Friday, July 10, 2020

Florida jogger finds human head by road during morning run

A jogger out for a morning run found a human head at the side of a road recently in St. Petersburg, Florida, police said. The discovery near the community of Lakewood Estates was being investigated by homicide detectives, the St. Petersburg Police Department said in a statement. Police do not believe the head had been there long; the jogger did not notice it during an outing the morning before, said a police spokeswoman. The Pinellas County Medical Examiner was in possession of the remains, which had not been identified, she said. Investigators were looking at missing persons cases to see if any might provide clues to the deceased’s identity, she said. (WFLA)


I am not the mask police

Butler County, Ohio Sheriff says he won’t enforce mandatory masks in a recent press conference. “I can tell you this – I am not the mask police. I am not going to enforce any mask-wearing. That is not my responsibility. That is not my job. People should be able to make those choices themselves,” the sheriff said during an impromptu press conference on Facebook Live. The news comes as the Ohio Department of Health issued a mandate that all citizens in Ohio’s “red counties” wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus across the state. Butler County, along with Hamilton, Montgomery, Franklin, Huron, Cuyahoga and Trumbull counties, were identified as hot spots by Governor Mike DeWine. Individuals in these counties must wear a mask in any indoor location that is not a residence or when they are outdoors and unable to maintain a distance of 6 feet or more. The sheriff said neither he nor his deputies will enforce it. (WLWT)


San Francisco supervisor introduces ‘CAREN’ Act to outlaw racially motivated 911 calls

The San Francisco Town Supervisor introduced an ordinance to outlaw racially motivated 911 calls. The Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies, or CAREN, Act could possibly result in people who call law enforcement based on racial bias facing criminal charges. The ordinance is similar to State Assembly Bill 1550, which also calls for consequences for those who call 911 based on biases toward race, class, outward appearance and religion. The name Karen has become synonymous on social media with people who call 911 with racist intentions, as several high-profile incidents captured on cellphone video, including some in the Bay Area, have shown people threatening to call police because of racial biases. (KTVU)


Kanye West admits he no longer supports President Trump and his plans to run for president are serious

Kanye West lashed out at Trump over reports that the President hid in a White House bunker when demonstrators took to the streets of Washington, D.C., in late May to protest police brutality and demand racial justice. He said he is not worried that his potential presidential run could undermine presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. He said that Trump, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton are all “special” but Joe Biden “is not special.” He said he contracted coronavirus in February and he is suspicious of a potential coronavirus vaccine. His political platform will be called the “Birthday Party”. The rapper said he has the backing of Tesla founder Elon Musk and has already chosen a running mate – Michelle Tidball, a preacher from Wyoming. He said that once in the White House, he would like to organize a leadership group “that is going to feel like” Wakanda, the secret country in “Black Panther” and admitted that he has never voted in his life. He has been an outspoken Trump supporter up until now and wore a MAGA hat when he visited the White House in 2018 to meet with the president. He says he definitely plans to run in 2020, versus his original plan in 2024. (Forbes)


Italian doctors have successfully separated conjoined twins whose skulls were fused back-to-back

The babies were born in June 2018 in the Central African Republic with their heads attached, a congenital defect that occurs once in every 2 million births or so. The separation was incredibly challenging because the back of the head is full of blood vessels. The girls underwent two surgeries in 2019. Thirty doctors and nurses took part in the third and final surgery a month ago. Doctors said that the girls are making a good recovery. “May they tomorrow study and learn to become doctors to save the other children of this world,” said the girls’ mother. (Associated Press)


The promoters of a Facebook boycott said they had a “disappointing” meeting with CEO Mark Zuckerberg to discuss hate speech and misinformation on the platform

Representatives of the “Stop Hate for Profit” campaign said that, during the meeting, Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg did not commit to any of their 11 recommendations to reduce hate speech. Instead, the executives delivered “talking points,” according to a representative, who accused Facebook of approaching the meeting as a “PR exercise.” The movement wants Facebook to hire a civil rights expert to a top position, submit to regular third-party audits of hate and misinformation, and force public figures to comply with hate speech rules on the platform. The campaign has convinced more than 1,000 advertisers, including Unilever, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, The North Face, Pfizer, and Levi Strauss to join the boycott. The companies have vowed to pull their ads from Facebook and Instagram for at least the month of July. (CNN)


After intercepting encrypted messages, Dutch police uncovered a makeshift prison and sound-proofed “torture chamber” 

