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Florida Woman Out Of Luck When Winning Lottery Ticket Gets Lost In Mail

RIDGE MANOR, Fla. (AP) — A woman who won $1,000 in a second chance drawing on July 29 isn’t getting her prize because the certified letter she sent to the Florida Lottery’s headquarters never arrived.

Sue Burgess told WFLA that officials in Tallahassee told her “no ticket, no prize.”

The second chance lottery prize gives winners limited time to turn in a ticket to claim the prize. Their options are to either put the ticket in a drop box at a local lottery office, which were not then open to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic, or mail them to the headquarters.

Burgess told the television station she felt it would be safer to send the ticket via certified mail with the U.S. Postal Service.

The tracking information shows the ticket arrived at a Tallahassee post office at 7:12 a.m. on Aug. 12. But the online tracking shows the ticket was never delivered to the lottery office.

When Burgess called, lottery officials told her that without a ticket, the prize would go to an alternate winner.

In a second chance game, the lottery has a record of winners because players register their names and contact information. Burgess told the station she was notified she won by a lottery official who called to give her the good news.

Typically, lottery winners of more than $600 can submit winning tickets in person at their local lottery office. But because of COVID-19, offices were closed to the public. Burgess says she was told she could send the ticket via certified mail or leave the ticket in a drop box at a local lottery office.

Burgess said there was a one-week time frame to submit the ticket, but she missed an email about being a winner and by the time the office called her, she only had days to get the ticket post-marked.

“That’s why you chose certified mail,” Burgess told the station. “With COVID, I understand the mail is a little bit slow. But for safety sake, certified mail usually has priority.”

Lottery officials told WFLA the claim was never received at the headquarters.

The claims department told Burgess to contact the postal service to find out what happened to the letter. The postal service said they are investigating what happened.

In a statement to the station, the postal service offered an apology to Burgess for any “inconvenience.”

If the package arrives, lottery officials told the station they would bend the rules and pay Burgess the $1,000 if it was postmarked by the original deadline.

“Ms. Burgess’ situation is an unusual circumstance and, to our knowledge, no other winner has experienced a similar issue,” the lottery said.

Mike Tyson Makes EDM Debut With Self-Titled Banger, ‘I’m Mike Tyson!’

Twitter marvels at a prophetic Joe Biden tweet from exactly one year ago

It was Oct. 25, 2019 when former Vice President and hopeful 2020 candidate Joe Biden tweeted out a warning to the American public.

“We are not prepared for a pandemic,” he wrote, weeks ahead of COVID-19 being named and flagged as an emerging threat. “Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores.”

Biden was responding at the time to a Washington Post report that shined a light on the world’s lack of preparedness for the kind of outbreak that we’re living through right now. No one was prepared for COVID-19, but Biden made the case in October 2019 that the U.S. in particular was behind the curve because of a regressive administration whose principal focus over four years was undoing all the work of the Obama White House.

The Biden tweet took off almost immediately after WaPo reporter Dave Weigel flagged it on Sunday morning. A majority of Americans are well aware of all that we’ve lost over the past four years, but the Democratic presidential candidate’s prescient words still broke through as he and Trump both round into the final days before the 2020 U.S. election concludes.

The tweet struck an especially stark contrast between the two candidates as White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’ name splashed across Twitter for asserting that “we are not going to get control of the pandemic … because it’s a contagious virus.” Infectious disease experts around the world have repeatedly said that control is possible, it just takes discipline and personal responsibility.

Is there anything more conspicuously absent from the current U.S. leadership than those two qualities? Donald Trump has spent years saying one thing and doing another, even when it costs him an opportunity to be the leader everyone hoped he’d evolve into when he took office in January 2017. And personal responsibility? This is the same president who said “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the faults and failures in early U.S. testing.

Needless to say, the sudden reappearance of a year-old Biden tweet that seemed to peer into the future resonated with people who are more than ready for a change.

Facebook’s tools for ‘at-risk’ countries will be used to manage U.S. election unrest

Facebook is apparently preparing to break out the emergency tool kit to deal with the 2020 U.S. election. 

These internal tools, typically reserved for use in “at-risk” countries, help to slow down the spread of viral misinformation related to an election or other major event, The Wall Street Journal reports.  Sources “familiar with the matter” say the company is ready to implement those tools if needed as the 2020 election concludes.

As part of the process, Facebook will not only slow down the spread of posts as they go viral, but will also alter the news feed to change the type of content that appears. Additionally, the company might also “lower the threshold” for what its software considers to be dangerous content.

