Thursday, June 11, 2020

Iran says it will execute man convicted of spying on Soleimani for CIA

An Iranian who spied for U.S. and Israeli intelligence on slain Revolutionary Guards commander Qassem Soleimani has been sentenced to death, Iranian officials said, adding the case was not linked to Soleimani’s killing earlier this year. On January 3, 2020 a U.S. drone strike in Iraq killed Soleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. Washington blamed Soleimani for masterminding attacks by Iran-aligned militias on U.S. forces in the region. Soleimani’s killing led to a peak in confrontation between Iran and the United States. Iran retaliated with a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base where U.S. forces were stationed. Hours later, Iranian forces on high alert mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger airliner taking off from Tehran. Mousavi-Majd’s death sentence has been upheld by a supreme court and “he will be executed soon.” (Reuters)


Man arrested for burning down of Minneapolis police precinct

A federal charge has been filed against a St. Paul man for the burning down of the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis. A United States Attorney said the 23-year-old-man is accused of aiding and abetting arson. The Third Precinct was overrun during protests on May 28th and heavily damaged due to vandalism and arson, with investigators identifying multiple fires being started in the building. On June 3, St. Paul police officers were called to a home improvement store in St. Paul about an individual wearing body armor and a law enforcement duty belt and carrying a baton was trying to get into the store. Store employees said he had been working as a security guard at the store but was fired earlier that day over social media posts about stealing items from the Third Precinct. Police arrested the man  when they found him wearing multiple items stolen from the Third Precinct, including body armor, a police-issue duty belt with handcuffs, an earphone piece, baton, and knife. Officers say his name was handwritten in duct tape on the back of the body armor. Law enforcement says it recovered items belonging to the Minneapolis Police Department, including a riot helmet, 9mm pistol magazine, police radio, and police issue overdose kit, at his apartment. According to the criminal complaint, the man admitted to police that he was inside the Third Precinct the night of the arson, took property from the building, and pushed a wooden barrel into the fire. Investigators say he also identified himself in multiple witness photographs capturing him in front of the Third Precinct holding a police baton, with smoke and flames visible in the background and admitted to knowing that pushing the wooden barrel into the fire would keep the flames burning. (KIMT)



A man put a cell phone charger up his penis — it got stuck in his bladder and had to be removed by surgeons

An Indian man who went to hospital with abdominal pain had inserted a mobile phone charger cable into his penis, a doctor who treated him said. The man visited a hospital in northeastern India last month, claiming he had ingested some earphones, said the general surgeon at the hospital. But when the cord didn’t appear despite the patient being prescribed laxatives, doctors resorted to surgery. “He came to us after five days, (and) despite passing stool several times the cable did not come out. We then conducted an endoscopy but still couldn’t find anything. As the patient complained of severe pain, we decided to perform surgery and found that there was nothing in his intestine,” he said. It was at that point that an x-ray revealed the man to have a two-foot-long charging cable in his bladder — inserted via his urethra, the tube that leads from the penis to the bladder. “Then I made an incision there and took out the cord, which was actually a charging cable over 2 feet long,” according to the surgeon. The patient has been discharged and is fine. “I have read that people used to get sexual gratification by inserting instruments through the penis. This is one such case, and the psychiatrist can help him beyond this point,” his doctor said. (CNN)


US recession is made official

It’s official: the U.S. economy fell into a recession in February, the National Bureau of Economic Research has declared — following the longest U.S. expansion in records back to 1854. This year will likely also see the global economy shrink 5.2%, according to the World Bank, making it one of the worst downturns in 150 years. The coronavirus pandemic has forced more economies into recession at the same time than during the three other major contractions: the Great Depression and the periods after the two world wars. (National Bureau of Economical Research)


3M takes aim at price gougers

3M is suing an Amazon seller over alleged price gouging. The mask-maker has filed a lawsuit in federal court in California accusing the merchant of selling N95 masks for more than 18 times their list price, charging customers over $350,000 in total. 3M has filed more than a dozen similar suits in recent months as it fights to stop people from taking advantage of the pandemic crisis and remove counterfeit masks from the market — and protect its reputation. (The Wall Street Journal)


US Military Could Lose Space Force Trademark to Netflix Series

The United States Space Force was only announced two years ago and has yet to engage in any military operations, but the latest branch of the U.S. armed forces already stands to lose its first battle to Netflix’s Space Force. The streaming service premiered its new sci-fi/comedy series Space Force on May 29th. The show’s name has no relation to the newest organization of the U.S. military, which unveiled its official flag only two weeks earlier. Because of the common moniker, though, the United States Space Force’s first battle might be a trademark war — fought in court, rather than in space. Attorneys for the U.S. military have done little to secure the Space Force name as a registered trademark. Netflix, however, has been far more aggressive, and has already locked down the rights to the name in several countries. While Netflix’s effort was the first to come to fruition, the U.S. Space Force was first announced by President Donald Trump in March 2018. The military branch was officially established as a formal organization last December. Netflix, meanwhile, greenlit the 10-episode series in January 2019. (Hollywood Reporter)


Three years in prison for man who set fire to phone mast after researching 5G coronavirus theories

A man who set fire to a phone mast after researching discredited theories linking 5G and coronavirus online was jailed today. A 47-year-old man carried out an arson attack inside the equipment box of a telecommunications mast owned by Vodafone on April 5 after researching theories falsely linking 5G to coronavirus. The dad-of-three, who runs an independent company providing parking facilities based near Liverpool John Lennon Airport, pleaded guilty to arson over the blaze at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday, May 18th. He appeared back in court on June 8th, for sentencing via a videolink. The court heard how it was unclear whether the mast involved in the incident was a 5G or 4G mast but the prosecutor added: “The defendant had a particular issue with 5G.” A victim impact statement read out on behalf of a representative from Vodafone, said the damage caused by the fire was estimated between $10,000 and $15,000. It took 11 days after the arson before the mast was functioning again, with Vodafone customers having “poor service or no service” during this time. The defendant has 13 convictions for 29 offenses, spanning between 1991 and 2019, including for assaulting a police officer and for possession of a firearm, but none for similar offenses. The man was also convicted for an offense of battery last year, which he was still serving a community order for at the time of the arson. (Liverpool Echo)


