Airbnb San Francisco at long last deals with the company as a

first_img Tags: Airbnb Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% There’s a funny story about the ascension of Karol Wojtyla to Pope John Paul II. Upon hearing the news, a shell-shocked colonel in the Polish secret police uttered, “My God, from now on we’ll have to kiss his ass.” A savvier Party secretary replied, “Only if he lets us.” At 12 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, Kevin Guy became San Francisco’s pope of short-term rentals. Some 2,080 illegal Airbnb listings vanished into the ether in that very nanosecond. And they were, definitionally, illegal: As of that minute, a short-term rental host who proves he or she is following city laws and earns a license issued by Guy’s Office of Short-Term Rentals is legal, and a host who doesn’t have one is illegal and excommunicated — period. In the past, not having a license was no bar to renting out units and raking in cash — and hosts who flouted city rules aimed at preserving housing and were busted by Guy’s office would, within days or weeks, pop up on another hosting platform. “Whac-a-mole” is an overused analogy, but it seems remarkably fitting here. And, all the while, Airbnb, VRBO and the other platforms enabling this behavior were free to continue hosting proven scoundrels and rule-breakers, raking in their consequence-free cut. The Office of Short-Term Rentals’ enforcement process mirrored the Robin Williams line about England’s unarmed cops: “Stop. Or I’ll say stop again.”   No more: An excommunication from Guy now carries real weight. Per a settlement agreement, as of last week Guy doesn’t have to ask the billion-dollar platforms to remove renegade hosts. He tells them to. And, furthermore, the platforms will proactively cancel that host’s pending bookings. “This really helps us,” explains Guy’s deputy, Omar Masry. “You’re cutting off their money. You’re forcing that ‘Oh, crap’ moment for really bad actors.” And, in this realm, there are plenty of those. Airbnb, which was born in San Francisco, rose to prominence via a business model that explicitly violated this city’s housing laws. It and other short-term rental platforms aided and abetted in the cannibalization of affordable residential stock at the very moment when this city is facing its greatest privation of that resource since, take your pick, the Gold Rush or the Big One of 1906.And yet, this company and its ilk — which, again, expressly violated city law and, again, devoured affordable housing far faster than this sclerotic city could build it — were coddled and shielded by Mayors Gavin Newsom and Ed Lee. For years, Airbnb failed to pay this city’s hotel taxes — and, when he labored to recoup that money, treasurer Jose Cisneros was actually told to back off by Lee (in writing!). The rules enacted in 2015 to validate Airbnb’s previously illegal business model and regulate its activity were so comically unenforceable that it well and truly appeared this was the intention all along. That sounds conspiratorial. But conspiratorial worldviews were rewarded when it came to describing this city’s relationship with disruptive startups — startups that just happen to be prized investment vehicles of the ascendent tech barons who’ve held such sway with the last several mayoral administrations.To wit: This city’s planning department in 2015 stated, unabashedly, that attempts to regulate Airbnb in any meaningful way would be hamstrung if it and other platforms were allowed to list unregistered hosts and proven scofflaws. And the Planning Commission agreed — until a mid-meeting text message from the mayor’s office to commissioner Christine Johnson led her to reverse her deciding vote.  Three years later — three years of meticulous toil by the Office of Short-Term Rentals, three years of exploding valuations for Airbnb et al., three years of thousands of residential units sheltering tourists instead of residents — the city now has those powers. Your humble narrator has covered San Francisco government for the better part of 20 years, and rarely has he been able to write the following sentence: Things are moving in the right direction. TheOffice of Short-Term Rentals’ rejection rate for prospective registered hosts long hovered at around 15 or 20 percent. But, as last week’s mandatory registration deadline approached, the applications went through the roof. And so did the rejections. The office is now spiking nearly 40 percent of all applications. This city’s rules dictate that you must live on-site full-time to rent to tourists full-time. Otherwise, the limit for “unhosted” rentals is 90 days per year. An inability to prove residency is the No. 1 reason for prospective hosts to be bounced, and the skyrocketing rejection rate would seem to indicate that a goodly share of the former Airbnb (and other) hosts in this city weren’t the “grandma renting out the kids’ old rooms” types the company likes to promote, but more akin to ersatz hotels. When Masry gets these people on the phone, he often has lengthy discussions with them. “I tell them I’m trying to work with them sincerely and it’s clear they don’t live there. What drove them to giving us a fraudulent application?” Some people bluster with faux outrage but, increasingly, there’s another reaction. And it says a lot about perceptions of how things work in this city. “People tell me, ‘We thought the city just had to pretend to care,’” Masry continues. “They thought this was a rubber-stamping exercise. They felt like they’d be stupid for not lying.” Until recently, they would have been; honesty is often its own reward in this city. Consequence-free flouting of rules regarding short-term rentals was the plusher and more enabled San Francisco analog of consequence-free rampant property crime. It fosters the impression that we are living in a state of lawlessness in which government has abdicated its responsibilities. And it encourages a certain type of person people to step in and claim his or her pound of flesh, at others’ expense. San Francisco still has 99 problems. But, to a lesser extent, than it has been in years, Airbnb ain’t one. With some 6,000 illegal listings gone with a puff of white smoke, Guy’s office is feeling liberated — and enabled to look into bigger and more complex issues. They can monitor Airbnb’s new “Friendly Buildings” program in which apartment owners and building management companies enable subleasing and take their cut of tenants’ earnings. They can delve into whether residential hotels letting out rooms on short-term rental sites are violating myriad city rules. “We’re going to spend less time dealing with garbage,” Masry sums up. “We still get complaints all the time, but most of that activity will now be stopped at the gate, and [bad hosts] won’t be able to list on a popular website. It was tears of frustration going after individual hosts. But that changes now. The platforms are part of the solution. They were forced to be.” “Forced” is an apropos word. That’s because of a legal settlement won by the City Attorney’s office after Airbnb et al. sued over then-Supervisor David Campos’ 2016 legislation. Campos, for his part, describes this turn of events as “vindication.” Guy, who toiled for years at a Sisyphean task in an office many feared was mere window dressing before last week’s ascension, is less effusive. At a Jan. 17 hearing before the Board of Supervisors, he gamely presented troves of data off a PowerPoint and answered supes’ questions in a polite, bureaucratic monotone. A platoon of homesharing enthusiasts also testified, singing the praises of the new system. “These are the same folks who didn’t want any regulation at all in 2014, ’15, and ’16. They loved the Wild West!” summed up Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who remained cordial enough during public comment. “They fought this legislation every step of the way, but now they, along with Airbnb, are saying it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread — but don’t do any more.” It remains to be seen just what this city will do. In the meantime, Airbnb and its acolytes seem to have come to the same realization as the Polish secret police colonel. Once able to more or less do as they pleased, the decision has now been made to kiss San Francisco’s you-know-what. This city has opted to let them. For now. center_img 0%last_img read more

