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'Torture chamber' discovered inside Dutch shipping container

08.07.2020 4:01

It featured a dentist's chair to hold prisoners and sound-proofing to stifle their screams, police say

From: www.standard.co.uk

[Ticker] 'Torture chamber' found in Dutch sea containers

08.07.2020 1:21

Dutch police have arrested six men after discovering sea containers converted into a makeshift prison and sound-proofed "torture chamber" complete with a dentist's chair, tools including pliers and scalpels and handcuffs, The Guardian reports. The suspects were arrested based on encrypted messages. The news gave a chilling insight into the increasingly violent Dutch criminal underworld, which is involved in the large-scale production and trafficking of drugs.

From: euobserver.com

Mary Kay Letourneau Dead at 58 After Battling Stage 4 Cancer

08.07.2020 0:25

Mary Kay Letourneau -- the former teacher imprisoned after pleading guilty to raping her student, whom she later married -- is dead after battling stage 4 colon cancer ... TMZ has learned. Mary's now-estranged husband, Vili Fualaau, previously...

From: www.tmz.com

Mary Kay Letourneau, Teacher Who Abused and Then Married Student, Dies of Cancer

07.07.2020 22:47


Mary Kay Letourneau—who gained tabloid infamy for raping her 12-year-old former student, having children with him, and later marrying him—has died of cancer, her attorneys said.The 58-year-old split from husband Vili Fualaau, now 36, more than a year ago. It was not publicly known that she was ill.“Expected but sad anyway,” her attorney David Gehrke, told TV station KOMO. “She was a good person.”Letourneau was a married mom of four working as a sixth-grade teacher in Washington state in 1997 when she was arrested for sexual contact with Fualaau. The case made headlines around the globe and turned her into a national punchline.She gave birth to their first child shortly before being sentenced to six months as part of a plea deal. Weeks after her release, she was caught with Fualaau in violation of that agreement and tossed back in prison for seven years. She gave birth to their second child, another girl, behind bars.The two began a legal romance after she was released, and they married in 2005—even though Fualaau had unsuccessfully sued the school for failing to protect him from her.“She got out of prison and I asked her to marry me right away,” Fualaau told A&E for a special in 2018. “I knew that my kids would have both their parents in a house and that was something I didn’t have, and I wanted them to have that experience.”She maintained that she didn’t know that having sex with a boy was illegal.“If someone had told me, if anyone had told me, there is a specific law that says this is a crime,” she told Australian TV in 2018. “I did not know. I’ve said this over and over again. Had I known, if anyone knows my personality. Just the idea, this would count as a crime.”The scandalous union hit the rocks in 2017 and they formally separated in February 2019. People magazine said Letourneau struggled after the breakup.“She’s trying to pick up the pieces and move on, but she’s feeling kind of lost,” a source told the magazine in March. “She’s not sure what to do next.”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.

From: news.yahoo.com

Chicago man who fired into murder victim's grave during burial gets 15 years in prison

07.07.2020 18:34

A Chicago man who pulled out a gun during a murder victim’s burial and shot into the grave in front of a crowd of mourners has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

From: feeds.foxnews.com

AP Top Stories July 7 P

07.07.2020 17:55

Here's the latest for Tuesday, July 7th: Brazil's Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19; Dutch police arrest six for makeshift prison and "torture chamber" plot; Experimental treatment may have rid man of HIV; Vending machines now sell PPE in NYC subway.

From: rssfeeds.usatoday.com

Kremlin vows to retaliate against fresh UK sanctions against Russians

07.07.2020 16:29


The Kremlin spokesman says that Moscow will respond to new UK sanctions against Russian citizens including a senior investigator and prison officials. Britain on Monday used a new legislation drafted in the memory of a killed Russian tax adviser to sanction 25 Russian nationals linked to prosecution and mistreatment of tax adviser Sergei Magnitsky as well as 20 Saudis involved in the murder of a journalist in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday that Moscow “can only lament such hostile steps.” “We will certainly rely on reciprocity and respond in the way that fits Russia’s interests,” he said. Alexander Bastrykin, Russia’s top investigator and a university friend of Vladimir Putin, is arguably the most senior official to have been slapped by the new sanctions and his name is likely to anger the Kremlin. As the head of the Investigative Committee, Mr Bastrykin is accused of covering up the mistreatment of Mr Magnitsky who died in prison after a year in pre-trial detention in 2009. A tax lawyer, Mr Magnitsky discovered a massive tax scam involving Russian tax authorities and ended up jailed by the same officials he had exposed. A Russian presidential commission concluded that he was beaten to death in prison. Most of the people on the sanctions list are lower-level officials and prison staff including two prison doctors who faced charges of negligence but were never convicted. All of them will now be subject to travel bans and asset freezes but it is not immediately clear if they have any property in Britain. The United States adopted the Magnitsky Act in 2012, targeting money of senior Russian officials kept in Western banks. Russia then responded with travel bans as well as a ban on American adoptions of Russian children. The Kremlin has outlawed institutions such as the British Council during previous diplomatic spats between the two countries, which does not leave Moscow much British property to target this time.

