Jury is told 2 men wanted to kidnap Whitmer, start revolt

By JOEY CAPPELLETTI and ED WHITE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Two anti-government extremists sought to spark a “second American revolution” by kidnapping Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday as the government got a second opportunity to get convictions in an alleged plot to shock the country into chaos before the 2020 election.

Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. are on trial for a second time, four months after a jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict while acquitting two other men.

The jury will hear competing themes. Prosecutors again will present secretly recorded conversations and video, text messages and social media posts to show that a band of rebels was serious about snatching the Democratic governor.

Defense attorneys, however, insist there was no actual conspiracy. They will attack the motivations of undercover FBI agents and informants who got inside the group and built the investigation.

Fox, 39, lived in the Grand Rapids area and Croft, 46, is from Bear, Delaware. They regularly communicated with other extremists who were angry with Whitmer and various public officials over COVID-19 restrictions.

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher O’Connor said the seeds were planted well ahead of the pandemic.

Before Fox and Croft “planned and trained to kidnap the governor of Michigan, they called for a second American revolution,” O’Connor told jurors. “They wanted to violently overthrow elected government officials because they believed those officials were tyrants who were constantly violating their rights.

“Barry Croft believed all it would take to start that revolution was to hang a governor,” the prosecutor said. “That was a call to action in early 2020. … His promise to elected government officials, the tyrants: expect us.”

A jury was selected Tuesday after some people were dismissed for health reasons or for political beliefs they couldn’t set aside.

“It’s not disqualifying to have views one way or …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

US inflation slows from a 40-year peak but remains high

By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER

WASHINGTON (AP) — Falling gas prices gave Americans a slight break from the pain of high inflation last month, though overall price increases slowed only modestly from the four-decade high that was reached in June.

Consumer prices jumped 8.5% in July compared with a year earlier, the government said Wednesday, down from a 9.1% year-over-year jump in June. On a monthly basis, prices were unchanged from June to July, the smallest such rise in more than two years.

Besides gasoline, among the consumer purchases whose prices sank from June to July were airfares, which plunged nearly 8%. Hotel room costs fell 2.7%, used car prices 0.4%. Such items had previously delivered some of the economy’s steepest price jumps.

Those declines lowered so-called core inflation, a measure that excludes the volatile food and energy categories to provide a clearer picture of underlying inflation. Core prices rose just 0.3% from June, the smallest month-to-month increase since April. And compared with a year ago, core inflation amounted to 5.9% in July, the same year-over-year increase as in June.

Wednesday’s report raised hopes that a modest slowdown in inflation might enable the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates by less than had been anticipated when it meets in late September. Many economists had forecast that it would increase its benchmark rate three-quarters of a point for a third straight time. But financial markets are now predicting that a half-point increase is more likely.

The prospect of slower inflation and smaller Fed rate hikes buoyed the stock market as trading began Wednesday, with futures pointing to a solid increase in the S&P 500 index.

Still, core prices have slowed in the recent past only to re-accelerate in subsequent months. And plenty of items are continuing to grow more expensive. Food prices kept surging in July, for example, and …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

Feds say nothing deceptive about private email used by R. Kelly prosecutor in contact with journalist

Lawyers for one of Kelly’s co-defendants, Derrel McDavid, alleged that Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull used the pseudonym “Demetrius Slovenski” and the username “piedpiper312” to create an email account she then used to communicate with journalist Jim DeRogatis in April 2019.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Federal prosecutors acknowledged Tuesday that a private email account using a fake name was created to obtain an advance copy of a 2019 book about R&B superstar R. Kelly, but they said “none of the emails exchanged using the account were in any way deceptive.”

The comments came in a 17-page response to allegations last week that a former lead prosecutor in Chicago’s federal case against Kelly engaged in “surreptitious” communications with Jim DeRogatis, the author of “Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly.”

Lawyers for one of Kelly’s co-defendants, Derrel McDavid, alleged that Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Krull used the pseudonym “Demetrius Slovenski” and the username “piedpiper312” to create an email account she then used to communicate with DeRogatis in April 2019. They later said Krull may have developed an inappropriate personal relationship with an alleged victim in the case, identifying her in her phone contact list as “Boss Baby.”

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Julien on Tuesday told U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber he should not allow defense attorneys to embark on “a wide-ranging fishing expedition in the hopes of turning up evidence of some kind of government misconduct.”

Julien wrote that the private email account used by Krull to obtain a copy of DeRogatis’ book was created “by, and at the suggestion of, a Homeland Security Investigations” agent. 

