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An Officer Admitted Making a Racist Threat. He Still Has a Job.

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 14:54

Michael J. Reynolds, a New York City police officer, landed in Nashville, Tennessee, on a Sunday morning in July 2018, court records show. He and six other men, two of whom he later identified as New York City officers, were on what was supposed to be a three-night bachelor-party junket.About 18 hours later, Reynolds, who is white, kicked in a black woman's door in a drunken rage, threatening her and her sons with a racist slur and obscenities."I'll break every bone in your neck," he said in a rant that included two expletives. He then fled to his nearby Airbnb rental just before police arrived.This month, he was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years' probation after pleading no contest to four misdemeanors as a result of the episode, court records show.As of Monday, though, he remained an officer, stirring a growing backlash against the New York Police Department. More than 10,000 people signed an online petition demanding his dismissal and supporting the woman whose home he invaded, Conese Halliburton."Michael Reynolds is a violent and dangerous racist who has no business carrying either a badge or a gun," her lawyer, Daniel Horwitz, said via email. "Ms. Halliburton wants the NYPD to fire him immediately so that he can't hurt anyone else."The Police Department said last week that Reynolds was on "modified duty" and that the disciplinary process was awaiting the Nashville case's conclusion. Asked about the matter again Monday, a top department official said the process "was moving forward and questioning will take place imminently."Reynolds, 26, apologized in court for the episode and claimed that he had no memory of it because he had been drinking heavily."I'm sorry," he testified. "I made a mistake. I consumed too much alcohol."Edward Yarbrough, Reynolds' lawyer, said that because of the jail time, "We think his job is in jeopardy." Yarbrough had sought a sentence that could have allowed his client to keep his job and have his record expunged in several years.The case of Reynolds is again focusing scrutiny on the pace of the Police Department's disciplinary process. In a prominent example of how it can drag on, five years passed before Officer Daniel Pantaleo, whose use of a prohibited chokehold contributed to the 2014 death in police custody of Eric Garner, was fired and stripped of his pension benefits in August.The police commissioner has the ultimate say over firings, but police unions typically fight such moves. Officers who are ousted sometimes sue to try to get back their jobs and benefits, as Pantaleo is doing.Reynolds' crimes did not occur in the line of duty, nor did he cause physical injuries. But Halliburton testified that he had done significant psychological damage."My kids want to move," she said at the sentencing Dec. 6. "They don't want to be in that house anymore. We don't have peace. To know that you've been living somewhere all your life, and you don't have that anymore, and where would you go, it's not fair."In court, Halliburton, the prosecutor, the judge and Reynolds' own lawyer all used the same term -- terrorize -- to describe what Reynolds had done to Halliburton's family that night.The episode, some of which, including audio of Reynolds' ranting, was captured by a neighbor's security cameras, began shortly after 2:30 a.m. on July 9, 2018.At the time, Halliburton testified, she was lying in bed talking with her youngest son in her house in Nashville's 12 South section."I could hear, like, someone, like, yelling," she said.Looking out a window, her son saw a man who turned out to be Reynolds in the yard. Halliburton called 911. While she was on the phone, she said, she heard "like a boom, boom, boom.""It sounds like he's trying to come in my house," she recalled telling the 911 operator.Moments later, she said, Reynolds was inside. Her two dogs ran to protect her, barking and biting at his shorts. He tried to fight them off."He just kept coming down the hallway," she said.Halliburton said that her two eldest sons, who were 17 and 20 at the time, tried to stop him from coming any farther into the house. He did not budge."He was in the house for, like, seven, eight minutes," Halliburton testified.It was during this time that security cameras captured Reynolds screaming a racist slur at Halliburton and her family and threatening them with violence.He left, she said, after appearing to comprehend that the police were coming.When officers arrived, she described the intruder to them and suggested they talk to the men staying at the Airbnb two doors away.Before storming into Halliburton's house, Reynolds testified, he and his friends had been drinking in Nashville's Lower Broadway area. He said he did not know how much alcohol he had consumed.The only thing he remembered, he testified, was identifying himself as a police officer when speaking to a Nashville officer who answered Halliburton's call. He said he learned about what he had done from his friends later.Halliburton and two neighbors confronted Reynolds and his friends later that day in the street.Halliburton and the neighbors testified that the men, including Reynolds and a man he identified as a fellow New York City officer, apologized.Reynolds said he had gone into the home by mistake, thinking that it was their rental.But Halliburton and the neighbors also testified that the officers were laughing at the same time, saying that they had "immunity" because they were law enforcement officers.Nashville detectives later tracked down Reynolds, and Halliburton and her sons identified him from a photo array.After being charged with aggravated burglary and assault, he pleaded no contest in September to aggravated criminal trespassing and three counts of assault. He is to report to jail Jan. 15 if he does not appeal his sentence before then.In arguing that Reynolds, a five-year Police Department veteran previously assigned to the 33rd Precinct in Upper Manhattan, deserved jail time, Brian Ewald, the prosecutor, said Reynolds and his friends had tried to "bully their way through this or out of this.""Keep quiet, don't tell anybody a thing and we'll get out of this," Ewald said in describing the men's attitude. "You know, we went, we cut up in another city, what happens in Nashville stays in Nashville, let's get out of town early and live our lives."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2019 The New York Times Company


