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Tue, 25 Jul 2017
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Suspected terrorist 'Theblackflag' to stand trial in Pennsylvania not Gitmo

© The Spokesman-Review
Ali Charaf Damache, accused terrorist
An Algerian national accused by the US of supporting and recruiting for Al-Qaeda has been brought to the US for trial before a federal court, rather than face a military commission in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Ali Charaf Damache, 46, also known as "Theblackflag," was extradited from Spain and scheduled to face a federal judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Friday for arraignment on charges filed in 2011. The indictment charges Damache with conspiracy to provide material support to Al-Qaeda and attempted identity theft, which carry up to 45 years in prison.

Damache, who holds dual Algerian and Irish citizenship, was arrested in Ireland in 2010 on unrelated charges. He was released after an Irish judge rejected the Obama administration's extradition request, only to be arrested again in Spain in 2015.

According to the New York Times, Damache's extradition and arraignment before a regular US court represents a deviation from President Donald Trump's campaign promise to fill up Guantanamo Bay with "bad dudes," and from statements about putting terrorism suspects on trial made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.


LA cop charged after sexually assaulting 15 y.o. police cadet

© David McNew / Getty Images
The Los Angeles Police Department's youth cadet program is under fire as seven cadets have been arrested over the theft of police vehicles and equipment while an officer is accused of sexually assaulting one of those cadets, 15.

Officer Robert Cain of the LAPD's 77th street division was charged Thursday with two counts of oral copulation with a person under the age of 16.

He was also charged with lewd acts on a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, according to the Los Angeles district attorney's office.

The officer allegedly had sex with the under age girl at three different locations, in three separate incidents on June 14. He faces a maximum state prison sentence of seven years and eight months, if convicted. Deputy District Attorney, David Reinert, will be prosecuting the case against Cain.

The scandal erupted at the department last month, when it was revealed that three cadets - in the LAPD's signature youth cadet program - led officers on two separate police chases with stolen police cruisers which resulted in crashes in the south of the city, the LA Times reported.

Comment: Cop outed as a pedophile during cadet theft investigation


Minneapolis cop allegedly startled by a 'loud sound' moments before his partner killed Justine Damond

Justine Damond
Police officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor eased their patrol vehicle into the alley of the quiet south Minneapolis neighborhood late Saturday, the squad's lights off as they responded to a report of a possible assault.

Near the end of the alley, a "loud sound" startled Harrity. A moment later, Justine Damond, the woman who had called 911, approached the driver's side of the squad car. Suddenly a surprise burst of gunfire blasted past Harrity as Noor fired through the squad's open window, striking Damond in the abdomen.

The two officers began lifesaving efforts, but within 20 minutes Damond was dead.

That rudimentary account of her death, released Tuesday by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is based on an interview that Harrity, 25, a one-year veteran of the force, gave to BCA investigators about a case that has become a focus of national and international attention. Noor so far has refused to talk to investigators and there is no indication when or if he might tell his side of the story.


Court orders man to pay support for a child that's not even his

A court in Houston, Texas, is forcing a father to pay nearly $65,000 in child support payments for a daughter he has only met once-who is actually not his child, according to a DNA test.

Gabriel Cornejo
Gabriel Cornejo has found himself embroiled in a legal battle after an ex-girlfriend informed him that he has a daughter who is now 16 years old. However, after meeting the girl once, Cornejo told ABC 13 that he pursued a DNA test, and learned that he is not her father.

"I never thought in my whole life I would have to defend myself or something that I am innocent of," Cornejo said, noting that he is already raising three children of his own, along with two of his brother's children.

Texas state law punishes nonpayment of child support harder than most. According to the Child Support Division at the Attorney Generals' Office, Cornejo could be extorted and thrown in prison for failing to pay for a child that is not his. The AG's office enforces child support through the following ways:

Stock Up

UK crime rate hits highest level in over a decade

© Reuters
Crime is on the rise in Britain, as an increase in violence pushes the number of offenses to the highest level in over 10 years.

According to a new report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of criminal acts in the UK boomed over the past year, reaching a historic record of almost five million.

It was the 18-percent annual increase in violent crime, such as gun offenses, knife attacks, and robberies that pushed the overall crime levels up by 10 percent in England and Wales.

The murder rate also increased by nine percent, with 723 homicides recorded by the police over the last year.

This constitutes the largest increase in recorded crime for over a decade, and corresponds to the lowest number of police officers in more than 30 years.


Helicopter crashes on Sherman Oaks street; 4 people sustain only minor injuries

© Gene Blevins
A helicopter crashed Friday, July 21, 2017, on the 15000 block of Valleyheart Drive in Sherman Oaks, north of the 101 Freeway and east of the Sherman Oaks Castle Park miniature golf course and Fire Station 88.
A helicopter crash-landed on a residential street in Sherman Oaks on Friday without hitting any homes or people on the ground, and all aboard - three adults and a 16-year-old girl - walked away with only minor injuries, authorities said.