“AUSA Krull did not create …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

Donald Trump arrived Wednesday morning for his long-awaited deposition in the NY attorney general’s 3-year probe of his business

New York Attorney General Letitia James, left. Former president Donald Trump, right.

Trump is the key witness in the NY Attorney General’s three-year probe into the Trump Organization.
He arrived Wednesday morning at the AG’s Manhattan offices for a closed-door deposition.
AG Letitia James has signaled she will sue Trump over millions of dollars in allegedly ill-gotten loans and tax breaks.

Donald Trump arrived Wednesday morning for his long-delayed, court-ordered deposition in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ three-year probe of the Trump Organization.

Trump arrived just before 9 a.m. at the attorney general’s New York City headquarters in a skyscraper on Liberty Street in lower Manhattan. 

He entered the building’s underground parking garage inside one of three black SUVs in a small motorcade of Secret Service and NYPD vehicles.

James has insisted that Trump be deposed in-person and that he show up at her offices like any other target in one of her investigations, a source involved in the matter told Insider.

Deposing Trump in person is a smart move, according to one of the only other lawyers to depose the former president in recent years.

“Body language, eye contact, facial expressions get lost if you’re doing it remote,” said the lawyer, Benjamin Dictor, who deposed Trump in October at Trump Tower as a lawyer for four Mexican-Americans who have sued Trump for allegedly siccing security on them during a 2015 protest outside Trump Tower.

“I would say that’s particularly the case with Mr. Trump,” added Dictor.

“In my experience examining him, it was important to be able to pick up on small cues — small tells — in the examination that I think would have been difficult to pick up had we done the examination remotely.” 

An in-person deposition also allows a lawyer to make sure the deponent is not somehow being fed answers, Dictor pointed out.

“And …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Trump to be questioned Wednesday by NY attorney general: Will he take the Fifth?

Former President Donald Trump is expected to be deposed by lawyers from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office Wednesday, people familiar with the matter tell CNN, pitting the two adversaries against each other after a more than three-year civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s finances.

It is unclear whether Trump will answer questions or assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during the behind-closed-doors testimony.

Trump said in a post on Truth Social early Wednesday morning that he would be “seeing” James “for a continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. history! My great company, and myself, are being attacked from all sides. Banana Republic!”

Trump was seen leaving Trump Tower in New York City on Wednesday morning.

The deposition comes during an extraordinary legal week for the former President. On Monday, the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, his primary residence in Florida, in connection with an investigation into the handling of classified documents. On Tuesday, a federal appeals court denied his long-running effort to block a House committee from obtaining his tax returns.

Some Trump advisers have advocated that the former President answer questions since he previously testified about his financial statements under oath, while others have warned him against providing any answers because of the potential legal jeopardy he may face, people familiar with the matter tell CNN. The Manhattan district attorney has a separate ongoing criminal investigation into the Trump Organization.

Another consideration that has been discussed, the people familiar say, is the political implications of not answering questions as Trump is widely expected to announce that he will run for president in 2024. While campaigning in 2016, Trump suggested not answering questions was a sign of guilt. At a campaign stop in Iowa in 2016, Trump said, “If you’re …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

Elon Musk’s sale of another $7 billion in Tesla stock makes his Twitter takeover more likely, Wedbush says

Elon Musk’s latest sale of $7 billion of Tesla stock means his deal with Twitter is more likely to close, according to Wedbush. 
Musk said he sold the stock to prevent emergency selling of his Tesla stake in case he is forced to buy Twitter.
“The situation has dramatically changed in our opinion heading into Delaware Court this October with the odds stacked against Musk winning,” Wedbush said.

It’s looking more likely that Elon Musk will be forced to close on his deal to buy Twitter after the world’s richest person sold $7 billion worth of Tesla stock, according to a Wednesday note from Wedbush.

Musk himself said on Twitter that his sale of Tesla stock over the past few days was “to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock” in the event that he is forced to buy the social media platform and some of his equity financing falls through.

According to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, Musk’s Tesla stock sale is “writing on [the] wall [that a] deal could be in the cards,” the note said. Ives raised his Twitter price target to $50 from $30, just shy of Musk’s agreed upon buyout price of $54 per share, or about $44 billion.

“The Street and legal experts across the board view Twitter as having a ‘strong iron fist upper hand’ heading into the Delaware court battle this Fall after months of this fiasco and nightmare playing out since April,” Ives said, adding that “Twitter’s board is holding Musk’s feet to the fire to finish the deal at the agreed upon price.”

Musk has been attempting to back out of his agreed upon deal, which includes a signed contract that waived due diligence rights, arguing that there are more bots on Twitter’s platform than originally disclosed. 