MSC Cruises' new and largest ship, MSC Grandiosa, crashes in the port of Palermo, Sicily

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 14:13

MSC Cruises' new ship experienced a collision on Monday morning. MSC Grandiosa collided with the dock in Palermo, Sicily, a spokesperson confirmed.


USA TODAY's guide to cruise ship gratuity fees and service charges

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 13:57

In the world of cruising, gratuities and service charges are the apex controversy. Check out these fee listings on major cruise lines.


Judge orders Alex Jones to pay $100,000 in Sandy Hook case

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 13:43

A Texas judge ordered conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to pay $100,000 in another court setback over the Infowars host using his show to promote falsehoods that the 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre was a hoax. Jones is being sued for defamation in Austin, Texas, by the parents of a 6-year-old who was among the 26 people killed in the Newtown, Connecticut, attack. State District Judge Scott Jenkins ruled on Dec. 20 that Jones and his defense team “intentionally disregarded” an earlier order to provide witnesses to attorneys representing a Sandy Hook father who brought the lawsuit, Neil Heslin.


Iraq riots expose an America weaker and with fewer options

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 13:37

Mobbing of US embassy after US strikes on state-sanctioned militia show America’s plan of maximum pressure only added to chaosThe mobbing of a US embassy has historically served as an emblem of America in decline, so the scenes around the embattled mission in Baghdad are a fitting end to the decade.Tuesday’s events are not quite as decisive as the 1975 helicopter evacuation of the embassy in Saigon, or the seizure of the Tehran embassy four years later. Iraqi forces did turn up eventually to protect the Baghdad mission. It turned out the ambassador was on holiday anyway, so he did not have to endure the humiliation of a rooftop escape. But the demonstration of US weakness, after spending $2tn in Iraq, was plain for all to see.The rioters, organised by the Iranian proxy militia Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), brushed past Iraqi checkpoints, and there were members of parliament from the government bloc among them. Security forces who have had no compunction about firing tear gas canisters into the skulls of anti-Iranian protesters on Tahrir Square, stood by and watched molotov cocktails thrown at the US embassy. In its public pronouncements, the Iraqis put more blame on Washington than Tehran.For Iran, the embassy riot was the latest move in a deliberate strategy, to raise the costs of the US presence in Iraq and drive a wedge between the Iraqi government and Washington.The competition between the US and Iran for influence in Iraq would have escalated anyway as the threat from Isis declined. But the US effort to destroy Iran economically through its campaign of maximum pressure has meant the Iranians have nothing to lose.“The Iranians have been very, very methodical over the past six months about their responses to the maximum pressure campaign. And unfortunately, it is not really met any counter-response,” said Barbara Leaf, former US ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. “The question is: while Iran has a very methodical approach to upping the ante, do they at some point trip across a red line that they don’t even know exists?”It was inevitable that the repeated attacks by KH on Iraqi bases hosting US troops would eventually lead to American casualties, as happened on Friday near Kirkuk, triggering US retaliatory airstrikes on KH camps in Iraq as well as Syria.Ariane Tabatabai, a political analyst at the Rand Corporation, said: “The US was sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place, because on the one hand, if it did not respond to this latest attack, considering that a US citizen was killed, it would have sent a pretty strong signal that the red line that it had laid out about US casualties didn’t mean anything.”By highlighting the Iraqi government’s impotence on its own territory, the retaliation diverted public dissatisfaction with the heavy-handed Iranian presence in Iraq, to the desire to be rid of the imperious Americans. The US comes out of this tit-for-tat round weaker and with fewer options.It is not clear whether the US has a plan for what happens now. The campaign of maximum pressure was supposed to force Iran to accept a worse deal than the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement on which Donald Trump walked out in 2018. The oil and banking embargo on Iran have been highly effective in damaging the Iranian economy, but have failed to make Iran bow to US demands for Tehran to give up its military stake in Middle East conflicts and its enrichment of uranium.Instead, Iran has hit back against tanker traffic in the Persian Gulf, and Saudi oil facilities, while ratcheting up pressure on the US military presence in Iraq.US officials have talked in recent days about “restoring deterrence” against such moves with air strikes against KH targets, and have warned they are ready to escalate by taking the fight into Iranian territory.US deterrence however is undermined by having given Iran so little to lose, and by the vacillation of the president, who is entering an election year claiming he has extricated the country from costly foreign wars, while simultaneously wanting to appear tough in the standoff with Iran.“To those many millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don’t want to be dominated and controlled by Iran, this is your time!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, but he sent the tweet while on his way to his golf course in Palm Beach.He was convinced that maximum pressure would bring Iran to the negotiating table as a supplicant, but instead it has added to the chaos.No one – almost certainly not even Trump – knows how he is going to respond.


Minister: Texas shooter previously grew irate over cash requests

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 12:02

The man who opened fire inside a Texas church on Sunday, killing two people before being shot to death, visited the church several other times this year and was given food but got angry when officials refused to give him money, said a minister at the church.


