Venus Williams blamed for car crash after 78-year-old man dies

Venus Williams blamed for car crash after 78-year-old man dies

The driver of the other car — the wife of the victim — told cops she was approaching an intersection westbound in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on June 9 when Venus’ northbound SUV suddenly darted into the intersection. The other driver says there was no time to stop and she T-boned Venus’ vehicle, according to TMZ.

Venus told cops she was trying to make it through the intersection but there was a traffic backup and she had to slow down to a crawl, with her car exposed in the intersection.

The driver’s husband, Jerome Barson, suffered head trauma and was taken to a hospital and placed in ICU. He never recovered and died 2 weeks later. Barson’s wife was also taken to the hospital with broken bones and other injuries, but she survived.

Cops say Venus caused the accident. According to the police report, “[Venus] is at fault for violating the right of way of [the other driver].”

Police say in the report there was no evidence Venus was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They also say there’s no evidence she was distracted by an electronic device.

TMZ reached out to Williams for comment but has not received any.

Trump travel ban: US sets out visa criteria

Trump travel ban: US sets out visa criteria
  • Jun 29, 2017
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The rules, affecting people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, come into force on Thursday, according to the BBC.

They were issued after the Supreme Court partially restored President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

The controversial executive order had been blocked by lower courts.

According to the new rules, confirmed to the BBC, for the next 90 days those without a close relationship – defined as a parent, spouse, child, son or daughter-in-law, or sibling – will not be able to enter the US.

The definition of “close” relationships excludes grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, in-laws, extended family and grandchildren.

Also exempt from the new rules are those with business or educational ties to the United States.

However, the guidelines specifically state that the relationship must be formal, documented and formed in ordinary course, rather than for the purpose of evading the executive order.

Those who already hold valid visas are not affected. Dual nationals who travel on their passport from the unaffected country will also be allowed entry.

The rules come into effect at 20:00 Washington time (00:00 GMT).

However, lawyers both for and against the ban have warned that the new restrictions – which will remain in place until the Supreme Court issues a final ruling – could open the door to a flood of legal challenges.

But the Supreme Court will not be reviewing the case until October – which will mean the 90-day period will be largely done.

The court also approved the 120-day ban on refugees entering the United States, allowing the government to bar entry to refugee claimants who do not have any “bona fide relationship” with an American individual or entity.

Mr Trump’s administration has put a cap on the number of refugees it is willing to accept at 50,000, which the State Department said would be reached in the next two weeks.

The Supreme Court said in Monday’s decision: “In practical terms, this means that [the executive order] may not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

“All other foreign nationals are subject to the provisions of [the executive order].”

Rights groups have been fighting President Trump’s executive order for the last five months.

He said the order was needed to stop terrorists entering the US, but critics said it was a ban on Muslims.

It was first signed in February, but was blocked by the courts. A revised order was halted by a judge in Hawaii just hours before it was supposed to go into force in March.

President Trump called the court’s decision a “victory for our national security.

Read also: Iranian baby, first barred by travel ban, now recovering after surgery in US

Pregnant Teen Girl Fatally Shoots Boyfriend in YouTube Stunt Gone Wrong

Pregnant Teen Girl Fatally Shoots Boyfriend in YouTube Stunt Gone Wrong
  • Jun 29, 2017
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A recent YouTube stunt gone awry may land one Minnesota teen in prison for second-degree manslaughter, according to Rolling Stone magazine.

MonaLisa Perez, 19, was arrested Monday night after she fatally shot her boyfriend, 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz, in the chest while they were making a YouTube video at the couple’s house in Norman County, not far from Fargo, North Dakota. She is currently pregnant with their second child.

If convicted, Perez could face a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $20,000. According to the Star Tribune, Perez called 911 on Monday evening to report that she had accidentally shot Ruiz while their 3-year-old daughter looked on; authorities arrived at the home to find Ruiz with a single gunshot wound in his chest. He died at the scene.

In a criminal complaint filed that same night and obtained by the Star Tribune, Perez told police that Ruiz wanted to make a YouTube video of her shooting a book (County Attorney James Brue described the book in question as a hardcover encyclopedia) to see whether the bullet would go through.

