Day: August 4, 2017

Half the candidates in Detroit mayoral election are felons, analysis shows

Half the candidates in next week’s Detroit mayoral primary have been convicted of felony crimes, according to a local analysis.

The Detroit News found three of the eight mayoral hopefuls have faced gun charges — two for assault with intent to commit murder — and a fourth candidate pleaded guilty to a non-gun charge years ago. While some of these cases date back to the 1970s, some are more recent.

Under Michigan state election law, convicted felons can vote and run for office, so long as they are not incarcerated or guilty of crimes breaching public trust. The nonpartisan primary will narrow the field down to two candidates who will face off in November. 

The candidates are apparently open about their histories. Greg Bowens, a political consultant and former press secretary to former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, told The Detroit News that the rap sheets aren’t unique to this election or Detroit. 

“[The candidates] deserve the opportunity to be heard, but they also deserve to have the kind of scrutiny that comes along with trying to get an important person elected,” he said. 

Three of the candidates told The Detroit News their criminal histories have served as motivation in running for office.

Donna Marie Pitts, 58, has multiple felony convictions, beginning in 1977, according to court records reviewed by the newspaper.

“I don’t hide it. God has brought me out,” Pitts told the paper. “I hope [voters] don’t look at it as negative but as my experience, and I can help. I want to fight for them.”

Other candidates with past charges include Danetta Simpson, who was convicted in 1996 for assault with intent to murder; Articia Bomer, who was charged in 2008 for carrying a concealed weapon; and Curtis Christopher Greene who was charged with fourth-degree fleeing and eluding police during an attempted traffic stop, and a marijuana-related count. The felony charge reportedly came when he violated probation in 2005 and was charged over a fraudulent check, according to the report. 

Detroit’s mayoral primary election is set for Aug. 8. 

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Grandfather drowns trying to save granddaughter in pool

A Maryland grandfather died — along with his 4-year-old granddaughter — while he was attempting to save the young girl from drowning in a backyard pool on Thursday.

Neither knew how to swim.

Neighborhood children were swimming when the girl jumped into the deep end, police said.

Officials said minutes went by before anyone noticed the girl in the pool, according to Fox 5 DC.

The grandfather, 51, went in after her, but began struggling.

Anne Arundel County police spokesman Lt. Ryan Frashure said the other children ran to the girl’s great-grandmother, who found the two at the bottom of the pool and called 911.

Anne Arundel County officials said the man and his granddaughter, neither of whom has been identified, were pulled from the pool in Severna Park by rescuers, who rushed them to the hospital, where officials say they were pronounced dead.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

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Snooty death sparks protest

A protest will be held on Saturday calling for the ouster of the CEO and staff at the Florida museum where Snooty, the oldest manatee in captivity, recently drowned.

The 69-year-old manatee died last month after becoming trapped in a maintenance tube at the South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium.

The ‘Justice for Snooty’ protest will be held Saturday afternoon outside the museum in Bradenton, The Ledger reports. The protest is hosted by animal rights group Florida Voices for Animals, which alleges that negligence led to Snooty’s death. “We are demanding for the museum (and staff) to be held accountable for their negligence,” the group wrote, on its Facebook page. “The public demands accountability for those who attributed to our beloved Snooty’s terrifying (drowning), preventable, needless, and premature death.”


Snooty died July 23, just a day after a huge party to celebrate his 69th birthday. The 1,000 pound manatee was found in an underwater area used only to access plumbing for his exhibit. A 30-inch by 30-inch panel in Snooty’s tank had become dislodged, museum officials confirmed, allowing Snooty to enter the compartment, where he became trapped.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that manatees, which cannot swim backwards, can stay underwater for 20 minutes.

The museum says that a review, which includes outside experts, is underway to collect all the facts surrounding Snooty’s death.


“Without facts, it is not appropriate to speculate or make any allegations,” the museum said, in a statement emailed to Fox News. “When the review is complete and action steps are determined, the Museum is committed to sharing the information publicly.”

