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Saturday, April 30, 2011

All of Israel within Rocket Range under Hamas-Fatah State

A new illustrated map presented by the pro-Israel Americans for a Safe Israel ASFI shows that a Hamas-Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority state would leave all of what would remain of Israel within Katyusha range.

The map was created by Mark Langfan, a New York attorney and expert on military and strategic issues who has frequently appeared at Congressional committees on Capitol Hill.

A Hamas-Fatah PA state would allow the terrorist organization, whose stated aim is the destruction of Israel, to deploy Iranian and Syrian-supplied Katyusha missiles near all Israel urban centers.

Seventy percent of the population of Israel, and 80 percent of the country’s industrial base is located in the coastal region that includes Netanya and metropolitan Tel Aviv, AFSI pointed out. One large PA city is Tulkarm, located only a few miles east of Netanya and overlooking the high-speech north-0south Highway 6 (Kvish 6).

Jerusalem would be within ease range of Jericho, where

American military officers. Be'er Sheva already has been attacked by rockets from Gaza, as has been Haifa and the Galillie from Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon.

“Mahmoud Abbas, our supposed ’peace’ partner, has now joined forces with Hamas, the acknowledged [Hamas] terrorist group, AFSI wrote. This is actually a declaration of war against the State of Israel since Hamas has never disguised its intentions of destroying Israel.

“The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has used the diplomatic track, hoping to delude Israelis and the world with its words of peace, while pursuing its terrorist ideology. The truth is now out.”

It added that the creation of a new Arab state controlled by Hamas and Fatah would be “suicidal” for Israel.

Israel has been almost totally unified in its horror of the idea of Hamas being part of the Palestinian Authority. The Obama administration has only stated that it is “studying” the new agreement between Fatah and Hamas while Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter stated it thinks it is a great idea.

The Carter Center, founded in 1982 by Carter and his wife Rosalynn, commended members of Hamas and Fatah for "having the vision to begin the process of reunifying the Palestinian people.”

Carter added, “Based on my years of contacts with Fatah and Hamas, I am confident that, if handled creatively and flexibly by the international community, Hamas’ return to unified Palestinian governance can increase the likelihood of a two-state solution and a peaceful outcome.”

Syria invites Israeli rabbi to visit Damascus

Assad’s envoy in US conveys invite to Yeoshiau Pinto via US Jewish leader; Pinto's forefather was 17th-century Damascus rabbi.

With highly improbable timing, even as it guns down its own people while attempting to retain power, the Syrian government has invited an Israeli rabbi to visit the country where many of his forefathers are buried, and to pray at their Damascus gravesites.

Over the course of Mimouna celebrations at Moshav Gimzo, between Lod and Modi’in, last week, Jack Avital, the visiting head of the Brooklyn-based Sephardic National Alliance, told Rabbi Yeoshiau Pinto that the Syrian ambassador to the US, Imad Moustapha, had asked him to invite the rabbi to Syria.

One of Pinto’s forefathers, after whom he was named, was the rabbi of the Jewish community of Damascus in the first half of the 17th century.

Avital, one of the leaders of the Syrian-Jewish community of North America, has maintained good relations with President Bashar Assad and with Syrian officials in the US, and even headed small delegations of American Jews to Syriafor official visits in 2004 and 2006. A year ago, Avital told Pinto of his visits to Syria and suggested the rabbi visit there as well.

Pinto asked Avital to explore the possibility. An opportunity to do so arose at the wedding of Avidat’s daughter four months ago, attended by both Moustapha and the Syrian ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, following which Avital spoke with the two diplomats.

They extended an official invitation to Pinto and ensured that he would have all the necessary security arrangements in place. Preliminary preparations began, including bringing glattkosher food from Turkey for the rabbi’s tentative visit to Syria.

Last week, Pinto asked Avital about the condition of the very small Jewish community in Syria. Avital replied that not only was it doing well, but it backs Assad, and believes that he is the best possible leader for them. Avital, who shares that sentiment, also told Pinto that the earlier invitation to visit Syria was still on.

Attending Pinto’s Mimouna celebration that night at Moshav Gimzo were also the high concentration of cabinet ministers, other politicians, senior officers, businessmen and media people, which by now has become the norm in events related to the rabbi, who has drawn around him a powerful court of influential people seeking his proximity and advice in Israel and the US, between which he divides his time.

The Syrian Embassy in Washington did not respond to The Jerusalem Post’s queries on the planned visit. A spokesman for Pinto said that the rabbi would take the trip – along with Avital – once the situation in Syria calmed down.

Williamsburg, NY - Delivery Guy Posts Names, Address of Bad Tippers on His Blog

We usually tip 20% and, to be honest, it takes some really atrocious service to get us to go below 15%. But apparently there are a lot of tightfisted skinflints in this town, and one local man is fed up. Larry Fox, a 20 year old designer and developer, has a side job making deliveries for Brooklyn restaurants.

He's not satisfied with some of the gratuities he's received, so he's created the website 15 Percent to shame those who have screwed him and others out of their rightful remuneration. And he's posting the names and addresses of the allegedly lousy tippers, too.

One entry on the site, submitted by a delivery person named "Sam Paul," reads, "No tip [address redacted] last night, in middle of third monsoon of evening. elevator opens, i drip on floor, he laughs at me.

i say 20 dollars, he says here’s 20 dollars." Another goes a little something like, "[Name redacted] at [address redacted] tipped me one dollar to bring him a sandwich during a hail/rain/thunder storm….I hate you [redacted!]"

As you can see, we're not so comfortable publishing the names and addresses of people accused of unsatisfactory tipping. But Fox sure isn't.

He describes his Tumblr site, which launched a few days ago, as "a blog documenting people, and companies who have never seemed to work in the service industry, or don’t think to tip at least 15% on deliveries, and instead opt for 2 dollars on everything. This is for all the people who have been handed $80 on a $78 order and told 'keep the change.' Thanks ass-hole."