Window breaker spares car in the name of love

first_img Tags: burglary • cars Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% A moment of levity has sprung out of San Francisco’s car break-in epidemic: one of our resident smash-and-grabbers, it seems, has a crush.“I walked past your car every day and I never break your window,” wrote the self-described “window breaker.” “You’re the shining star in my commute every morning. One day we’ll cross paths and I’ll get the courage to ask you on a date in your sexy car.”The note was left on the windshield of a car parked on 18th Street between Guerrero and Dolores. A photo of the note was posted on Reddit a couple days ago.Last year, some 30,000 cars were broken into in San Francisco. In the Mission, car break-ins skyrocketed 86 percent from 2016 to 2017. Yet it appears one car has been spared — not because of the recently established property crime units or the SFPD’s Park Smart program — but in the name of love. center_img 0%last_img read more

SAINTS have won their last seven meetings three a

first_imgSAINTS have won their last seven meetings (three away from home) with Widnes.The Vikings’ last win against the Saints was 40-26 at home on April 21 2014.Squads:Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook has been named in Saints’ 19-man squad. Read more here.Last Ten Meetings:Widnes 8, St Helens 21 (SLS8-R6, 18/9/16) St Helens 12, Widnes 10 (SLR21, 8/7/16) Widnes 12, St Helens 20 (SLR8, 28/3/16) St Helens 36, Widnes 20 (CCQF, 28/6/15) St Helens 34, Widnes 16 (SLR12, 24/4/15) Widnes 20, St Helens 30 (SLR5, 13/3/15) St Helens 44, Widnes 22 (SLR22, 25/7/14) Widnes 40, St Helens 26 (SLR10, 21/4/14) St Helens 28, Widnes 35 (SLR14, 3/5/13) Widnes 4, St Helens 16 (SLR2, 10/2/13)Super League Summary:Widnes won 2 St Helens won 18Highs and Lows:Widnes highest score: 40-26 (H, 2014) (also widest margin) St Helens highest score: 62-0 (H, 2012) (also widest margin)Head to Head:SaintsWidnesTries3228Goals2521Metres12,23210,566Breaks5234Tackles3,3863,471Penalties7687Betfred Super League Leading Scorers:Tries:1 Greg Eden (Castleford Tigers) 14 2 = Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers), Greg Minikin (Castleford Tigers), Albert Kelly (Hull FC), Liam Marshall (Wigan Warriors) 9 6 = Joel Moon (Leeds Rhinos), Ben Jones-Bishop (Wakefield Trinity) 8 8 = Richie Myler (Catalans Dragons), Matt Parcell (Leeds Rhinos) 7Goals:1 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 55 2 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 45 3 Luke Walsh (Catalans Dragons) 42 4 = Morgan Escare (Wigan Warriors), Gareth O’Brien (Salford Red Devils), Ben Reynolds (Leigh Centurions) 28 7 = Mark Percival (St Helens), Sam Williams (Wakefield Trinity) 25 9 Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos) 23 10 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 20Points:1 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 148 2 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 102 3 Luke Walsh (Catalans Dragons) 91 4 Gareth O’Brien (Salford Red Devils) 77 5 Morgan Escare (Wigan Warriors) 73 6 Mark Percival (St Helens) 70 7 Ben Reynolds (Leigh Centurions) 64 8 Greg Eden (Castleford Tigers) 56 9 Liam Sutcliffe (Leeds Rhinos) 55 10 Sam Williams (Wakefield Trinity) 50last_img read more

Club First Team SAINTS TV

first_imgThe backrower signed from the Gold Coast Titans during the 2017 season and has been an instrumental part of Justin Holbrook’s side, including as his team secured the League Leaders Shield in 2018.He has made 76 appearances for the Club to date, scoring 16 tries.Zeb commented:“I’m excited to be a part of this Club for another year, it’s good to get the deal done.It’s great to be a part of the Saints family. There are a lot of great young players coming through and i’m excited to be a part of their journey aswell.The last two seasons we have come up short and that really hurt, that’s one thing that played on my mind, I don’t want to miss out on the chance to win more silverware.We have still got a big job ahead of us this year, but with the playing group and the mindset that we have, it can be done, it’s good vibes in the camp.”Saints Head Coach Justin Holbrook said:“It’s great news for the Club to have Zeb sign, he’s a big part of what we are developing, he’s very professional and a great influence on all the other players in the squad.He is playing the best rugby league of his career in my view, he’s been another one of our stand-out performers this season and I’m sure he will continue that into next year.”Saints Chairman Eamonn McManus added:“Congratulations to Zeb on signing a new one year contract. He’s been great for us during his three seasons here. His class and experience will be invaluable to us next year as our younger players, particularly in the forwards, continue to improve and mature alongside him.”last_img read more

