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Teenagers charged with urinating on black classmate and shouting racist abuse

Top Stories - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 11:43

Two 17-year-old boys from New Jersey have been charged with harassment, lewdness and bias intimidation after allegations that they urinated on a black middle school student at a high school football game while calling her the n-word.Social media posts from at least one parent of a Lawrence High School student alleged that the boys used racist language while urinating on the girl during a Friday night game.


Mulvaney defends Trump and makes a new problematic comment

Top Stories - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 11:19

For Mick Mulvaney, the hits just keep on coming. First, President Trump's acting chief of staff stirred up a tempest by acknowledging that the administration had held up aid to Ukraine in part to prod that country to investigate Democrats and the 2016 elections. Then Mulvaney went on television Sunday to defend his boss in effusive terms — and ended up making a new problematic comment.


China Is Building 'The Mother of All Bombs': Report

Top Stories - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 10:44

America already has one.


Night Sight fight expanded: The Pixel 4 is no match for the iPhone 11 in low light

Macworld - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 09:09

We still have some more testing to go before we can reach a verdict on Google’s new Pixel 4 smartphone, but early results continue to show that it’s in for a big fight with the iPhone 11. We tested the improved Night Sight against the iPhone 11’s Night mode to see which camera could snap a better nighttime shot and the results are quite one-sided.

That’s very surprising. Apple’s Night Mode was largely seen as playing catch-up to Google’s version on the Pixel 3, and we all assumed that the Pixel 4 would take another leap to show Apple who’s boss. That might not be the case. In shot after shot, the iPhone 11 didn’t just turn extremely dark images into useable pics—it brightened the right spots, retained the right shadows, and simply handled the whole scene better than the Pixel 4. It’s subtle, but more often than not, the iPhone produced richer, more detailed shots without losing the natural darkness.

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Trump Cheated (Shocker!) on Property Tax; But Will Anyone Go to Jail?