The chopper, a Robinson R44II owned by a Van-Nuys based company that offers aerial tours and charter services, made a "hard landing" just after noon in the 15000 block of Valleyheart Drive, said Battalion Chief Daniel Curry of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

"This was ultimately a good day," Curry said. "It looks like the pilot performed with skill to avoid structures. There are residences in this area. He was able to put the helicopter down mostly on a street, a very not well-traveled street."

The male pilot and three passengers - one man, one woman and a teen girl - sustained "minor, traumatic-type injuries" and were transported to a hospital for evaluation, Curry said.


Michigan man 'goes straight to jail' for distributing jury nullification flyers outside courthouse

© West Coast Surfer / Global Look Press
A former pastor has been sentenced to eight weekends in jail for jury tampering after distributing pamphlets on a sidewalk in front of a Michigan courthouse. The man argued he was exercising his free speech rights while advocating for jury nullification.

On Friday, District Judge Kimberly Booher ordered Keith Wood to serve eight weekends in jail, six months of probation and pay fines, according to WMXI.

The prosecution asked the judge to sentence Wood to 45 days in jail, but defense attorneys argued that was inappropriate since Wood has no prior criminal record, is self-employed and he is the only financial supporter for his wife and eight children.

Booher agreed to a shortened sentence, but said it would be inappropriate for him not to serve jail time.

Snakes in Suits

Toronto tears down elderly man's $550 staircase, promises to build new one for $10K - original city estimate was well over $65,000K

© Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun
Adi Astl at the top of the staircase he built and the city has removed as of Friday morning in Tom Riley Park, near Islington Ave. and Bloor St. W. in Toronto, Ont.
Toronto city workers tore down a controversial wooden staircase on Friday morning after it sparked a debate about "ridiculous" infrastructure costs.

A 73-year-old retired mechanic built the wooden staircase that led from a public parking lot on Bloor Street into Tom Riley Park in Toronto's west end after the city estimated that the project would cost between $65,000 and $150,000.

Adi Astl visits the park every day with his partner, Gail Rutherford. He said he was tired of seeing his neighbours injure themselves going down a steep hill into the park that hosts a community garden.

He thought the city's estimate was "just not right," so he decided to build the stairs himself. The were constructed in a single day, on June 22, with the help of a homeless man he hired. It all cost just $550.

Astl said the response to his makeshift staircase was overwhelmingly positive, and people started using them immediately. But someone called the city to complain and inspectors quickly arrived to tape off the "unsafe" steps. The decision divided the city - and Mayor John Tory was forced to respond to the controversy.

"The original cost estimate by the City of Toronto to build stairs in Tom Riley Park was absolutely ridiculous and out of whack with reality," the mayor said in a statement released Friday morning. The stairs were gone by 9 a.m.

Comment: Interesting that the comments on this article ran almost 100% against M. McKarney's 60+ tweets decrying Mr. Astl's efforts, calling her out as a busybody who criticizes but does nothing to help.


President Trump's administration cuts funds for pollution reduction in reopening Harley-Davidson case

© imago stock&people / Global Look Press
Harley-Davidson was fined $15 million last year for selling devices that shut down emissions controls on its motorcycles, but now, they're saving at least $3 million under cuts to a government program targeting pollution.

The administration of President Donald Trump said Thursday that Harley-Davidson no longer had to pay $3 million to fund a service for the American Lung Association of the North East's wood-fire stove project that would have funded vouchers for low-income households to replace their old stoves with updated ones. A new consent decree was proposed in federal court on Thursday that officially erased the longstanding policy.

Harley-Davidson is still liable for the other $12 million in penalties, but none of that will go to the program.

Harley-Davidson is being punished from last year's case involving the Obama administration's consent decree that stated the company sold 340,000 'Screamin-Eagle' aftermarket devices that increased engine performance, but also increased emissions from the motorcycles.

Comment: See also: Volkswagon embroiled in scandal over emission control tampering

Star of David

Amid Israeli-created fuel crisis, Gaza's swimmers find themselves covered in sewage

© Ashraf Amra/APA
Sewage flows from an outlet into the sea in front of the coast of Gaza city, in July 5, 2017. An immediate consequence of the electricity cuts has been suffering for Gazans. A new U.N. report said Gaza gets electricity just four to six hours a day, and 29 million gallons of sewage is flooding into the Mediterranean Sea every day and threatening to overflow into the streets.
Goalkeeper in a pick-up game in Gaza's Sheikh Ejleen beach, Mohammed Abu Mahaadi, 27, feels sweaty. He rushes to the sea, diving for seconds into wavy black-gray spots at the end of a foamy break. Dozens of dead jellyfish and sea crabs are in view. When he emerges, Abu Mahaadi's body is covered in a sludge, sewage water pumped into Gaza's sea, an effect of the current fuel crisis where there is no longer power to generate the Strip's waste treatment plant.

Gaza's electricity crisis began last April when the Palestinian Authority (PA) told Israel that it will no longer pay for the electricity Tel Aviv supplies, which was about half of the power running Gaza. The PA had been covering those bills in part because Israel does not deal directly with Hamas who governs Gaza. Once the payments stopped at the end of April, long blackouts spread across Gaza.