Thursday, August 29, 2013

Kim Jong-un's ex-girlfriend executed in pornography scandal

The ex-girlfriend of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was one of a dozen people reportedly executed by a firing squad last week.

The South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reports that singer Hyon Song-wol and 11 others had been arrested on August 17 for violating North Korea's laws against pornography and was executed three days later.

The paper reported that the condemned, all members of the performing groups Unhasu Orchestra and Wangjaesan Light Music Band, were accused of making videos of themselves having sex and selling the videos, which the paper reported were available in China.

"They were executed with machine guns while the key members of the Unhasu Orchestra, Wangjaesan Light Band and Moranbong Band as well as the families of the victims looked on," a source told the paper. The source added that the victim's families appear to have all been sent to prison camps.

Kim Jong-un reportedly met Hyon Song-wol approximately 10 years ago, before he was married. The relationship between the two is believed to have ended after interference from Kim's father, Kim Jong-il, though the two had been rumored to be having an affair. Kim Jong-un's wife, Ri Sol-ju, was also a member of the Unhasu Orchestra before their marriage. It is not clear if she had any role in the executions.

Read more: Fox News

President Obama’s indecisive reaction to Syria debacle emboldens our enemies abroad

Written by Michael Goodwin

A headline the other day called President Obama a “reluctant warrior.” It was half-right. He’s reluctant, but not much of a warrior.

His feckless, indulgent dithering while Syria burns would be the low point of his foreign policy except for the fact that it is alarmingly typical. The president from the faculty lounge is proving again that he is simply no match for determined adversaries, terrorists and genocidal maniacs.

From the upheavals of the so-called Arab Spring to the “reset” with Russia to the “engagement” with Iran, Obama’s sophomoric habit of leading from behind has reduced the planet’s lone superpower to a paper tiger and emboldened those who would do us harm.

Nearly five years into his presidency, it is still Amateur Hour in the White House.

The debacle in Syria illustrates what’s wrong with his worldview. While the president was busy apologizing for America, Syria exploded into a civil war that is spreading into other countries and could destabilize the entire region. Believing his rhetoric and pique would pass for a policy, Obama backed himself into a corner with no good options.

We can’t know what would have happened if America had played from its strengths. We only know disaster has followed his reckless decision to abdicate our leadership position.

Recall that after Bashar al-Assad opened fire on peaceful demonstrators in March 2011, then-
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called him a “reformer” and expressed confidence that he was no Moammar Khadafy. As the bodies piled up, Obama himself switched course, saying Assad must go.

He kept saying that as whole cities were leveled amid reports of torture, atrocities and slaughter. His warnings ignored, a year ago, Obama upped the ante, saying Assad’s use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” for action.

Assad crossed the red line twice — and still, the president hesitates. It’s not that he is going wobbly. Obama is wobbly.

Even now, as Washington and the world expect a military strike, its purpose is shrouded in a fog of half-measures, media leaks and political posturing.

White House officials promise to “punish” Assad while also insisting the aim is not “regime change.”

The leakers helpfully include a list of possible military targets, vow the attacks will last “no more than two days” and be finished “before the president leaves for Russia next week.”

You don’t have to read tea leaves to realize that the commander-in-chief is holding his nose while deigning to squeeze a military operation into his busy schedule. Makes you proud, no?

No. It makes me ashamed and furious.

Why bother with a military attack at all? If the aim is simply that hoary trope of “sending a message,” Obama should just call Assad and tell him he’s a very bad boy. That would save blood and treasure.

In fact, it makes zero sense to use the military for any purpose other than achieving policy goals. If the policy is regime change in Syria, as Obama has said for two years, then a military attack should support that policy.

That means going after Assad personally, because nothing says regime change like droning the Butcher-in-Chief. In his bed, if possible.

If that’s not the purpose or policy, then there is no obvious reason to use the military. Bouncing rubble with a few missiles will not help the rebels. Even worse, it sends the message that America is not serious.

That, in fact, is the very message Obama sent with his red line. As Sen. John McCain argued, the red line gave the green light for everything short of chemical weapons. So Assad killed 80,000 or so people without using chemical weapons, confident the United States would care only if he killed them with chlorine gas or sarin. Bombs, mortars, tanks and torture were inexplicably OK with Obama.

A military attack without a clear military purpose would be another green light for mass murder, and not just in Syria.

Iran would freshly conclude it has nothing to fear as it marches toward nuclear weapons. And because weakness begets aggression, Hezbollah, Hamas and al Qaeda groups everywhere would take advantage of Obama’s lack of resolve.

His back-and-forth on Egypt is another misreading of history and human nature that cost us an ally.

Our hard-won gains in Iraq are being erased in spasms of violence, and the Taliban in Afghanistan now know they only need wait for our scheduled departure.

Wherever you look, our retreat is leaving a vacuum that is being filled in the worst possible ways.

In a recent speech, Robert Kagan of the Brookings Institution reviewed the history of how America
took the international lead in the first place. It came after World War II, when statesmen and leaders of both parties decided that the US was uniquely equipped to forge a global order that would stop world wars before they started.

That global order, with occasional mistakes and failures, has lasted more than 60 years, a period of unprecedented human prosperity and a wondrous spread of democracy.

The world we helped build benefitted every American, but not just Americans.

Yet, Kagan warns, if we forget why we assumed that role and walk away from the world, there will be a new global order. It will be created and policed by someone else — China or Russia, perhaps. Or maybe there will be a period of complete global disorder, a frightening prospect that, in my view, grows more likely each day.

Presumably, Obama would deny that he favors any of those alternatives. But you would never know that from his actions.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sniper fire 'deliberately' hits vehicle belonging to UN chemical weapons experts in Syria

DAMASCUS, Syria-- A UN spokesman says a vehicle belonging to a team investigating the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons has been "deliberately shot at multiple times" by unidentified snipers in Damascus.

