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US under Biden will no longer call migrants ‘illegal aliens’

Mon, 2021-04-19 17:50

WASHINGTON (AP) — Employees of the two main U.S. immigration enforcement agencies were directed Monday to stop referring to migrants as “aliens,” a dated term that many people consider offensive.

Memos issued by Customs and Border Protection, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, recommend agents instead use the words “non-citizen” or “migrant.” The change reflect guidelines set by the Biden administration, which is reversing many of the anti-immigrant policies of former President Donald Trump.

Instead of “illegal aliens,” which was still being used by some government officials in press releases and elsewhere, the employees of CBP and ICE should instead use “undocumented noncitizen” or “undocumented individual,” according to the memos.

Acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller said the directives were necessary to “set a tone and example” at an agency that includes the Border Patrol.

“We enforce our nation’s laws while also maintaining the dignity of every individual with whom we interact,” Miller said. “The words we use matter and will serve to further confer that dignity to those in our custody.”

Administration critics dismissed the new language guidelines.

“We use the term ‘illegal alien’ because they’re here illegally,” said Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas. “This kind of weakness and obsession with political correctness is why we’re having a crisis on the border in the first place.”

As recently as last Thursday, CBP issued a press release out of Texas that described a Border Patrol operation in the Rio Grande Valley “resulting in the apprehension of ten illegal aliens.”

But a release Monday from California seemed to comply with the memo, describing the rescue of a “lost undocumented noncitizen” near Ocotillo, California.

The change in language comes as the Biden administration deals with a record number of children and teens, mostly from Central America, seeking to enter the U.S. at the southwest border.

Under the new guidelines, “unaccompanied alien children” would be referred to as “unaccompanied noncitizen children,” according to the memos. Employees are also directed to describe the “assimilation” of refugees and immigrants as “civic integration.”

CBP is turning away most adult migrants attempting to enter the U.S. under a public health order issued at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Biden administration is allowing unaccompanied minors and some families to remain, at least temporarily, while authorities determine whether they can stay through the asylum process or under some other legal category.

Biden administration officials blame the rising number of migrants at the southwest border on a number of factors, including two recent hurricanes that struck Central America and the economic ravages of COVID-19 in the region.

Critics blame the administration’s moves to reverse some of the hundreds of measures taken under President Donald Trump to curb both legal and illegal immigration and support for legislation that would enable some already in the country to remain.

Fire on Cape Town’s Table Mountain under control, smoldering

Mon, 2021-04-19 17:47

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Firefighters in Cape Town finally brought a wildfire under control Monday after it swept across the slopes of the city’s famed Table Mountain, burning the university’s historic library and forcing the evacuation of some neighborhoods.

The smoldering fire is being watched for flareups amid high winds and hot, dry conditions.

City authorities said the fire, which started early Sunday, was “largely contained” more than 24 hours later.

The fire had already badly damaged the library and other buildings on the campus of the University of Cape Town on Sunday, as well as other historic buildings nearby. Fueled by the high winds, it spread through the wild bush on the mountain slopes toward the city’s center and the surrounding residential areas.

Devil’s Peak, one of the iconic points of the mountain which overlooks downtown Cape Town, was lit up by flames as the fire raged through the night. Residents of suburbs on the mountain slopes were evacuated early Monday as the blaze came dangerously close to their homes.

Fire-fighting helicopters with water containers suspended on ropes had been scooping up water from swimming pools and the nearby ocean and dumping it on the fire. But they were grounded on Monday because of the strong winds.

Four firefighters were injured battling the blaze on the slopes, said officials. The South African army had offered to help with some of its aircraft.

“It’s a massive wind that’s blowing, and that is actually fueling the fire to spread in each and every direction,” Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said.

A man in his 30s was arrested on suspicion of arson for setting additional fires, another city official said, but it’s not clear if he was responsible for starting the blaze. The man was arrested after witnesses reported seeing three people moving through flames setting more fires, Cape Town safety and security official JP Smith said.

Smith said the city had commissioned a forensic fire investigator to look into the cause.

Wildfires on the mountains surrounding Cape Town are fairly common during the hot, dry summer months and are sometimes whipped up into huge, uncontrollable blazes by strong coastal winds. The temperature in Cape Town peaked at 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) Sunday and the winds hit the city overnight and Monday.