Carlos Ghosn Joins Ranks of Big-Time White-Collar Fugitives

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 11:53

(Bloomberg) -- Carlos Ghosn’s stunning escape from Japan makes him one of the most famous white-collar fugitives in recent years, joining the likes of Malaysian businessman Jho Low and Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya.The former head of Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA, who was facing trial for financial crimes, defended his move to Lebanon by saying in a statement he’ll “no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system.”It’s unclear how Ghosn escaped as he’s been under house arrest and close surveillance since being granted bail in April following his initial arrest in November 2018. He’s a citizen of Lebanon, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with Japan, and is held in high esteem there. He also holds Brazilian and French citizenship. Ghosn’s lawyer Junichiro Hironaka said his legal team has all of his passports, adding that it’s likely he entered his ancestral home country using a different name.Here’s a look at some high-profile fugitives from the business world in recent years.Jho LowMalaysia is still trying to bring in Low Taek Jho, known as Jho Low, the alleged mastermind behind the siphoning of billions of dollars from state-owned investment fund 1MDB. The scandal led to Prime Minister Najib Razak losing a 2018 election, ending 61 years of his party’s rule, and has entangled individuals and businesses far and wide, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc.Malaysian authorities last week complained about a lack of cooperation from other countries in their search for Jho Low. In September, Inspector-General Abdul Hamid Bador said the financier was in a jurisdiction that has an extradition treaty with Malaysia and talks were being held with a party suspected of protecting him.Marc RichThe commodities trader fled to Switzerland hours before being indicted in 1983 on more than 50 counts of wire fraud, racketeering, trading with Iran during an embargo, and evading more than $48 million in U.S. income taxes. The charges stemmed from a multimillion-dollar chain of U.S. crude-oil deals that roiled the global petroleum industry in the early 1980s.The businessman was celebrated for inventing the spot-oil market before becoming one of the most wanted white-collar fugitives in American history for 17 years. After leaving the U.S., he founded a commodities trading company that became the forerunner of today’s Glencore Plc.Marc Rich, Fugitive Commodities Trader in 1980s, Dies at 78 On the last day of his presidency in January 2001, Bill Clinton pardoned Rich, who repeatedly maintained his innocence. Rich died in 2013.Christopher SkaseThe entrepreneur died in Majorca in 2001, a decade after fleeing Australia as his media and hotel empire Qintex Australia Ltd. collapsed. The businesses included Seven Network Australia Ltd., the country’s second-largest television network.Skase successfully fought bids to extradite him to Australia. An order to expel him was in place but suspended by the Spanish government a month before he died of cancer at the age of 52.Vijay MallyaThe so-called King of Good Times has been subject to extradition efforts by Indian authorities for years. Mallya is based in London, where this month he was taken to court by a dozen state-owned Indian banks petitioning for him to be declared bankrupt over 1.15 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) in unpaid debts.Mallya’s business interests stretched from liquor to motor racing to airlines. He was the founder of the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd.Nirav ModiThe celebrity jeweler was arrested in London in March for allegedly defrauding Punjab National Bank of $2 billion. He was denied bail due to “substantial risks” he’d flee the country to avoid extradition to India.