Martin Nesirky, who is spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, says the Monday shooting occurred in the buffer zone area between rebel- and government-controlled territory.

He says the team will return to the area after replacing the vehicle.

The team plans to visit the site in the suburbs of Damascus where an alleged chemical weapon attack occurred last week, reportedly killing hundreds.

Meanwhile, President Bashar Assad denied in remarks published Monday his troops used chemical weapons during the fighting in the rebel-held suburb.

An Associated Press photographer saw UN team members wearing body armor leaving their hotel in Damascus in seven SUVs. It was not clear if the team was headed to the suburb where the alleged attack occurred.

The United States has said that there is little doubt that Assad's regime was responsible for the attack on Aug. 21 in the capital's eastern suburbs. The group Doctors Without Borders said 355 people were killed in an artillery barrage by regime forces Wednesday that included the use of toxic gas.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the eastern suburbs have witnessed a wide army offensive over the last week, but have been relatively quiet since Sunday night.

Mohammed Abdullah, an activist in the eastern suburb of Saqba, said the UN is expected to visit the rebel-held area on Monday and they will be under the protection of the Islam Brigade, which has thousands of fighters in the area.

The photographer said UN disarmament chief Angela Kane saw them as they left but did not go with them on Monday morning.

Nearly an hour before the team left, several mortar shells fell about 700 meters (yards) from their hotel, wounding three people. One of the shells struck a mosque damaging its minaret, according to an Associated Press reporter on the scene.

Syrian activists and opposition leaders have said that between 322 and 1,300 people were killed in the alleged chemical attack on Wednesday.

Syria said Sunday that a UN team could investigate the site but a senior White House official dismissed the deal as "too late to be credible."

Speaking to reporters in the South Korean capital of Seoul, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said the mission is expected to "begin conducting on-site fact-finding activities" on Monday. He added that "every hour counts. We cannot afford any more delays."

"I demand that all parties allow this mission to get on with the job so that we can begin to establish the facts," Ban said. "The team must be able to conduct a full, thorough and unimpeded investigation. I have total confidence in their expertise, professionalism and integrity."

"If proven, any use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances is a serious violation of international law and an outrageous crime. We cannot allow impunity in what appears to be a grave crime against humanity," he said.

Assad told Russia's Izvestia daily that the accusations that his troops used chemicals were responsible were "politically motivated."

"This is nonsense," Assad was quoted as saying in an interview published Monday. "First they level the accusations, and only then they start collecting evidence."

Assad said that attacking such an area with chemical weapons would not make sense for the government as there was no clear front line between regime and rebel forces.

"How can the government use chemical weapons, or any other weapons of mass destruction, in an area where its troops are situated?" he said. "This is not logical. That's why these accusations are politically motivated, and a recent string of victories of the government forces is the reason for it."

With France, Britain, Israel and some US congressmen urging swift military action against Assad's regime if the use of chemical agents is confirmed, the UN team's conclusions could have a dramatic impact on the trajectory of the country's civil war.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said no decision had been made on a military intervention but that any response would be "proportionate."

"It will be negotiated in coming days," Fabius told Europe 1 radio on Monday. He said that the lack of a UN blessing was problematic, but that all options remain on the table.

"The only option that I can't imagine would be to do nothing," Fabius said.

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said diplomatic pressure has not worked on Syria's government, adding that a response to the alleged chemical weapon use there is possible without complete unity in the United Nations Security Council.

Hague accused the Security Council of "not shouldering its responsibilities" over the Syria crisis, saying disagreements among the five members have prevented any action over Syria for too long.

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said the government is prepared to recall
lawmakers to Parliament ahead of schedule so that they could debate any action over Syria, although it would "reserve the ability to take action very swiftly if needed."

Also Monday, the German government suggested for the first time that it would support an international military response against Syria if it is confirmed that Assad's troops attacked opponents with chemical weapons.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday that if UN inspectors confirm the use of chemical weapons, "it must be punished."

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says Turkey would take part in an international coalition to move against President Bashar Assad's government if the UN failed to come up with sanctions to punish Syria for the alleged use of chemical weapons. Turkey has been one of Assad's harshest critics.

Russia, who has been a staunch ally of Syria, said last week that the accusations against Assad could be a bid to get the Security Council to stand by the opposition and to undermine efforts to resolve the conflict by convening a peace conference in Geneva.

Assad said in the interview that a military campaign against his country will not succeed.

"They can start a war but they will not know where it will spread or how it will end," Assad said. "Superpowers can launch wars but they cannot win them."

Asked what will the United States face if it intervenes militarily in Syria, Assad said "it will face what it suffered in all its wars from Vietnam until now. Failure."

In Syria, rebels captured on Monday the central town of Khanaser, cutting a major road that links the central province of Hama with the northern province of Aleppo, the Observatory and the Aleppo Media Center reported. The road was used to supply Aleppo with food as well as weapons.

Rebels control wide areas of Aleppo, that borders Turkey and the battle for Khanaser lasted several days, the AMC said.

The Observatory also reported that rebels bombarded a military academy in the central city of Homs Sunday night killing three cadets and wounding more than 50.

Exclusive: NYPD faces loss of 3,000 cops hired under Safe City, Safe Streets program

Nearly 3,000 veteran cops who flooded the Police Academy 20 years ago as part of the NYPD’s seminal Safe City, Safe Streets program are eligible to retire this month — a loss that threatens to reverse the city’s historic crime drop, sources say.

A new Police Academy class is set to be sworn in this January, but the department is still hemorrhaging experienced street cops faster than it’s replacing them, the sources add.

“They’re scrambling for bodies,’’ one police source said.

The current wave of potential new retirees entered the Police Academy Aug. 30, 1993. They were the first to be hired upon graduation in 1994 under Safe City, Safe Streets.

They were recruited and graduated under Mayor Rudy Giuliani as part of a new vanguard seeking to address the crack epidemic roiling the city.