The couple had set up a GoPro camera and another camera placed high up on a nearby ladder to record the stunt; both cameras are now being used as evidence in the investigation.

Perez tweeted a message Monday night, presumably shortly before they filmed the stunt, telling followers, “Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever. HIS idea not MINE.”


In March, Perez launched a YouTube channel dedicated to showing “the real life of a young couple who happen to be teen parents.” Several of the videos uploaded to their joint channel feature her and Ruiz performing pranks and challenges, with a recent post titled “Doing scary stunts at the fair | part 1.”

“Imagine when we have 300,000 subscribers,” Perez says at one point in the video.

According to the criminal complaint, Perez told authorities that Ruiz had been trying to convince her “for a while” to perform the dangerous stunt that would ultimately end his life. She alleged that he had even shown her a different book that a bullet did not go through.

Perez also said that she shot Ruiz from just one foot away, using a .50 caliber Desert Eagle firearm.

“They were in love, they loved each other,” Ruiz’s aunt Claudia Ruiz told WDAY-TV. “It was just a prank gone wrong. It shouldn’t have happened like this. It shouldn’t have happened at all.”

“He told me he had an idea. I said, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it. Why are you going to use a gun, why?'” Ruiz told the TV station. “He said, ‘Because we want more viewers.'”

Perez is being held in a regional jail in Crookston and is scheduled to appear in Norman County court by video Wednesday afternoon.

Obama administration “sort of choked” in its effort to punish Putin

Obama administration “sort of choked" in its effort to punish Putin
  • Jun 23, 2017
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“It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” the former senior Obama administration official told the Post, according to CNN. “I feel like we sort of choked.”

The Post report details how the CIA’s assessment that Putin was directly involved in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the US presidential election in an effort to help Trump prompted the Obama administration to debate dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia. Those included proposed cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and economic sanctions, the newspaper reported.

But President Barack Obama ultimately approved only modest measures: the expulsion of a few dozen diplomats, the closure of two Russian compounds, and narrowly targeted economic sanctions that some who designed them described as largely symbolic, the Post said. Another measure, the planting of cyberweapons in Russia’s infrastructure, was still in the planning stages when Obama left office.

While some closest to Obama defend the response, saying that by late summer it was already too late to prevent troves of hacked emails from transferring to WikiLeaks and other groups, others expressed regret, the newspaper said.

Tony Blinken, Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, said Friday that the administration took significant action to prevent Russia from interfering with the electoral system itself.

“We made massive efforts so they couldn’t do that,” Blinken told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “At This Hour.” “This led to two things: President Obama issued a very stark warning to President Putin in September at the G-20 conference in China. What we saw, or thought we saw, after that, it looked like the Russians stopped their efforts. But the damage was already done.”

The report, which features three-dozen high-level officials, confirms what many Democratic lawmakers already believed about Putin, Sen. Jeff Merkley said Friday on CNN’s “New Day.”

“Nothing like the extensive hacking effort and manipulation effort could occur without his involvement,” the Oregon Democrat told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. “Now we actually know: Yes, Putin directed it.”

“He had a specific goal to defeat (Democratic nominee) Hillary Clinton and that explains the huge coordinated effort from the botnets to the trolls,” Merkley added.

Merkley and other Democratic lawmakers said Russia used extensive methods in the cyber campaign, including 1,000 trolls, hacking and bots to generate fake messages on social media.

Officials in the Post article suggested Obama struggled to find a way to respond to Putin without being so aggressive that he would be perceived as trying to influence the election in Clinton’s favor — a point Merkley echoed Friday.

“It is such a dilemma, because if he had acted aggressively, in a way that he had gone public and said, ‘This is why we’re doing this,’ it would have been seized upon as an attempt to bias the election,” Merkley said. “So, there was enormous bias in the election because of the Russians, but how do you balance that out without further damaging it? It is an extremely difficult problem.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Friday that he didn’t find the Post report shocking.

“I think President Trump was legitimately elected by people who voted for him, but this is a very serious issue about defending democracy and our country and integrity of the election system,” he told CNN’s David Gregory on “New Day.” “So we have to go back to countering Russia disinformation. Congress has to work with the White House to give them tools to push back. This is a very serious issue.”

