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2 security officials fired after United Airlines passenger dragged off plane in viral video

Airport security officials who were caught on video in April forcibly removing a passenger from a United Airlines flight in Chicago have been disciplined. Two employees were fired and two suspended following the incident, which caused public outrage after the footage went viral, the Washington Post reports.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Man forcibly removed from flight after not voluntarily giving up seat

The fiasco became a huge public relations headache for United. In the videos, officers are seen aggressively grabbing a passenger — Dr. David Dao — who was reportedly selected at random to be removed from the overbooked flight so that his seat could be given to a United crew member.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: United passenger dragged from plane reaches settlement with airline

In a quarterly report, Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General found that a Chicago Department of Aviation security officer “improperly escalated the incident” and that a sergeant “made misleading statements” and “deliberately removed material facts” from employee reports on the April 9 incident aboard United Express Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville, Kentucky. The first officer and the sergeant were fired, and another two officers involved in the incident were suspended — one of whom subsequently resigned, the report said.

>> Read more trending news

The security officers “mishandled a non-threatening situation,” which led to the “violent” removal of the 69-year-old Dao, the inspector general’s report said. “The use of excessive force caused the passenger to hit his face on an armrest, resulting in a concussion, a broken nose and the loss of two teeth,” a news release accompanying the report stated.

Woman made up story about doctors leaving camera inside her after surgery, hospital says

Earlier this year, a patient at an Atlanta hospital filed a lawsuit claiming that a surgeon left a camera in her body during transplant surgery, a camera that was discovered six months later.

Lacrystal Lockett’s lawyers have now dropped the complaint.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Doctors left camera in woman's body after surgery, lawsuit claims

Emory Hospital attorney Anna Fretwell pointed out an apparent problem with the story: No cameras are used in such surgeries.

“No evidence to substantiate the plaintiff’s claims — medical records, photographs, the alleged camera itself, eyewitness testimony, or any other evidence — ever was produced,” Fretwell said in an email to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Instead, the plaintiff and her lawyers admitted that Emory never left a camera in her body or had to remove one and then dropped the lawsuit.”

>> Read more trending news

Caleb Avraham, who worked with fellow attorney Michael Jo’el Smith for Lockett, didn’t go so far as to say the claim was false.

“I am not Ms. Lockett, so I can’t get into the mind of Ms. Lockett,” he told the AJC. “I know she believes her story. That’s as much as I can say.” 

Attempts to reach Lockett have been unsuccessful.

>> On AJC.com: Doctor, friend die from cocaine laced with fentanyl

Lockett went into surgery on Dec. 17, 2014, for a kidney and pancreatic transplant, according to the suit. Dr. Paul Lu Tso, assisted by doctors Ronald Parsons and Denise J. Lo, performed the procedure.

Lockett’s suit claimed a camera turned up in her torso the following June during an exam at the hospital and required another surgery to remove it.

>> On AJC.com: NFL player protests during anthem and gives critics a tip

Avraham said by the time Lockett came to him and Smith, the statute of limitations was almost up. They had what they believed to be “credible information” — he declined to elaborate — that Lockett’s story was true.

He said they decided to file suit and get more information from the discovery process, as lawyers do in the “pursuit of the truth.”

>> On AJC.com: Many questions after man dies and no one notices

Through discovery and their own investigation, the lawyers decided they didn’t have enough evidence to pursue the case, Avraham said.

Lockett had been asking for a jury to decide what she was owed for the alleged negligence.

Boy sleeps for 11 straight days, baffling doctors

When a 7-year-old boy fell asleep following a late-night wedding party, his mother expected him to be tired, but she could never fathom what would unfold.

>> Watch the news report here

The boy, Wyatt Shaw, was admitted to Norton Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, during the first week of October after his mother tried and tried and tried to wake up him following the exciting Sunday night wedding festivities.

“Monday I tried to wake him up, and he fell back to sleep,” the boy’s mother, Amy Shaw, told WDRB. “[I’d say], ‘Wyatt, Wyatt, Wyatt!’ And he fell back to sleep again.”

Wyatt slept for 11 consecutive daysAccording to WTVR, medication usually used to treat seizures finally woke the boy up, but doctors are mystified by what happened. Every test performed on Wyatt came back clear.

>> On Rare.us: 'Nothing brings me more joy': Artist brings smiles to sick children with beautiful tattoos

“[The doctors] said, ‘We’ll probably never know, but we’re just going to treat him now with rehab to get him better,’” Amy Shaw said.

