Police: Sketch of suspect in 2 girls' killings more accurate

Police: Sketch of suspect in 2 girls' killings more accurate

DELPHI, Ind. (AP) — A newly released sketch of a man suspected of killing two Indiana teenagers in 2017 "more accurately represents" the man believed to be their killer than a sketch released months after the girls were slain, state police said Wednesda

Demoted and sidelined: Google walkout organizers say company retaliated

Demoted and sidelined: Google walkout organizers say company retaliated

Staff who organized mass protests say in internal letter their roles were changed after November 2018 demonstration Workers protest against Google on 1 November 2019 in Mountain View, California. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP They helped to organize an unprecedented global protest that saw tens of thousands of Google employees walk off the job in November 2018. Now two Google employees, Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton, are alleging that Google is retaliating against them and other employee activists. “Google has a culture of retaliation, which too often works to silence women, people of color, and gender minorities,” reads a letter from Whittaker, Stapleton and 10 other employees that was published internally on Monday and seen by the Guardian. “Retaliation isn’t always obvious. It’s often confusing and drawn out, consisting of icy conversations, gaslighting, project cancellations, transition rejections, or demotions. Behavior that tells someone the problem isn’t that they stood up to the company, it’s that they’re not good enough and don’t belong.” Stapleton, a nearly 12-year veteran at Google, wrote that two months after the walkout, she was demoted, had a previously approved project cancelled, and was “told to go on medical leave, even though I’m not sick”. “Only after I hired a lawyer and had her contact Google did management conduct an investigation and walked back my demotion, at least on paper,” she wrote. “While my work has been restored, the environment remains hostile and I consider quitting nearly every day.” Whittaker, who co-founded the AI Now Institute, wrote that after Google decided to scrap its AI ethics council, she was told that her “role would be changed dramatically”. “I’m told that to remain at the company, I will have to abandon my work on AI ethics and the AI Now Institute,” she wrote. Neither Whittaker nor Stapleton responded immediately to a request for comment. The letter was first reported by Wired. A Google spokeswoman said that the company has already investigated these cases and determined there was no retaliation. “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace, and investigate all allegations,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “Employees and teams are regularly and commonly given new assignments, or reorganized, to keep pace with evolving business needs. There has been no retaliation here.” Google employees have been at the forefront of a wave of tech worker activism that has swept the industry over the past year. Employee-organized protests have taken aim both at the company’s business decisions – such as its work for a Department of Defense drone project or plans to build a censored search engine for China – and its treatment of employees and contractors. The November walkout was sparked by a New York Times report that revealed that a former executive, Andy Rubin, had received a $90m severance package despite being forced out over an allegation that he had forced a female employee to perform oral sex. The report unleashed a flood of anger and frustration among Google employees who had faced harassment or discrimination. In Monday’s letter, the organizers say that they “collected over 350 stories” during the walkout, and discovered a “sad pattern”: “People who stand up and report discrimination, abuse, and unethical conduct are punished, sidelined, and pushed out. Perpetrators often go unimpeded, or are even rewarded.” The organizers are planning to host a Retaliation Town Hall for workers on Friday. They have reserved conference rooms and plan to live stream the discussion internally. Have you experienced retaliation for workplace activism in the tech industry? Contact the author: julia.wong@theguardian.com or julia.carrie.wong@protonmail.com

Ukraine defies anti-Semitic past with Zelensky victory

Ukraine defies anti-Semitic past with Zelensky victory

Comedian Volodymyr Zelensky's election will see Ukraine led for the first time by a president of Jewish descent, in a landmark for a country with a long history of anti-Semitism. The 41-year-old actor won a landslide victory against incumbent Petro Poroshenko on Sunday. Ukraine already has a Jewish prime minister, Volodymyr Groysman, also 41, and who is to remain in office pending parliamentary elections scheduled for Octobe

Woman dies after falling into meat grinder at factory

Woman dies after falling into meat grinder at factory

A 35-year-old woman was killed when she fell into a meat grinder at a processing plant in northern Pennsylvania.Jill Greninger fell into the grinding machine at the meat company Economy Locker Storage Company in Muncy around 11:30am on Monday morning.The meat company employee’s body was found after a co-worker heard strange noises coming from the commercial grinder.Firefighters reportedly spent around 45 minutes taking the large machine apart to recover the woman’s remains.It is not yet clear what caused the accident, but the Lycoming County coroner’s office said Ms Greninger may have been standing on a set of wheeled stairs prior to the fatal accident.Lycoming County coroner Charles Kiessling Jr. said there weren’t any witnesses around at the time of the fall to shed any light on the incident.“This is just a tragedy,” Mr Kiessling told ABC News. “She died inside the moving parts of the machine.“We talked to the person who found her. He said he heard a noise and went to check on her and found her in the machine. He put the power down and called 911.”He added: “I don’t know if she got caught with the moving parts and they pulled her in, or if she just slipped and fell. I don’t know and there’s no way of determining that.”Ms Greninger’s neighbour told ABC affiliate WNEP: “Everyone is shaken and thinks that this is a tragedy that something like this had to happen to such a young lady.”The death is now being investigated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Company officials have not responded to media requests for comment.Additional reporting by