Ultimately, Ives’ sees four different scenarios …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

North Hills chase ends in P.I.T. maneuver, pickup crash and arrest of assault suspect

The California Highway Patrol used a P.I.T. maneuver to stop a suspect it was chasing early Wednesday on the 118 Freeway and surface streets in North Hills, taking that suspect into custody after a struggle.

The assault suspect is wanted for a weapons charge, Fox11 reported.

The suspect’s vehicle, a pickup truck, was forced onto its side and lost a wheel during the P.I.T manuever at Sepulveda Boulevard and Tupper Street.

…read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

A man was jailed in Spain for defrauding his employer by stealing 7,000 hams worth more than $500,000 and selling them on

Iberico Ham in Spain.

A man has been sentenced to a year in prison for stealing hams in southern Spain, per The Guardian.

The man reportedly stole 7,000 hams worth $532,200 and sold them on illegally.
His wife was also convicted as an accomplice and the pair were ordered to pay back the man’s employer.

A man has been sentenced to just under a year in prison for stealing 7,000 hams in southern Spain.

The Guardian reported the news.

The unnamed man was found guilty of defrauding his employers after stealing the hams from a curing warehouse he worked in, according to the publication.

According to The Guardian, he reportedly sold them on and used a messenger service to deliver them to customers, making around €520,000 ($532,200) in the process.

The man stole the hams over the course of six years, from 2007 to 2013, per The Guardian. 

The warehouse was based in the southern Spanish region of Huelva, which produces jamón de jabugo, a variety of Iberico ham that can sell for more than $512, per The Guardian. More than 100 of the stolen hams were the jamón de jabugo variety, it added.

The man’s sentence was reduced to 11 months and 29 days from a potential six-year sentence due to the length of time the case took to come to trial, per The Guardian.

His wife was also convicted as an accomplice and the two were ordered to repay the $532,200 to the man’s former employer. 

CNBC reported in 2020 that the most expensive ham in the world was the “prestigious” jamon Iberico de bellota. 

Insider’s Mikala Jones-Fielder and Sydney Kramer previously interviewed a chef at the Viale dei Romani restaurant in Los Angeles to discuss the popularity of Iberico ham.

The chef said the restaurant sold the ham …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

3 Retail & Ecommerce Trends to Watch in 2022

The pandemic and changing consumer preferences have fundamentally altered the payments & commerce ecosystem, and retailers and brands will need to adapt to retain fickle consumers. The companies that continue to digitize the shopping journey, while promoting sustainability and reducing friction, will win in 2022.

As the new year is starting, we’ve compiled three trends in the retail & commerce industry to keep your eye on.

You can receive a complimentary copy of this list directly to your inbox simply by completing the form on this page. You’ll also begin receiving our Retail By the Numbers daily newsletter, designed to keep you up to date on the latest trends and developments in the industry.

Read the original article on Business Insider

…read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds 2 Pro compact wireless earbuds now support high-resolution audio — here’s how to preorder

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Samsung has announced its latest pair of high-end wireless earbuds: The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
The new earbuds feature a smaller design than the older model, and they promise improved audio quality.
You can preorder the Galaxy Buds2 Pro now for $230, and they are released on August 26.

Samsung unveiled its latest pair of wireless earbuds on August 10. The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is designed to be the company’s new premium model, and they are the successor to the Galaxy Buds Pro from 2021. 

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have all the features buyers should expect from a pair of high-end earbuds, including active noise cancellation (ANC), water resistance, and voice control. They also support 24-bit audio and Samsung’s new SSC HiFi codec, which could result in better audio quality if you’re using apps that can play high-resolution music.

Samsung even took an environmentally friendly approach with the Buds 2 Pro. The company says that more than 90% of the earbuds are made using recycled materials, including discarded fishing nets. 

Below, we’ve broken all the main features, specs, and pricing details for the Galaxy Buds2 Pro. We’ll update this article with more purchase options once the earbuds are available in stores.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds2 Pro price and preorder details

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is now available to preorder for $230. Customers can choose between Graphite, White, and Bora Purple color options. The earbuds will be released on August 26.

Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro small product card

If you preorder the Buds 2 Pro through Samsung, you can get a free wireless charger and $30 in Samsung credit. You can also get up to $75 off your preorder if you trade in an eligible device. 

The Galaxy …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 5 smart watches have improved health tracking and tougher glass displays

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Samsung’s newest smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, are now available for preorder.
The new models have more accurate health tracking, while the Pro is designed for the outdoors.
Preorders run through August 25 and come with some promotions and savings.