>> On Rare.us: Anthony Rizzo breaks down in tears at Chicago hospital

Wyatt is having some trouble talking and walking, but he’s improving and is well aware of his story, WDRB reported. The only thing he doesn’t understand is the same thing the doctors don’t — what happened to him.

>> Read more trending news 

His mom hopes he’s back to showing off the energy he’s always exhibited, especially that night cutting up the dance floor at the wedding.

A benefit concert is being held for Wyatt and his family from 6 to 10 p.m. Oct. 26 at Northside Hall in Radcliff, Kentucky.

How online dating is changing who we marry in unexpected ways

Thanks to the rise of numerous dating apps and sites, such as TinderOKCupid or Match.com, dating culture has experienced a significant shift over the past two decades.

» RELATED: Tired of swiping for love? This new dating app sends you straight to the first date

And though online dating has received its fair share of bad press with accusations of fueling hook-up culture, stories of scam artists and of first dates gone wrongnew research shows online dating has influenced the nature of society in some positive ways.

>> Read more trending news

For their study, economics professors Josue Ortega at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom and Philipp Hergovich at the University of Vienna in Austria examined how online dating has changed the racial diversity of society.

» RELATED: Report: Every 3 hours, an online dater gets scammed

The authors hypothesized that internet dating services may be a driving force behind stronger marriages, interracial partnerships and a primary way for people to connect with those outside their social circles.

“Understanding the evolution of interracial marriage is an important problem, for intermarriage is widely considered a measure of social distance in our societies,” the authors told MIT Technology Review.

They created a simulated model network of men and women of different racial backgrounds in which everyone wants to marry a person of the opposite sex, but can only marry someone with whom they have a connection.

» RELATED: Atlanta ranked among worst cities for dating 

The model is a reflection of society, which Ortega and Hergovich said is essentially “a web of interlinked nodes.”

According to the professors, most people are connected to close friends and family (and some others) with about 100 nodes. And changing the network, like building new highways, can completely change how the network functions, they said.

» RELATED: What happened the year interracial marriages increased more than 400% in Georgia?

“Our model predicts nearly complete racial integration upon the emergence of online dating, even if the number of partners that individuals meet from newly formed ties is small,” Ortega and Hergovich told MIT Technology Review.

They then compared the model results with the rates of interracial marriage in the U.S.

Since the 1967 Loving v. Virginia U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized marriage across racial lines, intermarriage has increased steadily, according to the Pew Research Center.

In 2015, Pew found that 1 in 6 American newlyweds (17 percent) married a person of a different race or ethnicity. In 1967, only 3 percent did.

“It is intriguing that shortly after the introduction of the first dating websites in 1995, like Match.com, the percentage of new marriages created by interracial couples increased rapidly,” they said.

But it’s possible that, as MIT Technology Review noted, the reduction in the percentage of white Americans was a contributing factor in the rise of interracial marriages in the U.S.

» RELATED: RE:Race – AJC staffer Pete Corson on interracial marriage

Still, research authors said the change in the population’s composition can’t fully explain the huge increase in intermarriage.

Overall, according to Pew research, more and more American adults (approximately 39 percent in 2015) say interracial marriage is generally good for American society.

In 2010, 24 percent of American adults said it was a positive trend.

More from Pew Research Center.

The professors’ model also predicted that marriages established online are more robust and less likely to end in divorce, a hypothesis backed by previous research from the University of Florida in 2013.

The pre-published version of the study is available online at arxiv.org and is currently undergoing its full peer-review process.

Company pulls Anne Frank children’s costume after criticism

A few weeks ahead of Halloween, a costume company has pulled an online listing for an Anne Frank outfit.

>> Read more trending news

The costume was removed from HalloweenCostumes.com Sunday after customers and other internet users found the listing distasteful. 

The costume featured a blue long-sleeved dress with an elastic beret and an over the shoulder brown bag. The item’s description read as follows: 

“We can always learn from the struggles of history! Unfortunately, World War II shook the world in a way that no one could have foreseen. It ... created some unexpected heroes, where even a young girl like Anne Frank with nothing but a diary and hope could become an inspiration to us all. We can all learn from someone like that!”

Social media users criticized the costume and wondered why workers at the company thought it was appropriate. 

Ross Walker Smith, who works as a public relations specialist with HalloweenCostumes.com responded to the criticism with a statement. 

“We sell costumes not only for Halloween, but for many uses outside of the Halloween season, such as school projects and plays,” he wrote. “We offer several types of historically accurate costumes, from prominent figures to political figures to television characters ... We have passed along the feedback regarding this costume, and it has been removed from the website at this time.”