UPDATE 2-PG&E get approval to pay employees $350 mln to meet safety goals after wildfires

UPDATE 2-PG&E get approval to pay employees $350 mln to meet safety goals after wildfires

PG&E Corp can pay employees up to $350 million in bonuses this year to spur them to help meet the bankrupt California power provider's safety goals to prevent wildfires, a judge said on Tuesday. PG&E's management has said the company needs to implement the bonus plan to carry out tasks such as clearing trees and branches around power lines to avert contact that triggers wildfires. While the maximum cost of the plan is $350 million, PG&E has said it expects the likely cost will be around $235 millio

Isil claims Sri Lanka attack as prime minister says there are militants with explosives on the run

Isil claims Sri Lanka attack as prime minister says there are militants with explosives on the run

Sri Lanka's prime minister has warned there are more explosives and militants "out there" after the Easter suicide bombings that killed 321 people. Ranil Wickremesinghe made the comment Tuesday at a news conference, and said some officials will likely lose their jobs over intelligence lapses surrounding the attack. His warning came as Islamic State claimed responsibility for the terror attack on its official Amaq news agency. The group posted an image of seven masked attackers and the unmasked ringleader, Zahran Hashim, in front of its black flag. In a statement the men were named as Abu Ubaida - thought to refer to Hashim - Abu Khalil, Abu Hamza, Abu al-Baraa, Abu Muhammad, Abu Abdulla and Abu al-Mukhtar. Isis's official news agency, Amaq, posted this image of eight attackers, including the previously identified Zahran Hashim (centre) Sri Lanka's defence minister on Tuesday declared the attacks were retaliation for a recent attack on mosques in New Zealand, adding that two domestic Islamist groups were believed to be responsible. Ruwan Wijewardene’s comments were made as the South Asian island held its first mass funeral for about 30 of the victims of Sunday’s serial suicide bombings in three high profile churches and three luxury hotels. Sri Lankan intelligence has named the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday attacks as Moulvi Zahran Hashim, an extremist local cleric who incited his followers to violence with fiery sermons on his social media channels. CCTV video shows suspected suicide bomber entering St Sebastian's Church in Negombo Isil's brief statement said they targeted “nationals of the Crusader alliance and Christians”, but made no specific reference to the New Zealand mosque attacks. At the same time, AFP agency reported that two Muslim brothers carried out two of the hotel suicide blasts. The brothers, sons of a wealthy Colombo spice trader, blew themselves up as guests queued for breakfast at the Shangri-La and Cinnamon Grand hotels in the capital Colombo. The brothers, whose names have not been revealed, were in their late twenties and operated their own "family cell", an investigation officer said. A suspected suicide bomber carries a backpack on a street in Negombo, Sri Lanka The Sri Lankan government revealed in 2016 that 32 Sri Lanka Muslims had travelled to Syria to join Isil. “All these (Muslims) are not from ordinary families. These people are from the families which are considered as well-educated and elite,” Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, the country’s Justice Minister told parliament. said, adding that the government was aware of some foreigners coming to Sri Lanka to spread what he called Islamic extremism. A Syrian national was also arrested on Tuesday. It was not yet clear if he played a role in the attacks. Read more | Sri Lanka attacks Mr Wijewardene told the Sri Lankan parliament the massacre was carried out by the obscure local National Thawheed Jamaath group along with another group called the JMI, an apparent reference to a little-known radical Islamist group in India called the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen. Some experts have pointed out that the sophisticated nature of the attacks suggest that they would have required preparation that began before the Christchurch atrocity. Little is known about JMI, other than reports it was established last year and is affiliated to a similarly named group in Bangladesh. "The preliminary investigations have revealed that what happened in Sri Lanka was in retaliation for the attack against Muslims in Christchurch," said Mr Wijewardene. A suspected suicide bomber carries a backpack on a street in Negombo, Sri Lanka Fifty people were killed in shooting attacks on two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch on March 15, and horrific footage of the bloodbath was livestreamed on social media channels. The Sri Lankan authorities are still investigating how local militants gained the training and equipment to carry out an assault that is now considered to be one of the worst global terrorist atrocities since the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington. One theory is that Sri Lankan extremists could have been assisted by returning fighters from Iraq and Syria. It also emerged on Tuesday that Sri Lankan police are holding a Syrian national in custody for questioning over the Easter Sunday attacks. "The terrorist investigation division of the police arrested a Syrian national following the attacks for interrogation," a source told Reuters. Two other officials with knowledge of the investigation confirmed the detention. "He was arrested after interrogation of local suspects," a second source said. Police have now detained 40 suspects in connection with the attack. Sri Lanka attacks - Locator map The first mass funeral took place at St Sebastian church in Negombo, north of Colombo, which was one of the places targeted in Sunday's blasts. A moment of silence was observed at 08:30, to mark the timing of the first bomb on Sunday morning. Flags were lowered to half-mast and people, many of them in tears, bowed their heads in respec