“The animal rights group that says it plans to protest at the Museum on Saturday is not honoring Snooty or the significance of his life as an ambassador for his species,” it added.

Snooty was born in 1948 at the Miami Aquarium and Tackle Company, in what has been described as the first recorded birth of a manatee in human care. He moved to Bradenton in 1949, greeting more than a million visitors in his lifetime.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers


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Trump-endorsed immigration bill divides Syrian, Iraqi refugee activists

A congressional proposal backed by President Trump to cut legal immigration to the U.S. has divided some activists for Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Ayman Abdel Nour, executive director of Syrian Christians for Peace, and a refugee who fled persecution himself, said the current system is in desperate need of overhaul.

“It is a broken system, there is a lot that can be done to reduce” the cost to taxpayers, Nour told Fox News. “Many of the refugees coming are over 65, or they are coming and then bringing over elders, and those people can’t contribute to the workforce and have to live off others. This should change.”

But Mark Arabo, President of Minority Humanitarian Foundation, which advocates for persecuted Iraqi Christians, said the proposed changes are simply “un-American and unethical” and “make our immigration system a game of playing favorites.”

Trump joined two Republican senators on Wednesday to champion the legislation, which would overhaul legal immigration in America.

The bill – entitled the RAISE Act – would implement a merit-based system rather than the existing system of residents and citizens being able to bring in family members. It would also favor applicants based on their English language ability, skills and education.

“Our current system does not work,” said co-sponsor Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga.

Nour said there are those in the Syrian community who have figured out how to “milk the system” in obtaining government payments as caregivers for elderly parents.

Still, he cautioned that creating an immigration system based on merit is not as simple as examining one’s occupation and level of education.

Nour also said something needs to be done about people with special skills, such as his anesthesiologist wife, who have to go back to school for several more years in order to qualify to practice in the U.S. This would continue to be a problem even with the RAISE Act.

Arabo, on the other hand, sees no benefits with the new bill.

“If we shift our immigration system to one that benefits solely those of higher merit, of greater education, the Iraqi Christian community is one group that would be heavily impacted,” Arabo said. “We are people that have been largely disenfranchised by the Iraqi government, not afforded opportunities and education that others were granted. Under Trump’s policies, we would remain subjected to cruel conditions.” 

According to Trump, the RAISE Act would prohibit new immigrants and migrants from collecting welfare.

A 2015 study conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that campaigns for lower immigration levels, found that about 51 percent of immigrant-centered households receive some sort of welfare handout – such as food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid or school lunches – in comparison to 30 percent of U.S native homes. For households with minors, the number jumps to 76 percent for immigrant families, and 52 percent for natives.

Susan Baaj – a Syrian-American in California and chairwoman of the human rights advocacy group Syrian Institute for Progress – favors such a welfare ban.

She agreed that many “take advantage of the system.” She said she routinely hears complaints about families collecting benefits on behalf of dead family members.

“It ends up hurting the reputation of all refugees, and these are the reforms that need to be better looked into,” Baaj said.



Others lament that the current system, which has been in place since Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980, is riddled with deficiencies that make it harder for an immigrant to be self-supporting.

Therese Gobran, an Egyptian Christian who sought asylum in the U.S in 2015 after suffering persecution from various political and Islamist factions, said she was fired from her hospitality job in northern California last week because her temporary work permit was due to expire.

She said she applied for a new work permit in May, but still hasn’t been approved. She said she can’t drive because she needs a work permit to hold a driver’s license.

“I’m not sure what I am supposed to do to support myself while I wait,” she said. “And no one tells me how long I have to wait for the new permit.”

“Johnny Walker” was a highly-decorated interpreter to U.S Navy SEALs in Iraq who came to the U.S. under the Special Immigrant Visa program with his immediate family in 2009.

He said he hopes the bill won’t change that program which was designed especially for foreign nationals who gave valuable service to the U.S government.

“First priority should be to those people who helped America and put their lives are at risk because of it,” said Walker, a pseudonym.

He also faulted the current system for failing to provide new immigrants support in finding jobs.