About 250 city and volunteer firefighters were deployed to battle the fire, which damaged four buildings at the University of Cape Town. The Jagger Library’s main reading room, where rare and unique African books and manuscripts were kept, was gutted and some of the “priceless” works had been lost, the university said. Others were saved after fire-proof doors activated and sealed off parts of the library.

Library staff had watched “in horror” from a safe distance as the building burned, the library’s executive director, Ujala Satgoor, said.

A windmill, built in 1796, and a restaurant near a memorial for the British colonial politician Cecil Rhodes also burned down.

The university has been completely evacuated and shut down and meals were being provided for around 4,000 students who had to quickly leave the university campus and their residences, according to Gift of the Givers, a disaster response organization. Many of those students were taken to local hotels, the group said. Activities at the university were suspended until at least Wednesday.

The group said it is also supplying food and water to the firefighters who had been working for more than 24 hours to control the fire.

Heavy smoke hung over parts of Cape Town and people were advised to cover their mouths and noses with wet towels or rags while being evacuated.

Dramatic videos and photos were posted on social media by people who came perilously close to the blaze on the slopes of Table Mountain, which is popular among runners and mountain bikers on the weekend.

Lisette Lombard posted a video of herself escaping from the fire after going on a trail run on Sunday. She’s seen running, breathless, as plumes of smoke rise close behind her. She said her car and others left in a parking lot were completely burnt out and she eventually found help from firefighters coming up the mountain.

“When they told me that it (the fire) is out of control, that is when the penny dropped on how dangerous the situation was and how lucky I had got,” she told South Africa’s IOL news website.

2 homicide suspects arrested for slaying of 23-year-old man at Fort Lauderdale Walgreens

Mon, 2021-04-19 17:23

Two suspects believed responsible for the murder of a young man have been caught and cuffed.

Uriah Ottey and Cortez Turner are both now sitting in jail, charged in the murder of a 23-year-old man in Fort Lauderdale.

Surveillance video from last October shows the moments before the victim, Roderick Gallon, was robbed and gunned down.

He had parked at the Walgreens in Fort Lauderdale located on North Andrews Avenue and West Sunrise Boulevard.

He passed away from his injuries after being taken to the hospital, doctors said.

His family, who had been demanding justice since Roderick’s death, is grateful for this news.

“I wanna give Fort Lauderdale Police recognition. I wanna thank them because they did catch the people responsible for my son’s murder,” said mother Leticia Lewis.

Both suspects are now facing charges of first-degree murder.

Firefighters extinguish flames on big rig in Sunrise

Mon, 2021-04-19 16:48

A big rig was engulfed by flames Monday morning.

7SkyForce flew over the scene as officials worked to put out the fire along the Sawgrass Expressway near Sunrise Boulevard, at around 9:15 a.m.

Southbound lanes were blocked for almost an hour and have since opened back up to traffic.

Medical examiner: Capitol officer Brian Sicknick suffered stroke, died of natural causes

Mon, 2021-04-19 16:45

The D.C. medical examiner’s office ruled Monday that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was injured during the Jan. 6 insurrection, suffered a stroke and died from natural causes.

Sicknick was among five people who died after the riot. Two men have been charged with assaulting Sicknick in the melee.

Investigators initially believed he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, based on statements collected early in the investigation, according to two people familiar with the case. And they later thought perhaps Sicknick may have ingested a chemical substance — possibly bear spray — that may have contributed to his death.

But the determination of a natural cause of death means the medical examiner found that a medical condition alone caused his death — it was not brought on by an injury. The determination is likely to significantly inhibit the ability of federal prosecutors to bring homicide charges in connection with Sicknick’s death.

Lawyers for the men charged with assault had no comment.

Sicknick died after defending the Capitol against the mob that stormed the building as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden’s electoral win over Donald Trump. It came after Trump urged supporters on the National Mall to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat.

Body found after mobile home catches fire in NW Miami-Dade

Mon, 2021-04-19 16:34

Police are investigating after firefighters found a body inside of a mobile home that caught fire in Northwest Miami-Dade.

Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue units responded to the scene of the blaze in the area of Northwest Eighth Avenue and 98th Street, just after 10 a.m., Monday.