The Illinois Republican, who serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Republicans must take the intelligence about Russia’s involvement in the election very seriously to protect future elections.

“The reality is, in two or four years it will serve Vladimir Putin’s interest to take down the Republican Party,” Kinzinger said. “If we weren’t upset about it, we have no right to complain in the future.”

Also speaking Friday morning on “New Day,” White House counselor Kellyanne Conway dismissed the idea that Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election.”I think it’s very important to show no nexus has been proven between what Russia or any other foreign government tried to do in the actual election result,” Conway said. “Really the only person making that case prominently is Hillary Clinton.”

“You’ve got everyone saying that there is no nexus, that not a single vote was changed and we’re going to stand by that,” Conway added. “We know that Donald Trump won fairly and squarely 306 electoral votes. It had nothing to do with interference.”

Trump: I did not make recordings of Comey

Trump: I did not make recordings of Comey
  • Jun 22, 2017
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The statement ended speculation about whether the President recorded conversations in the Oval Office, according to CNN.

Comey, who Trump fired last month, said he had hoped there were recordings of their conversations.

“With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” Trump tweeted.


 Trump, perhaps attempting to insulate himself from blame, suggested in Thursday’s tweets that some surveillance could be happening, but that he was not aware of any such attempts.

Multiple government agencies, through interviews and Freedom of Information Act Requests, told CNN no such official recording devices existed.

Trump tweeted on May 12, in response to a New York Times report about Comey’s dinner with Trump, that Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”  

Trump and his top aides have played coy for weeks about the possibility of White House tapes, treating their possible existence like a game show reveal.

But the tweet had serious repercussions for the President: The fired FBI director testified earlier this month that Trump’s message caused him to leak the bombshell content of a memo to the media through a professor at Columbia University.

A senior administration official said Thursday that it became clear Trump had to come clean on his lie about the Comey tapes before the Friday deadline set on him by Congress to hand over any recordings.

The official, along with a Republican who talked to Trump this week, said the President has been amused at all the obsessing over this.

In hindsight, however, the Republican close to Trump called the episode one of worst things the President has done, with fallout that led to the appointment of a special counsel.

“If he doesn’t regret this, he should,” said the Republican associate, who spoke to Trump this week.

White House officials had been unable to confirm the existence of a recording device for weeks. Trump said earlier this month that reporters would be disappointed by the answer.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters earlier this month that she will “try to look under the couches” to determine whether there is a recording system.

Trump has a history of using the prospect of audio recordings to intimidate people close to him.

Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer, told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” earlier this month that Trump told him during interviews that he was recording their conversations. But that when the former business magnate sat down for a deposition, Trump “essentially” said he used the threat of tapes to “intimidate” him.

“My attorney said, ‘Mr. Trump, do you have a taping system?’ And he said no. And he said, ‘Well then, why did you say this to Mr. O’Brien?’ And he essentially said, ‘I wanted to intimidate him,’ ” O’Brien recounted.

The most infamous White House recording system existed during President Richard Nixon’s administration. The tapes, produced between 1971 and 1973, helped doom the Nixon administration, leading to the president’s resignation over the Watergate scandal.

The tapes — and the 18-minute gap that existed in the recordings — led to the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974, which requires tapes like Nixon’s to be preserved as presidential records.

US broadens Russia sanctions as Ukraine president visits Trump

US broadens Russia sanctions as Ukraine president visits Trump
  • Jun 21, 2017
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Washington has broadened its sanctions against Russian companies and officials, on the same day Donald Trump welcomed the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, to the White House, according to The Guardian.

The US added a new batch of Russian individuals and companies to its sanctions list, including those linked to a shadowy businessman known as “Putin’s cook”.

Evgeny Prigozhin, a St Petersburg chef, won favour after cooking for Putin more than a decade ago, and has since built a catering empire serving public sector and military contracts. His Concord catering company was sanctioned, as was Wagner, a private military contractor believed to have sent Russian mercenaries to fight in Syria.

Russian media have linked Prigozhin to both Wagner and to “troll factories” which pump out Russia-friendly fake news. The US has now placed 160 individuals and more than 400 companies on its sanctions list.