“I was lucky, I had SEALs to help me and my wife get contracts,” he said. “But most people, even skilled workers in their home countries, come and don’t have the support or means to get a job that even matches their skills. They end up in a bad situation.”


Hollie McKay has been a staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay

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Star looking VERY frail

Star looking VERY frail

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Swift heads to trial

Taylor Swift is heading to court next week as she takes on the radio DJ who she said groped her several years ago.

The incident allegedly happened after a June 2013 concert when Swift was 23. David Mueller, who was a radio personality with 98.5 KYGO in Denver at the time, met Swift after the concert.

After posing with Swift for a photo, Swift’s security team later accused him of inappropriately grabbing Swift’s rear end and he was subsequently fired, Mueller said in a lawsuit he filed against the star.

Swift stated in her deposition, “Right as the moment came for us to pose for the photo, he took his hand and put it up my dress and grabbed onto my ass cheek, and no matter how much I scooted over, it was still there. It was completely intentional. I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life.”

There is a photograph that allegedly shows the DJ groping her that photo sealed from the public.

Here’s what you should know about the case as it heads to court in Denver next week: 

Mueller sued Swift first

Mueller sued Swift in September 2015 after he said he was fired from his job and lost other business opportunities because of the allegations.


He has said that his former boss, Eddie Haskell, was the one who allegedly groped Swift after the Pepsi Center concert, claiming that he heard Haskell bragging about it, according to Billboard.

The Denver Post reported that Mueller was making a base salary of $150,000 when he was fired – not including bonuses, product endorsement fees and other public appearance fees.

Swift countersued

Swift countersued Mueller in October 2015 – and demanded a jury trial, People reported at the time.

“Resolution of this Counterclaim will demonstrate that Mueller alone was the perpetrator of the humiliating and wrongful conduct targeted against Ms. Swift, and will serve as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts,” the countersuit states.


Her countersuit claims that Mueller was fired twice from other on-air radio jobs and hadn’t worked as an on-air personality since May 2006.

Swift said that she would donate any money won in the trial to “charitable organizations dedicated to protecting women from similar acts of sexual assault and personal disregard.”

Swift already won a pre-trial victory

A federal judge sanctioned Mueller last month as he admitted to losing or destroying electronic devices that could have contained key evidence – including a recorded conversation between him and his boss the day before he was fired.

U.S. District Judge William Martinez said the lost data was critical evidence in the case.  

Fans can attend the trial – but there’s a catch

Passes will be available to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis for morning and afternoon sessions, according to the Denver Post. 

The court has made available 32 passes for the courtroom and 75 for an overflow room where the trial will be viewed on a closed-circuit television.


But for those wishing to attend the trial, there are some rules, the Denver Post reported.

Attendees can’t bring phones, tablets or laptops with them. 

And attendees are prohibited from wearing any clothing or buttons that include the names of anyone involved with the trial or that address the issue.

More trial details

The trial is expected to last approximately nine days, according to the Denver Post. 

And while the trial will begin Monday, Swift and Mueller don’t need to be in court until Tuesday when opening statements are expected to be given.

Swift’s mother, Andrea Swift, is listed as a witness and may testify, according to court documents.

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DNA solves ancient mystery

DNA research is shedding new light on the mysterious ancient Minoan civilization on the island of Crete and their counterparts on the Greek mainland, the Mycenaeans.

The civilizations were Europe’s first literate societies and were the cultural ancestors of later Classical Greece. The Minoan civilization existed from around 2600 to 1100 B.C. and the Mycenaeans existed from around 1700 to 1050 B.C.

The Minoans have long puzzled historians. The civilization created the first European writing system and built vast palace complexes with vibrant art, but seemed to spring up in isolation, experts said.


Clues as to their origins have proved hard to come by. While the ancient palace of Knossos on Crete offers some insight into their society, and the Minoans feature prominently in Greek mythology, their main script, known as Linear A, hasn’t been deciphered.

Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and Harvard Medical School have drilled down into ancient DNA to find answers.  

