New York - Federal authorities say a Bronx man bit off part of an immigration officer’s finger during a recent arrest. Court papers released Thursday show Cristopher Santos Felix was charged with assaulting a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. A criminal complaint says agents went to Santos Felix’s home March 3 believing he had stayed in the country “longer than his legal authorization permitted.” The document says officers arrested Santos Felix but removed the handcuffs to allow him to put on a piece of clothing. Authorities said he became combative and ran into a bedroom before biting an ICE agent who attempted to restrain him. The agent was taken to a hospital for treatment. An email seeking comment was sent to the defendant’s lawyer.
Washington - During the early days of the Russia investigation, FBI officials debated whether Donald Trump’s chance of winning should factor into how aggressively they investigated potential coordination between his campaign and the Kremlin, two FBI officials told Congress last year, according to newly released transcripts of their interviews. Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who helped lead the investigation, told lawmakers in a closed-door interview that the FBI had received information from an “extremely sensitive source” alleging collusion between Russia and members of the Trump campaign. FBI officials, including then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, debated internally how vigorously to follow up on that information given that Democrat Hillary Clinton was seen at the...
San Francisco - Facebook says two of its top executives are leaving the company. Chief Product Officer Chris Cox and Chris Daniels, who heads messaging app WhatsApp, are departing. It isn’t clear what future plans the executives have. Cox was in charge of Facebook’s apps including its flagship social media site, as well as Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. He joined 13 years ago and helped create Facebook’s News Feed feature. Facebook will not appoint a direct replacement for Cox. Longtime Facebook executive Will Cathcart will head up WhatsApp. CEO Mark Zuckerberg reiterated that the company is organizing around a “privacy-focused” emphasis on private messaging, which he announced last week. Founding executives of Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp hav...
Washington - One of the most prominent prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller is leaving the team soon, a likely indication that the investigation is close to wrapping up. More than any other member of Mueller’s team, Andrew Weissmann has been a target of President Donald Trump’s outrage and singled out for attacks, including by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, as an overly aggressive prosecutor. Mueller spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement Thursday that Weissmann would be concluding his work with the team “in the near future.” He did not give a date, but the looming departure is not surprising given that the principal case Weissmann has worked on — against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — came to a close Wednesday with a...
New York - Former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s quest to avoid prison got a boost when a panel of appeals judges heard his appeal Wednesday, questioning whether his actions were crimes or politics as usual. The Democrat wasn’t at oral arguments before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, but he likely heard a positive report from his lawyers. Two of the panel’s three judges questioned whether Silver’s actions fit the definition of a public corruption crime after a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling narrowed the requirements of the law. Silver, 75, is appealing his conviction and seven-year prison sentence. Prosecutors said he collected nearly $4 million in fees to help a cancer researcher and real estate developers. An earlier conviction...
Phoenix - Two years after New Mexico’s largest county barred local law enforcement from cooperating with immigration authorities, its leaders learned that the policy was being subverted from within. Staff members at the Bernalillo County jail in Albuquerque were still granting immigration authorities access to its database and, in some cases, tipping them off when a person of interest was being released. “I was surprised and horrified,” said Maggie Hart Stebbins, chairwoman of the Bernalillo County Commission. “Individual employees do not have the freedom to pick and choose what they want to observe.” The disclosure last month cast a spotlight on an often-overlooked way in which immigration officials around the U.S. may be getting around local “sanctu...
New York - Facebook says its lengthy outages over the past day were the result of a “server configuration change.” The outages affected countless users and advertisers worldwide. Some people weren’t able to reach Facebook’s website and apps, including Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. The length of the outage is another publicity problem for a company already dealing with privacy issues and regulatory probes. The outages started midday EDT Wednesday. There were still sporadic problems Thursday morning. Facebook did not say how many users were affected or why the outage was so long. In a tweet about 24 hours after the problems began, Facebook apologized and thanked people for their patience. It didn’t elaborate on the server change.
Boston - The mastermind of a wide-ranging college admissions scandal set up a charity that wove a deep web of deception and fraud to mask bribes and payoffs, funneling millions of dollars through the tax-exempt organization under the nose of U.S. officials, according to prosecutors and tax documents reviewed by The Associated Press. William “Rick” Singer registered Key Worldwide Foundation as a charity in 2013, gaining accredited 501(c)3 status with the federal government. Its tax filings reported revenue that doubled each year, from $451,600 in its first year to $3.7 million in 2016. Singer, painted by prosecutors as the ringleader of the biggest school admissions scandal ever prosecuted by federal authorities, is accused of funneling money from wealthy parents through his f...
Washington - President Donald Trump on Thursday sharply criticized Britain’s handling of negotiations over leaving the European Union, saying the talks have been bungled and that the wrenching debate was dividing the country. “I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation,” he said. Trump, who holds himself up as a master deal-maker, said he gave Prime Minister Theresa May his ideas on how she could negotiate a successful deal for leaving the 28-member group of nations. But “she didn’t listen to that and that’s fine. I mean she’s got to do what she’s got to do,” he said at the White House as he welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar for an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration. &ldq...
New York - U.S. and Canadian carriers wrestled with customer calls and flight cancellations on Thursday after the two countries followed other nations in grounding Boeing’s 737 MAX planes because of safety concerns. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co, the largest operator of the 737 MAX in the world with 34 jets, said it was experiencing unusually high call volumes and had canceled 39 MAX flights. The low-cost carrier, a launch customer of the MAX 8 in 2017, said it was servicing those flights with available 737-700s and 737-800s. Canada and the United States announced on Wednesday they would ground the MAX planes, citing new satellite data and evidence from the scene of an Ethiopian Airlines plane crash on Sunday that killed 157 people. American Airlines Group Inc, with 24 MAX 8...
