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Sat, 22 Jan 2022
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American Jailed in Cuba: I was 'Trusting Fool'

© US State Dept.
Alan Gross and his wife Judy
An American government subcontractor sentenced to 15 years in prison after illegally bringing communications equipment into Cuba told a Havana court he was a "trusting fool" and never meant any harm to the government, according to excerpts from his testimony released Friday by his lawyer.

Alan Gross, a 62-year-old Maryland native who has been jailed here since December 2009, said he had no idea his actions while on a USAID-funded democracy-building program would raise the ire of Havana authorities.

Cuba says he was distributing satellite telephones and other communications equipment that are illegal to use without authorization. The island's government says the U.S. democracy programs in general are an assault by Washington on the country's sovereignty. Gross has maintained he was only trying to help the Cuba's tiny Jewish community improve Internet access.

"I do deeply regret that my actions have been misinterpreted as harmful and a threat against the security and independence of Cuba. Surely, this runs counter to what I had intended," Gross told the court on March 4, according to the transcript released by his Washington-based lawyer, Peter J. Kahn.


US: Rebecca Zahau Suicide Likely Tied to Boy's Injuries, Officials Say

Rebecca Zahau
© unknown
Rebecca Zahau's family doesn't believe her death was a suicide.
Rebecca Zahau, the girlfriend of pharmaceutical executive Jonah Shacknai who committed suicide at his Coronado mansion, was distraught over injuries his son suffered in her care and that is apparently why she decided to hang herself, authorities said Friday.

Zahau's nude body was found in the courtyard of the historic Spreckels mansion on Ocean Boulevard on the morning of July 13. Her hands and feet had been loosely tied, and a noose was around her neck and tied to a second-story balcony, officials said.

Although how she killed herself may seem unusual, it is not unprecedented and there is no evidence that there was foul play, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said at a Friday morning news conference.

Her fingerprints and DNA were the only ones found on the rope as well as the knife she used to cut it into pieces and place sections around her feet, hands and around her neck, Gore and other authorities said. Investigators also conducted an experiment with a woman of similar size to see if she could tie herself up in the same way with the same knots, and they concluded that she could, authorities said.

"Science does not lie," Gore said.


US, New York: Cops eye wounded son in bizarre slaying of couple in Queens home

© unknown
Sugrim Jaggarnauth, 64, and Rosie Jaggarnauth, 56, who were both found murdered, and their son Shane Jaggarnauth, 23, who was shot in the shoulder twice at their home in Queens.
Cops are investigating whether a 23-year-old Queens man played a role in the execution-style slayings of his parents, police sources said.

A cloud of suspicion surrounds Shane Jaggarnauth, who was also shot during what he described as an early morning ambush in Springfield Gardens.

Police said a gunman blasted Jaggarnauth in the shoulder about 4 a.m., piercing the silence of a normally quiet neighborhood. The shooter went upstairs and found a panicked couple in their bedroom before blasting each of them at least once in the head, a police source said.

Sugrim (Jay) Jaggarnauth, 64, and his wife, Rosie, 56, died at the scene on Grayson St. Before the wife died, she made a chilling call to 911, telling a dispatcher she was shot.

"Help," she whispered into the phone, according to a high-ranking police source. "Hurry."


Giant Plastic Bag Makers Sue Reusable Bag Company for Telling the Truth about Disposables

plastic shopping bag
© Unknown
More and more, the courts are being used to drive smaller eco-friendly and humane companies out of business. At risk is our access to humane and eco-friendly products.

ChicoBag Company makes easy-to-carry reusable bags because they know how devastating disposable plastic shopping bags are. Their advertising focuses primarily on the importance of using recyclables and uses information documented by respected sources to back its claims. Their award for trying to do the right thing is a lawsuit against them by three of the largest manufacturers of disposable plastic shopping bags.

Hilex Poly Company, LLC, Superbag Operating, LTD., and Advance Polybag, Inc. claim that ChicoBag has "irreparably harmed" their businesses. They're claiming that little ChicoBag is making false advertising claims and that their existence is unfair competition.

Light Sabers

Fox News asks: 'Could a Cyberwar Take Out WikiLeaks?'

© AP
WikiLeaks head Julian Assage is once again under fire after the group's latest leak -- the entire, unredacted database of U.S. diplomatic cables -- sparked outrage.
A massive release from WikiLeaks of the entire unredacted database of U.S. diplomatic cables has brought renewed vigor to those calling for the government to take decisive cyber-action against what some have described as a terrorist organization.

