Brunei Sultan backtracks on death penalty for gay sex

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NEWS)

 

Brunei sultan backtracks on death penalty for gay sex

AFP

AFP

 In this file photo taken on April 3, 2019, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers a speech during an event in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Brunei’s sultan has announced death by stoning for gay sex and adultery will not be enforced after a global backlash, but critics yesterday called for harsh sharia laws to be abandoned entirely.

In a speech late on Sunday, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said a moratorium on capital punishment that already applies to Brunei’s regular criminal code would also extend to its new sharia code, which includes death by stoning for various crimes.

The code, which also punishes theft with the amputation of hands and feet, fully came into force last month in the small sultanate on Borneo island, making it the only country in East or Southeast Asia with sharia law at the national level.

The move sparked anger from governments and rights groups, the United Nations slammed it as a “clear violation” of human rights while celebrities led by actor George Clooney called for Brunei-owned hotels to be boycotted. In a televised address, the all-powerful sultan made his first public comments about the furore and took the rare step of addressing criticism, saying there had been “many questions and misperceptions” regarding the sharia laws.

“Both the common law and the sharia law aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country,” he insisted, according to an official translation of his speech.

Some crimes in Muslim-majority Brunei including murder and drug-trafficking were already punishable with death by hanging under the regular criminal code, which is enforced alongside the sharia code, but no one has been executed for decades.

Scope for remission

Hassanal said that “we have practiced a de facto moratorium on the execution of death penalty for cases under the common law. This will also be applied to cases under the (sharia penal code), which provides a wider scope for remission.”

But rights groups said the announcement did not go far enough.

“It really doesn’t change anything,” Matthew Woolfe, founder of rights group The Brunei Project, said. “This announcement does nothing to address the many other human rights concerns about the (sharia code).”

The maximum punishment for gay sex between men under the sharia code is death by stoning, but perpetrators can also be sentenced to lengthy jail terms or caning. Women convicted of having sexual relations with other women face up to 40 strokes of the cane or a maximum 10-year jail term.

Whipping and jail terms, as well as severing of limbs for theft, under the new code were not affected by the sultan’s announcement.

It was not clear how far other sharia punishments would be enforced.

The sultan also vowed in his speech that Brunei would ratify the United Nations convention against torture which it signed several years ago.

Mercadante: Lula Can Already Be Released, It Is A Right That The Law Ensures

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 24/7)

 

Interpol takes up India’s red notice on fugitive Zakir Naik

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Interpol takes up India’s red notice on fugitive Zakir Naik

Red notices are requests issued to Interpol’s 194 member states worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence.

INDIA Updated: Apr 24, 2019 07:19 IST

Neeraj Chauhan
Neeraj Chauhan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Interpol,India news,Zakir Naik
Zakir Naik(HT file photo)

A high-powered panel of global law enforcement organisation Interpol last week took up India’s request for issuing a so-called red notice against fugitive Indian Islamic preacher, Dr Zakir Naik, 54, according to two Indian officials aware of the development who asked not to be named.

Red notices are requests issued to Interpol’s 194 member states worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence.

Naik is wanted in India for money laundering and hate speech and also for allegedly promoting enmity and hatred between different religious communities.

He fled India after the terrorists, who attacked a Dhaka cafe and killed 22 people in July 2016, said they were Naik’s admirers.

The Interpol panel took up India’s request as the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been trying have Naik declared as an international fugitive.

The preacher lives in Malaysia, where he has permanent residency. An Indian request for his extradition is pending with the Malaysian government since January 2018. In July 2018, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Naik would not be deported as long as he was not creating problems in Malaysia.

According to one of the officials, the Commission for the Control of Interpol’s Files (CCF) met on April 19 to discuss India’s request.

CCF is a five-member independent body that ensures requests from Interpol member states seeking red notices conform to the rules.

NIA has been arguing before the global law enforcement organisation that Naik was spreading hatred through his speeches, funding terrorists and laundering money over the years, according to the officials.

The Interpol cancelled a red notice against Naik in December 2017 as he was yet to be charged in India then.