Reached by phone, Fox tells us, "I just got tired of all these big companies, these TV shows and movie sets giving us two or three dollar tips on a $90 order.

The excuse is that 'we can't tip because that's what corporate says' is wrong. I find it disrespectful. And I wanted to make people aware of that."

So, fair warning cheap tippers! To be honest, we're just glad Fox's blog wasn't around that time a weed delivery guy (i.e., drug dealer) lectured us for not tipping him anything.

Verizon to put location-tracking warning sticker on phones

Verizon says it will soon start slapping 'we can track you!' warning stickers on all new products.

NEW YORK - In the wake of a giant brouhaha over the news that Apple's iPhones record and store users' locations, Verizon Wireless says it will start slapping 'we can track you!' warning stickers on its products.

Verizon's announcement came in the form of a letter to Representatives Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Joe Barton, a Texas Republican. In March, they asked the four major wireless carriers to explain how and why they track mobile location data.

All four carriers acknowledged that they store location data for varying periods of time, but Verizon was the only company to suggest a warning label.

The company says it will begin including the removable sticker on all new devices it sells.

The sticker warns: "This device is capable of determining its (and your) physical, geographical location and can associate this location data with other customer information. To limit access to location information by others, refer to the User Guide for Location settings and be cautious when downloading, accessing or using applications and services."

Verizon also disclosed that it stores location data and other customer information for seven years. Sprint keeps the details for three years, while AT&T retains it for anywhere from a few days to five years. T-Mobile did not give a timeframe.

The carriers' responses came earlier in the month, but Congress first released them Thursday.

Each of the letters pointed to third-party applications as the real culprit.

Verizon said location-based apps "should give customers clear and transparent notice," while Sprint complained that it could no longer act as consumers' "trusted carrier with whom they have a trusted relationship to answer all of their questions."

Markey was unimpressed. In a statement on his site, he said the carriers' responses left him "with a feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty ... the disconnect is when third-party applications come in to play."

Meanwhile, Apple has been cleaning up the PR mess made after two British researchers released an open source application that let Apple's customers see the location data stored on their iPhones and 3G iPads.

The smartphone maker released a 10-part Q&A and statement on Wednesday admitting to a lack of transparency. It also promised a software update to fix a "bug" that retained data for more than a year instead of the intended few days .

הסגיר את "מאדוף החרדי", מוישי זוסמן, לישראל FBI

יותר משנה אחרי שהתפוצצה פרשת ההונאה הגדולה, מוישי זוסמן, שחשוד בהונאת עשרות חרדים

זוסמן, שעסק בגיוס משקיעים למט"ח, רכש במשך שנים את אמונם של משקיעים רבים, בהם משפחות מכובדות ומבוססות בבני ברק. כאשר "סיפק להם את הסחורה" והעביר להם ´רווחים´ נאים, הגיע בעזרתם לקשרים עם משפחות עשירות בעולם, וכך גייס הלה ל"השקעותיו" עשרות מיליוני דולרים מכל רחבי תבל.

על פי החשד, בשלב מסוים התברר כי את סכומי העתק שהועברו לו שלשל לכיסו הפרטי. בעקבות חשיפת הפרשה נמלט זוסמן ללונדון עם בני משפחתו.

לפני שברח, נפגש זוסמן עם חלק מהמשקיעים והודה בפניהם כי הכסף לא הושקע, אלא הוחזק אצלו ומהקרן חולקו ´הרווחים´ כביכול, כאשר ממשקיע למשקיע מועברים כספי הקרן החדשים.

"אני מאדוף החרדי", הודה אז האיש בפני המשקיעים ההמומים.

זוסמן גם הודה כי כל הדו"חות שהנפיק היו מזויפים, וכי גם אתר האינטרנט של החברה היה מזויף, והתבסס על ´דומיין´ (כתובת) מזוייפת, הדומה לאתר מסחר של חברת מט"ח מוכרת.

לאחר מכן נמלט זוסמן מלונדון ליעד בלתי ידוע.

ההתפתחות הדרמטית בפרשה אירעה לפני כחודש. הוא הגיע לארה"ב, ונעצר על-ידי ה-FBI. משפחתו טענה אז כי נעצר בשל שהייה בלתי חוקית בארה"ב, והשבוע הוא הוסגר, כאמור, לישראל

"רוב העדויות נגד זוסמן הם מאנשים שאינם נמנים על הקהילה החרדית", הוא אומר, "אבל לנו ידוע כי ישנם חרדים רבים בין המשקיעים שנפגעו, ואני קורא להם להגיש תלונה".

יצויין כי עד עתה, זוסמן שומר על זכות השתיקה ואינו משתף פעולה עם חוקריו.

זוסמן, שעסק בגיוס משקיעים למט"ח, רכש במשך שנים את אמונם של משקיעים רבים, בהם משפחות מכובדות ומבוססות בבני ברק. כאשר "סיפק להם את הסחורה" והעביר להם ´רווחים´ נאים, הגיע בעזרתם לקשרים עם משפחות עשירות בעולם, וכך גייס הלה ל"השקעותיו" עשרות מיליוני דולרים מכל רחבי תבל.

על פי החשד, בשלב מסוים התברר כי את סכומי העתק שהועברו לו שלשל לכיסו הפרטי. בעקבות חשיפת הפרשה נמלט זוסמן ללונדון עם בני משפחתו.

NY Times Fashion Section Features Lubavitch Hat

Spotting a Borsalino, a black wide-brimmed felt fedora, in the traditionally Jewish section of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is no strange thing. What was surprising was the wearer: Theophilus London, a hip-hop artist from Trinidad. “This one is from the Jewish store,” Mr. London said, motioning toward southern Williamsburg, where the haredi still outnumber the hipsters.

Called either a “black hat” or Borsalino, for the style’s most famous and expensive brand, the simple hat is most commonly associated with ultra-Orthodox non-Hasidic Jews, as well as members of the Chabad-Lubavitch sect, the Hasidic group based in Crown Heights.