Investigators said, once crews were able to put out the flames and search through what was left of the trailer, they found the body.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A 7-year-old girl was fatally shot in the drive-thru lane of a McDonald’s in Chicago

Mon, 2021-04-19 16:09

(CNN) — Chicago police are looking for whoever opened fire on a car Sunday afternoon, killing a 7-year-old girl on the city’s West Side.

Jaslyn Adams and her 29-year-old father were in the drive-thru lane of a McDonald’s when someone shot into their car, family members told CNN affiliate WBBM.

A police vehicle that was already at the scene rushed the girl to a hospital, Chicago police Officer Sally Brown said. The girl was shot multiple times and pronounced dead.

The male victim was shot in the torso and hospitalized in serious condition, Brown said.

No suspects have been arrested.

“It’s really emotional now for my family,” Jaslyn’s aunt, Tawny McMullen, told WBBM.

“She was just … sweet and outgoing. Really talkative, really lovable.”

McMullen said it’s devastating that a regular father-daughter trip to McDonald’s would end with her niece shot multiple times.

“Y’all, please put the guns down,” she said.

“Our kids want to play. My kids can’t even go out the door because of this violence. Please put the guns down.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she is “heartbroken and angered” over the deadly shooting.

“This unthinkable act of violence has no place here. The epidemic of gun violence cutting our children’s lives short cannot go on,” Lightfoot tweeted.

The shooting comes less than a month after another high-profile death of a child, 13-year-old Adam Toledo.

Toledo was killed by a Chicago police officer on March 29.

Police say bodycam footage shows less than a second passed between when the boy is seen holding a handgun and is shot by the officer.

Otters at Georgia Aquarium test positive for coronavirus

Mon, 2021-04-19 15:04

(CNN) — The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta says its Asian small-clawed otters tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19.

The aquarium announced on Sunday that it tested the otters after they showed “mild respiratory symptoms including sneezing, runny noses, mild lethargy, and coughing.”

The seven creatures are being cared for off-exhibit. Despite being geriatric, they are improving and expected to make a full recovery, the aquarium said.

“Our Asian small-clawed otters are under very close monitoring by veterinarians and animal care team members,” Dr. Tonya Clauss, vice president of animal and environmental health at Georgia Aquarium, said. “We are providing supportive care as needed so they can eat, rest and recover.”

The aquarium suspects the otters got the infection from an asymptomatic staff member and it tested all staff that were in contact with them. These animals do not have direct contact with guests and have always been separated from them by acrylic barriers, the aquarium said.

“The otters will continue to be monitored and once they are no longer positive for COVID-19, it will then be determined when they will go back on exhibit,” it added in a statement.

This is the first time Georgia Aquarium has tested one of its animals for Covid-19, but it’s not the first time an animal has tested positive.

In December, three snow leopards tested positive for coronavirus at the Louisville Zoo. Thousands of mink died at fur farms in Utah and Wisconsin after a series of coronavirus outbreaks. A small number of cats and dogs also have tested positive throughout the pandemic.

150 Pfizer vaccine doses to be offered to North Miami residents on Tuesday

Mon, 2021-04-19 14:15

North Miami residents have the opportunity of getting vaccinated locally on Tuesday.

The City of North Miami will be offering 150 Pfizer vaccine doses to local residents at the Griffing Community Center.

The vaccines will be distributed at the center, located at 12220 Griffing Blvd., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

No pre-registration is required for the walk-up service.

Residents ages 16 and 17 must be accompanied by a guardian and complete the COVID-19 vaccine screening and consent form.

FDOH reports over 4,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday

Mon, 2021-04-19 14:10

There have now been more than 2.17 million reported cases of the coronavirus in Florida, with 34,471 deaths.

As of 2 p.m. Monday, the Florida Department of Health reported 2,168,901 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 4,237 from Sunday’s update.

The state also reported a single-day increase of 32 deaths.

There are now 471,595 total confirmed cases in Miami-Dade County and 229,073 total cases in Broward.

The total number of cases in Palm Beach County has now reached 139,199 and 6,752 total cases have been reported in Monroe County.

Health officials reported 88,274 hospital admissions statewide.

For a full breakdown of the cases in Florida, click here.