Reacting to the new sanctions, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said: “I can only express my regrets at the Russophobe obsession of our [US] colleagues.”

The new sanctions announcement came a few hours before Trump made a joint appearance with Poroshenko in front of the cameras.

Trump said Ukraine was “a place that we’ve all been very much involved in; we’ve been seeing it and everyone’s been reading about it”, but did not condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine, something he has never done.

Poroshenko appeared nervous, speaking in a quiet voice and slapping one hand against the other. “We very much admire your leadership,” he told Trump.

The meeting was only confirmed at the last minute and had been planned as a quick “drop-in” on Trump after Poroshenko had met the vice-president, Mike Pence. Trump’s position on Ukraine has come under scrutiny due to persistent allegations about his team’s links with Russia, and his own oft-stated admiration for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

The Ukrainian leader was given a far warmer reception at the Pentagon, where he was welcomed with full honours by the defence secretary, James Mattis, who said: “The United States stands with you. We support you in the face of threats to sovereignty, to international law or to the international order.”

The US provides train-and-equip support for the Ukrainian forces but does not provide lethal weaponry. However, the Pentagon spokesman Capt Jeff Davis said: “We don’t rule out the option of doing so in the future.”

“Ukraine has a right to defend itself against aggressive Russian actions, and we are deeply disturbed by violence in eastern Ukraine and will continue to hold Russia accountable to its Minsk commitments and US sanctions will remain until Moscow reverses the actions that triggered those,” Davis added.

The tone of the remarks provided a strong contrast with the terse official statements put out by the president’s and vice-president’s offices, which made no mention of Russian aggression.

The White House attempted to get sanctions on Russia lifted in the first days after Trump took office but was thwarted by resistance from the state department and Congress. At the Pentagon, Mattis has also strongly resisted any weakening of the pressure on Moscow.

Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister told the Guardian in December that “everybody was tearing their hair and running around like crazies” in the days after Trump’s election, fearful of what his potential sympathy for Russia meant for the country.

Trump and Putin are due to meet for the first time on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg early next month.

Weather in Phoenix is too hot for planes to takeoff

Weather in Phoenix is too hot for planes to takeoff
  • Jun 21, 2017
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It is almost always hot in Phoenix, but today temperatures are expected to peak at 120 degrees fahrenheit, which has prompted some airlines to cancel flights out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The high temperatures alone aren’t necessarily the culprit, but the environmental conditions that come with them can stifle attempts to get airborne. Mix in other variables like the type of plane, the length of the runway, and the conditions on the ground, and we’re left with a complex situation that will only get worse as global temperatures rise, according to Popular Science.

“It all has to do with air density,” says NOAA Corps Lieutenant Commander Rebecca Waddington, of the Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City, Missouri. “The warmer the air is, the less dense it is. That decrease in density has an adverse effect on aircraft engines, to the point where they just don’t perform as well in higher temperatures.” She explained that the problem isn’t a matter of staying in the air, but rather allowing the engines to produce enough power to achieve the proper take off and landing procedures.

In order to determine if an airplane can safely take off, pilots consult tables that compare its weight, the thrusting power of its engines, and the runway length available.

“In addition to just a runway, you get into climb performance,” says Waddington, “So depending on what airport they’re at, the obstacles, whether it be power or trees or mountains, that departure will require a certain climb gradient, and the warmer the temperature is, the more difficult for the aircraft to achieve that climb gradient.”

Or, to put it all in a gif:

This is likely why most of the flights canceled out of Phoenix are on regional connectors, smaller airplanes with less thrust available. While, for example, Delta Airlines didn’t cancel any of the flights of its Boeing 757s or 737s out of Phoenix today, there were three cancellations from Delta regional affiliates, including two scheduled with smaller Embraer 175s and one on a Bombardier Challenger 870. (As of press time, no Delta flights scheduled after the peak heat window of 3-6 pm were cancelled, regardless of the airplane used.)

Today, the cancellations mean some inconvenience for flyers passing through the valley of the sun. By 2100, three quarters of the planet could face deadly heatwaves, which may well pose challenges for aviation infrastructure as well. Meeting those challenges may requires building longer runways, airplanes requiring greater thrust, or air travel simply becoming inaccessible in the hottest parts of the hottest days.