Smith apologized on behalf of the company for any offense the costume may have caused.

WATCH: 'Izzy's here!' Men find family dog thought killed in California wildfire

A tearful reunion was caught on camera as two men located their family dog alive after a wildfire tore through their mother’s home in California.

>> Click here to watch

The men hiked for miles to survey the damage and said they figured their beloved dog, Izzy, was killed in the blaze.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

But to their surprise, she was completely unharmed.

“It was one of the greatest moments of my life,” Jack Weaver said. “It was elation. We came walking around the corner; we didn’t expect to see her. We were just there to video the house for my parents.”

>> Read more trending news

The men said their mother was ecstatic to learn that Izzy was alive.

Izzy is now resting comfortably at home with the rest of the family.

Groomer gives matted, abandoned dog a much-needed makeover

A Florida dog groomer is being praised for her quick work in helping save an abandoned dog in distress.

The groomer’s husband told WFTV's Angela Jacobs on Friday that the dog was found late Wednesday after good Samaritans saved it from being hit by a car along a road in Oviedo.

The dog was so severely matted, the groomer’s husband said, it could barely see through its neglected and overgrown hair. The dog also had to be carried and was unable to walk or wag his tail.

>> Read more trending news

BGE Grooming was contacted due to the dog’s poor condition. The dog groomer, Kari Falla, immediately opened the salon at midnight to begin working on the dog. 

WFTV learned Falla worked on the dog until after 3 a.m. to return its coat to good condition.

A viewer familiar with the incident contacted WFTV and said, “She (Kari) didn't stop there. Today she got with a local vet and they took the dog and they are currently housing and going to find a forever home.”

While the dog undergoes its medical evaluation, Falla reported on her Facebook page that the dog is playing happily with lots of tail-wagging. 

Top Halloween food safety tips

From bobbing for apples at a party to devouring a bucket of candy, food is definitely a big part of enjoying Halloween. But it can also lead to problems such as food-related illnesses, allergic reactions or even incidents such as choking.

>> Read more trending news

The following top Halloween food safety tips from the FDA  and the CDC will help keep your guests and little ghosts and goblins safe.

Prevent an allergic reactionIf your child has a food allergy, the following can let them enjoy their Halloween haul while avoiding any problematic foods:Look for teal pumpkinsFamilies who display teal pumpkins offer non-candy treats for trick-or-treaters who may have allergies.Check all treatsMake sure your child knows not to eat any candy before you check it at home. Look for ingredient lists on pre-packaged candy, and throw out any homemade treats since you can’t positively identify their ingredients.Buy treats for your childBuy some small trinkets (check out the non-candy suggestions listed below) to give your children on Halloween. That way, if they end up not being able to eat much of their candy, they won’t feel left out. Exchange or donate what your child can’t eatFind a local Halloween Candy Buy Back event in your area where kids can exchange candy for cash or prizes. You can also donate candy to active duty service members or other organizations. Check for signs of tamperingAlthough tampering with candy is rare, it does happen. The CDC recommends consuming only factory-sealed food items. Look for any evidence of the following:

  • An unusual appearance
  • Discoloration
  • Tiny pinholes
  • Tears in wrappers

Throw out homemade treats unless they’re from someone you know very well. If something looks suspicious, throw it out, and if you find actual evidence of tampering, notify the police.Eliminate choking hazardsSome Halloween treats can be choking hazards, especially for small children. Look through their bags to eliminate the following:

  • Peanuts
  • Hard candies
  • Gum
  • Raisins
  • Gooey candy like caramel, taffy or marshmallows
  • Small toys such as balls or marbles

In addition, make sure kids don’t lie down when they’re eating their Halloween candy, since this can increase their risk of choking.Make sure treats you serve at home are safeCandy from outside your home isn’t the only possible treat-related danger. If you’re hosting a Halloween party or planning other holiday activities for your family, take the following precautions:Clean fruitIf you’re bobbing for apples, rinse them thoroughly and use a produce brush.Avoid raw doughDon’t eat raw cookie dough or cake batter, which can contain bacteria.Refrigerate properlyDon’t leave food out on the table or counter for too long. Keep items refrigerated until they’re ready to serve, and don’t leave perishable foods out for more than two hours.Offer non-food alternativesYou don’t have to limit yourself to handing out candy. Kids enjoy small toys or other treats, and you won’t have to worry about allergies or stuffing them with too much candy. Dollar stores are great places to pick up multiple items packaged together, such as the following:

