Church, The New York Times reported.

Defrocking, or laicizing, means that McCarrick won’t be allowed to celebrate Mass or other sacraments, the newspaper reported.

The Vatican has laicized hundreds of priests for sexual abuse of minors, but few of the church higher-ranking priests have faced such severe punishment, according to the Times.

“Now you will see that bishops are also treated like their priests,” Kurt Martens, a professor of canon law at the Catholic University of America, told the newspaper in a telephone interview. “Bishops and former cardinals are no longer immune to punishment. The reverence that was shown in the past to bishops no longer applies.”

According to the Vatican’s press office, the Congregation of the Doctrine of Holy Faith found McCarrick guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession, and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.”

McCarrick appealed the penalty, but officials rejected it, the newspaper reported. He was notified of the decision on Friday. The pontiff accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the College of Cardinals in July and suspended him from all priestly duties. In June, a church panel confirmed a claim that McCarrick had abused an altar boy nearly 50 years ago, the Times reported.

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