Wilmington hurricane tracker experiences eye of Irma

first_img “That’s the reason. This, this drive and passion for studying the affects of hurricanes on us,” Sudduth said.Sudduth has tracked 26 hurricanes in his career but says Irma has been the toughest.“So the forecast part was one of the most different, and difficult, that I’ve ever had to deal with,” Sudduth said.Related Article: 2 dead after plane crashes through Florida warehouse roofTracking its path was hard but Sudduth was able to make his way across Florida using his tools to show what it was like to be in the center of the storm.“The Florida goal was to set up equipment around the southern part of the peninsula that would monitor wind, and air pressure, and stream live video of the effects,” Sudduth said.From Miami, to the Florida Keys, to Naples, and Marco Island, Sudduth set up four cameras. Two of  the cameras were knocked out by the storm but they were still able to collect data.Sudduth says his team is made for this kind of weather.“Because of our experience,” Sudduth said. “My team and I, no I never felt like my safety was in jeopardy.”Irma is one Hurricane Sudduth says he will never forget.“So the impact of this hurricane over such a huge area is what will have me remember it the most,” Sudduth said. “Um, that it is not a small isolated area where it was in and out in a day, it’s still going on. So I think the immensity of Irma’s impact is what stands out for me.”Sudduth says after he finishes collecting data he plans on heading back to Wilmington Tuesday. Sudduth says he is going to reset the clock and potentially get ready for Hurricane Jose. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — When it comes to the impacts Irma is having on Florida, one Wilmington hurricane tracker went south to keep people informed.Heading towards the eye of the storm, that is what Hurricane Tracker Mark Sudduth does.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Cops Leland man tried to set home on fire following domestic dispute

first_imgBRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Leland man is in jail after police say he tried to set a home on fire following a domestic dispute Monday.Leland Police have charged 24-year-old Antonial Mark White Jr. with one count Felony Burning Personal Property, one count Felony Attempted 2nd Degree Arson and one count Misdemeanor Injury to Property.- Advertisement – The incident happened yesterday around 5 p.m. at a home on Oak Lane which police say stemmed from a domestic issue.Police said clothes that were inside of a closet were set on fire.White is being held in the Brunswick County Jail under a $150,000 secured bond.last_img

Wilmington man killed identified in Memorial Day shooting

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington Police have identified the man who died Monday after being shot on Martin Street.Fuquan Wright, 23, was shot around 2:30 p.m. Monday in the 1000 block of Martin Street.- Advertisement – WPD says he was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.The investigation is ongoing.Anyone with information is asked to contact WPD at 910-343-3600 or use Text A Tip.last_img

Bitty Beaus sends off Special Olympic athletes to world games with pep

first_img The pep rally is scheduled for 4 p.m. at their shop along New Centre Drive in Wilmington.Prepare for a lot of fun and a lot of dancing!Good luck to Trevor, Christina, Megan, Austin, Shari & Jill! WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If you want to show some support for our local special olympic athletes, you can head to Bitty and Beau’s Thursday afternoon.The coffee shop, which employs people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, says they are holding a pep rally to send off the local athletes participating in the 2018 Special Olympics World Games in Seattle, Washington.- Advertisement – last_img

Microsofts Excel Has Been Blamed For Errors in Academic Papers on Genomics

first_imgImage Credit: Advertisement Researchers trying to raise awareness of the issue claim that the spreadsheet software automatically converts the names of certain genes into dates.Gene symbols like SEPT2 (Septin 2) were found to be altered to “September 2”.However, Microsoft, which released the first version of Excel in 1985, said the gene renaming errors can be overcome if users make alterations in the application settings. – Advertisement – “Excel is able to display data and text in many different ways. Default settings are intended to work in most day-to-day scenarios,” a spokeswoman for the corporation told BBC.“Excel offers a wide range of options, which customers with specific needs can use to change the way their data is represented.”The study also claimed that the Excel conversion problem was present in other spreadsheet software, such as Apache OpenOffice Calc.The systemic error was not, however, present in Google Sheets.The researchers also claimed that the problem is present in “approximately one-fifth of papers” that collated data in Excel documents.The trio, writing for the Melbourne-based academic institute Baker IDI, scanned 3,597 published scientific papers to conduct their study.They found 704 of those papers contained gene name errors created by Excel.Ewan Birney, director of the European Bioinformatics Institute, does not blame Excel and told BBC;“What frustrates me is researchers are relying on Excel spreadsheets for clinical trials.”The Excel gene renaming issue has been known among the scientific community for more than a decade, Birney added.He recommended that the program should only be considered for “lightweight scientific analysis”.One of the paper’s three researchers, Assam El-Osta, said the errors were found specifically on the supplemental data sheets of academic studies.He told the BBC that supplemental pages contained “important supporting data, rich with information,” and added that resolving these errors was “time-consuming”.Excel’s automatic renaming of certain genes was first cited by the scientific community back in 2004, the Baker IDI study claims. Since then the problem has “increased at an annual rate of 15%” over the past five years.last_img read more