  • Glow sticks
  • Plastic rings with spiders, skulls, etc.
  • Small bubble bottles
  • Stickers
  • Mini notepads
  • Bouncy balls
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Vampire teeth
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Stencils
  • Silly bands
  • Small playing cards
  • Small cans of Play-Doh
  • Finger puppets

Trick-or-treating: Top safety tips

Halloween should be about treats, but some tricks such as dangerous situations can quickly ruin the fun. The following trick-or-treating safety tips can help you and your kids avoid issues.COSTUME SAFETYCostumes and other components can create hazards if you’re not careful. The following tips from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Safety Council will help you make sure your child’s disguise doesn’t cause any hazards:

  • Look for light-colored, flame-resistant costumesLook for masks, wigs, costumes and other components that are labeled as flame-resistant or made of flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon. Also choose light-colored costumes when possible since they’re easier for drivers to spot at night.
  • Look for a proper fitMake sure all masks, shoes and other parts of your child’s costume fit well. He or she should be able to see well and walk without tripping over a costume that drags the ground or because of shoes that are too large. 
  • Take care with makeupBuy only nontoxic Halloween makeup, and always test it in a small area first, the CDC recommends. Remove it before bedtime to help prevent irritation.
  • Use safe accessoriesUse swords, knives and other accessories made of soft materials that won’t cause injury if your child falls on them.
  • Make your child more visible.The CDC suggests adding reflective tape to your child’s costume and treat bag to make him or her more visible.
  • Protect their eyesSkip wearing decorative contact lenses to avoid injuring your eyes, and don’t let your kids wear them.

ROAD SAFETY

Drive carefully and keep your kids safe as they navigate neighborhood streets with the following tips:

  • Slow down and be cautiousIf you’re driving on Halloween, slow down in residential neighborhoods and watch out for trick-or-treaters who may unexpectedly dart into the street. Especially if they’re wearing dark costumes, they can be difficult to see. 
  • Be visibleTurn your headlights on, even if it’s still light outside, so you’ll be more visible to trick-or-treaters.
  • Arm trick-or-treaters with flashlightMake sure your trick-or-treaters carry a flashlight with fresh batteries, but teach them to carry it facing downward so they don’t temporarily blind oncoming drivers.
  • Stick to sidewalksWalk on sidewalks when possible, and if they’re not available, walk on the left side of the road so you’re facing traffic.
  • Cross the street safelyCross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles.
  • Make sure kids are supervisedIf you’re not accompanying your kids, ensure that they’re going with another adult or an older, responsible young person if they’re under 12. CANDY SAFETYMake sure you child’s candy doesn’t cause any harm with the following tips:
  • Inspect your child’s candyTell your kids to wait until you can look through their candy at home before they eat any. Tampering is rare, but it does happen. Look for any tears in wrappers, tiny pinholes, or anything that looks discolored or unusual. Throw out anything that isn’t commercially wrapped, unless it’s a homemade treat from someone you personally know well.
  • Check for allergensIf your child has a food allergy, read the ingredient label of commercially wrapped treats to make sure it doesn’t contain any allergens. Skip homemade treats, since you can’t be sure of what they contain.
  • Look for teal pumpkinsIf you see a teal pumpkin at a home, that signifies that it’s safe for trick-or-treaters with food allergies since the homeowners offer non-food treats like small toys. Look for homes that display these if your child has allergies, and provide this welcoming sign of safe treats for kids who visit your home.
  • Check for choking hazardsCheck through non-candy treats to make sure they’re not a choking hazard to your child if he or she is younger. Also go through their candy and eliminate any hard candies or any other items they could choke on.

SAFE TRICK-OR-TREAT LOCATIONSChoose the safest locations for your child to visit with the following tips:

  • Visit ‘trunk or treat’ eventsOrganizations such as churches often hold trunk or treat events where people decorate their opened trucks and hand out candy. This helps children stay in a confined area and avoid streets and traffic.
  • Hit the mallMalls sometimes have Halloween events where stores give out candy to children in costume. You’ll avoid traffic and other outdoor hazards while ensuring that weather won’t be a factor.
  • Check with neighborhood associationsIf you live in a community with a neighborhood association, these organizations often have information about which houses are handing out candy. The association may also host a clubhouse party for the holiday.
  • Use Nextdoor’s treat mapThe social network site for neighborhoods has a Halloween treat map that lets you and your neighbors “advertise” that you’ll be handing out Halloween candy. You can use it to plan the best route for your trick-or-treaters.
  • Know which houses to avoidSeveral states prohibit registered sex offenders from handing out candy on Halloween, and at least one, Maryland, requires them to post “No candy at this residence” signs. You can also check the U.S. Department of Justice’s website for links to your state’s sex offender registry or download a mobile app that you can use along the way to tell you which homes to avoid.