Naik, too, approached the Interpol in 2017 claiming he was being targeted. He linked the cases against him to the alleged religious persecution of minorities in India.

NIA contested Naik’s claim in 2018 saying they have “solid evidence” against Naik.

NIA filed a charge sheet against Naik in October 2017 and submitted a copy of it to Interpol as well. “After we submitted a detailed charge sheet and other evidence establishing his crimes including religious conversions, inciting Muslim youth to join Jihad and routing massive funds, Interpol referred the red notice request to the CCF,’’ the second NIA official said.

The official added the panel met last week but that India is yet to be updated about its final decision. “We are positive that the CCF will recommend a global arrest warrant against Naik, which will restrict his movements.”

He added the panel will take a final call in a couple of days. The official said NIA wanted to be a part of the CCF meeting to convince its members regarding its case but did not get the requisite permission to do this.

Retired CBI officer NS Kharayat, who headed Interpol’s National Central Bureau (NCB) in India (CBI is the nodal agency for Interpol in India), told HT, “The CCF basically discusses the legal aspects of a red notice request. If they find any religious or political motive behind any request, they don’t issue the global notice. However, in the cases of terrorism, where a person has done an act of waging war against a sovereign nation, the CCF should immediately issue the red notice”.

In its charge sheet , NIA has accused Naik of deliberately insulting religious beliefs of the Hindus, Christians and Islamic sects like the Shias, and Barelvis. It said Naik’s speeches have influenced recruits to join the so-called Islamic State (IS), which overran swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014 and carried out attacks across the world. Iraq and Syria declared victories over the IS in 2018 and 2019.

The government has attached Naik’s properties since he fled India. His Islamic Research Foundation has been banned and some of his associates have been arrested.

Attempts to reach Naik for comment were unsuccessful.

In a speech in Malaysia’s Kangar in December, Naik insisted he had never broken any Indian law. “But because I was spreading peace, I was giving a solution for humanity, all the people who do not like peace to prevail, they do not like me,” news agency Reuters quoted him as saying. He claimed he was being targeted because of his work to spread Islam.

Interpol publishes red notices at the request of a member country. They must comply with Interpol’s Constitution and rules. A red notice is an international wanted person notice, but not an arrest warrant, and Interpol cannot compel any country to arrest someone, according to the Interpol website. In 2018, Interpol issued 13,516 red notices.

First Published: Apr 24, 2019 07:19 IST

Ideals For A Third Party Platform Here In The U.S.

Ideals For A Third Party Platform Here In The U.S.

 

1.) The Supreme Court decides the policy on abortion, not a politician.

2.) Guns and/or ammunition can not be outlawed from the public. To me, the only exception should be such things as machineguns. Grenades, C-4 and such weapons should be banned unless you have a specific permit to own them, like with a licensed collector.

3.) Recreational marijuana should be just as legal as alcohol, Federally! This government prohibition is just as ignorant and illegal as the prohibition of alcohol was in the 1930’s.

4.) Flat tax rate of 10% on all things, no write-offs, no exemptions, no loopholes. 6% Federal tax. 2% State tax. 1% each for County and City. I look at taxes this way, the Lord asks us to donate at least 10% toward Him which He requires us to help others with like our communities.

5.) All people running for any office must supply the prior 10 years of tax returns when they officially or unofficially announce they are ‘running’ for an Office.

6.) Mandatory retirement age for any Office of 72 years old. If a person is wanting to be elected to any office if they will turn 72 or older during that 2, 4 or 6 years then you are not allowed to be in that or any such Office. You say that is not legal that it is age discrimination, I say no, I believe you are incorrect. The reason is, you have to be a minimum of 35 to be allowed to be President. If that isn’t discrimination then neither is my idea of being to old.

Just a thought folks on what I would like to see as the Platform of a 3rd political party. so here it is.

All National Polls Show That Marijuana legalization is very popular In The U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘VOX’ NEWS)

 

Marijuana legalization is very popular

In the three major national surveys, support for legalization is at an all-time high.

Support for marijuana legalization is growing.
 Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The three major national polls in America are increasingly converging on one point: Marijuana legalization is very popular in the US.