Top Stories - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 07:00

Chip SomodevillaProPublica published a piece Wednesday that put the spotlight once again on some questionable financial practices of the Trump Organization, which showed one set of books to banks (inflating value) and another to New York City tax authorities (deflating value).Is this just the usual Trump mendacity, or can prosecutors see this as part of a pattern? And if so, could it be prosecuted? Who would be tagged as the defendant(s)? If not, what more is needed to bring the guilty parties to justice?Before we explore these questions, let’s look at the facts. Both versions of them.ProPublica obtained property tax docs for four Trump properties. These docs became public when Trump appealed the tax bills, and the loan records became public when Trump’s lenders sold the debt on the properties. Significant discrepancies were unearthed between the tax records and loan records for two of the properties: Trump International Hotel & Tower, on Central Park West, and 40 Wall St.Tax and loan documents for 40 Wall St. showed significant discrepancies in how certain costs such as insurance were reported. Further, Trump representatives reported different occupancy rates to lenders and tax officials: 81 percent to lenders (rising later to 95 percent), and just 59 percent to tax authorities. Rising occupancy rates are valued by lenders because they are indicative of rising income level which is material to securing refinancing, while lower rates, of course, mean lower taxes.Meanwhile, documents for the Trump International Hotel & Tower showed that city tax officials were advised that this property made about $822,000 in 2017 from renting space in the building to other businesses, while loan officials were told that the building made about $1.67 million. ProPublica further notes that Trump appeared not to report income from leasing space for television antennas on tax documents but did report the income on loan docs.Each of the above-noted discrepancies is indicative of potential fraud. But do they represent instances of a prosecutable case?The short answer is: not yet. The discrepancies do reflect a situational ethics approach toward financial obligations and responsibilities. But more evidence will be needed to prosecute anyone should criminal prosecution be considered by the authorities.Who might be prosecuted here? It is unclear just who is responsible for submitting the doctored financial statements to the lending authorities and tax officials. Were the folks who submitted the documents the same folks who prepared them? If so, what were their marching orders? Who directed the Trump Organization officials to tailor the financial statements to minimize property taxes or maximize occupancy rates to obtain loans?Investigators need to home in on the work papers prepared to support the finagled financial statements in order to determine “willful intent,” or “mens rea” that James Comey so infamously referenced. Such evidence may well be found at Mazars USA—the Trump Organization accounting firm that is the subject of intensive litigation with regard to subpoenas served by both the U.S. Congress and the Manhattan DA’s office.Accountant work papers have been found to be beneficial when uncovering evidence of intent to defraud in case after case of white-collar fraud, specifically tax fraud. In fact, accountant work files and testimony provided critical evidence leading to the conviction of Paul Manafort in the Mueller investigations and prosecutions. It should be noted that tax fraud, bank fraud, and the falsification of business records may result in felony charges that could be contemplated by the Manhattan DA and provide for prison sentences that could lead the convicted defendants to land in Rikers Island for a stretch with the aforementioned Manafort. Evidence of corrupt intent to defraud either a financial institution or a public tax authority is critical to a successful criminal prosecution. The use of a double or triple set of books and records by company officials for fraudulent purposes is a terrific example of overt acts of corrupt intent. But further evidence will be needed here to link all those involved in each of the instances denoted above. Email, texts, voice mail, notes to the file and other evidence of directions to finagle the financial docs are needed. Further forensic analysis of the documents, for example fingerprint analysis, ink chemistry analysis and handwriting analysis are investigative tools available to the prosecutors to tighten the vise and provide the links in the chain of potential targets.Cohen was reportedly debriefed in detail recently by the Manhattan DA’s office. His testimony will be needed to outline just who in the Trump Organization was responsible for the preparation of the questionable documents referenced above. Cohen’s credibility will clearly be attacked in court by the defendant(s) and will become a question for the jury to grapple with. Cohen provided the Southern District of New York with a prosecutive path for those responsible for cooking the books at the Trump Organization with regard to the reimbursement of “hush money” payments to Cohen. That path is now available to the Manhattan DA. Add Cohen’s now corroborated congressional testimony outlining the transactional financial ethics referenced above, used by the Trump team in their shady business dealings and the jury will likely be sitting on the edge of their seats. All the DA needs to do now is fill in some blanks in combination with demonstrating a pattern of fraud over time—the closing argument is shaping up to be very persuasive.The allegation that the Trump Organization appeared not to report income from leasing space for television antennas to tax authorities but did report the income on loan docs revives memories of the landmark New York Times tax fraud series on Fred Trump and Donald Trump’s financial shenanigans in the ’90s wherein the Times detailed multiple instances of unreported income streams tailored by Fred Trump for the Donald. While the statute of limitations has long expired with regard to the multi-million dollar gift tax evasion schemes entered into by Donald Trump, prosecutors can use evidence of historical frauds to depict a pattern of fraudulent conduct on the part of a defendant no matter how long ago the fraud occurred. It goes to willfulness or corrupt intent exhibited by Individual-1.The Manhattan DA’s case against the Trump Organization may appear to be on its surface just a mundane business fraud type of case. But fraudulent documents don’t change stories, particularly when there are witnesses available to tie the documents and the corrupt intent together. Add the historical pattern of fraud engaged in by Individual-1 and the Manhattan DA’s case appears to be silently moving along like a stealth nuclear submarine under the radar and there are no available defenses available like an Office of Legal Counsel opinion to protect the prospective defendants from a potentially lethal prosecutorial attack.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


WPS Office review: Full-featured Microsoft-style productivity suite for less

Macworld - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 07:00

Microsoft Office dominates the productivity suite market, succumbing only recently to Google’s free alternative. Despite the surging popularity of Chromebooks, many users prefer native desktop applications over cloud apps, and are willing to shell out $100 each year for the privilege.

If you’re looking to spend a lot less without sacrificing features, there are compelling options available. Unless you’re a hardcore Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint jockey who frequently collaborates with others, it’s time to take a new breed of all-in-one Office clones for a spin.

Kingsoft

Who needs Microsoft Word when WPS Writer does almost everything for cheaper while retaining the same look and feel?

To read this article in full, please click here

The U.S. Army Has Big Plans to Smash Enemy Drones in a War

Top Stories - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 06:56

The U.S. Army is fast-tracking what could be called an entire sphere of counter-drone weapons


PHOTOS: Fluorescent turtle embryo wins forty-fifth annual Nikon Small World Competition

Top Tech - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 06:42

The winners of the 45th annual competition showcase a spectacular blend of science and artistry under the microscope.


This Is the Robot Tank Russia Used in Syria

Top Stories - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 06:15

(But it didn't fight well.)