Rumour WhatsApp planning a passcode protection feature

first_imgAdvertisement After protecting your private conversations with end-to-end encryption, it seems WhatsApp wants to give you even greater peace of mind by adding passcode protection to its app.Android Authority has been tipped about the purported six-digit passcode protection feature. The feature was spotted in WhatsApp translation requests, which are text strings sent by the company to volunteers to translate UI and other text, and if real, can indicate the company is working to add passcode protection.The details were spotted as part of a text translation program for WhatsApp, to convert strings from English into Dutch. Phrases to be translated include “Enter the current six-digit passcode:“, “Passcodes don’t match. Try again.“, and “Enter a recovery email address“, which are all pretty good indicators about what could be heading our way soon. – Advertisement – In the past, leaked translation requests have been a reliable indicator of upcoming features on WhatsApp. So far however, there has been no confirmation about the rollout of the passcode feature from WhatsApp. The move to add passcodes to protect chats seems the next step to enhance messaging experience on WhatsApp.Recently, WhatsApp finally enabled the mention feature on its Android as well as iPhone apps. The mention feature works same as it does on Facebook and Twitter. Users will have to use “@” sign in a group chat and the app will automatically suggest names of the group members.[related-posts]Credit: NDTV, Android Authoritylast_img read more

San Francisco Officials Seek 5M to Block Deportations

first_img San Francisco Officials Seek $5M to Block Deportations By The Associated Press November 29, 2016 Updated: November 29, 2016  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Show Discussion A man is detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), agents in Los Angeles, CA., on on October 14, 2015. (John Moore/Getty Images) Sharecenter_img US Share this article SAN FRANCISCO—A San Francisco supervisor is proposing more money for lawyers to defend immigrants who face possible deportation under a Trump administration.KCBS reports that San Francisco Supervisor David Campos will introduce legislation Tuesday setting aside $5 million from the city’s budget to help pay for lawyers to represent people in deportation proceedings.Half of the money would go to Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s office for more immigration attorneys.President-elect Donald Trump has said he will deport convicted felons who are in the country illegally.He has also threatened to yank federal money from “sanctuary” cities such as San Francisco that generally decline to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. last_img read more

Trump Cabinet Excites His Voters We Have to Trust Him

first_img Show Discussion Trump Cabinet Excites His Voters: ‘We Have to Trust Him’ By The Associated Press December 19, 2016 Updated: December 19, 2016 Share US President-elect Donald Trump is introduced to speak to supporters at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Dec. 15, 2016. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) US center_img  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   As each Cabinet announcement draws fresh criticism of the wealth, connections or opinions of Donald Trump’s latest appointees, many Americans who voted for him say the president-elect is doing what he promised to do: draining the swamp.And they’re excited.To them, the idea of a defense secretary nicknamed “Mad Dog” is bliss. They rejoice in an energy secretary who once said he would eliminate the Department of Energy. And while some Trump supporters balk at ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson’s close ties with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, they say they will trust Trump’s judgment about his secretary of state nominee.These voters say the affluence of his Cabinet picks is an advantage, not a liability.“The guys he’s putting in there, they don’t need to do this. They’re independently wealthy,” said Trump voter Roger Mansfield, 67, a small business owner in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. “They don’t need any more money. The motivation is to make pragmatic, rational business decisions. What could be wrong about that?”The Associated Press interviewed Trump voters about his Cabinet picks and other postelection revelations, such as a CIA assessment that Russia interfered in the November election on Trump’s behalf. While certain Republicans in Congress have endorsed investigations into the Russian meddling, the idea drew jeers from Shay Chamberlain, 37, of Menomonie, Wisconsin. “That’s kind of ridiculous,” Chamberlain said. “I tried to influence the elections, you know what I mean? I mean, we all did when we went on Facebook and put silly memes on there and tried to influence our friends to go one way or another.”Some Cabinet choices have been called into question for their lack of experience, their extraordinary wealth, or their past relationships with the departments they are to lead. Most of the criticism has come from Democrats, but some Republicans have also raised doubts.John Barnes, a 60-year-old Air Force retiree living in Albuquerque, said he liked that Trump was “hiring outsiders and not local yokel knuckleheads.”Graphic shows key Trump appointments as of Dec. 15; 3c x 7 inches; 146 mm x 177 mm;Supporters cheers as US President-elect Donald Trump speaks in Mobile, Alabama, during a 'Thank You Tour 2016' rally on Dec. 17, 2016. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) Supporters cheers as US President-elect Donald Trump speaks in Mobile, Alabama, during a ‘Thank You Tour 2016’ rally on Dec. 17, 2016. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)In Sandy Hook, Kentucky, Wesley Lewis applauded Trump’s decision to nominate three retired generals for top jobs: James “Mad Dog” Mattis to head the Pentagon, John Kelly for the Department of Homeland Security, and Michael Flynn as national security adviser.But Lewis, 67, said he is skeptical about Tillerson, who has opposed sanctions levied on Moscow, and about Trump’s hope of improving relations with Russia.“I don’t see that we need to have a buddy-buddy relationship with Russia or China or any of them. We need to remain strong, help where we can,” Lewis said. “Being buddies with Russia, that’s only going to cause us problems.”On jobs, some Trump voters are celebrating.Related CoverageJackie Evancho Faces Backlash for Agreeing to Sing on Trump Inauguration DayWhy Trump Should Meet This Beauty Queen | China Uncensored“I’m tickled pink, man,” said Jimmy McDonald, an assistant bank vice president, from Tazewell County, Virginia. Some laid-off miners in Appalachia have been called back to work, some shortly before Trump was elected. One factor was a recent spike in the price of metallurgical coal used to make steel. McDonald credits Trump.“More coal’s being brought out right now since the last 60 days actually,” said McDonald, 57. “Trump made that a major focus of his campaign in August, when he started talking about the coal miners, and the coal trains are running, man. And people are excited. It’s just a different vibe in the air right now.”But Iraq War veteran and factory worker Rebecca Zbichorski, 28, of Milwaukee, said she’s reevaluating Trump’s rosy predictions.“His promising to bring all those jobs back? I think he over spoke on that a little bit. I don’t feel confident on that,” Zbichorski said. A skit on “Saturday Night Live” mocking an unemployed coal miner eagerly expecting Trump to get him back to work shifted her views, she said.MOBILE, AL - DECEMBER 17:  Supporters take photos as president-elect Donald Trump speaks during a thank you rally in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama on Dec. 17, 2016. President-elect Trump has been visiting several states that he won, to thank people for their support during the U.S. election. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images) MOBILE, AL – DECEMBER 17: Supporters take photos as president-elect Donald Trump speaks during a thank you rally in Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama on Dec. 17, 2016. President-elect Trump has been visiting several states that he won, to thank people for their support during the U.S. election. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)“Some of those jobs are dying.” She was swayed, too, by an Indiana union leader who criticized Trump for raising false hopes by inflating the number of jobs being saved at a Carrier Corp. factory in Indianapolis.However, Jack Stauffenberg, a 65-year-old coal company superintendent from New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, said that Indiana union leader was off base, explaining that Trump “talks in round numbers.”“Look at the stock market,” Stauffenberg said, referring to Wall Street’s recent streak of records. “That expresses the optimism of this country right now.”Americans sense that the country is “being righted, and we’re kind of getting a new start,” he added.Eileen Barlow, a 56-year-old small business owner in Naperville, Illinois, welcomes charter school advocate Betsy DeVos as education secretary. Barlow favors vouchers for private education.“I don’t like the indoctrination that goes on in the public schools. They teach the theory of evolution as truth,” said Barlow, who has an infant grandson. “If people want to send their kids to a Christian school, they should get help with that.”Related CoverageElectoral College Meets Amid Effort to Deny Trump PresidencyImmigrant Elector Who Backed Cruz Says He’ll Vote for TrumpIf they had their wishes, some Trump voters would tone him down on Twitter.Zbichorski thinks Trump will need “more tact and professionalism” when he takes office, and she worries he’ll tweet an insult about a leader of another country and escalate international tensions. “Right now, he’s just being who he is. No filter,” she said.Chamberlain still wants to see Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, investigated.“He kind of almost promised the American people, ‘If I’m elected, she’ll pay. If I’m elected, I’ll hold her accountable.’ And then as soon as he won, it was kind of nicey-nice. ‘You know I’m not really going to go after her,’” Chamberlain said.Mansfield said he trusts Trump to act in the country’s best interests.“Do we have any choice? We have to trust him. He’s going to be our president. Wishing him to fail would be like getting on an airliner and hoping the two pilots don’t know what they’re doing,” he said. “My gut says he will do the right thing.” Share this articlelast_img read more