The latest finding, from the recently released General Social Survey by NORC at the University of Chicago, shows that 61 percent of people supported marijuana legalization in 2018. That’s up from 57 percent in 2016 and 31 percent in 2000 — a rapid shift in public opinion in less than two decades.

The other two big national surveys on the topic have found similar results. Gallup put support for marijuana legalization at 66 percent in 2018, up from from 60 percent in 2016 and 31 percent in 2000. Pew put it at 62 percent in 2018, up from 57 percent in 2016 and 31 percent in 2000.

This is far more popular than a lot of politicians who oppose legalization. For reference, President Donald Trump currently holds a 45 percent approval rating in Gallup’s tracker — an unusually high number for him, but also roughly in line with where Barack Obama’s approval numbers were around this point in his presidency. It’s also more than either Trump or Obama got in elections, with Trump getting 46 percent of the vote in 2016 — losing to Hillary Clinton in popular vote but not the Electoral College — and Obama getting 53 percent in 2008.

It’s also fairly high relative to other issues. Before same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide by the US Supreme Court in 2015, it had 56 percent support in the General Social Survey, 60 percent in Gallup’s survey, and 57 percent in Pew’s. The rapid shift in public opinion for marriage equality is one reason the Supreme Court likely felt comfortable legalizing it. Yet it was lower than support for marijuana legalization today.

One caveat: Support for legalization seems to be lower if you specify recreational marijuana. A recent survey from YouGov, for example, found that just 50 percent of Americans back recreational marijuana legalization, versus 31 percent opposition. That could be an outlier, but it could suggest that some of the support picked up by the General Social Survey, Gallup, and Pew reflects support for medical marijuana, not full legalization.

Still, the dramatic turnaround in public opinion helps explain why the great majority of expected and announced Democratic presidential candidates support marijuana legalization. And it explains why more states — now 10 states and Washington, DC — have legalized pot to varying degrees through a ballot initiative or legislature.

Supporters of legalization argue that it eliminates the harms of marijuana prohibition: the hundreds of thousands of arrests around the US, the racial disparities behind those arrests, and the billions of dollars that flow from the black market for illicit marijuana to drug cartels that then use the money for violent operations around the world. All of this, legalization advocates say, will outweigh any of the potential downsides — such as increased cannabis use — that might come with legalization.

Opponents, meanwhile, claim that legalization will enable a huge marijuana industry that will market the drug irresponsibly. They point to America’s experiences with the alcohol and tobacco industries, which have built their financial empires in large part on some of the heaviest consumers of their products. This could result in far more people using pot, even if it leads to negative health consequences.

Based on the latest polling, supporters of legalization increasingly outnumber opponents.

For more on marijuana legalization, read Vox’s explainer.

Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder arrested in London

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Julian Assange: Wikileaks co-founder arrested in London

Media caption Video footage shows Julian Assange being dragged from the Ecuadorian embassy in London

Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange has been arrested at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault case that has since been dropped.

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday he was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court.

He now faces US federal conspiracy charges related to one of the largest ever leaks of government secrets.

The UK will decide whether to extradite Assange, in response to allegations by the Department for Justice that he conspired with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to download classified databases.

He faces up to five years in US prison if convicted on the charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson said they would be fighting the extradition request. She said it set a “dangerous precedent” where any journalist could face US charges for “publishing truthful information about the United States”.

She said she had visited Assange in the police cells where he thanked supporters and said: “I told you so.”

Assange had predicted that he would face extradition to the US if he left the embassy.

What happened in court?

Sketch of Julia Assange at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 11 April 2019Image copyright JULIA QUENZLER, BBC

After his arrest, the 47-year-old Australian national was initially taken to a central London police station before appearing in court.

Dressed in a black suit and black polo shirt, he waved to the public gallery and gave a thumbs up. He pleaded not guilty to the 2012 charge of failing to surrender to the court.

Finding him guilty of that charge, District Judge Michael Snow said Assange’s behaviour was “the behaviour of a narcissist who cannot get beyond his own selfish interest”.

He sent him to Southwark Crown Court for sentencing, where he faces up to 12 months in prison.