Read also: 2017 Is Set to Be the Hottest Year in Recorded History

Ukraine’s president after meeting with Trump: We received strong support from the U.S.

Ukraine’s president after meeting with Trump: We received strong support from the U.S.
  • Jun 20, 2017
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“We received strong support from the U.S., support of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of our state, as well as support in the continuation of reforms in Ukraine,” Petro Poroshenko said in the meeting with media representatives in Washington, reports with reference to the presidential administration.

Ukrainian president emphasized that the agenda of the meeting was really broad and noted the U.S. support in the continuation of reforms in all sectors, including the energy sphere. He also informed that the parties discussed economic cooperation, particularly in the sphere of nuclear energy, oil and gas, purchases of American coal, continued cooperation on renewable energy sources etc.

The parties discussed the Ukraine-USA cooperation in the military-technical sphere. “The President [Trump] gave clear instruction to expand our cooperation,” Petro Poroshenko informed.

“The agenda was really broad. I am fully satisfied with the results of the negotiations and grateful to President Trump, Vice President Pence and the Secretaries I met for a very strong support of our state,” the President concluded.

Petro Poroshenko also handed over the letter from the relatives of the Ukrainian hostages imprisoned in the occupied territories and Russia to the U.S. leadership. He was assured that the U.S. Administration would make efforts to liberate Ukrainian captives.

He added that a “meaningful and detailed meeting” took place today and emphasized that the U.S. confirmed its commitment to the Minsk agreements. The President also stressed the necessity of full implementation of the Minsk agreements by Russia: ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian artillery, tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, unhindered access of the OSCE SMM to the entire territory including the border.


Personal Details of Nearly 200 Million US Citizens Leaked

Personal Details of Nearly 200 Million US Citizens Leaked
  • Jun 20, 2017
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The data leak contains a wealth of personal information on roughly 61 percent of the US population, according to Gizmodo.

Along with home addresses, birthdates, and phone numbers, the records include advanced sentiment analyses used by political groups to predict where individual voters fall on hot-button issues such as gun ownership, stem cell research, and the right to abortion, as well as suspected religious affiliation and ethnicity. The data was amassed from a variety of sources, the super PAC co-founded by former White House strategist Karl Rove.

Deep Root Analytics, a conservative data firm that identifies audiences for political ads, confirmed ownership of the data to Gizmodo on Friday.

UpGuard cyber risk analyst Chris Vickery discovered Deep Root’s data online last week. More than a terabyte was stored on the cloud server without the protection of a password and could be accessed by anyone who found the URL. Many of the files did not originate at Deep Root, but are instead the aggregate of outside data firms and Republican super PACs, shedding light onto the increasingly advanced data ecosystem that helped propel President Donald Trump’s slim margins in key swing states.

Although files possessed by Deep Root would be typical in any campaign, Republican or Democratic, experts say its exposure in a single open database raises significant privacy concerns. “This is valuable for people who have nefarious purposes,” Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said of the data.

In a statement, Deep Root founder Alex Lundry told Gizmodo, “We take full responsibility for this situation.” He said the data included proprietary information as well as publicly available voter data provided by state government officials. “Since this event has come to our attention, we have updated the access settings and put protocols in place to prevent further access,” Lundry said.

Deep Root’s data was exposed after the company updated its security settings on June 1, Lundry said. Deep Root has retained Stroz Friedberg, a cybersecurity and digital forensics firm, to investigate. “Based on the information we have gathered thus far, we do not believe that our systems have been hacked,” Lundry added.

So far, Deep Root doesn’t believe its proprietary data was accessed by any malicious third parties during the 12 days that the data was exposed on the open web.

U.S. student who was returned from North Korea in coma has died

U.S. student who was returned from North Korea in coma has died
  • Jun 19, 2017
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U.S. student Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months before being returned home in a coma less than a week ago, has died in a Cincinnati hospital, his family said in a statement on Monday, according to Reuters.

“Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today,” the family said in a statement following Warmbier’s death at 2:20 p.m. ET at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.