Essentially, the tools are meant to help limit the amount of exposure Facebook users have to posts that contain misinformation, sensationalism, and calls for violence. While that seems like the responsible approach, WSJ‘s sources say that Facebook employees feel uneasy because it “could suppress some good-faith political discussion.”

But the tech giant isn’t pulling out the tools just yet — Facebook executives said they would only carry out the changes “in dire circumstances,” such as if violence erupted in relation to the election.  But the company does need to be prepared for all types of situations as well. 

This also wouldn’t be the first time Facebook had plans to combat misinformation prepared ahead of an election. As noted by WSJ, the company developed tools for the 2018 midterm elections as well, such as turning off Facebook group recommendations, but they were never used. 

Even if the social media company does decide to break out the internal tools for the 2020 election, it remains to be seen if the public is even notified. We likely won’t hear anything as events unfold if the company doesn’t feel it’s in the public interest. 

Regardless, it’s clear that Facebook is bracing itself for whatever this fraught election may bring.

One true thing Donald Trump said in that ’60 Minutes’ interview

In Sunday night’s now infamous 60 Minutes interview, Donald Trump told at least 16 lies, according to CNN.

But he did get something right. Right before he made a number of menacing statements to Lesley Stahl, and then walked off in a huff in the middle of the interview, Trump reminded the world how he ended up in the White House in the first place. 

“I think I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have social media,” said Trump.

Unlike pretty much everything else he said, that is true. 

Even a Twitter board member said the social media network helped Trump win the first time around. And despite changes to its algorithms in 2019, YouTube led plenty of users down misinformation rabbit holes in the lead-up to Trump’s victory in 2016.

But the worst offender was Facebook. As Brad Parscale, Trump’s former campaign manager, told 60 Minutes in 2017, “I understood early that Facebook was how Donald Trump was going to win. Facebook was the method — it was the highway which his car drove on.”

In a leaked internal memo from the end of 2019, Facebook exec Andrew Bosworth said the social media network “was responsible for Donald Trump getting elected” — but claimed “Russia or misinformation or Cambridge Analytica” wasn’t the culprit. Instead, it’s because he “ran the single best digital ad campaign I’ve ever seen from any advertiser.”

Many experts find that a bit too generous. An Ohio State study suggests blatantly fake news likely convinced swing voters to pick Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016. And the co-founder of FactCheck.org wrote a book about how Russian misinformation most likely helped Trump win.

But aside from the issues of ads (some possibly used to suppress the Black vote in swing states in 2016) and Russian interference, Facebook allowed toxic right-wing misinformation to flourish before and after Trump became president. The list of top-performing Facebook content still regularly looks like this:

Facebook has made some positive changes to fight misinformation. But it continues to let Republicans work the refs with accusations of “anti-conservative bias” (see above list for evidence to the contrary). And Trump is hoping social media, once again, can propel him to victory on Nov. 3.

Donald Trump election prediction: Psychic says ‘like it or not he’s got a second term’

“Make no mistake, on 11/3 Trump wins his second term and the reformation continues.”

As of Friday morning, poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight appears to favour Mr Biden, giving him a lead ranging from as little as three points to 33.

An October 17 to 21 IBD/TIPP poll, for instance, predicts a four-point lead for Mr Biden.

And yet, a leading British psychic has claimed Donald Trump will beat the odds next month, much like he did when he stood against poor poll numbers in the 2016 election.

UFO fleet spotted over UK as light orbs adorn night sky – claim

On October 23, glowing dots could be seen in the night’s sky over Guildford, England. Stunned onlookers were quick to grab their phones and begin recording the odd phenomenon. A video submitted to the UFO investigation network MUFON shows a series of red orbs floating through the sky.

An eyewitness statement submitted to MUFON said: “I was just out for a walk around the local playing fields. I witnessed more than 10 large red-orange glowing orbs, like fireballs.

“The orbs appeared either singly or in pairs, at the same point in the sky each time, and they ‘popped out’.

“No flashing or taillights and absolutely not helicopters or planes, which are both common appearances where I live and easily distinguishable.

“From the ground, they had an apparent size roughly 1/4 that of a full moon, just bigger than an aspirin. Each pair of orbs moved in a west-to-east direction and disappeared after moving around 20 degrees eastwards.

