Compliments of The Independent
Compliments of NBC
ingenious con man with a gift for mimicry awaits sentencing after he used a smuggled-in cellphone to create a fake British government email account, which he then used to persuade prison officials to set him free, according to court and Internet domain records.
Neil Moore, 28, of Ilford, northeast of London, was in Wandsworth prison — the same maximum-security facility Ronnie Biggs, the Great Train Robber, famously escaped from 40 years ago — awaiting trial on fraud charges in March 2014, according to Southwark Crown Court records.
That’s when he set in motion what Prosecutor Ian Paton acknowledged was a scheme of “extraordinary criminal inventiveness, deviousness and creativity,” which he described in court last week:
Using a cellphone, which prisoners aren’t allowed to have, Moore used an Internet domain registration service to create a fake Web address closely resembling that of Britain’s Royal Courts of Justice, Paton told the court, according to the BBC and Britain’s Press Association. Once he had the email account, Moore posed as a court clerk and sent an email telling Wandsworth managers that he’d been granted bail.
Compliments of NBC
On Monday, the state of Indiana sentenced 33-year-old Purvi Patel to 20 years in prison on charges of feticide — an act that causes the death of a fetus — and neglect of a dependent. She received a 30-year-sentence on the felony neglect charge, 10 of which were suspended. A six-year sentence for feticide will be served concurrently.
Patel is the first woman in the U.S. to be charged, convicted and sentenced on a feticide charge. Reproductive rights activists are outraged.
“What this conviction means is that anti-abortion laws will be used to punish pregnant woman,” says Lynn Paltrow, Executive Director for National Advocates for Pregnant Women. Patel was arrested in July 2013 after she went to the emergency room, bleeding heavily, at St. Joseph Hospital in Mishawaka, Indiana.
Despite initially denying the pregnancy, Patel eventually admitted to medical authorities that she had a miscarriage and threw the stillborn fetus in a dumpster. According to Sue Ellen Braunlin, doctor and co-president of the Indiana Religious Coalition for Reproductive Justice, Purvi was most likely 23-24 weeks pregnant, although prosecutors argued Patel was 25 weeks along in the state’s opening argument. The prosecution confirmed on Monday that the baby died within seconds of being born.
Compliments of Good For Utah
A new bill has just been signed into law dealing with officer-involved shootings in Utah. House Bill 361 would mandate that outside agencies conduct the investigations. It’s designed to strengthen the transparency between police and citizens. The big points include who investigates an officer-involved shooting and what happens to the officers after the incident.
Crime scene tape lined the area around the site of an officer-involved shooting near a 711 in Salt Lkae City earlier this month.
“They made contact with the male driver, and at some point, either they got him out of the car or he got out of the car, and he produced a firearm. At least one of the officers shot the male,” said Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Robyn Heiden.
After an officer-involved shooting, multiple investigations begin.
“All of our officer-involved shootings need to be investigated by an outside agency,” said Utah Fraternal Order of Police Spokesperson Ian Adams.
That’s why Utah Fraternal Order of Police Spokesperson Ian Adams pushed for this bill.
House Bill 361 mandates that an outside agency will investigate if criminal activity occurred on the behalf of the officers. That outside agency will determine if the shooting was justified or not.
“The law doesn’t say this agency will investigate this agency because what if both agencies were involved in the shooting? So it leaves it up to the district attorney or the county attorney to work with the chiefs of the different departments that were involved,” said Adams.
Compliments of Bigstory
The president and CEO of The Associated Press called on Monday for changes to international laws that would make it a war crime to kill journalists or take them hostage.
Gary Pruitt said a new framework is needed to protect journalists as they cover conflicts in which they are increasingly seen as targets by extremist groups.
“It used to be that when media wore PRESS emblazoned on their vest, or PRESS or MEDIA was on their vehicle, it gave them a degree of protection” because reporters were seen as independent civilians telling the story of the conflict, Pruitt said.
“But guess what: That labeling now is more likely to make them a target,” he said in a speech at Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club.
Last year was a particularly deadly year for the AP — four of the news cooperative’s journalists were killed on assignment. Globally, 61 journalists were killed in the line of duty in 2014, bringing to more than 1,000 the number who have died since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
One of the most high profile killings was that of AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was shot by a police officer while covering elections in Afghanistan. AP reporter Kathy Gannon was severely wounded in the same attack. Two other AP staff — videographer Simone Camilli and translator Ali Shehda Abu Afash — were killed in Gaza when an unexploded missile went off. In addition, AP photographer Franklin Reyes Marrero died in a car accident while returning from an assignment in Cuba
Compliments of Time
A new study says the DNA from antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in American cattle yards has becomeairborne, creating a new pathway by which such bacteria can potentially spread to humans and hinder treatment of life-threatening infections.