The investigations led to the arrest of more than 100 suspects and the seizure of more than 17,600 pounds of cocaine and 2,600 pounds of crystal meth. Police also dismantled 19 drug labs and seized dozens of firearms, police uniforms, body armor, and stolen cars. The torture chamber was inside a converted sea container and featured a dentist’s chair, as well as tools including pliers, scalpels, and handcuffs. Investigators found six other containers that were intended as cells. The suspects shared the names of people they wanted to kidnap on EncroChat encrypted phones. The potential victims were warned ahead of the raid and went into hiding. (Associated Press)


Beer sales and trends can reflect American behavior during an economic downturn

Craft beer sales are surging at stores, but craft breweries are still struggling. Cheap beer is surging, but it’s still losing market share. That’s because the economics of the beer business are complicated, but the beer business can tell us a lot about the last two recessions. Previous reports have missed that while cheap beer sales are up, overall beer sales are up even more. There’s been a 27.5% increase of beer sales in stores over the same period last year. And so while lower-priced beer has seen a surge, it has actually been losing market share, according to data. Subpremium beer is lagging behind imports, which are up 15%, and craft beer, which is up almost 23%. Cheap beer is also lagging way behind “hard seltzer,” like White Claw, which is relatively expensive and has seen a 246.7% increase when compared with this time last year. All these surges in purchases of more expensive beverages are a part of a trend beer biz folks refer to as “premiumization.” Beer tends to be fairly recession-resistant. In fact, the trend toward premiumization began in the last recession and has continued to be the dominant driver of beer sales ever since. (NPR)


The doctor will see you at Walgreens

Walgreens Boots Alliance is moving into the health-care provider space, attaching doctors’ offices to hundreds of its U.S. drugstores. About 500-700 stores will open clinics in the coming years in a deal with VillageMD, which will run them. Walgreens has been expanding into medical care and trying out new businesses as it closes hundreds of stores. Both Walgreens and rival CVS Health are looking to become go-to treatment centers to counteract a drop in revenue from prescription drugs and competition from online retailers. (The Wall Street Journal)


Bed Bath & Beyond to shut 200 stores

Bed Bath & Beyond says it will permanently close about 200 of its stores over the next two years as it grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The retailer saw an almost 50% drop in sales in the last quarter even as consumers bought its cleaning and home decor products online. Bed Bath & Beyond was forced to temporarily shut its stores because of coronavirus, and while many of its locations are reopening, recent spikes in COVID-19 cases have kept retailers on edge about potentially closing again. Even before the pandemic, it had struggled to compete. (CNBC)


Jobs market shows sign of steadying

Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped slightly last week while remaining at a historically high level, data from the Labor Department showed. Initial jobless claims were down by 99,000 to 1.31 million in the week ending July 4, even as many states reported a pickup in coronavirus cases. Continuing claims fell to 18.06 million, a drop of 698,000. This week’s figures may not give a clear view into the labor market, however, given the Independence Day holiday cut the number of business days applicants had to file. (Bloomberg News)


Ford employees ask the company to stop making police cars

Employees inside Ford have asked the company’s leadership to stop making and selling police vehicles. In response, Ford CEO Jim Hackett has told employees in a letter that he doesn’t think it’s “controversial that the Ford Police Interceptor helps officers do their job” and that Ford will continue the business. Ford is far and away the leading automaker in the US when it comes to making and selling specially-designed vehicles for law enforcement, making up some two-thirds of the market. While it’s not a big source of the company’s annual revenue (which was $156 billion in 2019), Ford has long maintained that its overall lineup benefits from new technologies that get tested in the police vehicles (like hybrid electric drivetrains, for example). The national protests, though, have inspired some Ford employees to rethink the company’s relationship with police. (The Verge)


United Airlines warns 36,000 workers they could be laid off

United Airlines is warning 36,000 employees (nearly half its U.S. staff) they could be furloughed in October, the clearest signal yet of how deeply the virus pandemic is hurting the airline industry. The outlook for a recovery in the airline industry has dimmed in just the past two weeks, as infection rates rise in much of the U.S. and some states impose new quarantine requirements on travelers. United told employees that not everyone who gets a layoff notice will be furloughed. The company said job losses could be reduced if enough employees accept buyouts or early retirement by a deadline next week. (Associated Press)


Finally Friday Comes With:

  • Clerihew Day
  • Collector Car Appreciation Day (2nd Friday)
  • Don’t Step On A Bee Day
  • Global Energy Independence Day
  • Kitten Day
  • Motorcycle Day (2nd Friday)
  • Oils & Concentrates Day
  • Piña Colada Day
  • Taos Pueblo Pow Wow
  • Teddy Bears’ Picnic Day
  • U.S. Energy Independence Day
  • Wayne Chicken Day

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