Chicago Gun Violence Spikes and Increasingly Finds the Youngest Victims

07.07.2020 16:29


As Yasmin Miller drove home from a laundromat in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood last weekend, a gunman in another car peppered her red Hyundai sedan with bullets, grazing her head and striking her son, Sincere Gaston, in the chest. Sincere died in his car seat. He was 20 months old.On June 20, a man fired gunshots through the back of a dark blue SUV, wounding the 27-year-old man driving and hitting his stepson, Mekhi James, in the back, killing him. Mekhi was 3.Two other girls, both aged 3, were hospitalized with gunshot wounds in separate incidents in recent days -- one after her mother thought she heard fireworks and turned around to see her daughter collapsed on the ground.These were just the toddlers.In all, nine children under 18 have been killed since June 20 as Chicago reels from another wave of gun violence. The last two were killed Saturday evening. A 14-year-old boy was shot to death on Chicago's South Side. A 7-year-old girl was struck in the forehead by a bullet when three gunmen opened fire on a July 4 street party on the city's West Side, police said."The Windy City is becoming the Bloody City," said the Rev. Michael L. Pfleger of Saint Sabina Church, calling it the worst period in the 45 years he has worked on social issues. "I have never seen the despair, hopelessness and anger all mixed together at the level it is right now."The violence comes amid a wrenching debate nationwide about policing in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of police. Those who defend the police say that the violence shows they need more support, not less, and that it is people living in high-crime areas who most need effective policing. Critics say the violence shows how police are failing the public, how deeply residents distrust officers and the need for reforms and the transfer of funds to address underlying problems, including unemployment, mental illness and drug use.At least 336 people have been murdered in Chicago this year as of Thursday, according to the Chicago Police Department, a homicide rate on track to hit the 2016 record of 778 deaths. (New York City, with almost three times the population, had 176 murders as of June 28.)Chicago had 658 murders in 2017, 567 in 2018 and 492 in 2019, according to Chicago police records.Before the July 4 weekend, Mayor Lori Lightfoot made an appeal to young men, who she said were responsible for the bulk of the shootings. "Think about the number of children that have been killed just in the last two weeks," she said at a news conference. "Families that will not recover from this hardship. Mothers' hearts that are broken, fathers' hearts that are destroyed, grandparents who are living in mourning."Chicago is not alone. Before the coronavirus hit, homicides were escalating nationwide in early 2020, and although the lockdown brought a pause, they began rising again as the stay-at-home measures were lifted. A national study showed that homicide rates fell in 39 of 64 major cities during April and began creeping up in May.The pandemic has added significant stress on the communities that already suffer the most violence. Impoverished neighborhoods like Englewood also have some of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Overall, there have been 53,375 known coronavirus cases in Chicago and at least 2,631 deaths, according to statistics from the state.Unemployment in some of the most affected areas rose to 35% from 28% during the pandemic, Pfleger said."That is the tragedy," he said. "The bad situation in this city got even worse with the pandemic. It exposed the reality that Black and brown communities are disproportionately affected.""Because this is not one crisis, this is two crises operating at the same time, this could in fact be worse than what we saw in 2016," said Thomas Abt, a senior fellow at the Council on Criminal Justice and an author of the nationwide homicide study by Arnold Ventures, a philanthropy focused on criminal justice.Distrust of police is also a contributing factor as many residents of the hardest-hit neighborhoods feel reluctant to call on law enforcement, perhaps even more so since the death of Floyd and the nationwide protests against police brutality that followed it.People who have lost trust in police are more prone to settle scores on their own, experts said. "The lack of trust, the lack of confidence in police and the lack of willingness to use police, I think is going to have a broader effect," Abt said.Police too are feeling the strain as they try to confront both the violence in the city and the pandemic. "All of the people and organizations that we usually depend on to respond to homicide and violent crime are overburdened right now," Abt said.Chicago's new police superintendent, David O. Brown, who took the job in April, had vowed to keep murders this year below 300. That bench mark has fallen.Brown called the open-air drug markets on street corners "the precursors" to much of the violence, with the drug sellers employing teenagers with no criminal history so they will be released if caught.Asked about how they are addressing the