Best 2017 pop culture Halloween costumes

Halloween is the perfect time to make a statement about this year’s pop culture hits and misses. According to Insider, some of the most popular pop culture Halloween costumes in 2017 will include pregnant Kylie Jenner, Wonder Woman and a Playboy Bunny.

According to Quartz, what this says about us, besides that we like to dress up, is that our collective psyche is riddled with TV and movies. But Quartz also pointed out the common human desire to be more powerful, which is why superheroes are a Halloween fashion staple.

Other pop culture favorites appearing this Halloween season include any costume that has Disney characters. In September, Pinterest noted that just the term “Disney costume” has been pinned more than 675,000 times this year, with Belle and Gaston from “Beauty and the Beast” leading the pack.

A costume that became cliché in its first season is Pennywise, the kid-killing clown from the screen adaptation of Stephen King’s “It.” Pinterest saves for clown makeup and costumes are up 941 percent this year. If you must join the horde, please, please, step away from red balloons near sewers in suburban neighborhoods. Other pop culture Halloween costume popular on Pinterest included “Baywatch” characters, frat boys and Wednesday Addams. One of the most popular Halloween makeup options is pixelated face makeup, which has been pinned more than 26,000 times. 

>> Read more trending news

Hit pop culture Halloween costumes from the mediaRipped-straight-from-the-headlines costumes make their own kind of scary Halloween statements, even if those headlines come straight from TMZ or People.

Fake News: Insider reports a mini dress of newspaper clippings stamped “Fake” in big red letters sold by costume retailer Yandy. Pregnant Kylie Jenner: You may not be unique, but you’ll be in good company in one of Yandy’s $60 pregnant Kylie Jenner costume. Hef and a Playboy bunny: 2017 claimed the life of  Hugh Hefner. Sure, dressing as the dapper (if elderly) Hef and a Playboy bunny is a time-honored Halloween tradition, but this year’s news adds a morbid touch to the Playmate (Yandy, $80) and Hugh Hefner (Target, $40) couples costume. Dancing hot dog from Snapchat: The wildly popular dancing meme from Snapchat makes a hot pop culture Halloween costume. You can pick up a  $40 hot dog suit from Target, but you must supply the over-the-ear headphones yourself. Handmaid: Hulu’s 2017 hit, based on the Margaret Atwood novel, "The Handmaid's Tale," is a dark metaphor for the current civil rights and political climate. A handmaid ensemble is easy to pull off for one or a group, from thrift store finds or ready-made purchases like the $64 version from Azure CostumesLa La Land: Another great couples’ idea from the Pinterest people, and if you can jitterbug and whatnot, all the better. For the snarkiest, include a “Moonlight” costume in the group as a nod to the 2017 Best Picture Oscars mix-up. April the Giraffe and her baby from Animal Adventure Park: With giraffe costumes and make-up running wild on Pinterest (up 1,200 percent from last year, unless someone made a typo), what a great time to dress as the ever-pregnant and finally a mom April the Giraffe. Depending on your companions and physical condition, you may want to go for pregnant April, during her eternal labor, or with her offspring. Kinder, gentler pop culture costumesGroot: According to Pinterest, searches for this soulful, leafy “Guardians of the Galaxy” character’s costume have gone up 133 percent in the past year. It’s a more involved costume than most, with those branches and all, but it has the prime advantage of also having a baby costume option: Baby Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.”Bob Ross and Tree: That’s a happy tree, mind you, a perfect foil to 2017’s political and environmental strife. And hey, Pinterest reports 25,000-plus saves on the costume idea. Unicorns: Rainbows and sparkles will be in the forecast for Halloween 2017 trick-or-treating and costume parties for sure, with searches for unicorn costumes up 110 percent this year on Pinterest. According to Quartz, “The draw seems to be childlike positivity and magical thinking, allowing people see themselves and the world through rose- (and cobalt-) colored glasses.” “My Little Pony”: With the 2017 release of the “My Little Pony” movie, the  animated characters should give you plenty of sweet costume options for every optimist on the block. Just be sure your costume has a pony name and a birthday on Equestria.

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