But in recent months, the quasi-religious hat has not only popped up on the other side of Williamsburg, where skinny jeans and canvas sneakers still rule, but also in Cole Haan advertisements as a secular fashion accessory.

“I like wearing it because I know it’s genuine,” said Monika Jonevski, a marketing manager at Adidas who first saw one in the window of a hatter on the Lower East Side. “It’s been around in Jewish shops for ages.”

Mr. London didn’t seek his out, either. He was in Williamsburg recording a cover of the Nat King Cole song “Calypso Blues” when he stumbled across Bencraft Hatters, an old-school hattery on Broadway that offers more than 100 styles of felt hats by Borsalino, Stetson, Puertofino and Luigi Baroni. He bought a Puertofino for $120. “I liked the shape of it,” Mr. London said.

Since then, it’s become a part of his urban uniform. He wears it to pick up dinner at his local roti shop, to parties at the Top of the Standard, and even onstage.

This is not the first time that the Borsalino has hopped cultures. “This is an item of clothing that the Jews didn’t design, and didn’t invent, but they took it on and have given it a cachet in their own world,” said Samuel Heilman, a sociology professor at Queens College and the author of “Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra-Orthodox Jewry.”

While the tradition of Jews wearing black headgear goes back ages (it was a sign of mourning for the loss of Jerusalem), it wasn’t until the 1960s that ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students, as well as Chabad-Lubavitch Jews, began wearing the black fedora to distinguish themselves.

“As the differences between left and right begin to crystallize — when the trauma of survival is behind the Orthodox Jews and they’re re-establishing themselves in North America and Israel — they’re looking for some way to ensure they’re not assimilated, that they don’t disappear,” Professor Heilman said. “It’s not just the black hat. It’s the black suit jacket, the black pants and the white shirt, black shoes and glasses with black frames.”

Contemporary fashion has long drawn on religion for inspiration. “There are so many examples,” said Kenneth Ramaekers, director of Modemuseum Hasselt, a fashion museum in Hasselt, Belgium. Mr. Ramaekers cited Jeanne Lanvin’s and Balenciaga’s adaptation of the cassock in the 1920s and 1960s respectively; Jean Paul Gaultier’s 1993 women’s-wear collection, with its strong Hasidic inspiration; and Walter Van Beirendonck’s burqa look for men in 2008. “Designers have always loved the traditions of religious as well as military uniforms,” said Madeline Weeks, fashion director at GQ magazine.

But that may not explain the black hat’s newfound appeal on the street. “I don’t think the yeshiva boys or the hipsters get their black hats from any kind of religious background,” said Maya Balakirsky Katz, who teaches art history at Touro College and is the author of “The Visual Culture of Chabad.” “It’s all from ‘Mad Men.’ In the ’50s, when the actual Mad Men were wearing Borsalinos, yeshiva students who were living in Manhattan said ‘Oh, this is how to acculturate.’ And that style is back in fashion again.”

The trend is by no means limited to men. Leandra Medine, the author of the style blog The Man Repeller, who was raised as an Orthodox Jew, gave a tongue-in-cheek nod to women wearing the “temple topper” trend last November. “Some ladies find themselves taking these masculine cues to new heights, Crown Heights, if you will,” she wrote.

Added Mordechai Rubinstein, a former yeshiva student who is behind the men’s-wear blog Mister Mort: “Women are pulling these hats off better than men today. It’s so cool to see a woman wearing a Borsalino really well — brim down, crown pinched, tilted to one side, with such confidence.”

That’s not to say Mr. Rubinstein disapproves of the look for men. “A Borsalino is one of those classic pieces of men’s wear that every man should own,” he said. He gives a special acknowledgment to Mr. London. “Theophilus wears the hat, while most men are letting the hat wear them.

Mexico extradites drug kingpin to the U.S.

Benjamin Arellano Felix, the former leader of one of Mexico's most feared organized crime groups, had been incarcerated since his 2002 arrest. He is flown to San Diego to face racketeering and drug conspiracy charges.

Reporting from San Diego and Mexico City -- The Mexican government Friday extradited to the United States drug kingpin Benjamin Arellano Felix, the former leader of one of Mexico's most feared and powerful organized crime groups, whose ruthless reign transformed northern Baja California into a major drug trafficking corridor into the U.S.

Arellano Felix, who had been incarcerated in a Mexican prison since his arrest in 2002, was flown to San Diego and transferred to the downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he will be held under heightened security during court proceedings that are expected to last months, and possibly years.

The extradition marks the end of a long effort by U.S. authorities to get Arellano Felix into a U.S. courtroom. He faces racketeering and drug conspiracy charges as part of a San Diego federal grand jury indictment that has already led to the arrests and convictions of several of his brothers and associates from the cartel's heyday during the 1980s and '90s.

Arellano Felix, who headed the organization known as the Arellano Felix, or Tijuana cartel, was among the first of Mexico's modern organized crime bosses. With connections to Colombia, he and his brothers established a drug pipeline that funneled tons of cocaine and other drugs into California, according to the indictment.

Authorities allege the cartel generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, using the money to bribe Mexican military and law enforcement officials and to purchase weapons that enforcers would use to torture and kill enemies in Mexico and the San Diego area.

The effects of Arellano Felix's iron-fisted rule are felt to this day. Many families in Baja California are still searching for the whereabouts of people who disappeared during his years in power. The cartel popularized the use of chemicals to dispose of enemies, disintegrating bodies by dumping them into vats of lye and acid.

"The Arellano Felix organization has spread fear and violence on both sides of the border, and today's extradition is an important step forward in our effort to hold the alleged leaders of this criminal enterprise to account," said U.S. Assistant Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer.

Many observers doubt the case will ever get to trial, noting that every other defendant has pleaded guilty. If he cooperates with prosecutors, Arellano Felix could shed light on the deaths of numerous potential witnesses and a crusading Mexican prosecutor whose head was crushed in an industrial press. He could also implicate people the cartel bribed, said John Kirby, a former federal prosecutor who worked on the case.