gun violence, he said that police are confiscating guns -- 4,629 so far this year, more than 10,000 last year. He repeatedly appealed to the public for help, saying that residents knew something about the perpetrators in most cases.A low rate in solving murders -- it hovers around 20% -- and the lack of protection for witnesses both play into the continued high murder rate, criminologists said. Murderers do not expect to get caught and witnesses feel intimidated, they said.The Chicago Police Department let its community policing program wither about two decades ago, said Wesley G. Skogan, of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. Now, young police officers canvassing unfamiliar blocks have found that residents do not open their doors out of fear of being seen talking to a police officer, he said.Thomas Ahern, the Police Department spokesman, disputed the notion that community policing was being neglected. He cited Operation Clean, which works to spruce up neighborhoods including fixing streetlights, repairing damaged buildings and removing graffiti.Many residents think that is not enough, however. The city needs to do more to protect witnesses, said the Rev. Ira Acree of the Greater St. John Bible Church."People want to tell, but they are afraid," Acree told a community meeting that he organized to discuss the shootings, adding that people approach him repeatedly about doing the right thing. They tell him, he said, "I want to go to heaven, but I do not want to go this week."He called the death of children "heartbreaking" for the community. "There was a time even in the gangs, there was some code of ethics, you would not bother the kids or the old ladies. They were off limits," he said.The debate over rising violence is also tangled in both local and national politics.President Donald Trump weighed in on the killings in late June, sending a letter addressed to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Lightfoot, saying that the U.S. government could help revitalize distressed neighborhoods, but "you must establish law and order." The mayor accused the president of trying to play politics rather than to help.Kimberly M. Foxx, prosecutor for Cook County, has been a strong advocate for reducing the prison population through measures like release without bail, erasing marijuana convictions and not prosecuting low-level crimes like shoplifting.The police union, also at odds with Lightfoot over her criticism of some of their actions during the recent unrest, opposes the bail policies.Chicago's toll has mounted steadily since Memorial Day weekend -- when 85 people were shot and 24 killed -- which usually ushers in summer violence. During a 24-hour period the next weekend, 18 people were murdered, the worst day in decades.Some experts attribute the high numbers of children being killed to collateral damage from gunmen leaving their fingers on the triggers of automatic weapons that they have never been trained to shoot.For example, Amaria Jones, 13, was showing her mother a dance step when a bullet tore through a window and a television set before striking the girl in the neck, killing her. The gunman had opened fire from more than a block away, police said.At a memorial for Sincere Gaston, a giant poster bearing the words "Enough is Enough" showed the bright-eyed toddler grasping a green-topped milk bottle.His parents, Thomas Gaston, 27, and Miller, complained that police treated them like suspects, even though Gaston has participated in an anti-gang program. He was the intended target of the shooting that killed his son, police said.Miller said that detectives initially prevented her from seeing her son, demanding that she first divulge information about who might have carried out the killing. "Have some compassion for us, it hurts," she said.John Catanzara, the head of the police union, defended the decision, saying that investigators needed to collect as many details as possible while events were fresh.On the hot, humid day the memorial was held, about 100 people gathered under a white tent erected in an empty lot, releasing a flurry of red and blue balloons in Sincere's honor. "He lit up the room. Everybody loved him," his mother said. "I can do nothing without that little boy. I feel lifeless, I am lifeless."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

A California Firefighter’s Struggle Shows That There Are Too Many Barriers To Finding Work With A Criminal Record

07.07.2020 14:08

States sometimes teach skills in prison that cannot be used by ex-offenders once they are released. In California, a criminal record can be an insurmountable barrier to becoming a career firefighter even though the state uses prisoners to fight wildfires.

From: www.forbes.com

A California Firefighter’s Struggle Shows That There Are Too Many Barriers To Finding Work With A Criminal Record

07.07.2020 14:08

States sometimes teach skills in prison that cannot be used by ex-offenders once they are released. In California, a criminal record can be an insurmountable barrier to becoming a career firefighter even though the state uses prisoners to fight wildfires.

From: www.forbes.com

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