(Updates with section on Marc Rich. An earlier version was corrected to remove a reference to Jerome Kerviel.)\--With assistance from Enda Curran, Paul Geitner and Sam Nagarajan.To contact the reporter on this story: Will Davies in Hong Kong at wdavies13@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net, Frank Connelly, Rebecca PentyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Carlos Ghosn reportedly fled prosecution in Japan by hiding in a box on a private jet. Meet Nissan's disgraced former chairman, who was charged in 2018 with underreporting his compensation.

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 11:45

Ghosn said he'd "no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied."


Holocaust education planned after WV jail guard Nazi salute

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 11:09

West Virginia plans to begin training its corrections department staff about the Holocaust after a photograph of correction officer cadets giving Nazi salutes led to dozens of firings and widespread outrage, officials said Tuesday.


Thousands of Google cafeteria staff have unionized, and it's the latest group of Google's 'shadow workforce' to join a union

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 11:07

The union organizing comes as Google is facing a wave of internal activism from its own employees protesting the company's treatment of workers.


Woman Jumps From Ferry Boat at Walt Disney World in Orlando

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 10:49

The 56-year-old woman received minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital


Medical Student Arrested, Held Without Bail After Alleged Attempt to Smuggle Cancer Research to China

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 10:27

Research specimens were found in a sock in Zaosong Zheng's suitcase, bound for China


Joe Biden tells coal miners they should 'learn to program'

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 10:21

Joe Biden may have just fallen for a fatal argument from Hillary Clinton's 2016 run.The former vice president held a rally in New Hampshire on Monday, where he pushed the idea of retraining coal miners as programmers by saying "Anybody who can go down 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well." And as The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted in a tweet, "This sort of 'just transition' stuff was murder on Clinton in 2016."In contrast to President Trump, Democratic presidential candidates have pushed the idea of phasing out coal production and dependence in the U.S. That requires ending coal mining jobs too, and tasks the candidates with proposing replacements. Biden gave one broad proposition on Monday, saying "Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God's sake!" After all, Biden said, he'd been in charge of spotting "jobs of the future" under former President Barack Obama, and this apparently seemed to be the right path."What, exactly, these blue collar workers in the mining and coal-shoveling sectors should learn to code is unclear," Alec McGinnis writes for Gizmodo. Coal jobs may be shrinking, but the tech sector isn't seeing the unlimited growth it once was. While "anyone can learn to code" even if you're "not in your 20s," Massachusetts congressional candidate Brianna Wu says Biden's job advice is just "tone-deaf and unhelpful." And as Weigel continues to point out — and compare to a similarly "elitist" notion from Clinton's campaign — this is all "the sort of thing you hear from well-meaning rich people who don't live in Appalachia."More stories from theweek.com The Obama legacy is not what many liberals think Sorry, the 2010s aren't over yet 1st trailer for A Quiet Place 2 plunges Emily Blunt into the apocalypse