The lost river: Mexicans fight for mighty waterway taken by the US

Top Stories - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 06:00

The Colorado River serves over 35 million Americans before reaching Mexico – but it is dammed at the border, leaving locals on the other side with a dry delta * This is the first story in our new series about ‘environmental justice’ - learn moreThe temperature is rising toward 45C (113F) as young brothers Daniel and Dilan Rodríguez skip towards a bridge over the Colorado River in the Mexican border town of San Luis Río Colorado. But there is no water flowing through the channel of one of the world’s mightiest waterways. The pair run down the river bank and cheerfully splash through stagnant puddles dotted about the riverbed.“We wish we had a river, so we could swim, and jump and sail my cousin’s boat,” said Daniel, 12. “At least we have puddles to make mud balls, that can be fun.”Colonia Miguel Aleman family Dilan Rodríguez, eight, fishing in the canal that runs adjacent to the dry Colorado River at the border of Mexico and the US on 6 September 2019. Photograph: Meghan Dhaliwal/The GuardianThe Colorado originates in the Rocky mountains and traverses seven US states, watering cities and farmland, before reaching Mexico, where it is supposed to flow onwards to the Sea of Cortez.Instead, the river is dammed at the US-Mexico border, and on the other side the river channel is empty. Locals are now battling to bring it back to life. There are few more striking examples of what has come to be known as “environmental injustice” – the inequitable access to clean land, air and water, and disproportionate exposure to hazards and climate disasters. Water in particular has emerged as a flash point as global heating renders vast swaths of the planet ever drier.Today the Guardian is launching a year-long series, Our Unequal Earth, to investigate environmental inequalities and discrimination in the US and beyond. It will also reveal how the climate crisis is making things worse for activists and scientists on the ground.“We’ve heard stories from my mum about how she used to play and swim in the Colorado River when she was little, but we’ve never experienced it,” said Evelin Bautista, 14, who is a member of an indigenous tribe, the Cucapá, which means the River People. “I’ve heard that over the border, the water is so clear that they can even see the fish.”Indeed, a mere 30 miles north, over the border at Gateway park in Yuma, Arizona, siblings Damien Navarro, 12, and Dariana, eight, spent the day fishing, diving and swimming in the free flowing river.David Barraga plays ball with his daughter Dariana and his stepson Damien in the Colorado River in Gateway park, Yuma, Arizona, on 7 September 2019. Photograph: Meghan Dhaliwal/The Guardian“It’s so hot, we come here all the time, the kids love the water, and we often catch catfish, bass and bluegill,” said their father, David Barraga. “I didn’t know there’s no river in Mexico. Wow, that’s a shame.”“At school in science we’ve been learning about drought, that the planet is getting hotter,” said his son, Damien. “But we’ve never been told about the dam or the river in Mexico, maybe when we’re older. It’s really too bad for those kids.” ‘It took away part of our identity’Because the 1944 treaty did not allocate Mexico any water for the river itself, the channel is mostly dry. The loss of the river in Mexico has been devastating.Nancy Saldano, 54, an architect and activist in the Sonoran town of San Luis Río Colorado, recalls boat rides and fishing with her family during the 1980s, when the US occasionally released “extra” water to deal with heavy snow and rain that risked overwhelming its dams. Her mother, an evangelical pastor, conducted baptisms in the river until it disappeared.“Taking away the river had a huge impact on us, it took away part of our identity. I felt anger, sadness and grief. My children had never seen the river flow.”The disparities on both sides of the border are stark.In the US, the Colorado serves more than 35 million people, including several native tribes, seven national wildlife refuges and 11 national parks, and supports $26m tourism and recreational industries, as well as farming. California has rights to the largest quantity, with 4.4m acre-feet per year – or 29% of the total – while Utah is allocated 1.7m and Nevada 0.3m.At the Morelos dam, located between Los Algodones, Baja California, and Yuma, Arizona, the river is diverted to a complex system of irrigation canals which nourish fields of cotton, wheat, alfalfa, asparagus, watermelons and date palms in the vast surrounding desert valley. This is good for farmers – and less so for ordinary Mexicans.Following the dry riverbed south towards the Gulf of California evokes an eerie sadness. The sound of gunfire in one wide, dusty section led to a couple from San Diego hunting wild pigeons, and a bucketful of feathered corpses. A few miles west along dirt farm roads, dozens of herons, egrets and ducks were staking out a wonderfully lush wetland – though it is only an accidental byproduct created by agricultural runoff from surrounding wheat and alfalfa fields. Prolonged drought and global heatingThe Colorado basin is one of 276 watersheds that cross international borders and Mexican supporters of the binational treaty argue that it resolved longstanding diplomatic disputes and enabled the region’s economic development, even if there is mostly no longer a river in the channel.