The court also heard that during his arrest at the embassy he had to be restrained and shouted: “This is unlawful, I am not leaving.”

Julian Assange pictured in a police vanImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Assange gave a thumbs up as he was taken to Westminster Magistrates’ Court in a police van

Why does the US government want to extradite Assange?

Assange set up Wikileaks in 2006 with the aim of obtaining and publishing confidential documents and images.

The organisation hit the headlines four years later when it released footage of US soldiers killing civilians from a helicopter in Iraq.

Former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was arrested in 2010 for disclosing more than 700,000 confidential documents, videos and diplomatic cables to the anti-secrecy website.

She said she only did so to spark debates about foreign policy, but US officials said the leak put lives at risk.

She was found guilty by a court martial in 2013 of charges including espionage. However, her jail sentence was later commuted.

Manning was recently jailed for refusing to testify before an investigation into Wikileaks’ role in revealing the secret files.

What are the US charges against him?

The indictment against Assange, issued last year in the state of Virginia, alleges that he conspired in 2010 with Manning to access classified information on Department of Defense computers. He faces up to five years in jail.

Manning downloaded four databases from US departments and agencies between January and May 2010, the indictment says. This information, much of which was classified, was provided to Wikileaks.

The US Justice Department described it as “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States”.

Assange's lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn HrafnssonImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson and Wikileaks editor-in-chief Kristinn Hrafnsson say the arrest sets a dangerous precedent

Cracking a password stored on the computers, the indictment alleges, would have allowed Manning to log on to them in such a way as to make it harder for investigators to determine the source of the disclosures. It is unclear whether the password was actually broken.

Correspondents say the narrowness of the charge seems intended to avoid falling foul of the US Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press.

Why did the Ecuadorian embassy stop protecting him?

The Wikileaks co-founder had been in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, after seeking asylum there to avoid extradition to Sweden on a rape allegation.

The investigation into the alleged rape, which he denied, was later dropped because he had evaded the arrest warrant. The Swedish Prosecution Authority has said it is now considering whether to resume the inquiry before the statute of limitations runs out in August 2020.

Scotland Yard said it was invited into the embassy on Thursday by the ambassador, following the Ecuadorian government’s withdrawal of asylum.

Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno said the country had “reached its limit on the behaviour of Mr Assange”.

Mr Moreno said: “The most recent incident occurred in January 2019, when Wikileaks leaked Vatican documents.

“This and other publications have confirmed the world’s suspicion that Mr Assange is still linked to WikiLeaks and therefore involved in interfering in internal affairs of other states.”

His accusations against Assange also included blocking security cameras at the embassy, accessing security files and confronting guards.

Julian AssangeImage copyright REUTERS
Image caption Julian Assange outside the embassy in 2017

Mr Moreno said the British government had confirmed in writing that Assange “would not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty”.

The arrest comes a day after Wikileaks said it had uncovered an extensive spying operation against its co-founder at the Ecuadorian embassy.

There has been a long-running dispute between the Ecuadorian authorities and Assange about what he was and was not allowed to do in the embassy.

BBC diplomatic correspondent James Landale said that over the years they had removed his access to the internet and accused him of engaging in political activities – which is not allowed when claiming asylum.

He said: “Precisely what has happened in the embassy is not clear – there has been claim and counter claim.”

How have people reacted?

Prime Minister Theresa May told the House of Commons: “This goes to show that in the UK, no one is above the law.”

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the arrest was the result of “years of careful diplomacy” and that it was “not acceptable” for someone to “escape facing justice”.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that Assange had revealed “evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan” and his extradition “should be opposed by the British government”.

Press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders said that the UK should resist extradition, because it would “set a dangerous precedent for journalists, whistleblowers, and other journalistic sources that the US may wish to pursue in the future”.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said he would continue to receive “the usual consular support” and that consular officers will try to visit him.

And actress Pamela Anderson, who has visited the embassy to support Assange, said the arrest was a “vile injustice”.