The program continued to bolster the NYPD’s patrol force for the next five years, adding about 7,000 cops in all and swelling its ranks from 31,000 to more than 38,000.

The department’s strength topped out in 2001 with 40,800 cops.

But those numbers have since steadily fallen to the current level of roughly 35,000 cops, sources said.
And as each successive Safe City, Safe Streets class comes up for retirement, the numbers will fall even more, sources warn.

Of those cops who stay among the rank and file, about 80 percent retire after 20 years with the department, sources said.

While 1,246 recruits were sworn in last month, they won’t make up the difference, insiders say.

City Councilman Peter Vallone, head of the Public Safety Committee, said the NYPD is ignoring its history by not doing more to beef up its numbers now.

“I think people should be extremely worried,” he said.

“Safe City, Safe Streets taught us a lesson, and it’s a lesson that people are forgetting. There doesn’t seem to be any plan to keep up with the attention.

“The crime rate has stopped dropping at the level that it has in the past, and certain crimes have been going up, and that’s directly the result of not having enough cops on the street,” Vallone said.

The NYPD declined requests for comment.

City crime has fallen a modest 1.89 percent so far this year, through Aug. 11, largely due to 26 percent fewer murders.

There have been 199 murders so far this year, compared with 269 in the period last year.

But three of the seven major crime categories are inching up this year, with a 0.7 percent increase in
rapes over the period last year, a 1.5 percent hike in assaults and a 4.3 percent jump in grand larcenies.

Insiders fear any further decrease in patrol strength — coupled with the recent federal-court decree limiting stop-and-frisks — will be a double whammy for crime fighters.

“The next mayor, whomever it happens to be, will inherit a degraded police force,” said one glum law-enforcement source.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch decried the reduction in ranks.

“We’re the only police force in the country that has downsized since Sept. 11.,” he said. “Every other police department in the country talks about becoming more robust while we have shrunk our ranks.”

Penske mogul's brawl with Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke bubbles over in LA confidential-like tale

IndyCar enthusiast and media mogul Jay Penkse is facing a hairpin turn this week.

The 34-year-old entrepreneur is set to meet with the board of his Penske Media Group in the next several days as his troublesome business relationship with Nikki Finke, the star blogger for Penske’s, is about to come to a head, The Post has learned.

Finke, who is said to be bristling under Penske’s management of the website, feels the terms of her employment contract have been broken and is eyeing a Sept. 3 exit, according to a letter a lawyer for the star journalist delivered to Penske late last week, sources said.

Finke, the founder, general manager and editor-in-chief of the site, wants to take back
And, if Penske refuses, she is ready, according to several sources, to start serious talks with potential backers to launch a news destination under the brand, which some value at around $2 million.

“There’s going to be a big public brawl,” said one person close to the situation.

Penske, in some senses, has been a unique backer, given his willingness to give Finke full editorial control at the site. A new backer may not be so willing.

Peter Levin, of Gyl, a tech-focused investment portfolio and Finke’s business adviser, declined to comment. Levin has been fielding inquiries from parties who got wind recently that Finke could be on the market.

They include the New York Observer, Baseline’s, and venture capitalist Ken Lerer, who built Huffington Post, sources said.

Penske, who bought Variety last October, and Finke have been at odds over how, which Penske bought in 2009, has been funded. Finke is angry that Deadline was starved of resources while other properties got cash to hire staff and expand, sources said.

Finke, with an annual salary said to be about $1 million, has been rumored to be headed toward the exit since June, when, a Deadline rival, reported Penske had fired her. That report was strongly denied by both parties, and Finke has filed stories for the site since.

Finke declined to comment on any matter related to her contract. Penske also declined to comment.

After the June brouhaha, Penske Media said it has a long-term contract with Finke and intends to honor it.

One person described the state of the current relationship as “tenuous as usual.”

If the Finke situation isn’t enough to put a damper on Penske’s late summer, the business owner is also being forced to deal with a reportedly unhappy investor in Quadrangle Capital Partners and a financial crisis in India that is rocking the value of his investments there.

Quadrangle, which is winding down its interests, won’t invest any more in the mini-media empire, which also includes a YouTube channel among scores of blogs, sources said.

Stock up on long johns and grab the parka – Farmers' Almanac predicts huge blizzard for NY Super Bowl

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Farmers' Almanac is using words like "piercing cold," "bitterly cold" and "biting cold" to describe the upcoming winter. And if its predictions are right, the first outdoor Super Bowl in years will be a messy "Storm Bowl."

The 197-year-old publication that hits newsstands Monday predicts a winter storm will hit the Northeast around the time the Super Bowl is played at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands in New Jersey. It also predicts a colder-than-normal winter for two-thirds of the country and heavy snowfall in the Midwest, Great Lakes and New England.

"We're using a very strong four-letter word to describe this winter, which is C-O-L-D. It's going to be very cold," said Sandi Duncan, managing editor.

Based on planetary positions, sunspots and lunar cycles, the almanac's secret formula is largely unchanged since founder David Young published the first almanac in 1818.

Modern scientists don't put much stock in sunspots or tidal action, but the almanac says its forecasts used by readers to plan weddings and plant gardens are correct about 80 percent of the time.

Last year, the forecast called for cold weather for the eastern and central U.S. with milder temperatures west of the Great Lakes. It started just the opposite but ended up that way.

Caleb Weatherbee, the publication's elusive prognosticator, said he was off by only a couple of days on two of the season's biggest storms: a February blizzard that paralyzed the Northeast with 3 feet of snow in some places and a sloppy storm the day before spring's arrival that buried parts of New England.

Readers who put stock in the almanac's forecasts may do well to stock up on long johns, especially if they're lucky enough to get tickets to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2. The first Super Bowl held outdoors in a cold-weather environment could be both super cold and super messy, with a big storm due Feb. 1 to 3, the almanac says.

Said Duncan: "It really looks like the Super Bowl may be the Storm Bowl."