Elizabeth Warren’s College Plan Is a Dance with Elves

Elizabeth Warren’s College Plan Is a Dance with Elves

Elizabeth Warren may be the least jolly member of the Senate, but she is nonetheless offering up her best Santa Claus impersonation as she seeks the Democratic presidential nomination, complete with a trillion-dollar-a-decade student-loan giveaway — to be paid for by those on her naughty list.Senator Warren proposes to pay off Americans’ student loans in a tiered fashion: Up to $50,000 in bailouts for those earning up to $100,000 a year, gradually phased out to $0.00 for those earning $250,000 a year or more. That would eliminate all student debt for about 75 percent of borrowers and provide some reduction for all but 5 percent of borrowers.Lest this be taken as a warrant to go out and borrow big on the chance that there will be another round of debt forgiveness in the future, Senator Warren also proposes to make college free for all students, not only eliminating tuition costs but also radically expanding federal higher-education spending to cover books, student housing and living expenses, and child care — a parallel welfare state for undergraduates.So: Free if you’ve already gone and borrowed money for it, and free if you haven’t. As the Democrats’ 2020 presidential-giveaway bidding war gets under way for real, that makes Senator Kamala Harris’s measly hundreds of billions of dollars to pay public-school teachers more look like an amuse-bouche.Even though the facts of the so-called crisis are grossly exaggerated — as our Robert VerBruggen points out, most student-loan borrowers pay less than 5 percent of their income in student-loan debt service — the inflation of college costs is a genuine concern, and one that is of especially intense interest to the federal government ,which, thanks to the Obama administration, made itself into a monopolist in the student-loan business. But Senator Warren here proposes to put out a fire with gasoline, i.e. to mitigate the effects of inflation by dumping money on the problem.In inflation-adjusted terms, government spending on higher education has never been higher. In has climbed by nearly $2,000 per student (in inflation-adjusted dollars) since 2001. As the Foundation for Economic Education points out, Pell Grant spending alone rose 72 percent in the few short years from 2008 to 2013. Tuition and other expenses have risen right along with that spending, driven mainly by an explosion in administrative costs. In the 1980s, there were about twice as many professors as administrators on our college payrolls; today, that number has been reversed, and there are about twice as many administrators and staff as instructors. Administrative spending has increased substantially relative to spending on instruction — and both are much higher in real per-student terms.Most of this goes to personnel costs, with generous salaries for faculty and staff and benefits that a University of California audit called, gently, “atypical.” Senator Warren is well-positioned to know this: She was paid more than $350,000 a year to teach a single class. Harvard and other colleges are full of clever people such as Senator Warren: Offer them $1 trillion, and they will find a way to spend it. Cheap financing enables higher college prices in the same way that cheap financing enables higher housing prices — the higher-education bubble is the subprime bubble with even worse underwriting standards and, in many cases, even less valuable underlying assets.If you want to get control over tuition inflation, try turning off the spigot. Senator Warren suggests opening it up all the way and adding some new ones.Senator Warren proposes to pay for all this with an annual tax on the savings of certain Americans — only the wealthy ones, we are assured — a new tax that it is not even clear Congress has the constitutional power to enact and whose effects will be unpredictable and likely destructive. Such wealth taxes used to be common in Europe, but all except three have been abandoned for the most obvious reasons: They do not produce the kind of revenue they promise, they are difficult to administer (what’s Jeff Bezos’s net worth right now? What will it be in 15 minutes?), and they encourage capital flight, as France’s many millionaire expatriates can attest.That’s a high price to pay for . . . what, exactly? We are familiar with all the fine rhetoric about higher education being the key to preparing the 21st-century work force and maximizing its productivity, but we cannot help but notice that this is being championed by the same people who have helped to make our K–12 education system the grotesque laughing stock that it is. The public schools are in effect a dysfunctional and wildly corrupt full-employment program for Democratic constituencies, and that same dynamic has driven much of the growth in college administration, too: There are a lot of deputy deans of social justice out there. We don’t need one more, much less 10,000 more.It is ridiculous that it costs as much as it does to get a decent undergraduate education — and it is even more ridiculous that so many American families are paying the price for a decent undergraduate education without getting one. Reform is in order, but the scheme envisioned by Senator Warren is the wrong idea, to the extent that it is an idea at all and not a promissory note to Democratic primary voters as the lady from Massachusetts looks to Milwaukee and hopes for Christmas in Jul