Infant Found in Safe Haven Baby Box

first_img Share this article Share ( #BREAKING: Sheriffs officials say a newborn infant was left in this baby box at Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department Tuesday night. Sheriffs say three fire dept. officials responded in under five minutes. #wsbt22— Hilary Powell WSBT (@mshilary) November 8, 2017 An infant was left in Michigan City’s Safe Haven Baby Box late last night.— WNDU (@WNDU) November 8, 2017 The maker of the Safe Haven Baby Boxes said that there have been six cases this year of babies left inside its devices. Meanwhile, there have been no cases in Indiana of babies being abandoned illegally, WANE reported. Safe Haven Baby Boxes is a nonprofit that helps moms in crisis surrended their babies.The baby boxes work by sending an alarm when the door is opened. Another alarm is sent when the door is closed. Inside is a fire retardant mat and a climate control system that keeps the temperature at 95 – 101 degrees.La Porte County 911 Center received the alarms and notified the Indiana Department of Children and Family Services and the sheriff’s office. Show Discussion  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   center_img US News Pawlik rode with the infant to Franciscan St. Anthony’s hospital in Michigan City. Police say the baby appears healthy and is doing well.The creator of the box, Monica Kelsey, had a personal reason to create the device. She was abandoned at a hospital in 1973 when she was two hours old, NWI Times reported.“My heart is full for this little girl that is going to go on with her life,” Kelsey said. “My heart hurts for this mom as well.”From Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov UPDATE: Newborn discovered in “Safe Haven Baby Box” has personal impact on device’s creator:— (@nwi) November 8, 2017 Infant Found in Safe Haven Baby Box By Ivan Pentchoukov November 9, 2017 Updated: November 9, 2017 When a fire department in Indiana installed a Safe Haven baby box last year, they hoped the device would not be put to use.But just before 10:25 p.m. a baby was placed inside and the box sent alarms to 911. In less than five minutes, first responders arrived.Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department installed its baby box on April 28 last year, WNDU reported. The device is designed to keep a baby warm and safe before officials arrive.Coolspring Township Fire Chief Mick Pawlik was the first to arrive, followed by an ambulance. “When this box was installed, we hoped that it would never be used, yet we’re thankful that it exists for cases just like the one Tuesday night,” Pawlik said. “We are grateful that the mother had this option and made this choice and we remain concerned for her health.”The baby box is the second of its kind in the United States. The only other copy is located in Allen County at the Woodburn Fire Department. The makers of the device hope to spread it far and wide.Indiana has a law that allows mothers to abandon babies without fear of prosecution, WGNTV reported. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a law earlier this year allowing for baby boxes to be installed at hospitals across the state, WANE reported.last_img read more