The Maine-based Farmers' Almanac, not to be confused with the New Hampshire-based Old Farmer's Almanac, which will be published next month, features a mix of corny jokes, gardening tips, nostalgia and home remedies, like feeding carrots to dogs to help with bad breath and using mashed bananas to soothe dry, cracked skin in the winter.

Also in this year's edition, editor Peter Geiger is leading a campaign to get people to ditch the penny, like Canada is doing.

Past campaigns have focused on moving Thanksgiving to harvest time in October, reconsidering "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem and changing the color of money. This time, Geiger thinks he has a winner.

He wants people to donate pennies to charity and then lobby Congress to stop making them.

"They don't get used very much. They get tossed. The only real use of a penny is if you save tens of thousands of them, then you can use them to help someone," he said.

Oh that guy! 'SNL' looks to add 'AT&T' spokesman to lineup after five major players depart long-running show

As "Saturday Night Live” looks set to add five new faces to its cast for the upcoming season, at least one of them will be familiar to viewers.

Beck Bennett, the face of AT&T’s “It’s Not Complicated” ad campaign, is set to help fill the void after five major "Not ready for primetime players" have departed the long-running skit comedy.

In the ads, the 28-year-old plays a straight-faced moderator tasked with asking a focus group of children about what they expect from their cell phone provider.

The kids end up providing hilarious answers about fleeing from werewolves, living on islands made of candy and wanting a cheetah to be strapped to the back of one of their grandmothers.

"It's pretty much all improvised," Bennett told E! News in May. "They start with the basic questions...and each one of those principles has one or two scripts, just in case. Because you want to have a safety in case these kids don't say something fun or interesting. But they always do."

Before striking gold with the AT&T gig, Bennett was a member of Good Neighbor, a comedy troupe he formed with a trio of buddies while studying acting at the University of Southern California. Kyle Mooney, another of the rumored “SNL” additions, is also part of the group.

Good Neighbor first gained attention when their 2007 video “Pregnant Jamie Lynn Speaks Out” went viral. The clip, a satire of TMZ’s breathless on-the-scene reporting, features a toddler in the role of Britney Spears’ younger sister.

Other videos have proven to be hits, including one that garnered a note of support from Steven Spielberg. They also shot a pilot about a dysfunctional local talk show for Comedy Central.

But still, it’s the AT&T campaign for which Bennett is best known.

“At first, I was worried about getting typecast,” Bennett told the Daily Beast in April. “But this is such a great campaign because I’m playing a character. I’m not looking at a camera and selling a product directly to the audience. I don’t have a catchphrase.”

And with the news that he’s close to being added to the “SNL” cast, it looks as if he’s safely evaded that fate.

Teenager arrested in Long Island teen's murder had bizarre TV interview at crime scene

The alleged drug-fiend son of an affluent Chicago couple, accused of strangling a beautiful Long Island teen, chillingly chatted with TV reporters at the scene only hours after the murder.

Maxwell Sherman, 18, who was living with his parents in their waterfront second home in Long Beach for the summer, was approached by a WCBS/Channel 2 TV crew at about 11 a.m. Friday as he hung around the Rockville Centre footbridge where Lauren Daverin’s nude body was discovered the night before.

A reporter asked the teen — who was chain-smoking and pacing back and forth with his cellphone in his hand — if he was surprised by the grisly find.

“I’m amazed, I’m amazed,” Sherman said before shuffling off.

The burly redhead was busted in Daverin’s slaying the next day.

Investigators believe that Sherman murdered Daverin — an 18-year-old newlywed married to an Air Force serviceman — after partying with her and a group of teens.

Described by neighbors as a creepy druggie, Sherman showed up to his arraignment in Nassau County court in Mineola with cuts and bruises on his face.

Judge David Sullivan ordered the suspect held without bail until his next court date Wednesday.

About two dozen of Daverin’s friends and loved ones, including her husband of 10 months, filled the courtroom.

“We are here to get justice for my sister,” the victim’s older sister, Suzanne Caldeira, said outside court.

Daverin’s husband, Kashawn Gresham, who is stationed down South, broke down when the suspect was brought into court.

“To my wife: You will always be loved a lot, and you made me the luckiest man in the world,” he said in a heartbroken message left at the crime scene.

A couple renting out the bottom floor of the Shermans’ beach home described the suspect as odd — and said he randomly asked them for drugs.

“His parents are just nice, normal people,” one neighbor said. “They told me he’s a bit of a troublemaker.”

Sherman’s parents had been out of town in recent days and were flying back to New York last night.

Son shot in stomach by correction officer father says he's 'all right' - dad facing arraignment

A city correction officer's son is recovering from a gunshot wound to the gut that his dad allegedly inflicted during a dust-up over the teen's arrest on shoplifting charges, family and law-enforcement sources said today.

"I'm all right," Quasaun Smalls, 17, told The New York Post this as he clutched his abdomen inside the pediatric ward of Elmhurst Hospital, his shell-shocked mom by his side.

Father Robert Smalls, 39, faces charges including assault and weapons possession after allegedly blasting his boy with his service weapon early yesterday morning inside their Queens home.

Sources said the shooting took place because Robert Smalls was irate that Quasaun had been busted for shoplifting over the weekend and released by cops after being issued a desk appearance ticket.

The father had wanted his son taught a lesson by being sent through Central Booking for an arraignment, the sources said.

According to a criminal court complaint, Quasaun told investigators that he and his father began fighting after the teen returned to their 59th Street home about 4:30 a.m. yesterday.

Robert Smalls opened fire after blocking two punches, the complaint says.

During an arraignment this morning, Queens prosecutor Robert Kwalbrun said Robert Smalls told cops the shooting was an accident, saying that he was sleeping when his son entered the home and that he mistook his offspring for an intruder.

“He heard steps in his home," Kwalbrun said. “He shouted, 'Who is it?' No lights were on. He said 'Police, stop.' He saw the person grab at his waist, he pulled his weapon and fired."