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UFO fleet spotted over UK as light orbs adorn night sky – claim (Image: UFO SIGHTINGS DAILY)

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Up to 10 orbs were seen (Image: UFO SIGHTINGS DAILY)

“A few minutes later the orb(s) would reappear at the same original point and move in the same direction as the previous ones.

“There was also some strange pulsating lights in a cloud moving in a geometric pattern which accompanied the sighting.

“I was able to capture some footage on my phone but the quality is not great due to night-time and lack of tripod – and my total shock at seeing this!”

Seasoned alien enthusiasts analysed the video, and believe it is proof of extraterrestrials in the UK.

READ MORE: Archaeology bombshell: Researchers amazed by discovery of ‘clear UFO’

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“There was also some strange pulsating lights in a cloud moving in a geometric pattern” (Image: UFO SIGHTINGS DAILY)

Prominent UFO theorist Scott C Waring said the UFOs are not lanterns, but rather a “rare look” at aliens.

Mr Waring said on his blog UFO Sightings Daily: “The objects are large, round and have no openings visible.

“If they were Chinese lanterns, they would be oval and a large opening would be visible on the bottom and the candle within would be seen.

“Lanterns also burn out in one to three minutes. None exists in this video. These are UFOs. These are a rare look at alien craft over Britain.”

While Mr Waring is adamant they are not Chinese lanterns, the way they float aimlessly through the sky with slight flickering light would suggest otherwise.

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drake equation

What is the Drake Equation? (Image: EXPRESS)

While there is no official evidence of any aliens of extraterrestrial space ships on Earth, or anywhere for that matter, Mr Waring believes they are out there.

In fact, the alien hunter believes NASA and other space agencies know about said extraterrestrials, but is hiding the revelation from the public.

But Mr Waring said the coronavirus pandemic has hardened humanity, and the common person is ready for aliens.

He said: “Much like COVID-19 did to the people in each country as it spread, because the public once believed that such a pandemic would be impossible, and yet, the human race has changed their perspective on that very fast.

“That’s how disclosure of intelligent aliens would be, but it would not kill people or frighten them as much.”

Life after death: ‘I was knocking on the gates of HEAVEN’ – claim

A person named Frank claims he had a glimpse of the afterlife following a severe motorbike accident. Before he could be resuscitated, Frank was clinically dead for a short period of time, but he says it felt like an eternity. While Frank was unconscious, he says he was transported to heaven where he knocked on the gates.

He believes he was told he was not allowed to enter heaven by a faceless being who said Frank has more to do in life.

Frank wrote on the Near Death Experience Research Foundation: “There was a light, a tunnel to aim for, but the ride was in auto-pilot. Now here’s where things get real interesting.

“The Gates of Heaven! I found myself looking in but could not get in! I started to knock, knock on the gates to Heaven.

“The sights where out of this world, people playing having a great time. The sight and sounds greater than anything we know musical notes and sounds just greater than works can explain.

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Life after death: ‘I was knocking on the gates of HEAVEN’ – claim (Image: GETTY)

afterlife

“I found myself looking in but could not get in! I started to knock, knock on the gates to Heaven.” (Image: GETTY)

“The visual effect was endless amount of bright colours (using colour to try to paint the colour). Again, words are too simple!

“As I became accustomed to the sights and sound, I was delighted I was in the right place, yet the gates would not open!

“Then what seemed like forever, might have been just a second-time did not exist or was slowed down-all I wanted was IN!

“Yet here I was banging on what seemed like golden gates, as a graceful, faceless spiritual being taller than myself.

READ MORE: Life after death: ‘You’ll be greeted by loved ones when you die’

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“There was a light, a tunnel to aim for, but the ride was in auto-pilot.” (Image: GETTY)

“He/she(?) told me ‘I am not ready! Have to make the planet a beautiful place!’

“Of course I argued with that being, even explaining what can I do with a twisted body yet they communicated the same over, ‘it’s not my time to join them’.”

Frank was suddenly back in his body but added he is now convinced there is an afterlife.

However, scientists say near death experiences such as Frank’s are common, and more of a sign of a surge in brain activity, which could be seen as the brain scanning itself in one last survival attempt.

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afterlife

“People describe a sensation of a bright, warm, welcoming light that draws people towards it.” (Image: GETTY)

Dr Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City, said: “People describe a sensation of a bright, warm, welcoming light that draws people towards it.

“They describe a sensation of experiencing their deceased relatives, almost as if they have come to welcome them.