New York - The fall in Boeing shares has made the stock’s valuation less expensive but that may not make it an obvious buy for investors. The planemaker’s shares have fallen 11 percent this week after a Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday that killed 157 people prompted the grounding of Boeing’s global 737 MAX fleet. Boeing shares were down 0.5 percent $375.09 on Thursday afternoon. The declines come after a run for Boeing shares that saw the price more than double over the past two years, making the company the largest U.S. industrial firm by market value. This week’s slide means the stock as of Wednesday was trading at about 18.2 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, according to Refinitiv data. That valuation is in line with its average forward P/E r...
he IDF began striking targets in Gaza on Thursday night in retaliation to two rockets fired at Tel Aviv earlier, the IDF spokesperson said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting at the Kiriya in Tel Aviv just after the attack  to discuss Israel's response. Read more at JPost
The saintly Rebbi Shimon bar Yochai reveals that the reason the Torah directs that a חטאת, a Sin-offering be slaughtered in the same exact spot as a עולה, an Elevation-offering, is out of compassion for the sinner to save him from embarrassment. People observing the bringing of the sacrifice would never know that the individual has sinned for perhaps he is merely volunteering an Elevated-offering unrelated to any sin. Despite the fact that an Elevated-offering must be a male and the Sin-offering a female, which would clearly differentiate the Sin-offering from the Elevated-offering, nevertheless, being that the sinner can opt to bring a sheep whose concealing tail would prevent any visual determination of the gender of the animal, the person’s identity as a sinner will remain...
Coca-Cola has admitted that it produces a mind-boggling 3 million metric tons (3.3 million tons) of plastic packaging a year—the equivalent to 200,000 bottles every minute. The beverage company has previously refused to disclose the information, but has now provided the data to activist Ellen MacArthur, who is urging companies and governments to do more to prevent plastic pollution. The figures didn’t break down exactly how the plastic was used, but The Guardian reports the volume translates to 108 billion 500ml PET plastic bottles bottles a year, more than one-fifth of the entire world’s PET bottle output, which is roughly 500 billion a year. In its reports published Thursday, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation said: “The decision by more than 30 companies to publicl...
It begins with 3.14 and goes on forever. But the value of Pi, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, has new meaning on this Pi Day. Emma Haruka Iwao, a Google employee, has broken the Guinness world record for calculating the most digits of Pi. Iwao and a Google team computed Pi to 31.4 trillion decimal places or Pi multiplied by 10 to the 13th power, ousting the previous record set in 2016 of 22.4 trillion digits. Iwao’s effort marked another first by relying on cloud technology, which had never been used for such a massive Pi calculation. An advocate who helps developers use cloud products, Iwao used more than two dozen virtual machines to churn away at the calculation, which took about 121 days to complete. The process required a staggering 170 terabytes,...
A joint initiative of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization and Ohr Torah Stone’s “Yachad” Program will bring Megillah readings and Purim activities to over 500 locations throughout Israel this year. As part of their mandate to make Jewish holidays and lifecycle events accessible to the traditional and secular community in Israel, Tzohar and Ohr Torah Stone have increased the number of locations where “Megilla BaKehilla” Purim celebrations will take place this year. Bringing together Israeli Jews of all backgrounds and ages, the readings are scheduled to take place primarily in public spaces such as community centers or school gyms rather than synagogues, making the atmosphere as welcoming as possible for Jews of all walks of life. Read more at Arutz Shev...
A California jury has awarded $29 million to a woman who said asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-powder-based products caused her cancer. Wednesday’s verdict, in California superior court in Oakland, marks the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate facing more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. The company said it would appeal, citing “serious procedural and evidentiary errors” during the trial, saying lawyers for the woman had fundamentally failed to show its baby powder contains asbestos. The company did not provide further details of the alleged errors. The New Jersey-based company denies that its talc causes cancer, saying numerous studies and tests by regulators worldwide have shown that it is safe and asbestos-free. Read more at...
Over the past decade or so, rates of depression, psychological distress and suicidal thoughts and actions have risen dramatically among people 26 and younger, with some of the highest increases among women and people at higher income levels, according to a new study of a broad swath of young Americans. The report, published Thursday in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Abnormal Psychology, looked at survey data from more than 600,000 adolescents and adults. It found that in the past 10 to 12 years, the number of people reporting symptoms indicative of major depression jumped 52 percent among 12- to 17-year-olds and 63 percent among 18- to 25-year-olds; the rate for both groups is now at 13.2 percent. Serious psychological distress and suicide-related thoughts or ac...
Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz responded to the rocket attack on the Tel Aviv area tonight from the Gaza territiory, calling for a “severe response.” “To the best of my understanding at the moment, there is a situation assessment whose outcome must be a significant and severe response – otherwise deterrence will not be renewed,” Gantz said.
New Right Chairman Naftali Bennett responded to the rocket attack on Tel Aviv Thursday evening. “No matter who is behind the shooting tonight, Hamas bears responsibility,” Bennett said. “In the past year I have been saying clearly: Those who allow the launching of kites will receive missiles. And anyone who does not stop missiles on Sderot will receive missiles on Tel Aviv. The time has come to defeat Hamas once and for all. No more shooting at dunes without harming the enemy, but an uncompromising pursuit and systematic liquidation of Hamas leaders. “I call upon the prime minister to order the IDF to present the cabinet with a plan to defeat Hamas,” he said. Read more at Arutz Sheva.
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