Kwalbrun said Robert Smalls told cops: "By the time I realized it was my son, the gun discharged.”

Defense lawyer Robert Troxler said the case will come down who’s more credible, the six-year Department of Corrections veteran with no arrest record, or a teen with an arrest record.

"My client is willing to testify in the grand jury,” he said as Smalls, clad in green cargo pants and a white t-shirt, faced the judge. "My client didn't want to support him. He had enough. He went down to the 114th Precinct and told him to stay with his uncle. My client went home later than night he heard a noise, the assailant charged at my client. He doesn't have 20/20 vision. The complainant was throwing punches and was unfortunately injured."

The father was charged with assault and weapons possession and was slapped with an order of protection, court records show.

Bail was set at $35,000 cash or $20,000 bond and the father was ordered to stay away from his son.

Second teen arrested in fatal beating of 88-year-old WWII veteran

SPOKANE, Wash. — Police arrested a second teenage suspect in the fatal beating of an 88-year-old World War II veteran outside an Eagles Lodge in North Spokane. Kenan Adams-Kinard, 16, was arrested in a basement apartment in Spokane just after 3 a.m. Monday.

The victim, Delbert Belton, was attacked and robbed in the lodge's parking lot last Wednesday night.

One of the suspects, a 16-year-old Demetrius Glenn, surrendered to authorities Thursday night, and he was being held on charges of robbery and first-degree murder.

Several other people with him were arrested for investigation of rendering criminal assistance, Spokane police spokeswoman Monique Cotton said.

Investigators believe the boys targeted Belton randomly as he sat in his car and waited for a friend.

Officers found Belton with serious head injuries, and he died in the hospital Thursday.

Both teens have juvenile court records and past convictions for assault, Chief Frank Straub said last week.

Belton was born and raised in Spokane. He survived being shot in the leg in 1945 at Okinawa, one of the fiercest battles of the war, and went on to spend 33 years working for Kaiser Aluminum before retiring in 1982.

His death sparked outrage in the community.

"He was very active and everybody liked him," his niece, Pam Hansen, said last week. "He'd never think about harming another person."

Belton was called Shorty by his friends because he was little more than 5 feet tall, Hansen said.
She believes he was targeted because of his age and size.

"He was defenseless," Hansen said.

With AP and Reuters.

Battle of the sexes tennis match between Billie Jean King, Bobby Riggs an 'elaborate mob setup'

The greatest woman-beats-man triumph in sports history could have been an elaborate, mafia-concocted fraud, according to jaw-dropping ESPN report.

Retired tennis champ Bobby Riggs lost to Billie Jean King on Sept. 20, 1973, in a remarkably hyped event that’s still revered in the annals of the women’s liberation movement.

Artfully playing the brash male chauvinist pig, the 55-year-old Riggs lost in three straight sets to the world’s No. 2 female player of the time. The victory netted King the winner-take-all $100,000 prize.

Four months earlier, Riggs had easily dispatched then-No. 1 Margaret Court, making the King victory all the more stunning to 30,472 fans at the Houston Astrodome and millions more watching on TV.

A country club co-worker of Riggs — breaking a four-decade-old silence — is now claiming the tennis champ threw that match in a deal with mobsters.

Hal Shaw, fixing golf clubs after midnight 40 years ago at the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club in Tampa, Fla., said Riggs was visited by an infamous group of organized crime figures.

Shaw insists he saw mob attorney Frank Ragano, Florida mob boss Santo Trafficante Jr. and New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello enter the club for a meeting with Riggs.

Ragano told the men that Riggs was going to "set up two matches … against the two best women players in the world," Shaw told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”

"He mentioned Margaret Court — and it's easy for me to remember that because one of my aunt's names was Margaret so that, you know, wasn't hard to remember — and the second lady was Billie Jean King,” the 79-year-old Shaw told “OTL.”

"Mr. Ragano was emphatic … Riggs had assured him that the fix would be in — he would beat Margaret Court and then he would go in the tank" against King, Shaw said.

Riggs pledged he'd “make it appear that it was on the up and up," according to Shaw.

Riggs was one of his era’s greatest players, capturing the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in 1939. He won at Forest Hills again in 1941.

He became equally famous for his hustling on tennis courts and golf courses long after his playing days. Riggs would regularly tank early play so marks would increase odds, before smashing them and cashing in.

Riggs was also an avid sports gambler and he allegedly built a $100,000 debt to the mob in lost bets.

All Riggs wanted in return from the mobsters for the Court and King matches was forgiveness for that $100,000, Shaw recalled.

The golf pro said Shaw said he was “petrified” standing in his work room 20 feet away from the Riggs’ meeting. Shaw said he fearfully hid in his darkened work room for a half hour after the encounter ended.

“There are certain things in my life that I have to talk about, have to get off my chest,” said Shaw, who turns 80 in December.

“Its been 40 years, OK, and I’ve carried this with me for 40 years … the fear is gone … And I wanted to make sure, if possible, I could set the record straight — let the world know that this was not what it seemed to be.”

Riggs’ pal Gardnar Mulloy, a tennis star of the 1940s and '50s, said Riggs told him not to bet on him to beat King.

The son of 1930s tennis great Don Budge also claims his dad told him the King match was fixed.

But Riggs' best friend, Lornie Kuhle, said he'll go to the grave insisting his pal didn't take a dive. Bookies would have noticed any huge money going on King, he argued.

"It [a fix to rip off bookies] just makes no sense," said Kuhle, founder and owner of the Bobby Riggs Tennis Center & Museum in California.

Riggs was an overwhelming pick in Las Vegas and bookies could barely entice any action on King, despite long odds.

"King money is scarce,” famed handicapper Jimmy the Greek said at the time. "It's hard to find a bet on the girl."

Riggs played a safe baseline game that day, in stark contrast to the aggressive net-charging performance he used to crush Court.