"The latest release of stolen American secrets by the organization WikiLeaks once again proves that they are a terrorist operation that puts the lives of Americans and our allies at risk," U.S. Rep Candice Miller (R-Mich.) said in a statement in response to the latest leak.

"It is long past time for the Obama administration to take decisive action to shut this criminal operation down and to bring those who steal and release America's secrets and put our allies at risk to justice," Miller continued.

But is that even possible?

Yes and no, explained David Aitel, a former NSA cyberoperative, current president and CEO of software security outfit Immunity, and author of "The Hacker's Handbook."

"You could theoretically stop WikiLeaks with cyber-operations," Aitel told FoxNews.com. "However, it would be extremely expensive and difficult. It's not the sort of thing you do when you have other options available."


UK: Parents of seven told: Your children are too fat, so you will never see them again

fat family
© Mike Gibbons/Spindrift
Torn apart: The parents, left and right, with six of their children who they fear will be taken away from them

Four obese children are on the brink of being permanently removed from their family by social workers after their parents failed to bring their weight under control.

In the first case of its kind, their mother and father now face what they call the 'unbearable' likelihood of never seeing them again.

Their three daughters, aged 11, seven and one, and five-year-old son, will either be 'fostered without contact' or adopted.

Either way, the family's only hope of being reunited will be if the children attempt to track down their parents when they become adults.


Same lady, different dress: Obama's speechwriter leaves for Hollywood comedy

© REUTERS/ Kevin Lamarque
Barack Obama
A speechwriter for U.S. President Barack Obama is quitting the White House to move to Hollywood and take up TV comedies, the Washington Post said on Friday.

"It's always been a dream of mine to write comedy and be creative," 29-year-old Jon Lovett told the Post. "I would like to be able to write in my own voice."

Lovett said his departure was not connected with the current shakeup in the U.S. Administration ahead of the 2012 presidential elections.


Chile: All 21 people aboard military plane that crashed in ocean are dead

© Scheila Recabarren / Associated Press
Local fishermen help the Chilean Navy in the search and recovery of the victims of a plane crash in the waters of the Juan Fernandez islands, Saturday Sept. 3, 2011.
All 21 people aboard a military plane that crashed in the Pacific Ocean near Chile's remote Juan Fernandez islands are dead, the government said Saturday.

© Rene Lescornez / Associated Press
In this photo taken on March 3, 2010, a rainbow is seen over the Juan Fernandez islands, 400 miles (670 kilometers) from the Chilean mainland.
The Chilean CASA 212 plane crashed Friday afternoon after two failed attempts to land in difficult weather on the islands.

"After a search involving the commander in chief of the FACh (Chilean air force) the conclusion has been reached that the impact was so powerful it would have led to the instant death of those on board the plane," said Defense Minister Andres Allamand.

© Scheila Recabarren / Associated Press
A Chilean Navy helicopter lands at the Juan Fernandez islands airport off Chile’s Pacific coast, Saturday Sept. 3, 2011.
Earlier Saturday, Chilean officials said the bodies of two women and two men were recovered by searchers or fishermen. Searchers said they had also found pieces of the plane's wreckage.


US: Job seekers join the military as last resort

There's no better government job creator than the U.S. military. Americans sign up for a lot of reasons, such as to serve their country and for the health and education benefits . But CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reports, some young people are finding that the armed forces are the only employment game in town these days.

Joining the marines was not part of Tyler Mitchell's career path. He graduated with a degree in film and video last year, but he couldn't find a job in Chicago.


US, Massachusetts: Former TSA employee faces child pornography charge

© Creative Commons / Flickr / bloomsberries
A Beverly man and former TSA employee arrested on child pornography charges appeared in federal court on Friday.

Andrew W. Cheever, 33, appeared before on a complaint charging him with possession of child pornography. Last December, State Police executed a state search warrant of Cheever's former residence in Lowell. The initial search identified approximately 2,000 images of child pornography and several uniform items bearing the TSA logo.

During the search, law enforcement seized computer components, including a tower computer hard drive and an external drive. Subsequent forensic analysis revealed numerous still images and videos of child pornography on each of these drives.

Cheever faces a maximum possible term of 10 years in prison to be followed by at least five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.