Men Steal 350000 from Bronx Target Police

first_img Men Steal $350,000 from Bronx Target: Police By Holly Kellum April 10, 2018 Updated: April 10, 2018 Two men reportedly stole $350,000 from a Target in the Bronx on March 26, about seven times more than police initially thought, ABC 7 reported. The men entered the Target on West 225th St at about 8:15 a.m. shortly after the store opened. The masked pair went straight to an office containing a vault and flashed a gun at the store manager who was there counting money.They stuffed a duffel bag full of cash and walked out the way they came, escaping on a blue and white motorcycle.There is a reward for information leading to their arrest; Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.With reporting by NTD’s Vivian Li Follow Holly on Twitter: @HollyGailK Share this article US News QualityAuto 1080p720p480p360p240pRewind 10 SecondsNext UpLive00:0000:0000:00ChromecastClosed CaptionsSettingsFullscreen  click to watch video center_img Share Show Discussion  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   last_img read more

3YearOld Girl Stabbed at Own Birthday Party Dies

first_img Share this article US News 3-Year-Old Girl Stabbed at Own Birthday Party Dies Idaho officials file murder charges against 30-year-old Timmy KinnerBy Jack Phillips July 2, 2018 Updated: July 2, 2018 A 3-year-old girl has died after being stabbed at her own birthday party in Boise, Idaho, according to officials.Five other children were stabbed in the Saturday attack, and three adults were also injured, according to a press release from the Boise Police Department on Monday.The unnamed girl was flown to a hospital in Utah for treatment.“It is with deep sorrow we share the news that she has passed away today. We will not be releasing her name until additional notifications have been made,” Boise Police stated in the news release. Of the other eight victims, one child was released from the hospital, and seven other victims remain hospitalized.Many of the victims, police said, have “serious or critical injuries.”Timmy Kinner, 30, of Los Angeles, was charged with first-degree murder on Monday when he appeared at the Ada County Courthouse on Monday afternoon, as reported by the Idaho Statesman. Kinner was arrested Saturday near the scene and is being held at the Ada County Jail without bond. Share Timmy Kinner. (Boise Police Department) center_img The attack took place at an apartment complex home to refugee families. Kinner, who is not a refugee, lived temporarily at the complex until he was asked to leave on Friday. He returned to the complex on Saturday when the girl was having her birthday several doors down from where he stayed, CBS News reported.“Our victims are some of the newest members of our community. They’re victims of their past homes who have fled violence from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia,” Boise Police Chief William Bones said Sunday, CBS reported.“This was an attack against those who are most vulnerable: our children.” He added: “It’s untenable, unconscionable and is pure evil in my mind,” according to the Boise Police Department.Police said that the person with whom Kinner was staying, as well as other neighbors, became concerned with his behavior. They asked him to leave, and “he did peacefully,” police said.Kinner, who has a prior criminal record in several states, has spent time in prison.There is no evidence to suggest that this was a hate crime, said police.“Boise is a welcoming city. We have been that way for generations,” said Mayor David Bieter adding, “this callous act does not reflect our community.”  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Show Discussion Watch Next:Falun Gong Practitioners Are Being Killed for Organs in ChinaBefore the year 2000, organ transplantation in China was a relatively niche medical treatment. last_img read more

Video Shows Chaos in North Carolina Walmart Ahead of Hurricane Florence

first_img Share US News Video Shows Chaos in North Carolina Walmart Ahead of Hurricane Florence By Zachary Stieber September 12, 2018 Updated: September 12, 2018 QualityAuto 1080p720p480p360p240pRewind 10 SecondsNext UpLive00:0000:0000:00ChromecastClosed CaptionsSettingsFullscreen  click to watch video Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber Share this article A new video shows chaos inside of a North Carolina Walmart as people attempt to stock up on provisions ahead of Hurricane Florence.While the hurricane is projected to hit land early Sept. 15, the effects are already starting to be felt from the massive storm.Jenetha Diamondz Satterfield recorded the footage at the Walmart in Durham off Glenn School Road and posted it on Facebook.“Nobody was fighting, just pushing and rushing to get water,” she wrote.Read MoreEast Coast Military Bases Brace for Hurricane FlorenceFlorence Could Flood Hog Manure Pits and Taint Drinking Water According to local residents commenting on the video, resources are becoming scarce as people snatch up goods.Responding to someone who wondered why people didn’t just go to another store since lots of businesses sell water, Mamie Wilkins replied: “Not here right now. Water can’t be found anywhere.”“They’re sold out everywhere,” added Robin Angelica.Hundreds of thousands of people have evacuated their homes under mandatory evacuation orders from the governors of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The Carolinas are expected to bear the brunt of the storm but an unusual weather system is expected to stall the storm once it hits land, and forecasters are unsure of what path the hurricane will take.Walmarts close ahead of Hurricane Florence Wood boards and cardboard boxes block the entrance to a deserted Walmart store ahead of Hurricane Florence in Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Sept. 11, 2018. (ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images)Hurricane Florence satellite image shows storm An enhanced satellite image shows Tropical Storm Florence, upper left, in the Atlantic Ocean. At center is Tropical Storm Isaac and at right is Hurricane Helene. The image is from Sept. 11, 2018. (NOAA via AP)Walmart Stores Inc. sent a letter to customers stating that all stores located in mandatory or voluntary evacuation zones would be closed as of 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 10, reported WMBF.People wondering if their local Walmart is included can check their store’s Facebook page or call to check on the status, the company stated.However, no one was answering calls made by the Post and Courier, with recordings stating that the stores wouldn’t reopen until the morning of Sept. 15.A Walmart spokesperson told the outlet that the recordings were in error and no decisions have been made as to store reopenings as of yet.“We’ll assess conditions and other factors after the storm to gauge when we can safely reopen,” Walmart spokesman Phil Keene said. “In terms of the storm closures, we made the decision to close those stores with our teams in mind. We wanted to make sure our associates had time to take care of their families.”A number of other businesses, including Sam’s Club, Lowe’s, and a range of local retailers across North Carolina and South Carolina, were shut down or were planning to shut down ahead of the storm.School districts, local governments, schools, churches, and other institutions were also closing across the states.From NTD.tvDid you enjoy this article? Continue to read more stories  here.  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Show Discussionlast_img read more