Officials: Suspected rhino poacher trampled to death by elephants

Mon, 2021-04-19 14:06

KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, South Africa (WSVN) — Officials with South African National Parks announced the death of a suspected rhino poacher and the arrest of an accomplice.

In a news release, officials say field rangers were out on a routine patrol at Kruger National Park when they came across three suspects who immediately fled.

Authorities said the subjects dropped an axe and a bag while trying to escape.

Rangers were able to arrest one of the suspects. Investigators said the suspect informed them that the group had run into a herd of elephants and was not sure if the accomplice was able to escape.

Rangers later found the man who had been badly trampled. He later died from his injuries.

The third suspect is believed to have been injured in the eye but was able to get away

Officials said a rifle was found.

“We are proud of the teamwork and dedication of our Rangers Corp, our aviators and the K9 unit,” Managing Executive of the KNP Gareth Coleman said. “It is unfortunate that a life was unnecessarily lost. Only through discipline, teamwork and tenacity will we be able to help stem the tide of rhino poaching in KNP.”

Authorities are now searching for the third subject.

“The campaign against poaching is the responsibility of all us; it threatens many livelihoods, destroys families and takes much-needed resources to fight crime which could be used for creating jobs and development,” Coleman said.

Families: 5th body found from capsized ship off Louisiana

Mon, 2021-04-19 14:00

CUT OFF, La. (AP) — Relatives of crew members who were on a lift boat that capsized off Louisiana last week said they have been told by authorities that another body has been found as the search for the remaining eight people who were on the vessel continued Monday.

Arlana Saddler, the youngest sister of missing worker Gregory Walcott, told The Associated Press that families were told during a Sunday night meeting with officials that a body had been found but not yet identified. Marion Cuyler, whose fiancee Chaz Morales was on the Seacor Power, told the AP via text about the meeting and that another body had been found.

Saddler said she’s trying to be realistic about her brother’s chances of survival.

“I’m being real. This is the seventh day, and even if they made it through the boat turning over and all that, there’s no food, no water. You’re talking seven days,” she said.

A total of 19 people were on board the boat when it capsized Tuesday in rough seas about eight miles (13 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast. Six were rescued that same day, five bodies have been recovered and rescuers are still searching for the remaining eight.

Officials have been updating the family members twice daily with how the search has been going but have released little information to the public about their continuous search since announcing divers found two bodies inside the ship Friday night. Officials from the Coast Guard, the ship’s owner Seacor Marine, and the National Transportation and Safety Board were slated to have a news conference Monday.

Coast Guard Petty Officer John Michelli said two Coast Guard cutters were searching Monday, along with a helicopter from the Coast Guard’s New Orleans station. Michelli referred questions about any diving operations to the companies involved; representatives for those firms did not respond to questions on Monday.

Police search for robbery suspect believed to be targeting elderly women in Miami

Mon, 2021-04-19 13:29

A violent robbery of an elderly woman in Miami was captured on camera and police are asking for the public’s help in locating the suspect.

Another victim was targeted just blocks away and police believe the crimes are connected.

On April 10, surveillance cameras along Northwest 11th Avenue and 32nd Street captured an 82-year-old woman being knocked down to the ground by a suspect in a neon yellow shirt.

City of Miami Police said the suspect took the elderly victim’s purse.

The victim is OK but remains shaken up by the incident.

“Right here, they banged on my door, yanked my purse and threw me over there,” said the victim through a translator. “I was meeting a friend at Sedanos that day and so I left in the morning and arrived at the Sedanos and she wasn’t there yet because we were going to meet at nine in the morning. I called my friend at 8:30 about meeting and she said she was sleeping and couldn’t meet, so we made plans to meet later. I caught the bus and returned home at 9:17 a.m. The woman who owns the house I live in wasn’t there because she left for work but her two daughters were there so I was knocking to be let inside when out of nowhere I was grabbed and thrown over there.”

Another incident police are investigating happened along Northwest 12th Avenue and 30th Street back on April 2.

According to police, the suspect broke into an 86-year-old woman’s home, took a gold chain and two phones from her.

If you have any information on this suspect’s whereabouts or identity, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

Giant manta ray spotted swimming of Florida coast

Mon, 2021-04-19 12:31

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WSVN) — A Florida resident captured incredible video showing a massive manta ray gliding through the water off the coast of St. Petersburg.