“We’re the only place in Mexico with a secure water supply, that is a privilege,” said Francisco Bernal, the International Boundary and Water Commission (Cila) representative in Mexicali.But the treaty didn’t foresee prolonged drought, global heating and mounting demands. Now, water is running out, and things must change.The population of Baja California grew from 1.67 million in 1990 to 3.5 million in 2018. Most of the river water still goes to farmers. Groundwater reserves are dwindling, pollution goes unchecked, and urban neighborhoods face shortages.“If agriculture was forced to be more efficient there would be enough for everyone else,” said Dr Jorge Ramírez, a leading water scientist at the Autonomous University of Baja California. “We have enough water, what we lack is planning. Water is the currency here and politics always wins.”Dry Colorado riverIn recent years, protests have erupted in response to allegations of corruption and poorly policed pollution standards that favor big landowners and water guzzling industries, such as a controversial US brewery under construction in the Mexicali valley. In 2020, both countries will for the first time implement rationing. Mexico must cut usage by 3%. The US must save 247m cubic metres. The plan would have been much stricter if not for record snowfall in parts of the Colorado basin last year. The reductions can only be accomplished if farmers waste less and participate in reforestation efforts.Even so, scientists are optimistic that the delta can partially recover. ‘The Gabachos [Americans] should leave some water for us’In the scorched and barren delta, visitors may encounter an incongruous sight: 700 acres of flourishing native trees and shrubs in three reforestation sites.They are the product of what is called a “pulse flow”.In 2014, an environmental experiment driven by not-for-profits on both sides of the border resulted in 105,392 acres-feet (130m cubic metres) of extra water being released into Mexico over two months, simulating the natural spring floods of yesteryear.The pulse flow bolstered parched wetlands and reforestation zones where native cottonwood and willow trees naturally germinated. And for a few days, for the first time in years, the river reconnected to the Sea of Cortez: fish stocks increased, dolphins returned and the number of migratory birds rocketed by 43%.restorationBut for some scientists, the community response was perhaps the most surprising and satisfying. Thousands flocked to the river as it returned, briefly, to its former glory.“I grew up with my mum’s stories about the river in the old days, but couldn’t believe it until I saw it myself,” said Ulises Monroy Saldaña, 13. “I’ll never forget putting my hand in the water for the first time: it was cold, but it felt so nice because it was so hot here.”Daniel Rodríguez was just seven years old, but still remembers the excitement of watching the river fill with water. “We’d come every day after school and keep jumping off the bridge until the police chased us away.”His grandmother, Lupe Aderete, 53, set up portable toilets for the massive influx of visitors. “It was beautiful to see the river alive again, everyone was so happy, and I made some extra money.” She added: “It’s not fair, the Gabachos [Americans] should leave some water for us.Lupe Aderete at home in the neighborhood of Miguel Alemán, Baja California, on 6 September 2019. Photograph: Meghan Dhaliwal/The GuardianThe restoration site at Laguna Grande is a shady oasis of gangly cottonwood and willow trees surrounded by desert and farmland, visited by over 2,000 people last year.“For most children, it’s the first time they’ve seen a forest, and for the adults it brings back memories. Connecting to nature is emotional, and visitors cry all the time,” said Gabriela González, education coordinator at the Sonora Institute which runs Laguna Grande.There’s little or no chance that the river will ever flow freely again, but plans are afoot to repeat the pulse flow, this time flooding only the spots which most benefited last time. And there is hope of expanding native forests to create a green corridor with wetlands and lagoons channelling into the sea.An indigenous community, the Cucapá, has been involved in dredging efforts, paid to shovel out thick mud to create connectivity channels that are crucial to sustainable ecosystems. Patches of native salty grass and flocks of raucous brown and white pelicans at the lower part of the estuary indicate that plentiful fish were swept in by recent high tides.The next pulse flow should take place in 2021 or 2022. Regardless, this region will remain more desert than delta.At home in Miguel Alemán, a poor makeshift neighbourhood with little shade, the Rodríguez brothers ditch their school stuff, grab a plastic bucket and rush back across the parched terrain to the concrete drainage canal running parallel to the littered riverbed.They fearlessly dive into the polluted waterway, which emerges under the metal border wall, to cool down and catch some fish for dinner.To contact Nina Lakhani, the Guardian’s new environmental justice reporter, e-mail nina.lakhani@theguardian.comDesign by Juweek Adolphe


Basketball without cable: A cord-cutter's guide to the NBA

Macworld - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 06:00
Cord-cutters can get their fill of big nationally televised games, but local broadcasts are still left on the bench.