"It shows they're serious," Kirby said, referring to the administration of Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Arellano Felix "could spill the beans on everybody. He had dealings with the highest levels of government, and in the church, in the military."

The extradition comes at a time of tense relations between the U.S. and Mexico, strained in part by leaked diplomatic cables that contained pointed criticisms by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual of the Mexican government's drug-war efforts. Calderon complained vociferously about Pascual's assessments, and Pascual offered his resignation in March.

Samuel Gonzalez, a former top organized crime prosecutor, said the extradition came as U.S. and Mexican officials were meeting in Washington to discuss the Merida Initiative, a package of U.S. aid for the drug war. At the State Department on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted her Mexican counterpart, Patricia Espinosa, at the third gathering of the Merida Initiative High-Level Consultative Group.

"It's a gift from Mexico," Gonzalez said of the extradition. "This is a way for Mexico to show its good intentions."

With most of its original leaders either arrested or dead, the cartel has splintered into rival factions in recent years, leading to brutal infighting that has all but wiped out the once-powerful group.

Arellano Felix's brother, Javier, was captured on a boat off Baja California in 2006 and sentenced to life in prison. Another brother, Ramon, the cartel's notorious enforcer, was gunned down in Mazatlan in 2002.

Benjamin Arellano Felix is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Monsey man pleads guilty to section 8 fraud

NEW CITY — A Monsey man who admitted to stealing $157,000 in federal rental subsidies, food stamps and Medicaid benefits was sentenced in Rockland County Court on Friday to five years' probation.

Benjamin Ruttner, 59, of 5 School Terrace has repaid about $150,000 of the stolen money, Executive Assistant District Attorney Gary Lee Heavner said.

Though Ruttner pleaded guilty to a felony count of second-degree grand larceny Jan. 7 and could have been sentenced by Judge Charles Apotheker to time in prison, Heavner said his office's primary concern in cases like this is restitution.

Heavner said that Ruttner will have to repay the remaining $7,000 over the course of the next two years and will lose his eligibility for certain public benefits.

"We have a felony conviction on this man that will affect him for the rest of his life," Heavner said, adding that about half of Ruttner's restitution will go directly to Rockland and the other half will go to the federal government.

No one answered the telephone at Ruttner's home Friday, but Kenneth Gribetz, Ruttner's defense attorney, described Apotheker's sentence as compassionate.

"This is a man who had no criminal intent," Gribetz said of Ruttner, a father of 12.
"If he had acted in proper fashion, he would have been entitled to Section 8 benefits and other benefits that he did receive .

Gribetz added that his client is contrite and realized he had acted improperly.

In the months leading up to Ruttner's November 2009 arrest, authorities charged about 60 others with stealing various amounts of money from numerous government subsidy programs. The crackdown, which began in June 2008, was a joint effort by the District Attorney's Office and the Department of Social Services.

Heavner said the crackdown has served as a deterrent to people who may have considered abusing public benefits programs and netted Rockland hundreds of thousands of dollars in restitution payments.

VIDEO: Bieber egged at Sydney concert

SYDNEY -- Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber refused to crack after coming under attack during a performance in front of thousands of screaming fans in Sydney, Sky News Australia reported Saturday.

The teen superstar was performing at the city's Acer Arena on Friday night, when six eggs were launched from the crowd.

Footage of the incident showed two eggs landing within a meter of the singer during a routine, before four more dropped seemingly from above him, smashing instantly at the front of the stage.

Bieber backtracked away from the audience as a helper quickly cleaned up the mess, before the show went on.

The incident prompted a storm of criticism on social networking sites with one fan taking to Twitter to warn the culprit, "Dear person who threw eggs at @justinbieber in Sydney, you now have over #9millionbeliebers after you, be afraid! We go harder than hard!"

Brooklyn soccer club owner charged with molesting 8-year-old girl

Stanislav Rozovsky

The owner of a Brooklyn soccer club was thrown in jail Wednesday after being charged with molesting an 8-year-old player last summer.

After dropping off kids from his Dynamo NY Soccer Club, Stanislav Rozovsky, 39, drove the only girl in the group to his Manhattan Beach home, where he attacked her, prosecutors said.

The girl did not report the August incidents until December, when she confided in a school staffer who called her mom, according to court papers.

"The child has a lot of details about the defendant's conduct," said prosecutor Jacqueline Kagan.

He pleaded not guilty and "denies the allegations," said his lawyer Alexandra Tseitlin.

Prosecutors said Rozovsky, who runs soccer camps and after-school training for south Brooklyn's Eastern European community, remained active in the program while out on bail following his February arrest.

He was shuttling his players around even though he has nearly 50 license suspensions, many of which he never answered.

That prompted Justice Patricia DiMango to triple his bail to $75,000 cash, effectively locking him up for the foreseeable future.

"There is little to no respect to court mandate or court rules," the judge said of his driving delinquencies.

New NY Schools Chief Pulled Over By NYPD

Two cops assigned to an elite Queens anti-crime unit are facing an Internal Affairs probe for allegedly not properly identifying themselves after pulling over Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott in his city-issued vehicle, officials said yesterday.

Walcott, who is credited with creating the NYPD's "Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect" slogan in the early '90s, complained directly to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, sparking the investigation, officials said.

Shortly before midnight Thursday, the two cops, a police officer and a sergeant, pulled over Walcott, who was not driving, a few blocks from his Cambria Heights home, for what sources described as having tinted windows and making a left turn without signaling.

"When Chancellor Walcott asked the officers to please tell him why they had been pulled over, the officer responded that they had failed to use a turn signal.

Chancellor Walcott told the officers that this was incorrect as he heard the turn signal," confirmed his spokeswoman, Natalie Ravitz.

He also identified himself as the schools chancellor and former deputy mayor, Ravitz said.

"After the officer ran the license and plates, the officer returned the driver's license and said they were free to go. At this time Chancellor Walcott asked the officer for her badge number," Ravitz added. "The officers were in plainclothes and did not identify themselves."

Neither Walcott nor his driver was ticketed.