“There is this assortment of hard archaeology, linguistics, and legends that give us some idea about what was going on in Crete during the Minoan period, which has led to many theories about where the Minoans came from,” Dr. Iosif Lazaridis, postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School and the study’s lead author, told Fox News via email. “But, no hard facts, because the language was unique and unknown and it’s not clear who the relatives of the Minoans were outside Crete.”


Researchers analyzed genomic data from 19 individuals, including Minoans, Mycenaeans, a Neolithic individual from ancient Greece, and Bronze Age individuals from southwestern Anatolia, which is in modern day Turkey. By comparing the information generated with previously published data from nearly 3,000 other people, both ancient and modern, the researchers were able to work out the relationships between the groups.

The results show that the Minoans were genetically very similar to the Mycenaeans. Individuals in both civilizations shared more than 75 percent of their ancestry with farming people that lived in Greece and western Turkey thousands of years earlier during the Neolithic period.

“This is quite remarkable – it was genetic continuity with the first farmers of Europe – they settled the region about 4,000 years prior to the Minoan and Mycenaean cultures,” Dr. Alissa Mittnik, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, told Fox News.


“This is very surprising because the Mycenaeans were in many ways culturally different than the Minoans: their tombs and art are replete with weapons, they had horses, chariots, and were very hierarchical because they buried their chieftains with copious amounts of gold and built their ‘Cyclopean’ citadels with huge limestone blocks,” added Lazaridis. “The later Mycenaeans are usually identified with the Achaeans of Homer’s ‘Iliad,’ who were the people that sacked Troy.”

Lazaridis explained that the remainder of the Minoans’ and Mycenaeans’ ancestry came from Armenia, Georgia and Iran. The latter civilization’s ancestry can also be traced back to Eastern Europe and Siberia, according to the researcher, who noted that modern Greeks are quite genetically similar to the Mycenaeans.

“We may be removing some of the mystique surrounding these people by showing that they weren’t that different from the people that came before or after them,” Lazaridis told Fox News. “The Minoans and Mycenaeans didn’t have any special ancestry: they were made of the same basic ‘stuff’ as other people from Europe and the Middle East. So we can’t answer the question of why these civilizations flourished thousands of years ago, but we can at least cast some light on who they were and where they came from.”

The findings are published in the journal Nature.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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Car with family of three dangles off power line during Connecticut storm

A mother of two was whisked from the roadway Wednesday afternoon when her car got tangled up in a power line and dangled on its rear bumper for nearly an hour.

Lisa Beaulieu and her two young children, ages 4 and 5, were driving to their Connecticut home Wednesday afternoon when the storm hit, bringing down debris and trees in its wake.

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She told Fox61 that when they reached Mountain Road in Suffield, she saw some debris falling from a tree up ahead, which caused a telephone pole to snap toward its top.

“At that point, we were pretty much right underneath it,” she said, adding that she didn’t know at the time the cable was still attached to the pole.

The cable somehow got lodged underneath Beaulieu’s car and lifted it into the air.

“I never anticipated it would get that bad,” she said.

Beaulieu called 911 and stayed with the dispatcher until emergency crews arrived. The Suffield Fire Department later shared photos of the incident on Facebook.

After determining the cable was not live, first responders were able to open the car doors and take the children to safety. A ladder was brought in to help Beaulieu out the side.

“The dispatcher was amazing, the firefighters, everybody that approached us and helped us out made my kids feel very safe,” she said. “The EMS team that took us out of the scene were so, so good with my kids. They just made us feel so calm and safe, and so that made the situation better.”

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Sessions announces hunt for leakers, says cases have 'exploded'

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top administration officials lashed out Friday against illegal leaks and issued a stern warning that offenders will be “held accountable,” announcing new efforts to hunt them down.  

“No government can be effective when its members cannot speak in confidence” with other government leaders, Sessions said, referring specifically to the bombshell leak a day earlier of President Trump’s conversations with foreign leaders. 

He said referrals of classified leaks from U.S. intelligence agencies have “exploded” this year.

“We are taking a stand,” the attorney general said. “This culture of leaks must stop.”