Michael McCarty, with the See Through Canoe Company, spotted the giant manta ray about 50 feet from the shore on April 14.

“Even though I spend a lot of time on the water, this is the first manta ray I’ve seen here in the St Pete area,” he told Fox 13. “I’ve seen them in other parts of Florida, but never so close to shore.”

McCarty also captured video showing fevers of Cownose Rays moving along the coast.

Woman gets pregnant while already pregnant

Mon, 2021-04-19 11:50

(CNN) — At first, baby Noah was all alone, growing beatifically in his mother’s womb.

Noah’s first close-ups, taken by ultrasound at seven and 10 weeks into the pregnancy, showed 39-year-old mom Rebecca Roberts and 43-year-old dad Rhys Weaver the baby they had tried for more than a year to conceive.

Then, at three months into the pregnancy, Noah suddenly had company.

An ultrasound taken at week 12 showed that Noah had an unexpected little sister — fraternal twin Rosalie.

“I got pregnant whilst I was already pregnant, which was absolutely crazy … because that’s not supposed to happen,” Rebecca said.

Called a superfetation, getting pregnant while already carrying a baby is so rare that one 2008 study found fewer than 10 recorded cases in the world.

Doctors told the couple the babies were actually conceived about three weeks apart, Rebecca said.

“They realized that the baby was growing at a consistent rate of three weeks behind the first one, and it was then that they said to me, they think this is a superfetation pregnancy,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe it had happened to me,” Rebecca added with a laugh. “But it did — it’s lovely. It’s like winning the lottery.”

Dad felt the same: “I was elated to be having one child, but even more so for twins. The job is done in one go! And then Rebecca did some research, and we realized how unique and how lucky we were.”

Noah is still ahead of Rosalie, but Rhys said, “She’s a little trooper, she’s got her own little personality, but I have no real worries at all.” An incredibly rare event

Superfetations are rare for a variety of reasons, said Atlanta gynecologist Dr. Lillian Schapiro.

First, women typically ovulate only once per cycle, releasing one or more eggs simultaneously. If fertilization by the man’s sperm is successful, the egg or eggs then implant in the uterus, the pregnancy begins and no further ovulation occurs.

“If a woman has twins,” Schapiro said, “two eggs are released at the same time. And in the unusual case of triplets, those eggs are all released with one ovulation.” Identical twins happen if a freshly fertilized egg splits.

In Rebecca’s case, the egg was fertilized and implanted during the first ovulation, and “somehow she ovulated again during that same cycle,” Schapiro explained. “Another egg was also fertilized — became another embryo — and at different times both embryos implanted in the uterus.”

Another reason superfetations are exceptional, Schapiro said, is that once the pregnancy begins, the uterus is no longer a hospitable place for implantation. That means the second embryo “must have managed to implant and grow at a stage when we would not have thought it would be able to grow.”

“We have almost never seen where two embryos start developing at different times,” Schapiro said. “That is just nothing short of amazing.”

Rebecca had just taken one dose of fertility drugs designed to stimulate ovulation before she conceived Noah. While that may be one reason for this rare occurrence, Rebecca said, it could also just be a “medical marvel.”

‘Tiny, tiny baby’

At first Rebecca and Rhys fretted over baby Rosalie’s development in the womb, worried that being so far behind her bigger brother might affect her health at birth.

“It could go either way,” Rebecca said. “Because the baby is so much smaller, there could be something wrong with it and it might not survive. That’s usually the case.

“But they said this baby’s actually growing consistently,” she said. “It was a relief. It was a great relief.”

Born by cesarean in September 2020, both babies did have to spend time in separate neonatal intensive care units (NICU). Rosalie, who was born at a tiny 2 pounds, 7 ounces, was sent to a specialty NICU about 15 minutes away from the NICU that cared for Noah, who was born at 4 pounds, 10 ounces.

“She was a tiny, tiny little baby just fitting in our hands, and even though he was tiny, you could see that he was a much bigger baby,” Rebecca said.

“It was very hard. I had a major operation and then our babies were in two separate hospitals as well,” she said. “So it was really hard work having to travel between them both.”