Timeline: Julian Assange saga

  • August 2010 – The Swedish Prosecutor’s Office first issues an arrest warrant for Assange. It says there are two separate allegations – one of rape and one of molestation. Assange says the claims are “without basis”
  • December 2010 – Assange is arrested in London and bailed at the second attempt
  • May 2012 – The UK’s Supreme Court rules he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over the allegations
  • June 2012 – Assange enters the Ecuadorean embassy in London
  • August 2012 – Ecuador grants asylum to Assange, saying there are fears his human rights might be violated if he is extradited
  • August 2015 – Swedish prosecutors drop their investigation into two allegations – one of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion because they have run out of time to question him. But he still faces the more serious accusation of rape.
  • October 2015 – Metropolitan Police announces that officers will no longer be stationed outside the Ecuadorean embassy
  • February 2016 – A UN panel rules that Assange has been “arbitrarily detained” by UK and Swedish authorities since 2010
  • May 2017 – Sweden’s director of public prosecutions announces that the rape investigation into Assange is being dropped
  • July 2018 – The UK and Ecuador confirm they are holding ongoing talks over the fate of Assange
  • October 2018 – Assange is given a set of house rules at the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He then launches legal action against the government of Ecuador
  • December 2018 – Assange’s lawyer rejects an agreement announced by Ecuador’s president to see him leave the Ecuadorean embassy
  • February 2019 – Australia grants Assange a new passport amid fears Ecuador may bring his asylum to an end
  • April 2019 – The Metropolitan Police arrests him for “failing to surrender to the court” over a warrant issued in 2012. He is found guilty and faces up to 12 months in prison, as well as extradition over US charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

FBI joins criminal probe into Boeing 737 safety certification

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWSPAPER)

 

FBI joins criminal probe into Boeing 737 Max 8 safety certification in wake of crashes

LINKEDIN COMMENTMORE

The FBI has joined the widening criminal probe into how Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jets were deemed as safe in the months before two of them crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia, leading to a worldwide grounding of the vaunted planes amid scrutiny of U.S. certification standards.

A person familiar with the inquiry told USA TODAY on Wednesday that the FBI is assisting federal transportation authorities in their investigation into the jet’s certification process, which has come under criticism for possible cozy relationships between Boeing and FAA inspectors.

The two crashes killed more than 300 people since October. Transportation Department officials are leading the investigation into the Federal Aviation Administration approval of the passenger jet, while the FBI is providing needed resources, said the person, who is not authorized to comment publicly.

The FBI’s role in the inquiry was first reported by the Seattle Times.

It’s the latest revelation in the Boeing case, with a federal grand jury also looking into safety approvals for the planes and a key congressional panel scheduled next Wednesday to delve into the Max 8 and aviation safety in general.

“In light of the recent tragedy in Ethiopia and the subsequent grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, this hearing will examine challenges to the state of commercial aviation safety, including any specific concerns highlighted by recent accidents,” according to a statement from the committee, to be chaired by Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. “The committee will hear from a panel of government witnesses on ways to improve the safety of the commercial air transportation system”

News of the FBI’s involvement also comes after Wednesday’s  decision by Europe and Canada to break with U.S. air-safety regulators. The Europeans and Canadians vow to conduct their own reviews of Boeing’s changes to a key flight-control system, not to simply take the Federal Aviation Administration’s word that the alterations are safe.

Those reviews scramble an ambitious schedule set by Boeing and could undercut the FAA’s reputation around the world. It could also mean a likely delay in the resumption of Max 8 flights around the globe. Hundreds of Max 8s are ground and production of more than 4,000 others have been halted amid safety concerns.

Boeing hopes by Monday to finish its update to critical software that can automatically point the nose of the plane sharply downward in some circumstances to avoid an aerodynamic stall, according to two people briefed on FAA presentations to congressional committees.

The FAA expects to certify Boeing’s modifications and plans for pilot training in April or May, one of the people told the Associated Press. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak about the briefings.

But there are doubts about meeting that timetable. Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1 and suspend some routes that it flew with the plane before it was grounded around the world last week.

American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines, which are slightly less dependent on the Max than Air Canada, are juggling their fleets to fill in for grounded planes, but have still canceled some flights.