The two officers told Internal Affairs last night they did provide their shield numbers and accused Walcott of being difficult.

'You have no right to pull us over,' " Walcott allegedly barked according to the officer, sources said.

NY/NJ: Holland Tunnel Closed After Shooting

Police shot a motorist at the Holland Tunnel

Police-Involved Shooting at Holland Tunnel:


NEW YORK - Police shot a motorist in the Holland Tunnel Friday evening after the man attempted to run down officers with his car, according to reports.

Shots were fired just before 7 p.m. when Port Authority officers ordered a car with two male passengers to stop after passing through the toll plaza on the New Jersey side. It is unclear why the car was being pulled over.

The driver refused to pull over and cops gave chase, reportedly boxing in the car at one point. When officers tried approach, the driver tried to use his car as a weapon, according to published reports.

Officers then fired several shots, wounding one of the two men. According to EMS, a young man was transported to Bellevue Hospital with a gunshot wound.

None of the police officers were injured.

Traffic was severely backed up due to the investigation during rush hour.

More details will be added to the story as they emerge.

Friday, April 29, 2011

San Francisco mulls circumcision ban: Is procedure mutilation - or good medicine?

Has the time come to cut out circumcision? Pro-foreskin forces say so, and some in San Francisco say they've collected enough signatures to put a proposal to ban circumcision before voters.

The proposal would make it a misdemeanor to perform circumcision on a male under the age of 18 within the city. Anyone who ignored the ban would face a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.

Circumcision should be outlawed because "it's excruciatingly painful and permanently damaging surgery that's forced on men when they're at their weakest and most vulnerable," a leading proponent of the ban, 59-year-old Lloyd Schofeld, told Reuters.

Since circumcision is a ritual practice for Jews and Muslims, some legal experts say such a ban might prove an unconstitutional infringement of religious freedom, Time reported. But others say religions don't get a "free pass."

What do doctors say?

The American Academy of Pediatricians says the procedure cuts both ways. In its official policy statement on circumcusion - issued in 1999 and reaffirmed in 2005 - the academy said the procedure has potential health benefits, including reduced risk bladder infections and transmission of HIV/AIDs and other sexually transmitted diseases.

But the academy said there were potential downsides to the procedure, pointing to anecdotal reports that circumcision can reduce men's sexual sensation and clear evidence that it can be painful and lead to complications like bleeding and infections - and in rare instances, to partial or complete amputation of the penis.


Given the pros and cons, the academy says "the procedure is not essential to the child's current well-being" and that "parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child."

Eighty percent of American men are circumcised, the New York Times reported last year. But across the nation, fewer parents are choosing to circumcise their boys. In 2009, 32.5 percent of newborns in the U.S. were circumcised, down from 56 percent in 2006.

Of the slide, Georganne Chapin, executive director of the Tarrytown, N.Y.-based anticircumcusion organization Intact America, told the Times, "Word has gotten out that it's not necessary, it's harmful, and it's painful."

Monsey NY: Pair Arrested Accused In Monsey Car Break-Ins

Two Spring Valley men have been charged with possessing property stolen from cars in the village and in nearby Monsey, town police said Friday.

Jerome Thomas Brown, 24, and Robert Wilmer Boone, 25, are accused of having a dozen cellphones, a wallet, a GPS unit and other items, Ramapo police said.

Officers arrested them Wednesday on a felony count of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and a misdemeanor count of possession of burglar's tools.

The tools were used to enter some of the cars, Detective Lt. Mark Emma said.
Some of the cars were not locked, police said.

Car break-ins and thefts from unlocked vehicles have been occurring across Rockland.
Many police departments report that unlocked cars allow thieves easy access to personal items left on seats and dashboards.

"We've made arrests in the past, and it restarts with different suspects," Ramapo Detective Sgt. Brian Corbett said.

Brown and Boone, both of South Madison Avenue, remained in the Rockland County jail in New City on Friday.

Boone was being held on $10,000 bail, while Brown was being held without bail, according to the jail.

Ramapo police recovered property believed stolen from cars when they arrested Brown and Boone, Corbett said.

Many of the cellphones had dead batteries.

"We're looking to reunite people with their property," Corbett said.

Anyone who believes property was stolen from their cars during the past two to three months can call the Ramapo Police Department at 845-357-2400 and ask for the Detective Bureau.

Kelly: Police Probing Whether Bronx Assistant DA Dodged DWI Charge

NEW YORK — As the Bronx District Attorney continues to look into allegations of widespread fixing of traffic tickets, authorities are now investigating whether a Bronx prosecutor got a big break on a suspected drunk driving stop.

On Friday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Al Jones, that the Internal Affairs Bureau was looking into whether 34-year-old Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Troiano got preferential treatment from authorities.

Troiano was charged with drunk driving in connection with an August crash on the Major Deegan Expressway. However, the current investigation surrounds whether Troiano was let off the hook during an earlier DWI stop in 2009.

“We’re investigating that allegation. So far, we haven’t been able to find anything in the records about that supposed stop or bringing that individual into the station,” Kelly said.

Attorney Howard Weiswasser released a statement Friday afternoon saying that “there was absolutely no 2009 incident, DWI or otherwise, involving Ms. Troiano.”

The timing couldn’t be worse for District Attorney Robert Johnson. His office has a grand jury looking into allegations of traffic ticket fixing by Bronx police officers. It is still unclear, however, whether the allegations involving Troiano are connected to the wider fixing probe.

Weiswasser insisted that his client “has zero involvement in the investigation or prosecution of the Ticket Fixing situation that is currently before the Bronx County Grand Jury.” He went on to say that Troiano “intends to go to trial to clear her name.”

Kelly would only continue to say that the “allegation is under investigation.”

“We haven’t been able to get any indication of [special treatment], but that investigation goes forward,” he said.

Park Slope, Brooklyn, drug ring that sold $70K worth of 'Sin City' heroin to undercover cops busted

Authorities busted a dozen members of a drug ring that sold more than $70,000 in heroin to undercover cops in a leafy Brooklyn neighborhood, officials said.

