Category Archives: Crime

Muller Indicted Over A Dozen Russian Nationals For Meddling

By: CHRIS SOMMERFELDT, DENIS SLATTERY of Daily News

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has charged more than a dozen Russian nationals with violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with the 2016 election, the Department of Justice said on Friday.

A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities and charged them with trying to sway the election in favor of President Trump, according to court documents.

“The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said Friday. “We must not allow them to succeed.”

The indictment was sought through Mueller, who has been tasked with investigating Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the election and any possible ties to the Trump campaign.

“Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” according to the indictment.

Trump, despite the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community, has repeatedly cast doubt on whether Russia attempted influence on the election.

But the efforts of the foreign “organization” in the indictment date to at least 2014.

“The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” Rosenstein said.

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Kentucky Gov Blames Violent Video Games For Shootings

By: Scott Wartman of Enquirer

A day after a former student opened fire at a high school in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin called for the nation to consider restrictions on violence in video games and movies, not guns.

“We need to have an honest conversation as to what should and should not be allowed in the United States as it relates to the things being put in the hands of our young people,” Bevin said during a stop in Covington on Thursday.

What shouldn’t be put in the hands of young people? Violent video games and movies, Bevin said.

“I’m a big believer in the First Amendment and right to free speech, but there are certain things that are so graphic as it relates to violence, and things that are so pornographic on a whole another front that we allow to pass under the guise of free speech, which arguably are,” Bevin said. “But there is zero redemptive value. There is zero upside to any of this being in the public domain, let alone in the minds and hands and homes of our young people.”

As the school shootings mount, so has pressure on politicians to strengthen gun control laws.

Three weeks earlier in Bevin’s 15-year-old student at a high school in western Kentucky shot and killed two people and wounded 16.

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Who Was The Florida Shooter ?

By: John Schuppe of NBC

The young man charged with killing 17 people at his former Florida high school worried some of his classmates, talking about his guns and sharing pictures of small animals he had shot.

He had a “very disturbing” social media presence and had been expelled from school, officials said, supplying new details on the life of accused shooter, Nikolas Cruz.

Cruz, 19, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the attack Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which he was expelled from last year for disciplinary reasons, officials said. The attack unfolded just before classes were dismissed for the day.

Cruz, who arrived at the scene in an Uber, confessed to the attack, telling investigators he had brought the AR-15 and several loaded magazines stuffed into a backpack and planned to leave them behind in order to blend in with fleeing students, according to a police affidavit. After the shooting, he made it to a Walmart, where he bought a drink, then continued to a McDonald’s, where he sat for a bit, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said at a news conference Thursday evening. Soon after leaving, Cruz was arrested,

A motive in the shooting remains unclear.

Cruz legally bought the .223 caliber rifle used in the shootings in February 2017 at Sunrise Tactical Supply, a federally licensed gun store in Coral Springs, authorities said.

Cruz’s court-appointed defense lawyer, Broward County Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill, called him “a broken human being” and said he was “mournful, remorseful” and “fully aware of what is going on.”

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A.I Recognizes Terrorist Propaganda With 99% Accuracy

By: Kevin Litman-Navarro

The UK-based company ASI Data Science unveiled a machine learning algorithm Wednesday that can identify terrorist propaganda videos with 99 percent accuracy

This development marks one of the first instances of a company successfully using A.I. to flag extremist propaganda. The Islamic State group is notorious for its social media recruiting efforts, and this algorithm could help curtail them.

While the researchers at ASI wouldn’t discuss any technical specifics of the algorithm, it appears to work like other kinds of A.I. recognition software. The algorithm can examine any video and determine the probability that the video is a piece of extremist propaganda. According to the BBC, the algorithm was trained on thousands of hours of terrorist recruiting videos, and it uses characteristics from these videos to assign probability scores.

If a video is marked as very high probability, it is tagged for review by a human content moderator. Because the videos aren’t automatically taken down, any false positive should be caught before the video is wrongfully removed. ASI said that the algorithm could detect up to 94 percent of Islamic State uploads.

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Lead Investigator of The Illegal Ivory Trade Found Dead

By: The BBC

Esmond Bradley Martin, 75, was found in his Nairobi home on Sunday with a stab wound to his neck.

The former UN special envoy for rhino conservation was known for his undercover work investigating the black market.

The US citizen had recently returned from a research trip to Myanmar.