“They often say that they didn’t want to come back in many cases, it is so comfortable and it is like a magnet that draws them that they don’t want to come back.

“A lot of people describe a sensation of separating from themselves and watching doctors and nurses working on them.”

Tyler Perry Endorses Joe Biden, Describes 2020 As The ‘Worst Reality Show’ Ever

Movie mogul Tyler Perry has generally steered clear of politics, aside from hosting former President Barack Obama at fundraisers in the past. In 2020, though, he’s officially endorsing Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

Speaking with Variety, Perry — the creator of Madea, the no-nonsense elderly Black woman he has portrayed in 10 feature films — explained that a number of factors influenced his decision to publicly stand behind a candidate this year.

They include his 5-year-old son, Aman, the coronavirus pandemic, and the fact that the United States had been “drafted on the worst reality show that’s ever been produced, and none of us have been paid for it.”

“For the last four and a half years or so, we have been dragged through the wringer, and it is completely exhausting,” said Perry, a self-described “independent thinker” who does not necessarily identify with the Democratic or Republican party. “So many people are exhausted at the division, at the hate, at the pandemic — people are just exhausted and angry and frustrated. And if the people who bring hope [and] positivity give up, then the world has lost its balance.”

“I know this sounds cliché and some people may think it’s bullshit,” he added, “but the truth is, I’ve lived long enough and experienced enough good and bad to know that good wins when everybody pushes in that direction.”

Referencing Trump’s poor record on the environment and his catering to the fossil fuel industry, Perry explained that he wanted his son “to be able to go to the national parks and they’re not drilling inside of them.” He also took aim at Trump’s frequent interruptions during the first presidential debate on Sept. 29, pointing out that he hoped that his son could “turn on a debate and see two men stand professionally, giving each other the respect to finish their two minutes that they’re allotted and not talking over and screaming at each other.”

“The great thing about a democracy is every four years, you have an opportunity to make a change, and I’m hoping that there are enough decent people who are seeing that we need to make a change,” Perry said.

He added later: “If you want more of the same, then you vote the way that you did in 2016. If you want something different, then we need to have a landslide out voting for Joe Biden.”

Aside from politics, Perry also touched on race relations in the movie business. The mogul, who recited his personal mantra that “this Black skin that encompasses me is beautiful,” said that despite 2020 being fraught with racial injustice, Hollywood was making encouraging strides forward. 

“Ten or 15 years ago, I could call any Black actor from Idris Elba to Viola Davis and Kerry Washington — they were all ready to go to work,” Perry told Variety. “But now it’s like, ‘Oh, their schedule is [booked] out two years.’ There’s this surge of Black is in, hire Black, and diversity is in.”

Read the entire interview here.

Fight Breaks Out On Plane After Man Refuses To Wear Face Mask

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A man who refused to wear a face mask on a Utah-bound flight was escorted off the plane in Arizona after he and another man who asked him to follow the rules got into a physical altercation, police said Monday.

Rylie Lansford of Lehigh, Utah, boarded the Allegiant flight in Mesa, Arizona, on Saturday and was sitting near both passengers. As soon as the two men started fighting on the Provo-bound flight, Lansford said, she ran to the front of the plane and started recording video.

“I just knew that something was going to go down and so really all I was thinking about was getting out of the way,” she said Monday.

Lansford said the fight began when a man sitting behind her started arguing with a flight attendant after she asked him to wear a mask. He was wearing a face shield, but “face shields must be worn in addition to a face covering, but not as an alternative,” according to Allegiant’s policy.

Another passenger sitting in Lansford’s row then turned around, started yelling at the man to wear a mask and began shouting obscenities and other threats, she said. Police said the first man told him to mind his own business.

A gate supervisor came to remove the man wearing a face shield who then elbowed the man in front of him and said he was the reason why he had to leave, Mesa police said in a statement.

Lansford’s video shows the man in front choking the passenger who refused to wear a mask, pulling his hair and hitting him in the back.

An off-duty police officer stopped the fight and escorted the man who wouldn’t wear a mask off the flight, police said.

The second man was allowed to stay on the plane, Lansford said.

“I was just annoyed that it was just one simple thing that one person had to do,” she said. “If you buy a plane ticket, wear a mask.”

Allegiant Air said in a statement that passengers are required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times when traveling.

Authorities identified the man who was removed from the flight as 52-year-old Rio Honaker. An officer cited Honaker with one count of disorderly conduct.

It was not clear if Honaker had an attorney, and no listed phone number could be found.