Edwin Perez, 32, and two of his closest associates - Francisco Perez, 33, and Jose Trinidad, 42 - were the main suppliers for Park Slope drug dealers, authorities said. They were collared on Tuesday.

Nine others have since been arrested and also face charges of conspiracy and selling drugs, authorities said.

After his arrest, cops seized Edwin Perez's trike - a three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder motorcycle - and found about 1,400 glassines of heroin stashed in a front compartment, officials said.

Perez's helmet was inked "Sin City" - the same stamp he used on his product sold to the undercover agents, authorities said.

The local drug king often used his motorcycle to peddle drugs, officials said. Perez sometimes used his car and on one occasion, sold drugs as his preschool-aged child sat in the front seat, authorities said.

Officers for the NYPD's Narcotics Borough Brooklyn South and the Drug Enforcement Agency's New York Field Division worked together on the yearlong investigation.

Aside from the dozen defendants tied to four drug crews, authorities busted eight other suspected dealers.

L.A.: Sheriff's helicopter pilots being targeted by laser beams an ongoing problem

L.A. County Sheriff's Department helicopters have been targeted from the ground by individuals shooting laser beams six times in the last few months, officials said this week.

The incidents have occurred in Maywood, La Puente, Pico Rivera, and West Covina. In four of those cases, sheriff's deputies made arrests of suspects between the ages of 15 and 25. And two of the arrests have come this month.

"This a serious matter," said Sgt. Morrie Zager, a helicopter pilot with the Sheriff's Aero Bureau. "The pilots' disorientation could cause loss of control of the aircraft."

A 16-year-old Los Alamitos boy was arrested this week after sheriff's deputies said he pointed a laser into one of their helicopters as it flew above Interstate 5 and Rosemead Boulevard.

The pilot of the aircraft was able to make a safe landing.

The extent of the problem in the Los Angeles area became evident in a report released in January by the Federal Aviation Administration that said Los Angeles International Airport recorded the highest number of incidents in the country last year involving aircraft and laser beams, which can can distract or temporarily blind pilots.

The nation’s third-busiest airport had 102 reported incidents with 201 more at area airports, including 32 at Los Angeles/Ontario International Airport, 32 from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, and 31 at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, according to the FAA.

The review also found that the number of laser events almost doubled in 2010 from the previous year to more than 2,800 -- the highest number of reports since the federal government began tracking them in 2005.

In California, a conviction for aircraft laser pointing can result in up to three years in state prison and a fine of up to $2,000. Some have been pushing for even harsher penalties.

For their part, sheriff's officials said the first step has been to better document such incidents internally. But they also are coordinating with federal and local agencies to combat the problem through education and enforcement.

"The awareness of law enforcement has been heightened on the ground and in the air," said Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker. "But we need the public's help to protect everyone's safety."

Suit added to Apparel

Dov Charney

Three female former American Apparel employees who sued company boss Dov Charney for sexual harassment have now filed another suit, this time accusing him of defamation and invasion of privacy, according to reports.

Irene Morales, Alyssa Ferguson and Tesa Lubans-Dehaven claim in their new Los Angeles suit that fake blogs filled with naked pictures of them appeared on the Internet after they sued the T-shirt and leggings magnate.

"The blogs purported to appear as if Plaintiffs Ferguson and Morales created blog profiles themselves, and posted nude or semi-nude pictures as if Plaintiffs were admitting to an unlawful scheme of extortion," according to a copy of the suit posted online. A company lawyer declined comment.

New York - Schumer Targets 'Highway Robbery' of Hidden E-Z Pass Toll Fee

New York - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says many drivers using the high-speed E-Z Pass lanes on New York highways are getting hit with a hidden fee.

Schumer says that because the high-speed lanes don’t warn a driver when their account is low, as happens in the slower lanes, drivers are being hit with $50 fees for depleting their accounts used to pay tolls.

Schumer is asking the state Thruway Authority to create a text messaging system that can be sent to drivers so they know when their E-Z Pass account is running on empty.

E-Z Pass operates the higher speed lanes at most upstate Thruway tolls and on the New York City bridges.

Atlanta: Clayton teacher strips at school, arrested

A school teacher who may have been upset about losing his job was arrested after he disrobed at his school and walked around naked.

Harlan Porter was caught by another teacher walking the halls of B.C. Haynie Elementary School in Morrow with his clothes off, according to a police report obtained Wednesday by the AJC.

It was around 3:20 p.m. Friday, after the students had gone home, and no child saw him naked, said Capt. James Callaway of the Morrow Police Department.

"Had he been seen by students, he would have been charged with child molestation," Callaway told the AJC.

Porter, 31, was charged with public indecency and indecent exposure, and booked into the Clayton County Jail. By Wednesday, he was out on a $2,000 bond.

The charges are a misdemeanor on a first offense, and Porter has no prior convictions, according to the police report.

Clayton County school system officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Callaway, the police captain, said Porter was a teacher at B.C. Haynie but that he'd learned before the incident that his contract would not be renewed.

The police report says Porter had been behaving unusually. Teachers told police that he was a vegan who'd sworn off soft drinks, yet he'd gone to Taco Bell for tacos in the hours before he stripped.

The arresting officer wrote in the incident report that Porter spoke of a "new level of enlightenment" and said "he wanted everybody to be free now that his third eye was open."

"I then explained the obvious problem with his third eye being opened in public," the officer wrote. "He readily agreed that his decision to remove his clothing posed a problem and stated that he understood why I would likely have to place him under arrest."

Porter put his clothes back on at the officer's request, and the officer then double lock handcuffed him into the back of a police cruiser.

Porter told the cop that he understood his career with the Clayton school system was probably over. He said he still wanted to teach, but "on a new level, with hands in the earth, gathering the essence and learning how to love one another and fully appreciate the spiritual realm."