Bradley Martin was in the process of writing up his findings when he died, reports the BBC’s Alastair Leithead from Nairobi.

His wife found him in their house in Langata. Police are investigating the circumstances but suspect it was a botched robbery.

Our correspondent says Bradley Martin had spent decades risking his life to secretly photograph and document illegal sales of ivory and rhino horn, travelling to China, Vietnam, and Laos to pose as a buyer and establish the details of black market prices.

He first went to Kenya from the US in the 1970s when there was a surge in the number of elephants being killed for their ivory.

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San Francisco Begins To expunge Marijuana Misdemeanors

By: Damir Mujezinovic of Inquisitr

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced that his office will retroactively apply California’s marijuana-legalization laws to past criminal cases. This means San Francisco will expunge and seal the records of misdemeanor marijuana offenders, the San Francisco Chronicle reported today.

This decision was announced by George Gascón at a news conference. The San Francisco District Attorney was joined by city supervisors, the director of the city’s Office of Cannabis, the Drug Policy Alliance reform group, and the president of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP.

California legalized recreational marijuana in November. Voters approved Proposition 64, the LA Times reported, making California the most populous state in the nation to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Californians who are 21 and older can possess, transport, and buy up to 28.5 grams of marijuana.

The same proposition that legalized recreational marijuana in the American coastal state allows offenders to petition for resentencing. That is, it allows it if their crime would have received a different penalty under the new law.

Proposition 64, the 2016 referendum item that legalized recreational marijuana in California, allows marijuana offenders to petition for re-sentencing if their crime would have received a different penalty, or no penalty at all, under the new law. An individual can petition a court to recall or dismiss their case, but not everyone has the money for legal feels or the time to go through the entire process.

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Bournemouth Council Labeled Shameful for Putting Metal Bars on Benches to Deter Transients From Sleeping

By: Chris Baynes of The Independent

A council has been criticised as “inhumane” after installing metal bars on benches to stop homeless people sleeping on them.

Bournemouth Borough Council has adapted seats across the town centre to deter rough sleepers.

The Conservative authority said it installed the bars “following numerous complaints by members of the public and local traders” about people lying on the benches.

But charities condemned the “hostile” move and called for the local authority to focus on helping homeless people.

Photos of the benches have also provoked anger on social media, with Facebook users branding the council ”shameful” and “heartless”.

The council’s strategy first came to wider attention after Bournemouth artist Stuart Semple posted a picture of one of the benches on Facebook. He said between 20 and 30 seats had been “retrofitted”.

“The second I saw it I knew exactly what it meant and I was really shocked and quite angry to see it in my home town,” Mr Semple told The Independent.

He added: “This kind of hostile design is really wrong. Most people will just take these things for granted and walk past them but for a homeless person I think it would be deeply upsetting to see something like that.

“I really don’t think we should be making those kind of statements in our towns and cities, we should be making inclusive places. Everybody is welcome.”

The founder of a charity which hands out food to Bournemouth’s homeless said the measure was “an utter waste of taxpayers’ money.”

Claire Matthews, whose organisation Hope For Food runs a soup kitchen in the seaside resort four nights a week, told The Independent: “All it is doing is putting a sticking plaster over the wound. If [the council] stop and think and look at what they are doing and help the homeless off the streets, they would not need all this.

“Why can’t they actually put the money into helping the homeless?”

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Egypt’s Presidential Race Begins With Most Likely Contender Arrested

By: Greg Walters of Vice

Egypt’s presidential campaign has kicked into full gear, and naturally the top opposition candidate was just arrested.

A retired top general named Sami Anan, seen as the last remaining real threat to Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, was dragged out of his car in the street by armed men at about 11:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, Mahmoud Refaat, a spokesman for Anan’s campaign, told VICE News. Anan’s arrest comes just days after he announced plans to challenge el-Sisi for the presidency in a vote scheduled for March.

“There is no legal basis to arrest him,” Refaat said, calling the move politically motivated.

The cops didn’t just throw Anan in jail. They went after for dozens of his campaign staff, too, and even members of their families, Refaat said.

“Yesterday 30 members of the campaign staff were arrested,” Refaat said, along with “some of their family members.” Those taken into custody are being held in an “unknown place,” he said. Anan himself was taken to the Military Prosecutor’s office in Cairo, Reuters reported, citing his son and one of his lawyers.