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first_imgQualityAuto 720p480p360p240pRewind 10 SecondsNext UpLive00:0000:0000:00ChromecastClosed CaptionsSettingsFullscreen  click to watch video A 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Greece on Sept. 27, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).Local news website Ekathimerini said that there were no reports of injuries or damage.  But the tremor was felt among residents in the city of Kalamata, Reuters reported.The quake hit 17 miles from Methoni and at a depth of 6 miles, the agency said.earthquake hits greece today A 5.2-magnitude earthquake struck near Greece on Sept. 27 (USGS)“It is not something that surprises us. The same exact region had produced another earthquake a few months ago,” seismologist Gerasimos Houliaras told the website. He added that several smaller aftershocks were also noted in the region.Last month, Greece was hit by a 5.1-magnitude and a 4.4-magnitude earthquake. Greece regularly. experiences earthquakes, as the country is located at the complex boundary zone in the eastern Mediterranean between the African Plate and the Eurasian Plate, the USGS says.“The east-trending zones are most prominent in mainland Greece, are characterized by predominantly normal faulting, and have produced earthquakes with magnitudes of about 7. The northeast-trending belts are characterized by predominately strike-slip fault earthquakes,” the agency said.In 2017, a 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit near Kos, Greece, in the Aegean Sea, killing two people and injuring hundreds in Greece and Turkey. Both of those killed were Turkish nationals, the BBC reported. In 2017, an earthquake struck the Greek island of Lesbos in the Mediterranean Sea, injuring 10 and killing at least one person. The tremor was also felt in western Turkey. Two years before that, in Lefkada, an earthquake struck the area, destroying a famous beach. Share this article Share  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   center_img US News Show Discussion Earthquake Today: Greece Struck by 5.2-Magnitude Quake By Jack Phillips September 27, 2018 Updated: September 27, 2018last_img read more

WASHINGTON—A US corporate security executive and

first_img WASHINGTON—A U.S. corporate security executive and former Marine who has been jailed in Moscow on spying charges has spent more than a decade cultivating friends and contacts in Russia, both virtual and real.Paul Whelan sought out friends throughout the country, most often through a social networking site that is similar to Facebook and popular largely in Russia. Several told The Associated Press that the American never seemed sinister, merely someone who was interested in Russia and wanted to be pen pals.“I know him as a friendly, polite, educated, and easygoing guy,” said one of his contacts, who, like the other Russians interviewed for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity because of Whelan’s legal troubles.Whelan was arrested Dec. 28 while on a two-week visit to the country and has been charged with espionage. The Russian government has so far given no details about the allegations against him, but a close look at his social media history suggests why he might have come to the attention of the Russian security services, regardless of his motives.He has collected dozens of contacts on the social media site, nearly all of them men, many of whom have at least some connection to the military.His family back home says he was nothing more than a tourist. In a Washington Post op-ed published Friday, his twin brother, David, urged the U.S. government to pressure Russia to release him. “Paul is a kind and considerate brother, son and uncle, and a generous and loyal friend,” he wrote. “He travels as often as he can, both for work and pleasure. He is many things to many people, but he is not a spy.”Whelan, 48, could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of spying. He is also a citizen of Britain, Canada and Ireland, which brings international pressure on Russia from several fronts. He was born in Canada to British parents, but grew up in Michigan, where he now lives.His family said he was in Moscow over the holidays for the wedding of a fellow former Marine and had planned to travel to St. Petersburg before flying home this weekend. Instead he’s in Lefortovo, a notorious prison run by the KGB in Soviet times and still used for foreigners accused of spying.Whelan has been visiting Russia since at least 2007, when he took advantage of a military program for Marines deployed in Iraq that gave them 15 days of leave and paid for the travel.Even before then, he had begun developing a network of contacts throughout Russia. Some said they met him online in 2006 and became “pen pals,” trading practice in English for Russian. Whelan seemed fascinated with Russia and its culture, they said.For nearly a decade, he has had an account on VKontakte, which means In Contact. Of his 58 friends at the time of his arrest, 54 were men. Many attended universities affiliated with the military, civil aviation or technical studies. Many share his interest in sports and firearms.“We was guys with guns,” wrote another of his friends, who said he was a student working nights as a security guard when he first met Whalen online.Both men, who live in separate Russian cities far from Moscow, said they first met Whelan in person in 2008 when he traveled around the country to meet some of his new friends. Others said they have only communicated online.Whelan’s brother said it would not be surprising to find Russian soldiers among his contacts.“I’m pretty sure that some of the people he knows through social media are probably Russian soldiers because there are a lot of Russian soldiers and he probably knows one,” David Whelan said in an interview.One of Paul Whelan’s friends on VKontakte said he believed the arrest was a mistake because a true spy would never act as openly as he did. He said Whelan gave him his home address and they exchanged Christmas cards.Former CIA officers also have expressed doubts that Whelan was working for U.S. intelligence. They note that the CIA would be unlikely to use someone in Russia without diplomatic immunity and leave them vulnerable to arrest.Whelan’s Marine record also would likely prevent U.S. intelligence from hiring him. He began active duty with the Marines in 2003 and was deployed twice to Iraq, rising to staff sergeant. But his military career ended with a court martial in 2008, when he was convicted on charges that included attempted larceny and dereliction of duty.Court documents released by the military show he was accused of attempting to steal more than $10,000 while on duty in Iraq, where he worked as a clerk, in September 2006. He was also convicted of using a false social security number and profile for a military computer system to grade his own examinations, and of writing 10 bad checks totaling around $6,000.He was dropped two grades in rank and given a bad conduct discharge from the Marine Corps.“This guy is not an intel asset,” said Malcom Nance, a veteran intelligence officer. “He’s not the type of person you would use as an asset. There is no way.”Nance said he suspects Russian intelligence officers have been watching Whelan for years, wondering if they could use him in some way and maybe trying to flip him.A member of Russia’s parliament suggested Friday that once the investigation into Whelan was completed, he could be swapped for Maria Butina, a Russian woman jailed in the U.S. since July. She pleaded guilty last month to conspiring to act as a foreign agent by trying to infiltrate conservative circles and the National Rifle Association to influence U.S. politics.However, she has been cooperating with federal prosecutors and is unlikely to spend too much time behind bars. Federal sentencing guidelines call for no jail time to six months.After his discharge, Whelan returned to his job in the temporary staffing company Kelly Services, based in Troy, Michigan, where he had worked since 2001 in the IT department until taking the leave of military absence. He was Kelly’s head of global security and investigations until 2016.Early the following year, Whelan joined auto parts supplier BorgWarner as global security director. BorgWarner, based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, has facilities around the world but none in Russia and he never traveled to the country for business, company spokeswoman Kathy Graham said. This undated photo provided by the Whelan family shows Paul Whelan in Iceland. Whelan, a former U.S. Marine arrested in Russia on espionage charges, was visiting Moscow over the holidays to attend a wedding when he suddenly disappeared, his brother said Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (Courtesy of the Whelan Family via AP) Share US News  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   center_img Share this article Jailed American Spent Years Collecting Russian Contacts By The Associated Press January 5, 2019 Updated: January 5, 2019 Show Discussionlast_img read more