An expert server, Riggs stunned viewers with double faults at several key moments of the match, to go along with many other unforced errors.

Whether it was a fix or intentional, Riggs’ pals all agreed that their friend didn’t prepare for King. He partied for weeks before facing King, and packed on 15 pounds.

He was dripping in sweat early in the match and seemed to lose energy quickly.

Presented with Shaw’s account, King said she doesn’t believe Riggs let her win.

“Bobby Riggs wanted to win that match, I saw it in his eyes. I saw it when we changed ends, and there is no question,” she said.

King insisted that nerves simply got the best of Riggs on that historic day. Even the greatest champions ‘“choke” on occasion, according to King.

“I think he got so nervous - it exhausted him. [He just] choked,” King said. “We’ve all done it. I’ve choked. Everybody chokes.”

Riggs wasn’t a choker, according to his country club co-worker Shaw. He was just a master showman.

“You can ask me a thousand questions, I would still tell you what happened that night, you know, 40 years ago,” Shaw said.

“I got no axe to grind. I don’t get anything for this. I know deep in my heart - Riggsy had taken a fall, but made it look good. He was a showman, and he pulled it off.”

Riggs was 77 when he died on Oct. 25, 1995.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Weiner's sext pal Leathers may have been exposed to HIV by porn film co-star: report

Anthony Weiner’s online sext kitten might have been exposed to HIV in her porn flick debut, a stunning report claims.

In her just-released skin video “Weiner and Me,” Leathers had an unprotected sex scene with freelance porn actor Xander Corvus – the last onscreen partner of porn star Cameron Bay, who revealed this week she tested positive for HIV, according to

Bay, a three-year veteran of porn movies, confirmed last night to, an adult video news site, that she was the performer responsible for the industry shut down that was announced Wednesday.

The “extremely distraught” Bay said she found out yesterday that a Tuesday blood test came back positive for the sexually transmitted virus, and that her most recent unprotected sex scene was with Corvus for’s “Public Disgrace” series.

Leathers told Gawker that both she and Corvus were tested prior to their own sex scene and deemed “healthy.” She said she a test performed after the shoot also came back negative.

According to the Center for Disease Control, negative test results within the first three months of HIV exposure could be false.

'Bored' teen who 'randomly gunned down' Aussie baseball player tweeted his desire to kill days earlier

One of the Oklahoma teens who allegedly gunned down an Australian student "because he was bored" tweeted "it's time to start taken life's" in the days before the murder.

James Edwards Jr., 15, tweeted the disturbing message three days before 23-year-old Christopher Lane was shot dead has he jogged down a Duncan., Okla. road.

"90% of white ppl are nasty. #HATE THEM." Edwards tweeted in April.

Edwards and Chancey Allen Luna, 16, have been charged with murder while Michael Dwayne Jones, 17, who was driving the car they were in, was charged with accessory after the fact to murder.

Police said the teens told them they were bored, so they decided to kill somebody.

Meanwhile, it's been revealed the teens were quickly nabbed because they allegedly threatened to murder a 17-year-old who wouldn’t join their offshoot of the Crips gang.

Christopher Johnson received the death threat via Facebook two hours after the teens gunned down Lane, Johnson’s father said.

“My son called me and said, ‘They’re saying they’re coming to kill me,’ so I called the police and they got here within about three minutes,” James Johnson told Australia’s Herald Sun newspaper.

Cops found Edwards Jr., Jones, and Luna in a car in Duncan’s Immanuel Baptist Church parking lot, near the Johnsons’ home, Friday afternoon.

Authorities said Jones confessed to helping his accomplices pick Lane at random victim, as he jogged in Duncan, and fatally shoot him because “we were bored and didn’t have anything to do.”

James Johnson said his son attends Duncan HS with Edwards and Luna.
 Sarah Harper and Christopher Lane(L-R) Michael Dewayne Jones, Chancey Allen Luna and James Francis Edwards Jr.
“They threatened to kill my son because they are in a gang, the Crips, and were trying to get my son in it and I wouldn’t let him do it,” he said. “I told him he couldn’t run with these boys. He’s a little terrified.”

Yesterday public schools in the town of 24,000 were on heightened alert after police said they learned of anonymous threats.

Terrell Cox, 16, a student at Duncan High, said the suspects were a “stand-off group that didn’t seem to care that much.”

Lane's grieving girlfriend, Sarah Harper, wrote on Facebook that Lane's killers should "rot in Hell".

"No one deserves to die that way. Not even the boys involved," Harper wrote.

"Don't get me wrong, I want them to rot in Hell, but no one should be blindly taken from the back so unexpectedly and without any reason."

Harper told CNN she was still coming to terms with the senseless killing.

"There is no way to describe what happened," she said. "It's the hardest thing you could ever imagine happening. There is still a lot of shock and disbelief, and a lot of anger and sadness."

"You can't make sense of it," she said. "It's just -- so surreal that anybody could do something like this."

Harper said Lane was "the most genuine and kind-hearted guy and would do anything for anybody at any time."

Details of Lane’s final moments emerged from a 911 call.

“He just fell over in a ditch and there’s blood on him,” said a woman who drove by after the shooting. “He’s turning blue,” she added.

Prosecutor Jason Hicks said Edwards took his arrest so casually that he was videotaped by police “doing a little dance” when he was booked for murder.

Luna and Edwards face life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder charges.

Breaking News: Nasdaq halts trading over technical issue

In the latest evidence of the complexity of U.S. equity markets, trading of all Nasdaq-listed securities was halted Thursday afternoon.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Nasdaq Stock Market cited a technical issue.

The trading halt was announced to market participants through an alert sent by Nasdaq OMX Group (NDAQ) at about 12:15 p.m. ET.

New York-based Nasdaq declined to comment on the issue.

For example, trading in shares of tech behemoth Apple (AAPL) did not appear to move since 12:18 p.m. ET, according to data provided by Thomson Reuters.