Watch the Easter Bunny throw punches in a street brawl, because Florida

Watch the Easter Bunny throw punches in a street brawl, because Florida

Of all the holidays on the U.S. calendar, Easter is definitely one of the most low-key. Families gather, eat some ham, and maybe the kids hunt for colored eggs or eat a bunch of candy, but it's generally pretty chill. That is, unless you're in Florida, where being in the holiday spirit and donning an Easter Bunny costume doesn't stop anyone from getting into a heated street brawl in Orlando.A video, which was first posted by Instagram user Workfth but subsequently removed due to a perceived "community guidelines" violation, shows a friendly Easter Bunny getting right in the middle of a physical altercation between two men on a busy street. Curses are yelled, punches are thrown, and our furry friend is right there in the thick of it all.Posted again by a different user, the video can be seen below (until Instagram inevitably removes it yet again).https://www.instagram.com/p/BwkQt1SA_jw/It's difficult to parse what exactly is happening here but it's clear that the two men fighting at the beginning of the clip have a very big problem with one another. The bunny arrives late to the brawl but manages to get a few jabs and hooks in anyway, landing repeated blows on one of the men before police arrive and break things up.Once tempers die down a bit the bunny becomes an instant celebrity and proceeds to shadowbox to the amusement of the gathered spectators. Hilariously, despite throwing repeated punches with a police officer standing just feet away, the bunny sidesteps any reprimand while the cop sorts things out between the two original combatants.It's a lovely little video and further proof that Florida is a treasure that should be cherished and appreciated for the entertainment it gives us al

Trump Escalates Confrontation With Democrats on House Inquiries

Trump Escalates Confrontation With Democrats on House Inquiries

Hours after his Treasury secretary again put off a House committee’s demand for the president’s tax returns and as another panel was considering a contempt charge for a former White House aide for refusing to testify, Trump said in an interview that he was against having past and present administration officials taking part in various congressional inquiries. “There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan — obviously very partisan,” Trump said in an interview with the Post that was published Tuesday nigh

Iranian parliament labels entire US military as terrorist

Iranian parliament labels entire US military as terrorist

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian lawmakers on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that labels all U.S. military forces as terrorist, state TV reported, a day after Washington ratcheted up pressure on Tehran by announcing that no country would any longer be exempt from U.S. sanctions if it continues to buy Iranian oi

US STOCKS-S&P 500 hovers below record highs on mixed earnings

US STOCKS-S&P 500 hovers below record highs on mixed earnings

U.S. stocks hovered below their all-time highs on Wednesday, as investors digested a mixed batch of earnings reports and losses in energy stocks limited gains on the indexes. The S&P 500 is 0.3% below its record high of 2,940.91 hit in late Septembe

Kamala Harris Vows to Tighten Gun Control Laws Through Executive Action If Elected

Kamala Harris Vows to Tighten Gun Control Laws Through Executive Action If Elected

Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) said Monday that as president she would unilaterally tighten gun control laws through executive action if Congress did not pass legislation to do so within her first 100 days in office.Harris explained during CNN's town hall event in New Hampshire that she would use her executive authority to require that anyone who sells more than five guns per year conduct a background check on all sales, effectively eliminating their status as a “private seller” in a move that would be vulnerable to legal challenge.“Upon being elected, I will give the United States Congress 100 days to get their act together and have the courage to pass reasonable gun safety laws, and if they fail to do it, then I will take executive action,” Harris told the crowd.The former prosecutor's plan would also close the so-called boyfriend loophole by prohibiting dating partners convicted of domestic violence from purchasing a gun. Currently the law only applies to spouses. The plan also calls for universal background checks and a return to the "assault weapons" ban that was in place from 1994 to 2004.Harris, who recently admitted to owning a gun for self-defense, also plans to eliminate the 2005 Protection of Commerce in Arms Act, which shields gun makers from liability when their products are used in criminal activity. The gunmaker Remington is currently relying on the law to defend themselves from a suit brought by the parents of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shootin

Democrats want truth but are split on Trump's impeachment

Democrats want truth but are split on Trump's impeachment

Donald Trump's approval rating has slid since release of the Russia investigation report, but instead of emerging bolstered in the 2020 presidential race, Democrats are torn over triggering impeachment proceedings that risk muddling their electoral message. While special counsel Robert Mueller's report released last week stopped short of reaching a judgment on whether Trump committed crimes, many Democrats say it detailed extensive presidential wrongdoing that highlights his lack of fitness for offic

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