Throwing people in jail is a big part of what el-Sisi, himself an army general, has been up to ever since he seized power in a military coup in 2013. Immediately after taking charge, el-Sisi suspended the constitution and tossed the country’s first-ever democratically-elected president, Mohammed Morsi, into jail.

Since then, Egyptian authorities have arrested or charged probably at least 60,000 people, according to Human Rights Watch, and “forcibly disappeared hundreds for months at a time, handed down preliminary death sentences to hundreds more, tried thousands of civilians in military courts, and created at least 19 new prisons or jails to hold this influx.”

Under el-Sisi, “Egyptian police and National Security agents have routinely used torture and enforced disappearances against both criminal suspects and perceived political opponents with near impunity,” the rights group says. Many of those arrests have been justified in the name of a wide-ranging war on terrorism, which rights groups say Sisi has used to also silence critics of the government.

On Friday, the 69-year-old Anan announced his bid for the presidency in a video posted to his Facebook page, saying he was running to save Egypt from the “wrong policies.”

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Kentucky School Shooting 14 Hospitalized 2 Killed

By: CBS

A 15-year-old boy shot 14 people Tuesday morning at southwestern Kentucky high school, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said. A 15-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl died.

Five others suffered non-gunshot injuries, the governor said. The suspect in the incident at Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, has been apprehended, according to officials with Marshall

County Emergency Management.

It was the nation’s first fatal school shooting of 2018.

Police were seen leading a teenager away in handcuffs.  The shooter will be charged with murder and attempted murder, Kentucky State Police Lt. Michael Webb said.

“He was apprehended by the sheriff’s department here on site, at the school, thankfully before any more lives could be taken,” Webb said.

Police did not release any identities, nor did they describe a motive. Webb said detectives are looking into his home and background.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Richard Sanders said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the suspect, a student, entered the school at 7:57 a.m. and soon opened fire with a handgun. Sanders said the first 911 call came in two minutes later, and police were on scene by 8:06 a.m.

A Marshall County deputy apprehended the shooter. One of the two deceased victims, the 15-year-old girl, died at the scene, Bevin said during the press conference. The other deceased victim passed away at a hospital. He was one of five students flown to the nearest Level 1 trauma center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

The boy died of a “non-survivable gunshot wound to the brain,”  trauma doctors there said. The others who were air-lifted to Vanderbilt, all males between the ages of 15 and 18, are expected to survive and doing “quite well,” trauma surgeon Oscar Guillamondegui told reporters.

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Apple Rejects Developer’s App That Tracts Net Neutrality Violations

By: Jason Koebler of Motherbord

The most pervasive feeling about the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality repeal is one of hopelessness. If we all need to use the internet, big telecom companies control our access to the internet, and there’s no choice about what company to use, how are we supposed to stop these companies from messing with our connections?

The FCC has suggested that consumer outrage will prevent companies from violating net neutrality, but it if you’re not a network engineer, it can be hard to know if net neutrality is being violated at all. David Coffnes, a researcher at Northeastern University, set out to change that. He created an app to detect net neutrality violations, but Apple has banned it from the App Store, preventing consumers from accessing the information they need to at least know when they’re getting screwed over.

Using Apple’s beta testing platform called TestFlight, I tested the app, called Wehe. It’s straightforward. You open the app, agree to a consent form (he is using the data in his research), and click “run test.” The app is designed to test download speeds from seven apps: YouTube, Amazon, NBCSports, Netflix, Skype, Spotify, and Vimeo. According to the app, my Verizon LTE service streamed YouTube to my iPhone at 6 Mbps, Amazon Prime video at 8 Mbps, and Netflix at 4 Mbps. It downloaded other data at speeds of up to 25 Mbps.

“Differentiation means in this case throttling by Verizon,” Choffnes told me. This would, in theory, be the sort of thing people would want to know—with this knowledge, they could choose to switch to another carrier, or could lodge a complaint against with the Federal Trade Commission.

Ajit Pai’s FCC has made the argument that “most attempts by ISPs to block or throttle content will likely be met with a fierce consumer backlash … in the event that any stakeholder [ISP] were inclined to deviate from this consensus against blocking and throttling, we fully expect that consumer expectations, market incentives, and the deterrent threat of enforcement actions will constrain such practices.”

But the fact is that every major wireless telecom provider is already throttling data, and we are more-or-less powerless to stop it. And the opaque nature of both the telecom industry and Apple’s App Store vetting process is preventing consumers—and researchers like Choffnes—from getting a full picture of how net neutrality is being violated.

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