Bosnia indicts Serb army general over Srebrenica genocide

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 10:14

A Bosnian war crimes prosecutor on Tuesday indicted a Bosnian Serb former army general for taking part in the 1995 massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, an atrocity described as genocide by two international courts. Milomir Savcic, 60, is accused of commanding the Bosnian Serb Army headquarters 65 Protection Motorised Regiment, which included a military police battalion, to capture, kill and bury adult Muslim Bosniaks from the U.N.-protected eastern enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995. Bosnian Serb forces led by General Ratko Mladic attacked Srebrenica on July 11, 1995, separated men from women and children, and killed about 8,000 Muslims, who were then buried in mass graves.


The decade in dumb: Looking back on the silliest of Apple commentary

Macworld - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 08:30

Depending on who you talk to, the decade is either ending tonight or a year from now. The Macalope’s not going to weigh in on whether or not a decade runs from 0 to 9 or 1 to 10. This is a technology column, he doesn’t get into religion.

Regardless, a lot of people are looking back on the decade of Apple news and taking stock of what were the big events and products of the last ten years that are at least an elapsed decade whether or not they are a canonical decade.

Which, if The Macalope knows his terminology, is a decade that you can fire out of a cannon. Just checking his notes and… yes, it can be any cannon. Military, shirt, confetti, what have you.

To read this article in full, please click here

Angela Merkel Issues Stark Warning on ‘Real, Dangerous’ Climate Change

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 08:26

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel called global warming “real” and “dangerous” in her New Year’s address, saying she will do everything in her power to ensure Germany makes a meaningful contribution to tackling it.“Our children and grandchildren are the ones who will have to live with the consequences of what we do, or fail to do, today,” Merkel said in the written version of a televised address to be broadcast on Tuesday.“That is why I am making every effort to ensure that Germany does its part –- environmentally, economically and socially –- to deal with climate change,” added the German leader.Merkel acknowledged the shortcomings of a much-criticized climate package her coalition government agreed in September, saying she is aware that some are concerned the measures are “more than they can handle,” while others fear they don’t go far enough.Germany’s upper house of parliament approved the core element of the package this month, including a higher levy on carbon pollution than first planned. Critics ranging from environmental activists to utilities decried the initial tax as too low to help stem global warming.Merkel said the legislation represents a “vital -- in every sense of the word -- framework” for Germany’s contribution to addressing climate change.“The warming of our planet is real. It is dangerous,” Merkel said. “Global warming and the crises that arise from it are caused by human activity. This means that we must do everything humanly possible to meet this human challenge. It isn’t too late.”(Updates with official translation of Merkel quotes)\--With assistance from Brian Parkin.To contact the reporter on this story: Iain Rogers in Berlin at irogers11@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Daniel SchaeferFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2020 Bloomberg L.P.


PHOTOS: Iraqi Shiites break into U.S. Embassy in Baghdad

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 08:24

Dozens of Iraqi Shiite militiamen and their supporters broke into the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad on Tuesday, smashing a main door and setting fire to a reception area, prompting tear gas and sounds of gunfire, angered over deadly U.S. airstrikes targeting the Iran-backed militia. An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw flames rising from inside the compound and at least three U.S. soldiers on the roof of the main embassy building. It followed deadly U.S. airstrikes on Sunday that killed 25 fighters of the Iran-backed militia in Iraq, the Kataeb Hezbollah.


Protesters stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad and torched parts of it on New Year's Eve

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 08:05

A large crowd of protesters gathered to demonstrate against US airstrikes on an Iran-backed militia, and some stormed the US compound.


Huawei says it will generate a record $122 billion in annual revenue despite US sanctions

Top Stories - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 08:05

The $122 billion figure would, however, fall short of Huawei's own annual revenue projections for 2019.


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