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first_img Share this article Politics Trump Criticizes Cortez’s 70 Percent Tax Proposal in Comments on Venezuela By Janita Kan January 25, 2019 Updated: January 25, 2019 Share  QualityAuto 1080p720p480p360p240pRewind 10 SecondsNext UpLive00:0000:0000:00ChromecastClosed CaptionsSettingsFullscreen  click to watch video The socialist South American country has been making headlines over the past few days after its dictator, Nicolás Maduro, refused to step down over mounting international pressure. The United States refuses to recognize him as the Venezuelan leader because of a fraudulent election and instead officially recognized his opponent, Juan Guaidó, as the interim president. The country has since spiraled into political chaos, exacerbated by its failing economy.In retaliation, Maduro has ordered all Venezuelan diplomats home from the United States and is closing its embassy, while the United States is seeking to cut off all funding to Maduro’s regime. An exiled Venezuelan Supreme Court chairman Justice Miguel Angel Martin told The Epoch Times in a previous report that Maduro is a “former president” and the Venezuelan military should “fulfill their duty” and detain Maduro.Trump called the crisis in Venezuela a “very, very sad situation” and took the opportunity to comment on political opponents that want to enact similar policies in the United States.“Well, we’re looking at Venezuela. It’s a very sad situation,” Trump said. “That was the richest state in all of that area. That’s a big, beautiful area, and by far the richest. And now it’s one of the poorest places in the world.” “That’s what socialism gets you when they want to raise your taxes to 70 percent,” he added.“You know, it’s interesting, I’ve been watching our opponents—our future opponents—talking about 70 percent,” he said. “Number one, they can’t do it for 70 percent. It’s got to be probably twice that number. But, maybe more importantly, what happens is, you really have to study and take a look at what’s happened to Venezuela.”He added that the United States is watching Venezuela very closely.Ocasio-Cortez’s Radical Tax PlanThe 70 percent tax rate Trump referred to was proposed by 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez—the youngest woman ever elected to Congress—in her plan to fund an ambitious new environmental agenda she has backed dubbed the “Green New Deal.”Ocasio-Cortez, who was sworn into the House of Representatives on Jan. 3, suggested higher tax rates for higher income brackets, reaching as high as 70 percent on the top earnings of the richest in an interview with journalist Anderson Cooper. The plan was dubbed “radical” by Cooper.The “Green New Deal” plan aims to eliminate carbon emissions within just 12 years. On Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez described it as “a wartime-level, just economic mobilization plan to get to 100% renewable energy ASAP.”“You know, you look at our tax rates back in the ’60s and when you have a progressive tax rate system, your tax rate, you know, let’s say, from zero to $75,000 maybe 10 percent or 15 percent, et cetera,” she said in the interview.“But once you get to, like, the tippy tops, on your 10 millionth dollar, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60 or 70 percent. That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate, but it means that as you climb up this ladder you should be contributing more.”As a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Ocasio-Cortez believes in universal health care, free college tuition, and the abolishment of Immigration Customs Enforcement.Meanwhile, Trump and the GOP have advocated for the slashing of taxes, arguing that it would boost the economy and give money back to Americans. Democrats have opposed this and call for higher taxes to fund a number of welfare programs.Epoch Times Reporter Bowen Xiao contributed to this report Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan President Donald Trump criticized socialist policies proposed by political opponents in his latest remarks on Venezuela on Jan. 24—specifically, taking aim at the 70 percent tax rate for the wealthy that was proposed by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).Trump made these remarks when speaking at the meeting with Republican members of Congress on the United States Reciprocal Trade Act. He was asked by a member of the press about the crisis in Venezuela.  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Jan. 14, 2019. (Holly Kellum/NTD) Show Discussionlast_img read more