Noah was able to come home in three weeks, but little Rosalie remained in intensive care for 95 days, coming home just before Christmas.

Today, at close to 7 months old, Noah is still ahead of Rosalie, but Rhys said, “She’s a little trooper. She’s got her own little personality, but I have no real worries at all.”

Noah’s rolled over and is “actually showing signs of trying to crawl, so he might be off soon, which will be fun,” Rebecca added.

“They’re both talking, which is really really sweet, because they talk to each other. It’s lovely. They interact with each other really, really well. It’s beautiful to watch.”

DeSantis signs anti-riot bill into law in Florida

Mon, 2021-04-19 10:50

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a controversial anti-riot bill into law.

DeSantis signed the bill during a press conference at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Monday.

The law creates new penalties for crimes committed during a riot or violent protest. It would allow authorities to hold arrested protesters until a first court appearance. And it would establish new felonies for organizing or participating in a violent demonstration.

The law also makes it a second-degree felony to destroy or demolish a memorial, plaque, flag, painting, structure or other object that commemorates historical people or events. That would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union said the new law would give police broad discretion over what constitutes a demonstration and a riot.

To read the full bill, click here.

Please check back on and 7News for more details on this developing story.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Firefighters extinguish kitchen fire in Sunrise home

Mon, 2021-04-19 08:53

A kitchen has been left charred after a fire erupted inside a Sunrise home.

Firefighters responded to a fire at a home in the Sunrise Golf Village East neighborhood near Northwest 63rd Avenue and 24th Street, Sunday morning.

American Red Cross volunteers are now assisting the three people who lived in the home.


Peloton refuses to recall its Tread+ treadmill after 39 accidents. Its stock is tumbling

Mon, 2021-04-19 08:38

(CNN) — Peloton shares fell 7% in premarket trading following an “urgent warning” from the United States government telling owners of the company’s Tread+ to stop using the machine.

On Saturday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said it has become aware of 39 accidents involving the $4,295 treadmill, including “multiple reports of children becoming entrapped, pinned, and pulled under” the machine. The CPSC said it’s urging customers with small children and pets to stop using the machine immediately. A child died in March in an incident involving the machine.

That prompted a strongly worded statement from Peloton, claiming the federal agency’s notice is “inaccurate and misleading.” The fitness company said there’s “no reason” to stop using the machine if safety instructions, such as correctly using its safety key, are followed.

Peloton CEO John Foley doubled down on the company’s resistance to issue a recall or stop selling the Tread+.

In a letter sent to members Sunday, he said that they have “fully cooperated with CPSC” except with a request from the agency asking for “personally identifiable information of certain members” because those members asked their information not be shared with the CPSC.

“At no time was Peloton trying to impede CPSC’s investigation,” Foley said. “We were simply standing behind our members’ right to maintain their privacy, and we remain committed to providing this type of information only with a member’s consent or pursuant to a subpoena.”

Foley said that Peloton has “no intention” of stopping sale of the Tread+ and reiterated the company’s previous message of keeping the machine away from children under 16 years old and pets.

He said that its instructors are now reminding users at the beginning of their streaming classes of the machine’s safety instructions, like properly using its safety key, and the company is developing a new software update that will “provide an additional layer of protection against unwanted use of the Tread+.”

The agency’s warning is just another blow for the once high-flying company. Peloton’s stock is down nearly 25% for the year following a strong 2020 which saw shares soar more than 400%. According to Landon Luxembourg, a senior analyst at investment firm Third Bridge, problems with the Tread+ could make future buyers of Peloton’s machines hesitant.

“The safety component may now be much more top-of-mind for consumers looking to invest in a treadmill and this warning may bring consumer scrutiny to the rest of Peloton’s product offerings,” Luxembourg in a note to clients.

Attorneys at Chauvin trial in Floyd death make final pitch

Mon, 2021-04-19 08:15

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Attorneys in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd are set to make their closing arguments Monday, each side seeking to distill three weeks of testimony to persuade jurors to deliver their view of the right verdict.

For prosecutors, Derek Chauvin recklessly squeezed the life from Floyd as he and two other officers pinned him to the street for 9 minutes, 29 seconds outside a corner market, despite Floyd’s repeated cries that he couldn’t breathe — actions they say warrant conviction not just for manslaughter but also on two murder counts.