NY: 8-Year-Old Arrested For Selling Gun At School

This is the gun police said was brought to P.S. 107

8-Year-Old Arrested For Selling Gun At School:

NEW YORK — The father of an 8-year-old boy was facing criminal charges Friday, after his son allegedly brought a loaded gun to school in Queens and sold it to a classmate, Jay Dow reports.

Authorities said the 9mm pistol was brought back to P.S. 107 in Flushing by the third grader who told his mother he paid three dollars for what he thought was a toy.

Police were called and officers arrested 54-year-old Ignacio Galvan who told them he bought the gun years ago for protection.

He’s charged with criminal possession of a weapon and endangering the welfare of a child. His 8-year-old son was facing juvenile charges

Driver on Manhattan Road Reading Book

VIDEO: Driver on Manhattan Road Reading Book:

A motorist who texts or talks on cell phone while driving is bad enough. But imagine if you looked over and saw someone driving - and reading a book.

That is exactly what two friends saw Thursday morning on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive in Manhattan -- and they have video evidence to prove it. They say the driver should be held responsible.

Tania Ramirez and Llajarya Hane ride to work together everyday. They've seen other drivers doing some strange things: texting, eating a bowl of cereal, putting on make-up, picking up stuff from the floor and more.

When they saw a man reading a book while driving his Honda during morning rush hour on the FDR it was a first. Hane, who was in the passenger seat, recorded it on a cell phone.

"You can see his thumbs, you can see him holding the book open," Hane said.

Ramirez couldn't believe how blatant the guy was.

"There's no excuse for reading a book while you're driving," Ramirez said. "he may be very smart, but that was the dumbest thing I've ever scene."

AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair said that distracted drivers create as many as 8,000 accidents every day. Studies show that texting while driving makes you 28 times more likely to get into an accident.

And for reading?

"I don't think we've even measured that," Sinclair said. "My dear old grandfather used to say common sense is not common. And this is another example of that fact."

As far as Fox 5 knows, this distracted driver didn't cause any accidents Thursday morning.

Fox 5 has forwarded this video the NYPD, which is reviewing it.

Texting and talking on your cell phone are both against the law in the Tri-state area. Reading a book while driving could fall into the recklessly driving category and would therefore be against the law as well.

NY: Councilman's Aide Found Dead

Hope Reichbach

A 22-year-old aide to a Brooklyn city councilman was found dead inside her downtown Brooklyn apartment on Thursday, sources tell NBC New York.

Hope Reichbach, who worked for Councilman Steve Levin and was also the daughter of Judge Gustin Reichbach, was found dead at her Schermerhorn Street apartment Thursday evening.

Sources tell NBC New York they suspect she overdosed; it is not clear whether it was intentional or an accident. Police don't suspect foul play.

Reichbach, who grew up in Boerum Hill and attended Hunter College High School, ran for district leader last year, according to her former campaign website.

She wrote on the site about wanting to unite her generation and help build a stronger Democratic party in Brooklyn.

In a campaign video where local leaders endorsed Reichbach, community organizer Betty Lester praised the young woman's dedication.

"She has a passion to improve the quality of her district," Lester said.

Bronx cops accused of attacking man during traffic dispute found guilty of official misconduct

P.O. officers Michele Anglin (in black) and Koleen Robinson leave Bronx courtroom after the verdict sentence

Two Bronx cops accused of beating a man during a traffic dispute were convicted of official misconduct Thursday - but jurors were deadlocked on gang assault charges.

Jurors found that Michelle Anglin and Koleen Robinson, 27, acted improperly in their capacity as police officers during a street brawl with a Bronx spoken-word poet.

"Wow," a shocked-looking Anglin whispered as the guilty verdicts were read.

The cops were accused of pistol-whipping Marlon Smith, 38, blinding him with pepper spray and striking him with a baton until his head cracked open.

They also assaulted a man who came to Smith's aide and never flashed police identification, prosecutors said.

Jurors have not reached a verdict on the two counts of gang assault against each cop.

The off-duty cops were driving through Williamsbridge on Aug. 18, 2008, when they allegedly told Smith to close his "f------" car door.

Not knowing they were cops, Smith had words with the pair, calling them "bitches," prosecutors said.

The cops - who work out of Transit District 12 in the Bronx - face a minimum of five years in prison if convicted on all charges.

NYPD ticket-fixing probe could cripple many criminal cases, sources say

Scores of criminal cases could be jeopardized by the Bronx ticket-fixing probe, sources told the Daily News.

Prosecutors and police are worried that once the names of those charged in the scandal are released - even those hit only with NYPD disciplinary charges - that defense attorneys will pounce.

Defense attorneys will likely argue that their clients were set up by rogue cops. Or they'll simply attack officers' credibility.

Sources said the DA's office and internal affairs investigators have already begun reviewing arrests made by officers touched by the scandal - those suspected of wrongdoing and witnesses testifying before the grand jury.

At least one case is already in danger - the DWI arrest of a former Bronx prosecutor who was recently informed by the DA's office that the arresting cop had been caught on a wiretap talking about getting two summonses fixed.

Sources said other defense lawyers have been told about potential issues with arresting officers in their cases.

"Obviously, we're awaiting the results because many of the lawyers will be confronting the charged officers at trial," said former Bronx County Bar Association president Marvin Raskin, referring to the grand jury probe.

"The rule of law covers everyone, not just the average citizen."

Israeli woman, husband killed in Morocco bombing

Michal and Massoud & Café in Marrakech where attack took place

China-based couple travelling in Morocco, Michal Weizman and Massoud Zikri, among 16 people killed in suicide attack in Marrakech café on Thursday. Woman was in late stages of pregnancy. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemns terrorist attack

An Israeli woman and her Jewish husband, who have been residing in China for the past few years, were killed in a suicide bombing in Morocco on Thursday. A total of 16 people were killed in the attack.

Michal Weizman Zikri, 30, and her husband Massoud, 32, were visiting Massoud's father in the country to celebrate Passover.

They were in a café in Marrakech when a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in the site on Thursday.

