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Sat, 23 Jan 2021
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California Jury Finds Ex-Police Officer Guilty of Rape

© Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times
Anthony Nicholas Orban, a former Westminster police detective, exits the courtroom after the opening statements of his trial in San Bernardino County. The jury found Orban guilty on Wednesday of all eight charges, including kidnapping and rape.
A San Bernardino County jury Wednesday rejected a controversial "Zoloft" defense presented by a former Westminster police detective accused of kidnapping and raping a waitress in 2010, finding the defendant guilty of all eight charges.

Anthony Nicholas Orban's attorney acknowledged from the outset that his client attacked the woman, but argued that the former detective was rendered mentally "unconscious" by a powerful dose of the prescription antidepressant and was not responsible for his actions.

A jury of eight women and four men deliberated less than a day before dismissing that defense and finding Orban guilty of kidnapping, two counts of rape, two counts of forced oral copulation, two counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object and one count of making a criminal threat.

The victim sat in the front row of the packed Rancho Cucamonga courtroom, reacting with a subtle smile as Superior Court Judge Shahla S. Sabet read the guilty verdicts. The victim's unflinching, graphic account of the sexual assault was the most compelling testimony given during the month-long trial.

Orban showed little emotion as the verdicts were read. His wife wept gently in the back of the courtroom.


Contrition: Ex-Israeli soldier seeks Palestinian citizenship

In an odd twist to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian saga, a former Israeli soldier has embarked on a new fight: He wants to renounce his Israeli citizenship and move to a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank.

Andre Pshenichnikov palestinians
© Unknown
Andre Pshenichnikov
Andre Pshenichnikov, a 23-year-old Jewish immigrant from Tajikistan, was recently detained by Israeli police for residing illegally in the Deheishe Refugee Camp near Bethlehem. There he told police that he wants to break all ties with Israel, give up his Israeli citizenship and obtain a Palestinian one instead.

Pshenichnikov is currently traveling in Europe for two months. When he returns, he hopes to move to the West Bank.

It's incredibly rare for Israelis to seek to live under Palestinian rule. There are only a few known cases of Jewish Israelis who have done so, mostly ones who have married Palestinians, as well as a journalist for the Israeli daily Haaretz who moved to Ramallah and reports from there. None are known to have renounced Israeli citizenship - though some Israelis living abroad have. Nor are any known to have sought Palestinian residency instead. People are not allowed to be dual citizens.

Reached at his Israeli home, Pshenichnikov's mother Svetlana said she was troubled by her son's plans.

"I'm his mother and I am trying to support him like a mother should," she said. "But I don't support his war."

The family immigrated to Israel when Pshenichnikov was 13. Israel grants automatic citizenship to anyone who is Jewish. He later completed his three years of mandatory military service, enlisting as a computer programmer in the army's signals corps, and even served an additional year and a half as a career soldier.


Update: Suspect Arrested in Edmonton Armoured-Car Triple Homicide

Travis Baumgartner
© Edmonton Police
Travis Baumgartner
Police have arrested the lone suspect after a trio of homicides at the University of Alberta Friday, ending a 36-hour manhunt.

Travis Baumgartner, 21, was arrested Saturday evening at a border crossing in Lynden, Washington, south of Abbotsford, B.C.

He was arrested without incident, police said, and will be sent back to Alberta, where he will be charged with three counts of first-degree murder and another of attempted murder. Mr. Baumgartner, who worked for private security company G4S Solutions Canada, is accused of killing three of his coworkers, shooting and severely wounding a fourth before fleeing with an armoured car and, later, his Ford truck.

The same truck, with his mother's license plate, was also seized at the border crossing.

"We're grateful to the border officials at Lynden, Washington, for their excellent work in arresting a man we believe was armed and extremely dangerous," said Bob Hassel, the superintendent of criminal investigation for Edmonton police.


Swastikas, Hate Graffiti Found on Brooklyn Synagogue, Stores

Police are seeking the sick vandals who painted a half-dozen swastikas found this morning in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.

The swastikas were found at a synagogue, a Jewish bath house and several businesses around 16th Avenue in Borough Park.

Cops are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime, and are reviewing surveillance video from the area. No arrests have been made.

Surveillance video from Fischman's Food Center at 4421 16th Ave., one of the vandalized businesses, shows two men in hoodies walking up to the store at about 2:45 a.m.

One of the men spray-painted the store's front roll down gate, and then drew a swastika on the front plastic window panel.

Alarm Clock

Drunken Mob of 150 Teenagers Run Wild in Portland

© unknown
Portland's bureaus of Police and Parks will join forces this weekend to increase security in Laurelhurst Park after reports of two large-scale fights there Wednesday and Thursday nights.

According to those who reported the incidents to police, both assaults involved a large group of teenage boys who attacked either an individual or a small group.

Police say they learned of the first incident Wednesday evening when called to the Southeast Portland park about 10:36 p.m. to investigate a report of 150 drunken teens. When they arrived, they told the teens they found to leave. But they were then flagged down by a young woman who told them that a 14-year-old boy had been beaten up and was lying on a picnic table at the west end of the park.

Officers found the boy, who said he'd been with a friend when he was attacked by five to 10 other boys who seemed to be randomly attacking others, including at least one transient. The boy said the group also stole his cell phone, his iPod, his headphones and a hat.