By international agreement, planes must be certified in the country where they are built. Regulators around the world have almost always accepted that country’s decision.

As a result, European airlines have flown Boeing jets with little independent review by the European Aviation Safety Agency, and U.S. airlines operate Airbus jets without a separate, lengthy certification process by the FAA.

That practice is being frayed, however, in the face of growing questions about the FAA’s certification of the Max. Critics question whether the FAA relied too much on Boeing to vouch for critical safety matters and whether it understood the significance of a new automated flight-control system on the Max.

CONTRIBUTING: Ledyard King, USA TODAY; Associated Press

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Sixth-grader arrested in Florida after refusal to participate in Pledge of Allegiance led to confrontation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Sixth-grader arrested in Florida after refusal to participate in Pledge of Allegiance led to confrontation

He was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence.
By Tim Stelloh

A sixth-grader in Florida was arrested after his refusal to participate in the Pledge of Allegiance escalated into a confrontation with police and school officials, authorities said.

The unnamed boy was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting an officer without violence on Feb. 4, the Lakeland Police Department said in a news release.

A local news outlet, Bay News 9, reported that the confrontation began after the student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, near Tampa, called the flag racist and described the national anthem as offensive.

Citing a statement provided to the Polk School District by the boy’s substitute teacher, the station reported that the teacher asked him, “why if it was so bad here he did not go to another place to live.”

“They brought me here,” the boy replied, according to the statement.

After the teacher told him he could “always go back,” she called the school’s office “because I did not want to continue dealing with him,” the station reported.

The district did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday, but a school spokesman told the Ledger, a local newspaper, that students are not required to participate in the pledge.

The spokesman, Kyle Kennedy, told the newspaper that the teacher, Ana Alvarez, wasn’t aware of that policy and would no longer work with the district.

The boy’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, disputed the school’s claims, telling NBC News that her son “is not a disrespectful kid.”

“What I do know is when she asked my son about it, he responded to her enlightening her on his reasonings,” Talbot said. “It wasn’t just that the flag is racist. I don’t teach my children that the flag is racist.”

After the confrontation began, the school’s dean of students tried unsuccessfully to calm the student down, asking him to leave the class 20 times, police said.

“The school resource officer then intervened and asked the student to exit the classroom and he refused,” the department said. “The student left the classroom and created another disturbance and made threats while he was escorted to the office.”

The Lakeland Police Department said in a statement that the boy was not arrested for refusing to stand for or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. “This arrest was based on the student’s choice to disrupt the classroom, make threats and resisting the officer’s efforts to leave the classroom.”

Talbot denied that her son made any threats and said the school “didn’t handle it the way they should have handled it.”

She told NBC News her son was overwhelmed with the situation, and she transferred him to another school.

“I want my son to know, I don’t care what any other parent say or any other parents do, that I’m going to stand up for him,” Talbot said.

7 Year Old Jazmine Murder Solved? Police Have Arrested Two

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

A 20-year-old man in Texas was arrested Saturday and charged in the death of 7-year-old Jazmine Barnes, who was shot and killed while riding in a car with her family in Houston. Another man is being held in connection with the shooting but has not yet been charged, a lawyer for the girl’s family said.

Eric Black Jr., 20, was charged with capital murder and appeared in court early Sunday morning, wearing handcuffs and an orange jumpsuit. He was ordered held without bail. A prosecutor said Black admitted to driving the car when his passenger opened fire.

Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Barnes family, told CBS News another suspect had also been arrested.

The shooting occured in Houston on Dec. 30 when a car pulled alongside the vehicle carrying Barnes and her family at a stoplight and a gunman opened fire. Jazmine died of a gunshot wound to the head, and her mother was hit in the arm.

LaPorsha Washington, Jazmine’s mother, said in the days following the shooting that she believed it was racially motivated. Her 15-year-old daughter, who was also in the car, initially said the shooter was a white man in a red truck, and police released an artist’s sketch Thursday showing a thin, white man with a 5 o’clock shadow. Black, the alleged driver, is African American. The full name of the alleged gunman is not yet known, but Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said Sunday the individual is also African American.