Man Accused of Stealing Chicago Ambulance as Crew was Loading Patient

A Chicago man is accused of stealing an ambulance while paramedics were loading a patient inside. The 43-year-old suspect was charged with a felony count of possession of a stolen vehicle and a misdemeanor count of driving without a license. The suspect allegedly jumped in the ambulance and drove off before crashing about a block away, where he was then taken into custody. The report did not say if anyone was hurt. (Chicago Sun Times)


Internet vigilantes falsely link ex-officer to teens’ attack

A 53-year-old man in Silver Springs, Maryland said his nightmare began with his wife getting emails from strangers telling her she should be ashamed of her husband, a retired police officer. Their phones wouldn’t stop ringing with calls from unfamiliar numbers. Some even called his 74-year-old mother. Baffled by the barrage of hate, the man searched his name into the internet and made a horrifying discovery: Mobs of Twitter users were falsely accusing him of being the bicyclist on a Maryland trail who accosted three young adults posting flyers protesting the death of George Floyd. Millions of users have viewed a video of an encounter on the Capital Crescent Trail in Bethesda, a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C. He was one of at least two men who were falsely accused by internet vigilantes who posted their photos and personal information on Twitter before police arrested and charged another man, 60-year-old with assaulting the three protest supporters. An attorney and longtime friend of the man offered to help him. She contacted Twitter’s legal department and reported as many “dangerous, harassing, targeted” tweets as she could find. She said Twitter has removed many if not all of those tweets. However, she has talked with the man about possibly pursuing slander, libel or defamation claims against Twitter users and others who harassed him and his family. The man said he saw tweets that endangered his son, who is a police officer, and other relatives who have served as police officers and firefighters. The man didn’t have a Twitter account, but he and his wife deleted their Facebook accounts after the abuse started last week. “I don’t know who has seen it and who hasn’t, but my reputation is shot. Once they see something like this, there’s always going to be that question,” he said. Twitter spokeswoman said the social media platform takes enforcement action when tweets violate its private information or abusive behavior policies. The company also has rules against creating accounts to target and harass other users, she said. The man served as a Montgomery County, Maryland police officer for nearly 30 years before retiring in 2016, described the experience as surreal and terrifying. (Associated Press)


Coronavirus spread by asymptomatic people ‘appears to be rare,’ WHO official says

The spread of Covid-19 by someone who is not showing symptoms appears to be rare, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for coronavirus response and head of the emerging diseases unit said during a media briefing in Geneva recently. “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual. We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing. They’re following asymptomatic cases, they’re following contacts and they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It is very rare — and much of that is not published in the literature. We are constantly looking at this data and we’re trying to get more information from countries to truly answer this question. It still appears to be rare that an asymptomatic individual actually transmits onward,” she said. Pre-symptomatic refers to the early stages of an illness, before symptoms have developed, whereas asymptomatic may refer to having no symptoms throughout the course of an infection. (CNN)


Turkey orders detention of more than 400 people with alleged Gulen links

Turkish authorities have ordered the detention of 414 people, mainly military personnel, over suspected links to the network that Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup in 2016, prosecutors and state media said. Authorities have carried out a sustained crackdown on alleged followers of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan, since the coup attempt, when 250 people were killed. Gulen denies any involvement. Since the coup attempt, about 80,000 people have been held pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others sacked or suspended. Turkey’s Western allies have criticised the scale of the crackdown, while Ankara has defended the measures as a necessary response to the security threat. (Reuters)


Coronavirus travel restrictions are hurting Mexican drug traffickers, the DEA said

Cartels operate better when there is a lot of legal trade along the border because that allows them to move drugs and money stealthily, the DEA said. But legal trade has dried out in recent weeks and border controls have increased due to coronavirus. As a result, cartels are stockpiling drugs and money on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border. Money laundering has also decreased, a DEA agent said that seizures of drug money have increased in L.A. because traffickers are stockpiling cash instead of moving it south of the border. Travel restrictions have led to a shortage of the chemicals that cartels bring from China to produce meth. As a result, Mexican cartels are sending less meth across the border. Meth prices are going up in the U.S., DEA agents said. In Los Angeles, meth now sells for up to $2,000 per pound, twice as much as before.  Street prices for fentanyl, crystal methamphetamine, and cocaine have also increased in parts of the United States. (USA Today)


TV and film productions are set to restart in Californa following a three-month hiatus

California Governor, Gavin Newsom, said that productions can start back up. Hollywood’s labor unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have issued guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus among crews and actors. Although the recommendations may not be implemented, the guidelines have wide support from the industry, and were prepared with input from big studios, including Disney, Netflix and Warner Bros. The document says that sex and fight scenes could increase the risk of transmission and should therefore “be kept to the shortest amount of time possible.” It discourages the use of live studio audiences, recommends companies minimize the use of paper, and says that electronic documents should be used instead. It says that the work of costume designers, makeup artists, and hairstylists “may not be possible.” It recommends film sets to hire designated Covid-19 “compliance officers.” (Quartz)


Thursday Comes Boldly With:

  • Corn on the Cob Day
  • Career Nursing Assistants Day (Second Thursday)
  • Cotton Candy Day
  • German Chocolate Cake Day
  • Making Life Beautiful Day

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