Samsung’s newest Galaxy Watch models, the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, boast a few new features and improvements over the Galaxy Watch 4, which we called the closest thing to an Apple Watch for Android users. The biggest update, according to Samsung, is that the Watch 5’s health tracking is more accurate. Indeed, health and fitness continue to be the main selling points.

The Watch 5, available in 44mm and 40mm, is geared toward everyday use, while the Pro model — brand-new to the Galaxy Watch lineup — is more durable that makes it better suited for outdoor use. It also has a larger 45mm display and battery than the standard Watch 5.

Both smartwatches are now available to preorder. Below, we’ve outlined full details on pricing and specs, along with a rundown of the differences between this generation of Galaxy Watch and the last.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 (left) and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro (right).

 How to preorder the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro

Now through August 25, the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 5 Pro are available for preorder. They’ll be in stores starting August 26. The Galaxy Watch 5 starts at $280 for Bluetooth and $330 for LTE. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro starts at $450 for Bluetooth and $500 for LTE.

Preorders are eligible for these promotions:

One free Wireless Charger …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

In a significant shift, HBO Max subscribers might have to wait longer than expected to stream some Warner Bros. movies

Austin Butler in “Elvis.”

Release dates for Warner Bros. movies on HBO Max will be determined on a movie-by-movie basis.
The movies previously became available to stream after 45 days in theaters.
But Warner Bros. Discovery is committed to a more traditional distribution strategy.

If you’re an HBO Max subscriber and don’t want to go to a theater to see a Warner Bros. movie, you might have to wait a bit longer than expected to stream it.

A Max spokesperson confirmed to Insider that the timing of releases of Warner Bros. movies on the service will be determined on a movie-by-movie basis, in another apparent strategy shift.

“Elvis,” the next WB movie expected to make its way to Max, was presumed to debut on the platform next Monday, August 15 — 45 days after it premiered in theaters. But the spokesperson said that a Max launch date for the movie has yet to be announced. 

The move follows the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger and formation of the new company Warner Bros. Discovery earlier this year, putting Max and the Warner Bros. film studio under the same umbrella as the Discovery+ streaming service, cable networks like Animal Planet, and more.

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav hinted at the shift during the company’s earnings call last week. He reiterated his commitment to movie theaters, saying that an exclusive theatrical release drives word-of-mouth for a movie’s eventual launch on other platforms. 

Zaslav said that streaming will be a “key part” of the company’s strategy, but that it doesn’t believe in collapsing theatrical windows and releasing a movie on all platforms at once.

How this differs from HBO Max’s previous movie strategy

Zaslav’s vision for Warner Bros. Discovery is a complete shift from former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar’s strategy. Under Kilar, every Warner Bros. movie in 2021 was released simultaneously on Max and in …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Casper the ghostly octopus has kept scientists enthralled since 2016

ghost octopus

Casper, the adorable ‘ghost octopus’ was pictured in 2016 in the waters near Hawaii (Credits: NOAA)

Back in 2016, scientists photographed an octopus far deeper than they’d ever seen before.

Sitting nearly three miles below the surface on a seabed near Hawaii was a white octopus. Pale and ghostly in appearance, researchers quickly nicknamed the deep sea cephalopod ‘Casper.’

Previously only ‘dumbo’ octopuses had been observed at this kind of depth: named for the large flaps that sit on their heads like ears.

Six years since the discovery, researchers have revealed more details about their incredible find to The Guardian.

Perhaps most exciting are the many subsequent octopuses they’ve discovered.

The team now have several years’ worth of footage showing many more of these white octopuses.

‘It could be that they’re fairly common,’ Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago researcher Janet Voight said. ‘It’s just an indicator of how little we know about what’s down there.’

They’ve also observed clutches of octopus eggs on sea sponges, suggesting the creatures don’t only lay eggs on hard rocks, as previously believed.

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The team think octopuses like Casper lay around 30 partially-developed eggs to the stalks of dead sponges, according to Science. They then wrap themselves around the eggs to protect them as they grow – sometimes for very long periods of time.

They octopuses may not leave their eggs to feed, meaning that they often die looking after their young in what the outlet called a ‘heartbreaking’ parenting strategy.

Plenty more about Casper has surprised researchers over the years. For one, his ghostly white appearance.

Octopuses often have colourful skin that can adapt to its local environment, creating …read more

Source:: Metro News

US inflation slips from 40-year peak but remains high 8.5%

By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER

WASHINGTON (AP) — Falling gas prices gave Americans a slight break from the pain of high inflation last month, though the surge in overall prices slowed only modestly from the four-decade high it reached in June.