In a press conference Sunday afternoon, Gonzalez said there was indeed a red truck at the stoplight when shots rang out, but said investigators now believe the person or people in the truck were nothing more than witnesses. He urged the unidentified driver of the truck to come forward.

Gonzalez said investigators don’t believe “in any way” that family members were involved in anything “nefarious.” He added that investigators believe two people were involved in the shooting, but would not comment further since Black is the only individual who has been charged.

“We feel that they were truthful. This just went down very quickly when the gunfire erupted,” Gonzalez said. “You’re talking about small children — they witnessed something very traumatic. And it is possible that the last thing they did see was indeed that red truck and that driver that was in that truck, and that’s what they remembered last.”

jazmine-ssvo-frame-0.jpg
Jazmine Barnes.HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Earlier Sunday, a prosecutor presented details of the case against Black at a hearing at Probable Cause Court in downtown Houston. Appearing by video conference, the prosecutor said Gonzalez had received an anonymous tip passed along by journalist and activist Shaun King. The source implicated two men identified as “LW” and “EB” in the shooting after authorities asked the public for help identifying the assailants.

The source for the tip said the suspects thought the vehicle carrying Jazmine was another vehicle they had seen earlier in the day, the prosecutor said, and didn’t realize they had hit the wrong vehicle until seeing the news later that day.

The source provided the sheriff with the name of an Instagram account used by one of the suspects, which investigators determined belonged to Black, the prosecutor said.

On Saturday, police stopped Black in a grey Kia for failing to signal when changing lanes, and held him for suspected marijuana possession after a deputy said he saw a plastic bag with what appeared to be marijuana in his glove box when Black opened it to find his insurance card. The officer searched Black’s car, found more marijuana and detained him, the prosecutor said.

eric-black-jr1.png
Eric Black Jr. appears in court for a probable cause hearing on Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019.ONSCENE.TV

Homicide detectives interviewed Black on Saturday, and the prosecutor said Black admitted to driving the vehicle involved in the shooting. Black told investigators “LW” — identified in court only as “Larry” — was seated in the front passenger seat of a rental car and fired at the vehicle carrying Jazmine. Black returned that rental car after the shooting and picked up the car he was driving when he was pulled over Saturday.

The prosecutor said in Sunday’s hearing that Black then agreed to a search of his residence, where police found a 9 mm pistol consistent with shell casings found at the site of the shooting.

Gonzales, the sheriff, said Sunday that police had received more than 1,000 tips in the case. A reward of $100,000 had been offered for information leading to an arrest. At a rally in Houston on Saturday, more than 500 people honored Jazmine and helped raise money for the family.

Zachary Hudak contributed reporting.

Money from marijuana legalization could fix MTA: report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK POST)

 

Money from marijuana legalization could fix MTA: report

An NYU think tank is high on fixing the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

A new report out Wednesday by the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management urges the statewide legalization of recreational marijuana — in order to get more green into mass transit.

“No new revenue source can match a tax on weed, ” Mitchell Moss, director of the Rudin Center, asserted to The Post. “New Yorkers deserve a subway system that is as productive as they are. It is time for New York to legalize and tax cannabis — and to designate the revenues for mass transit.”

A potential tax imposed on marijuana — if pot becomes legalized in New York — “would provide a way for the MTA to address many of their operating and capital requirements,” the center said.

Marijuana is currently legal for adult recreational use in 10 states, plus Washington, DC.

The report, citing BDS Analytics — a leading source for cannabis industry data — says the legal pot industry in North America reached $9.2 billion in 2017 and “is projected to generate $47.3 billion over the next decade.”

“This report argues that the subways need a dedicated revenue source with the potential for growth in future decades — one that does not divert funds from other public services, and that has yet to be tapped by the state and local government,” the paper reads.

Several states, including Colorado, Washington and Oregon, have already reported “higher-than-expected tax revenues” from the legalization of marijuana, the report notes

The state Health Department has already backed the legalization of recreational cannabis.

In July, the department released a report saying that legal marijuana sales could generate between $248.1 million and $677.7 million in revenue for the state in the first year alone.

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