Police Taser Nude 80-Year-Old Woman Attempting Hit Officers With Cane

© Unknown
Police in Dorchester County, S.C., used a Taser on a nude 80-year-old woman after she allegedly attempted to attack police with her walking stick. WCSC reports that when police answered a complaint of someone making loud noises in the area, they were met by an elderly woman wearing no clothes on her porch, reportedly hitting the steps of her porch with her cane.

According to police, the woman, who spoke "confusingly," began to swing her cane at the officers when police tried to take it away from the nude woman. As police continued to talk the woman out of swinging her cane at them, another officer used his Taser on the woman's back. The woman was immediately transported to a nearby medical facility for treatment.

When police investigated the area, they discovered that the woman, a former tenant, had broken three windows at the property after the owner attempted to give the deposit back to the woman.

WCSC reports that no charges were filed against the woman despite the $250 worth of property damage.


3 Dead, 1 Critical after Canada Campus Shooting

Travis Baumgartner
© Edmonton Police
Travis Baumgartner
Edmonton, Alberta - Police were searching Friday for a security company employee charged with murder in the attempted robbery of an armored truck at a western Canada university that left three armed guards dead, police said.

Police said Travis Baumgartner, a 21-year-old employee of G4S Cash Services, was wanted on three counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder for critically injuring a fourth employee. Canadian authorities said U.S border officials had been notified as well.

Baumgartner's mother issued a statement pleading for her son to surrender and apologizing for an argument they had.

The armored truck was found abandoned but running not far from the security company's offices. Police believe Baumgartner was working alongside his co-workers when they were shot.

"We now believe this is the person that is responsible for this horrific and terrible crime," Police Supt. Bob Hassel said.

Police said no University of Alberta students were involved. The university was quickly put on lockdown, but that was later lifted.

G4S Cash Services spokeswoman Robin Steinberg confirmed that two male employees and a female employee were among the dead. She said the guards were armed, but she did not have further details.

Steinberg said the company, which operates in more than 100 countries, had never had a fatality in Canada. "It's horrible to lose this many," she said.


TSA Dismisses Seven at Philadelphia Airport

TSA uniform
© unknown
The Transportation Security Administration on Friday dismissed seven employees at Philadelphia International Airport for paying bribes to an instructor in exchange for passing annual proficiency exams.

TSA management at the Philadelphia airport removed 10 employees from security duties in November pending results of an investigation of bribery by the Homeland Security Department's Office of Inspector General.

Since then, three of the employees have resigned. The seven others were notified Friday of the TSA's intent to terminate their employment for professional misconduct. The TSA did not disclose their identities.

"A TSA training instructor responsible for administering annual proficiency exams was found to have accepted payment from TSA security officers to ensure passing grades," the TSA said in a statement.

The training manager, Shannon Gilliam, 29, of Sharon Hill, pleaded guilty Feb. 28 in U.S. District Court to a single count of bribery. Prosecutors said Gilliam was responsible for training TSA officers and administering mandatory certification to officers who handle passenger and baggage screening at the airport.


Woman Sues City of Tulsa For Cutting Down Her Edible Garden

Tulsa garden
© NewsOn6
A Tulsa woman is suing the city's code enforcement officers after she said they cut down her garden with no cause.

Denise Morrison said she has more than 100 plant varieties in her front and back yards and all of them are edible and have a purpose.

She knows which ones will treat arthritis, which will make your food spicy, which ones keep mosquitoes away and treat bug bites, but she said none of that matter to city inspectors.

Last August, Morrison's front and back yards were filled with flowers in bloom, lemon, stevia, garlic chives, grapes, strawberries, apple mint, spearmint, peppermint, an apple tree, walnut tree, pecan trees and much more.

She got a letter from the city saying there had been a complaint about her yard.

She said she took pictures to meet with city inspectors, but they wouldn't listen, so she invited them to her home so they could point out the problem areas.

"Everything, everything needs to go," Morrison said they told her.

Arrow Up

Black Death Discovered In Oregon

The Black Death, a strain of bubonic plague that destroyed nearly a third of Europe's entire population between 1347 and 1369, has been found in Oregon. Health officials in Portland have confirmed that a man contracted the plague after getting bitten by a cat. The unidentified man, who is currently in his 50s, had tried to pry a dead mouse from a stray cat's mouth on June 2 when the cat attacked him.
Black Death
© International Business Times
A few days after getting bitten, the resident from the rural town of Prineville in Crook County developed a fever. By June 8, the man was so sick that he checked himself into St. Charles Medical Center in Redmond, Ore. He has since been transferred to the larger St. Charles facility in Bend. He was believed to be suffering from septicemic plague -- meaning the bacteria was spreading into his bloodstream -- and he is currently in critical condition.

"This can be a serious illness," said Emilio DeBess, Oregon's public health veterinarian. "But it is treatable with antibiotics, and it's also preventable."

The Black Death originated in rats -- black rats in particular -- but the bacteria thrives in forests, grasslands and any wooded areas inhabited by rats and squirrels. Even though rats were carriers, the disease was spread by the fleas that infested their bodies. Fleas would bite the rat, and the plague bacterium -- later identified as Pasteurella pestis, and renamed Yersinia pestis -- would stay in the intestinal track of the flea until the insect regurgitated it on its next victim; rodent populations can carry the plague bacteria without it killing them off, and the bacteria can travel back and forth from rats to fleas, also known as the sylvatic or enzootic cycle. When the fleas bit humans during this period, humans became exposed to the bacteria -- and became likely to die. Without the help of modern medicine, Europeans in the Middle Ages could do little to combat the plague.