Consumer prices jumped 8.5% in July compared with a year earlier, the government said Wednesday, down from a 9.1% year-over-year jump in June. On a monthly basis, prices were unchanged from June to July, the smallest such rise more than two years.

Still, prices are spiking across a wide range of goods and services, leaving most Americans worse off. Average paychecks are rising faster than they have in decades — but not fast enough to keep up with accelerating costs for such items as food, rent, autos and medical services.

President Joe Biden has pointed to declining gas prices as a sign that his policies — including large releases of oil from the nation’s strategic reserve — are helping lessen the higher costs that have strained Americans’ finances, particularly for lower-income Americans and Black and Hispanic households.

Yet Republicans are stressing the persistence of high inflation as a top issue in the midterm congressional elections, with polls showing that elevated prices have driven Biden’s approval ratings down sharply.

On Friday, the House is poised to give final congressional approval to a revived tax-and-climate package pushed by Biden and Democratic lawmakers. Economists say the measure, which its proponents have titled the Inflation Reduction Act, will have only a minimal effect on inflation over the next several years.

While there are signs that inflation may ease in the coming months, it will likely remain far above the Federal Reserve’s 2% annual target well into next year or even into 2024. Chair Jerome Powell has said the Fed needs to see a series of declining monthly core inflation readings before it …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

A ship carrying 26,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain is currently stranded after the buyer rejected its cargo

The Razoni, arriving in Istanbul on August 3.

A ship carrying 26,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain is anchored off the Turkish coast, the UN said.
The UN’s Joint Coordination Centre told the FT that the ship is currently awaiting instruction.
The intended buyer rejected the shipment over quality concerns, per the FT. 

The effort to restart Ukrainian grain exports and ease a looming global food crisis is temporarily in limbo as the first ship to leave the country currently sits anchored off the Turkish coastline.

The Razoni, which is carrying 26,000 tonnes of corn, is awaiting instructions of its next destination, after the original buyer rejected the shipment over quality concerns, the UN-led Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) which is monitoring its journey, told the Financial Times. 

Unnamed cargo agents also confirmed the pause to the FT.  The JCC did not immediately reply to Insider’s request for further comment. 

The fortunes of the Razoni have been closely monitored since it left the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa on August 1. The ship is the first to do so under a UN-brokered agreement between Ukraine and Russia to restart exports and lift the blockade of the Black Sea that started at the beginning of the war.

Ukraine is often referred to as the Europe’s “bread basket” — because its exports account for around 10% of the world’s supply of wheat —  and there are significant concerns that the war could contribute to a global food crisis. The problem is particularly acute for countries in the Middle East and Africa which rely heavily on grain imports to feed their population. 

A total of 14 ships have so far left Ukraine as part of the initiative, which is being overseen by the JCC.

The Razoni traveled to Turkey for inspection,

Source:: Businessinsider

Inflation cooled off in July as tumbling gas prices offered Americans much-needed relief

The Consumer Price Index rose 8.5% year-over-year in July, the government said Wednesday.
That landed below the median forecast of 8.7% and showed inflation cooling through last month.
Tumbling gas prices counted for most of the slowdown, as high pump costs boosted inflation earlier in the year.

Spenders, rejoice.

The Consumer Price Index rose 8.5% in the year through July, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected the measure to climb 8.7% year-over-year. The print marks a sizeable cooldown/unexpected acceleration in the headline inflation rate following the 9.1% gain in the year through June.

 

The index went unchanged between June and July alone, according to the report. That was less than the median forecast of a 0.2% uptick and reflects a similar deceleration from June’s 1.3% monthly surge.

July’s reading means we might be past the peak of pandemic-era inflation. Plummeting gas prices powered much of the month’s cooldown, with the national average price per gallon sliding to $4.19 from nearly $5. That put significant downward pressure on the index, which had been lifted earlier in the year by skyrocketing energy prices.

Pump prices have fallen further still in August, suggesting the next CPI report could show a similar decline. The national average now sits below $4 per gallon, and the slump shows little sign of stopping.

That’s not to say the US is in the clear. Core CPI, which strips out food and energy prices, rose 5.9% in the year through July, matching the prior month’s 5.9% gain, although its month-over-month gain of 0.3% was much smaller than June’s 0.7% monthly rate. The core gauge is largely regarded as a better tracker of underlying inflation dynamics, as food and energy costs are fairly volatile. The still-elevated reading signals that tackling the inflation problem will involve more than lower gas prices, …read more

Source:: Businessinsider