Researchers gathered airborne particulate matter (PM) from around 10 commercial cattle yards within a 200 mile radius of Lubbock, Texas over a period of six-months. They found the air downwind of the yards contained antibiotics, bacteria and a “significantly greater” number of microbial communities containing antibiotic-resistant genes. That’s according to the study to be published in next month’s issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.
“To our knowledge, this study is among the first to detect and quantify antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes…associated with airborne PM emitted from beef cattle feed yards,” said the authors, who are researchers in environmental toxicology at Texas Tech University and at a testing lab in Lubbock.
Co-author Phil Smith told the Texas Tribune that the bacteria could be active for a long time and “could be traveling for long distances.”
Compliments of Medium
Wealthy tech founders and the automation of middle-class jobs are often blamed for increasing concentrations of wealth in fewer hands. But, a 26-year-old MIT graduate student, Matthew Rognlie, is making waves for an alternative theory of inequality: the problem is housing [PDF].
Rognlie is attacking the idea that rich capitalists have an unfair ability to turn their current wealth into a lazy dynasty of self-reinforcing investments. This theory, made famous by French economist Thomas Piketty, argues that wealth is concentrating in the 1% because more money can be made by investing in machines and land (capital) than paying people to perform work (wages). Because capital is worth more than wages, those with an advantage to invest now in capital become the source of long-term dynasties of wealth and inequality.
Rognlie’s blockbuster rebuttal to Piketty is that “recent trends in both capital wealth and income are driven almost entirely by housing.” Software, robots, and other modern investments all depreciate in price as fast as the iPod. Technology doesn’t hold value like it used to, so it’s misleading to believe that investments in capital now will give rich folks a long-term advantage.
Land/housing is really one of the only investments that give wealthy people a long-term leg up. According to the Economist, this changes how we should rethink policy related to income inequality.
Rather than taxing businesses and wealthy investors, “policy-makers should deal with the planning regulations and NIMBYism that inhibit housebuilding and which allow homeowners to capture super-normal returns on their investments.” In other words, the government should focus more on housing policy and less on taxing the wealthy, if it wants to properly deal with the inequality problem.
Compliments of BBC
An unnamed official told the Associated Press that gunfire broke out after a car tried to ram the gate to the sprawling military campus near Washington DC.
Aerial footage showed a police vehicle and another car with extensive damage.
Two people were taken to hospital, an army spokesperson told the BBC.
“We do not believe it is related to terrorism,” FBI Baltimore spokeswoman Amy Thoreson told the BBC. FBI investigators have been dispatched to the scene, where they are interviewing witnesses.
Fuller details are not immediately available, and multiple requests for information sent to the NSA have not yet been returned. Calls to the NSA were answered, but no information was provided. Calls to spokespersons for the Army were not picked up.
President Barack Obama has been briefed on the incident, according to White House officials.
Compliments of PC world
For years, RadioShack made a habit of collecting customers’ contact information at checkout. Now, the bankrupt retailer is putting that data on the auction block.
A list of RadioShack assets for sale includes more than 65 million customer names and physical addresses, and 13 million email addresses. Bloomberg reports that the asset sale may include phone numbers and information on shopping habits as well.
The auction is already over, with Standard General—a hedge fund and RadioShack’s largest shareholder—reportedly emerging as the victor. But a bankruptcy court still has to approve the deal, and RadioShack faces a couple legal challenges in turning over customer data.
As Bloomberg points out, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has argued that selling the data would be illegal under state law. Texas doesn’t allow companies to sell personal information in a way the violates their own privacy policies, and signage in RadioShack stores claims that “We pride ourselves on not selling our private mailing list.” Paxton believes that a data sale would affect 117 million people.
Oddly enough, the other privacy defender in this case is AT&T, which wants RadioShack’s data destroyed for competitive reasons. AT&T doesn’t think RadioShack is entitled to the personal information it collected from wireless sales, and may be concerned that the data might fall into another carriers’ hands. (One bidder wants to co-brand some RadioShack stores as Sprint locations, Bloomberg reports.)
Compliments of Yahoo
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday signed into law a religious objections bill that some convention organizers and business leaders have opposed amid concern it could allow discrimination against gay people.
Indiana is the first state to enact such a change this year among about a dozen where such proposals have been introduced. The measure would prohibit state and local laws that “substantially burden” the ability of people — including businesses and associations — to follow their religious beliefs.
Pence, a Republican, backed the bill as it moved through the Legislature and spoke at a Statehouse rally last month that drew hundreds of supporters. The governor signed the bill in a private ceremony.
Pence said in a statement Thursday that the bill ensures “religious liberty is fully protected under Indiana law.”