Session said criminals who have leaked classified information are “being investigated and will be prosecuted.” He added that four people have already been charged with leaking classified material and related counts, and investigations have tripled.

Sessions said he has directed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and new FBI Director Christopher Wray to oversee all classified leak investigations and actively monitor the progress.

He said a new counterintelligence unit has been created to manage cases, and he has directed the National Security Division and U.S. attorneys to prioritize cases involving unauthorized disclosures.

“The department will not hesitate to bring lawful and appropriate criminal charges against those who abuse the nation’s trust,” he said.

Sessions also had some sharp words for the media, saying he would order a review of the current subpoena policy regarding leaks of classified information and called the publication of such materials as something that places lives “at risk.” 

David Boardman, chairman of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, fired back. 

“What the attorney general is suggesting is a dangerous threat to the freedom of the American people to know and understand what their leaders are doing, and why,” Boardman said in a statement. 

Leak cases have traditionally been difficult to prove and prosecute. In 2015, Attorney General Eric Holder issued new guidelines on obtaining information from members of the media. Sessions said Friday that he’s reviewing the DOJ’s policy on issuing subpoenas to reporters.

Under the Obama administration, federal prosecutors brought charges in nine cases – more than all previous administrations combined.  

Still, it was clear by Sessions’ comments that the Trump administration would go after any leakers of sensitive information.

Last month, a report written by Republicans on the Senate’s homeland security panel warned that the Trump administration faced an “alarming” amount of media leaks that posed a potential threat to national security. The 24-page report, titled “State Secrets: How and Avalanche of Media Leaks is Harming National Security,” estimated the Trump administration has had about one leak per day. 

The authors of the report urged the Justice Department to step up its investigations into the leaks.

On Thursday, a new leak hit the White House hard. 

The Washington Post released complete transcripts from Trump’s telephone conversations with Enrique Peña Nieto, the president of Mexico, and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The documents provided an unfiltered glimpse into Trump’s diplomacy during his first few days on the job. It also unveiled some not-so-nice comments he made in which he called New Hampshire a “drug infested den” and pleaded with Nieto to stay quiet about the controversial border wall Trump repeatedly promised he’d build.

“Leaking the phone calls between our president and other heads of state is nothing short of a national disgrace,” Kellyanne Conway, White House counselor, told “Fox & Friends” on Friday. “I want there to be bipartisan outrage.”

She noted the West Wing is a “small place” and finding the leakers might be “easier” than some realize.”

Former federal prosecutors told Fox News that the leak likely constitutes a federal crime. And lawmakers have voiced concern about how that material got out and the security implications.

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bob Corker of Tennessee lashed out at the person behind the leak, with Graham calling it a “disservice to the president” and Corker saying he hopes Trump’s new chief of staff will “fire every single person” who is behind leaking sensitive information from within the White House.

Though Friday’s announcement has been in the works for some time, it comes during a rocky period between Trump and Sessions. Trump has taken the former Alabama senator to task over the past few weeks and has stated his “disappointment” with the country’s top law enforcement official via tweets, interviews and press conferences.

Trump slammed Sessions for not being tougher on leaks from the intelligence community.

“I want the attorney general to be much tougher,” Trump said last week. “I want the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before, at a very important level. These are intelligence agencies we cannot have that happen.”

Fox News’ Doug McKelway contributed to this report. 

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Amazon causes stink with Trump-tweet toilet paper



Amazon on Friday was offering rolls of toilet paper printed with tweets from President Trump.

The Internet retail giant was offering individual rolls for $11.99 for Amazon Prime customers. But the site said the item was being sold by a company called Toilet Tweets, and that delivery was being “fulfilled by Amazon.”

By mid-Friday morning, Amazon appeared to put some distance between itself and the product. A new search for “Donald Trump Classic Tweets Toilet Paper” only led to a page that said the product was available through third parties.

Amazon had not replied to a request for comment from the Washington Examiner as of 10:30 a.m.

The classic tweets include Trump’s messages on Twitter from before he became president.

Click for more from the Washington Examiner.



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