"This is a big deal. I don’t think I’ve seen that during the day in a long time," said Dennis Dick, a market structure consultant and proprietary trader at Bright Trading in Detroit. "This market is so
complex. Fifteen or 20 years ago it was so much simpler.”


Monday, August 19, 2013

Hacker tells Mark Zuckerberg that Facebook's security is lax by writing on founder's private timeline

Mark Zuckerberg had his Facebook page broken into because the tech company's own security team ignored a benevolent hacker.

Writing in broken English, Palestinian hacker Khalil Shreateh twice contacted Facebook's security team to tell them about the bug, which allowed him to post on a user's timeline even if they weren't accepted friends.

In theory, Shreateh should have been blocked from posting through one of Facebook's highly touted new security features that gives users the ability to filter who can post messages on their timelines.

Shreateh found a way around Facebook's defenses but the company's security team said that his method was "not a bug" according to the hacker's blog post, as reported by tech blog Gizmodo.

Frustrated by the lack of response, Shreateh showed the power of his find by posting on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's timeline.

"Dear Mark Zuckerberg," Shreateh's post began, "First sorry for breaking your privacy and post to your wall, I has no other choice to make after all the reports I sent to Facebook team."

Shreateh then went on to explain his two failed attempts to work with Facebook's white hat security team — who pay hackers a minimum of $500 to find problems with the social network's site.

"I appreciate your time reading this and getting some one from your company team to contact me," Shreateh wrote to end his message to Zuckerberg.

Someone from Facebook did get in contact with Shreateh but the hacker didn't get the $500 reward the company promises to hackers.

Instead, Facebook temporarily shut down Shreateh's Facebook page "as a precaution" and told the hacker that his previous messages did not contain enough technical information to prove that he had indeed hacked the site.

Adding insult to injury, Facebook's security team told Shreate: "We are unfortunately not able to pay you for this vulnerability because your actions violated our Terms of Service. We do hope, however, that you continue to work with us to find vulnerabilities in the site."

Extremely rare 1967 Ferrari sold at auction for $27.5M

LOS ANGELES — A rare 1967 Ferrari owned by a North Carolina orphan-turned-millionaire sold at auction for $27.5 million.

The red Ferrari was one of only 10 ever built, and its single-family ownership increased interest in the sale, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The owner, the late Eddie Smith, was a former mayor of Lexington, N.C. He died in 2007 at age 88. Since then, the car has been stored in a specially built garage.

"This is a bittersweet moment for us," Eddie Smith Jr. told a packed crowd before bidding began Saturday. "Ferraris came and went, but this one never went, thank God. We enjoyed it as a family for 45 years."

The sale of the Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider was handled by RM Auctions in Monterey. N.A.R.T. stands for North American Racing Team, a Ferrari-backed venture created in the late 1950s to promote the brand in the U.S.

Smith Jr. advised the new owner to "drive it, love it, enjoy it, and more importantly share it with others so they can see it." The auction house has not disclosed the new owner.

In keeping with his father's philanthropy, the family was giving all proceeds to various charities, Smith Jr. said.

Smith Sr., who became wealthy from a mail-order company he started, was a beloved figure in Lexington. Mayor from 1970 to 1975, he also led hospital, college and chamber of commerce boards.

The avid car enthusiast owned several Ferraris, but the 275 N.A.R.T. Spider was his favorite because he loved the look, sound and feel of it, Smith Jr. told The Dispatch of Lexington.

"Dad wouldn't want the car to be shut away, he would want it to be enjoyed," he said. "Even when the value reached went over a million dollars, he would still drive it."

The 275 N.A.R.T. Spider was featured in the 1968 film "The Thomas Crown Affair," the Los Angeles Times reported.

NYPD busts 2 weapon smuggling rings to net largest gun seizure in city history

Authorities today announced the biggest gun bust in city history — an NYPD operation that took down two smuggling rings funneling illegal guns from the South for cheap resale on New York’s streets.

Nineteen thugs were arrested and 254 firearms recovered.

Those busted included two gun runners who oversaw the pair of loosely organized rings and sold their illicit goods through the same city dealer, officials said.

One of the men, Walter Walker, used a rap studio at 1991 Atlantic Ave. in the Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn as his home base in the city. The undercover police operation had been dubbed “Up on the Hill.’’

"Last year, detectives learned through an unrelated undercover narcotics investigation that guns were being sold in the Oceanhill community of Brooklyn,'' said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Above the Country Kitchen restaurant on Atlantic and Saratoga avenues, within the 81st Precinct, they discovered a 26-year-old aspiring rapper, Mathew Best, who lived on Saratoga Avenue. He also used a unit in the same building as a recording studio.

"Best posted several photos of guns and cash on Instagram, and in the video he posted on YouTube, he boasted, 'Packing more guns than the Air Force,' " Kelly said.

"Best helped Walker peddle the guns,'' authorities said.

Walker "made trips to New York City practically every week and sometimes multiple times a week just to sell guns,'' Kelly said.

“There is no doubt that the seizure of these guns – the largest bust in the city’s history – has saved lives,’’ Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. “For that reason, every New Yorker, in every part of our city, owes a debt of thanks to all those involved in this investigation.”

Sources said the bust was due in part to the NYPD’s “pro-active’’ policies such as its controversial stop-and-frisk.

Walker of Sanford, NC, and Earl Campbell of Rock Hill, SC, would bring up their haul to New York on their favorite mode of transportation — cheap buses to Chinatown — and transfer them to Brooklyn-based broker Omole Adedji, authorities said.

The transactions between the men would be swift and extremely profitable, with the guns selling for at least three times their original price, officials said.

The thugs knew they could get a premium for the weapons given New York’s strict gun laws, authorities said.

Nearly $160,000 was made on the sale of at least some of the weapons, officials said.

Some of the sellers urged the thugs to also sell ammo, with one perp referring to the bullets as “cop killers.’’