Roku Smart Soundbar review: Easy controls make a big difference

Macworld - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 06:00
Roku's streaming TV soundbar doesn't win on audio quality or extensibility, but its speech enhancements really come in handy.

Where did that go? Find the parts of iTunes now spread throughout different apps in macOS Catalina

Macworld - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 06:00

With macOS 10.15 Catalina, Apple killed iTunes, but its heart still beats in different apps across the operating system. Judging by email received, knowing where to find them can be a treasure hunt. Here’s how iTunes was split up.

Music

Remember when iTunes was all about music? You no longer have to remember, because the Music app replaces most of iTunes’s features and is, true to its name, all about Music. In Music, you find your music library, manage an Apple Music subscription, and purchase songs, albums, and music videos from the iTunes Store. (See, iTunes isn’t really dead!)

IDG

Music is iTunes with everything else stripped out.

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Gun control advocate: Pushing mandatory buybacks will hand victory to the NRA, again

Top Stories - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 05:00

We can pass significant gun safety laws but not if the 2020 campaign is about confiscating assault weapons. This is not timidity, it's reality.


Beijing says no one can stop Taiwan 'reunification'

Top Stories - Mon, 10/21/2019 - 01:59

China's defence minister made an uncompromising call Monday for the "reunification" of Taiwan with the mainland, telling a high level defence forum that the process was something "no force" could stop. Self-ruled Taiwan is viewed by China as a renegade province which will eventually be unified with the mainland, by force if necessary, after the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war. China will not stop in its efforts towards "realising the complete reunification of the motherland," Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe told defence ministers and officials from across Asia at the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing.


Thousands protest against Haiti's president

Top Stories - Sun, 10/20/2019 - 20:44

"Jovenel is incapable and incompetent, he must pack his bags because Haiti must live," said one of the protesters, Jean Ronald. Anger mounted in late August due to a national fuel shortage, and protests turned violent.


Researchers find second warship from WWII Battle of Midway

Top Stories - Sun, 10/20/2019 - 18:25

A crew of deep-sea explorers and historians looking for lost World War II warships have found a second Japanese aircraft carrier that went down in the historic Battle of Midway. Vulcan Inc. director of undersea operations Rob Kraft said a review of sonar data captured Sunday shows what could be either the Japanese carrier Akagi or the Soryu resting in nearly 18,000 feet (5,490 meters) of water in the Pacific Ocean more than 1,300 miles (2,090 kilometers) northwest of Pearl Harbor. To confirm exactly which ship they've found the crew will deploy the AUV for another eight-hour mission where it will capture high-resolution sonar images of the site.


EXCLUSIVE-N.Ireland's Orange Order discourages protests over Brexit deal

Top Stories - Sun, 10/20/2019 - 15:43

The head of Northern Ireland's influential Orange Order said on Sunday unionists in the province should avoid staging violent protests over British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal despite feeling that they had been let down. The deal struck with EU leaders last week has been met by fierce opposition from pro-British politicians in the region, including Johnson's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) allies, who say it weakens Northern Ireland's place in the United Kingdom. "There is a feeling people need to do something but I would be encouraging people that it isn't a case for street protest at this time," Orange Order Grand Secretary Mervyn Gibson told Reuters in a telephone interview.


Chile protests: At least eight people killed during riots in Santiago

Top Stories - Sun, 10/20/2019 - 15:31

At least eight people have been killed in Chile during a second day of protests and rioting in the South American nation.Three people were left dead after a looted building was set ablaze, the governor of Santiago, the country’s capital, said.


Egypt to press for outside mediator in Ethiopia dam dispute

Top Stories - Sun, 10/20/2019 - 15:17

Egypt sees the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as an existential risk, fearing it will threaten scarce water supplies in Egypt and power generation at its own dam in Aswan. Cairo says it has exhausted efforts to reach an agreement on the conditions for operating GERD and filling the reservoir behind it, after years of three-party talks with Ethiopia and Sudan.


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