For the defense, Floyd, who was Black, put himself at risk by swallowing fentanyl and methamphetamine, then resisted officers trying to arrest him — factors that compounded his vulnerability to a diseased heart and raise sufficient doubt that Chauvin, who is white, should be acquitted.

Each side will pull key testimony to support their narrative for what killed Floyd in a case that roiled America 11 months ago and continues to resonate. The anonymous jury will later deliver verdicts in a courthouse surrounded by concrete barriers and razor wire, in an anxious city heavily fortified by National Guard members and just days after fresh outrage erupted over the police killing of a 20-year-old Black man in a nearby suburb.

The attorneys aren’t limited by time, though legal experts say overlong arguments risk losing jurors’ attention and may be less effective. Prosecutors Steve Schleicher and Jerry Blackwell will share the closing, with Schleicher leading off and Blackwell coming on for the last-word rebuttal of defense attorney Eric Nelson’s closing.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Experts expect Schleicher to walk jurors through the elements of the charges. All three require the jury to conclude that Chauvin’s actions were a “substantial causal factor” in Floyd’s death — and that his use of force was unreasonable.

Schleicher can remind jurors of key testimony from a myriad prosecution medical experts who testified that Floyd died of asphyxiation caused by being pinned to the pavement. He and Blackwell can point to plentiful testimony from use-of-force experts who said Chauvin’s actions were clearly improper, as well as Minneapolis Police Department officials saying they were outside his training.

Video played a huge role at trial, both in buttressing the expert testimony and in driving home the emotional impact of Floyd’s anguish and death. Prosecutors can re-play video during their closings, and experts say they expect it.

Guilty verdicts must be unanimous, which means Nelson needs to raise doubt in the minds of just a single juror on the various counts. His closing is certain to return to the themes of his cross-examination of prosecution witnesses and the brief defense case he mounted.

Nelson is sure to highlight how the county medical examiner, Dr. Andrew Baker, did not conclude that Floyd died of asphyxia — putting him at odds with the prosecution’s medical experts, even though Baker did call Floyd’s death a homicide and testify that he believes Floyd’s heart gave out in part due to being pinned to the ground.

Nelson is also certain to remind the jury of Floyd’s drug use, perhaps with the same language he frequently used during the testimony phase — with questions that emphasized words such as “illicit.” Despite the long duration of Floyd’s restraint, he’s likely to again portray Chauvin’s use of force as dictated by “fluid” and “dynamic” factors that shouldn’t be second-guessed, including the prospect that Chauvin was distracted by a threatening group of bystanders.

Nelson is also likely to question perhaps the strongest single part of the state’s case — the video of Floyd’s arrest, including bystander Darnella Frazier’s video that largely established public perceptions of events. Nelson argued that camera angles can be deceptive, and used other views to suggest to jurors that Chauvin’s knee wasn’t on Floyd’s neck at all times.

“If I was Nelson, I’d do a lot of things, because a lot of things need to be done,” Joe Friedberg, a local defense attorney not involved in the case, said. “He’s in desperate trouble here.”

Fourteen jurors heard testimony, two of them alternates. If Judge Peter Cahill follows the usual practice of dismissing the last two chosen as alternates, the 12 who will deliberate will include six white and six Black or multiracial jurors.

Second-degree murder requires prosecutors to prove Chauvin intended to harm Floyd. Third-degree murder requires proof that Chauvin’s actions were “eminently dangerous” and done with indifference to loss of life. Second-degree manslaughter requires jurors to believe that he caused Floyd’s death through negligence and consciously took the chance of causing severe injury or death.

Each count carries a different maximum sentence: 40 years for second-degree unintentional murder, 25 years for third-degree murder, and 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. Sentencing guidelines call for far less time, including 12 1/2 years on either murder count.

NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

Mon, 2021-04-19 07:09

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — NASA’s experimental helicopter Ingenuity rose into the thin air above the dusty red surface of Mars on Monday, achieving the first powered flight by an aircraft on another planet.

The triumph was hailed as a Wright Brothers moment. The mini 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) copter even carried a bit of wing fabric from the 1903 Wright Flyer, which made similar history at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

“Altimeter data confirms that Ingenuity has performed its first flight, the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet,” said the helicopter’s chief pilot back on Earth, Havard Grip, his voice breaking as his teammates erupted in applause.