One suspect, a 19-year-old one, was busted with a 19mm SKS semiautomatic in her bag.

The Manhattan DA’s office and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are involved in the ongoing investigation.

The case is being handled primarily by the Manhattan DA's Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.

Belgium gets Rolls Royce of vending machines - fresh french fries in 90 seconds flat

After a late night out with friends, nothing sounds better than delicious, greasy fries to round out the evening.

Now, thanks to some ingenious entrepreneurs in Belgium, you'll be able to satiate your hunger without ever leaving the bar: a vending machine that dispenses fresh cooked french fries with a luxe twist.

According to the Guardian, the pre-cooked and frozen fries are dropped into piping hot oil or lard for a perfect golden brown finish.

The addition of beef fat is what sets this vending machine apart from previously built automated french fry vending machines. The animal drippings are considered by many Belgians to be the premiere fry fat — lending a deep, meaty flavor to the crispy potatoes.

After a 90-second wait, the $3.50 half-cup serving emerges from the vending machine accompanied by a choice of sauces. Customers can choose between ketchup, mayonnaises (which is the classic fry condiment across much of Europe) and a mysterious offering simply called "samurai."

"This device was tested in India and in Romania," Tuline Bey of distributor BreakTime Solutions told La Derniere Heure newspaper. "We have spent a year in development to adapt the machine to work with beef fat."

Further development also went into designing a triple-filter ventilation system so neighbors aren't overwhelmed by the smell of fries.

Belgians are serious about their fries (they invented the culinary delight in the 17th century) and consider the term "french fry" to be a grave mistake. According to the country's tourism department, the term "french fry" is a linguistic mix-up that combined the old English term "to French" which means "cut into sticks" with the Belgian word for fries, "frites."

Hernandez to 'pen' pal: Daughter says 'daddy for first time and I had to hear it from jail'

Accused killer Aaron Hernandez fears a potential lifetime behind bars, and the sad potential of never knowing his baby daughter.

The former New England Patriots tight end appeared to grasp the grim reality that his nine-month-old girl, Avielle Janelle, could grow up without a “Da Da.”

“I miss my little girl terribly an (sic) my biggest fear of all is she won’t [know]daddy,” Hernandez wrote in a two-page, handwritten jailhouse letter to pen pal Collin Imm, published today by RadarOnline.

“She said daddy (for the) first time or should I say `Da Da’ and (I) had to hear it from jail,” Hernandez penned.

The 23-year-old Hernandez is charged with the June 17 murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd at a North Attleboro, Mass., industrial park.

The fallen football star, who has one child with fiancée Shayanna Jenkins, is being held without bail at the Bristol County House of Correction in North Dartmouth.

“I’m a great dude,” Hernandez wrote in his postscript. “Don’t believe all the negative publicity.”

The hulking 6-foot-1, 245-pound Hernandez told Imm that his first sports love was actually basketball.

“We actually have something in common because my dream as a kid was to play in NBA an (sic) is still my favorite sport but had a better chance in football!” according to Hernandez.

With so much time to kill, Hernandez told Imm that he appreciated his correspondence.

“I’m doing fine but wanted to write you and definitely wanted to say thanks for the support!” according to Hernandez.

“Hope to hear back from you if wanted! Please keep this private is all I ask!”

MLB surprises A-Rod lawyer Tacopina on 'Today' by waiving confidentiality agreement overnight

The Alex Rodriguez saga took another interesting turn Monday morning, and this time it didn't directly involve Rodriguez or the Yankees.

One of Rodriguez's lawyers, Joe Tacopina appeared on the "Today Show" with Matt Lauer, and said he was anxious to talk about Rodriguez and his case against baseball as he fights to overturn a 211 game ban he was given for his part in the Biogenesis scandal, but wasn't allowed to because of MLB's confidentiality clause.

"If the Vice President of Major League baseball would be good enough to waive the confidentiality clause, I would love nothing more than to talk about Alex's Rodriguez's testing history and various things. I would love nothing more," Tacopina said.

Lauer was prepared for that response and surprised Tacopina by saying that Major League baseball had just so happened to fax over a two-page document which would allow for Tacopina to talk about those very issues if he signed the document.

"That office sent us a letter overnight saying they are willing to do exactly that. They sent me a letter saying if you'll sign this letter, they are willing to waive the confidentiality clause in the joint drug prevention and treatment program, that they'll be allowed to talk about everything, and that you'll be allowed to talk about everything, and they say that would include all prior violations to the program committed by Rodriguez, all documents, records, communications text messages and instant messages relating to Rodriguez's treatment by Anthony Bosch. Would you do that?" Lauer asked.

Tacopina clearly was not expecting that from Lauer, and stuttered to compose himself, but when he did, he answered with the following:

"We've been asking that for three or four weeks. They would love nothing more than for us to be able to not hide behind this anonymous source doctrine which they've been doing," Tacopina said.

Lauer then pressured him again.

"I just received this. They say if you'll sign it, everyone can talk about..."

Tacopina then shot back, "If you would like me to sit and read this two page letter now..."

The interview, originally scheduled for last week, was canceled by Rodriguez's people because,
"Alex was on the field and he was playing well and we didn't want to try this case in the media" said Tacopina, who has gone on the attack against the Yankees and MLB in recent days.

Tacopina said he wasn't permitted to answer some questions because of the confidentiality agreement and that he wished he had received that two-page document in advance of the interview.

Lauer also asked Tacopina if there was a number of games Rodriguez would accept as a suspension right now and drop his appeal.

"If he listens to me if I were to advised him based on the evidence and based on what I know about the evidence, I would tell him don't take one inning, Alex. Forget 50 games. That being said, that is his decision to make, if and when that question is presented." Tacopina said.

Rodriguez is batting .319 with two home runs and six RBIs in 12 games this season. He went 3-for-4 with a home run against the Red Sox on Sunday night and was hit by a pitch.