It was a brief hop — just 39 seconds — but accomplished all the major milestones.

Project manager MiMi Aung was jubilant as she ripped up the papers holding the plan in case the flight had failed. “We’ve been talking so long about our Wright Brothers moment, and here it is,” she said.

Flight controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California declared success after receiving the data and images via the Perseverance rover, which stood watch more than 200 feet (65 meters) away. Ingenuity hitched a ride to Mars on Perseverance, clinging to the rover’s belly upon their arrival in an ancient river delta in February.

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward. “Each world gets only one first flight,” Aung observed earlier this month.

Ground controllers had to wait more than three excruciating hours before learning whether the pre-programmed flight had succeeded more than 170 million miles (287 million kilometers) away. Adding to their anxiety: A software error prevented the helicopter from lifting off a week earlier and had engineers scrambling to come up with a fix.

When the news finally came, the operations center filled with applause, cheers and laughter. More followed when the first black and white photo from Ingenuity appeared on the Mission Control screens, showing the helicopter’s shadow as it hovered above the surface of Mars. Next came the stunning color images of the copter descending back to the surface, taken by Perseverance, “the best host little Ingenuity could ever hope for,” Aung said in thanking everyone.

The helicopter achieved its planned altitude of 10 feet (3 meters), according to the altimeter data, and hovered for a full 30 seconds, appearing stable. The touchdown looked just as clean. More details were expected in the coming hours and days.

To accomplish all this, the helicopter’s twin, counter-rotating rotor blades needed to spin at 2,500 revolutions per minute — five times faster than on Earth. With an atmosphere just 1 percent the thickness of Earth’s, engineers had to build a helicopter light enough — with blades spinning fast enough — to generate this otherworldy lift. At the same time, it had to be sturdy enough to withstand the Martian wind and extreme cold.

More than six years in the making, Ingenuity is a barebones 19 inches (49 centimeters) tall, a spindly four-legged chopper. Its fuselage, containing all the batteries, heaters and sensors, is the size of a tissue box. The carbon-fiber, foam-filled rotors are the biggest pieces: Each pair stretches 4 feet (1.2 meters) tip to tip.

The helicopter is topped with a solar panel for recharging the batteries, crucial for its survival during the minus-130 degree Fahrenheit (minus-90 degree-Celsius) Martian nights.

NASA chose a flat, relatively rock-free patch for Ingenuity’s airfield, measuring 33 feet by 33 feet (10 meters by 10 meters). It turned out to be less than 100 feet (30 meters) from the original landing site in Jezero Crater. The helicopter was released from the rover onto the airfield on April 3. Flight commands were sent Sunday, after controllers sent up a software correction for the rotor blade spin-up.

Following Monday’s success, NASA named the Martian airfield “Wright Brothers Field.”

“While these two iconic moments in aviation history may be separated by time and 173 million miles of space, they now will forever be linked,” NASA’s science missions chief Thomas Zurbuchen announced.

The little chopper with a giant job attracted attention from around the world, from the moment it launched with Perseverance last July. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger joined in the fun, rooting for Ingenuity over the weekend via Twitter. “Get to the chopper!” he shouted, re-enacting a line from his 1987 sci-fi film “Predator.”

Up to five helicopter flights are planned, each one increasingly ambitious. If successful, the demo could lead the way to a fleet of Martian drones in decades to come, providing aerial views, transporting packages and serving as scouts for astronauts. High-altitude helicopters here on Earth could also benefit — imagine choppers easily navigating the Himalayas.

“This gives us amazing hope for all of humanity,” Zurbuchen tweeted. Indeed, JPL’s mantra, “Dare Mighty Things,” was printed on a wall of the control room.

Ingenuity’s team has until the beginning of May to complete the test flights. That’s because the rover needs to get on with its main mission: collecting rock samples that could hold evidence of past Martian life, for return to Earth a decade from now.

Until then, Perseverance will keep watch over Ingenuity. Flight engineers affectionately call them Percy and Ginny. “Big sister’s watching,” said Malin Space Science Systems’ Elsa Jensen, the rover’s lead camera operator.