Israel's Consul General in Shanghai Jackie Eldan said the two were parents to a 3-year-old boy, David Yosef. Michal was was six months pregnant. Massoud worked in export and import.

"They're a wonderful couple, among the pillars of the Jewish community in Shanghai," Eldan said. "This is a terrible blow to the community, a very painful loss. They were socially active and maintained close ties with Israel."

A Moroccan minister said all signs point to al-Qaeda as being responsible for the attack.

A massive terrorist bombing tore through a tourist cafe in the bustling heart of Marrakech's old quarter on Thursday in the country's deadliest attack in eight years.

At least 20 people were wounded in the blast a few minutes before noon in Djemma el-Fna square, one of the top attractions in a country that depends heavily on tourism, Moroccan Interior Minister Taib Chergaoui said.

At least eight French citizens were being treated at Marrakech's main Tofail Hospital, along with one Canadian, a British citizen and three Moroccans, emergency room chief Hicham Nejmi said. Others were being treated at a military hospital and a handful in private clinics.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that "the United States condemns in the strongest terms today's terrorist attack that killed and injured innocent people at a cafe in Marrakech, Morocco. We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of this cowardly attack and stand with the people of Morocco at this difficult time."

The UN Security Council condemned the attack "in the strongest terms" and expressed condolences, while UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "appalled by today's bombing" and extended his "deepest sympathies," according to statements.
ישראלית בחודש התשיעי להריונה ובעלה היהודי נהרגו אתמול (חמישי) בפיגוע התאבדות במרקש, בירת מרוקו. לבני הזוג תינוק, שבזמן הפיגוע היה אצל סבתו. בפיגוע נהרגו 15 בני אדם, ביניהם 11 תיירים ושלושה תושבים מקומיים.

בני הזוג התגוררו בשנים האחרונות בסין, והיו פעילים מאוד בקהילה היהודית בשנחאי. ככל הנראה השניים הגיעו לבקר את אביו של הבעל, המתגורר במרוקו, לרגל חג הפסח.

הפיגוע אירע בשעות הצהריים העמוסות בבית קפה הממוקם בג'אמעה אלפנה, כיכר השוק הגדולה, שהוכרה כאתר מורשת עולמית של אונסק"ו. על פי הדיווח בטלוויזיה המרוקאית, עשרה מההרוגים בפיגוע הם אזרחים זרים, בהם שישה צרפתים

שרת החוץ האמריקאית הילרי קלינטון גינתה את הפיגוע וכינתה אותו "מעשה פחדני". קלינטון הציעה למרוקו את עזרתה של ארה"ב בלכידת העומדים מאחורי המעשה. "ארה"ב כולה עומדת לצד אזרחי מרוקו ברגעים קשים אלה של טרור", אמרה קלינטון"

בשנים האחרונות מרוקו ידעה תקופת שקט יחסית, ולא אירעו בה פיגועים גדולים, אולם ב-2003 נהרגו 45 בני אדם בפיגועי התאבדות בקזבלנקה. למרות השקט היחסי, כוחות הביטחון המרוקאיים פועלים באופן שוטף נגד גורמי טרור ומבצעים מעצרים על בסיס קבוע

"אני, טוב לי עם אחמד. הגברים היהודים חלשים"

מרינה (שם בדוי) בסך הכל רצתה להרגיש אהובה - אבל בקרית גת כולם התייחסו אליה כאל "הרוסייה". לפני כשלוש שנים הכירה, כמו נערות רבות באזור הדרום, צעיר בדואי שגרם לה לחוש מקובלת. כיום היא מתגוררת עמו ברהט, מנותקת מעברה ומצפה לילד שני לאחר שמשפחתה ניתקה את הקשר איתה

כבר שלוש שנים שמרינה (שם בדוי, השם המלא שמור במערכת) לא ראתה את אמה ואת אחיה. בשנים האלה הפכה הצעירה בת ה־19 וחצי להיות אמא בעצמה לילד בן שנה ומצפה לתינוק נוסף, אך את משפחתה היא השאירה מאחור בקרית גת.

הדרך בה היא בחרה ללכת לא מצאה חן בעיני האם והאח, וכשהגיעה לרגע בו היה עליה להחליט לאן היא רוצה לפנות - אם לחזור לחיק משפחתה או להינשא לצעיר בדואי ולגור איתו ברהט - היא הלכה בעקבות האהבה.

"הם התייחסו אליי יפה", מספרת מרינה, שעלתה ארצה בגיל שבע. "כל הזמן הזמינו אותי לשתות ולבלות איתם. קיבלתי מה שרציתי מהם - בגדים, מתנות, לקחו אותי ממקום למקום. אני מרגישה יותר שייכת אליהם. אף אחד לא חטף אותי ולא הכריח אותי. אני הולכת לאיפה שרוצים אותי".

אמא כל הזמן עובדת

הסיפור של מרינה הוא מקרה פרטי של תופעה מוכרת: נערות צעירות ואבודות, שבסך הכל מחפשות קצת חום ויחס חם, פוגשות בגברים צעירים, שמצדם מחפשים דרך שונה מהמסלול המסורתי שהוכתב להם מילדות.

בדרך כלל מדובר בבחורים שעברו את גיל ה־20, יש להם כבר עבודה והפרוטה מצויה בכיסם. הם מתרחקים מהשבט המסורתי כדי להתקרב קצת יותר לעולם המודרני - בו הם חיים, אבל לא ממש יכולים להנות מכל מנעמיו - ויוצאים בלילות לבלות בפארקים הציבוריים של קרית גת ובחופי הים של אשקלון ואשדוד, שותים קצת וודקה ומתערים עם האוכלוסייה היהודית.

באותם אתרים מסתובבות הנערות הצעירות, בדרך כלל בגיל ההתבגרות, אלה שהוריהן עסוקים מאוד בפרנסת הבית ואין מי שיהיה לצדן כדי להשגיח, לכוון ולהעניק אהבה או סתם יחס חם. כשהן פוגשות את הגברים המבוגרים מהן בכמה שנים ומקבלות מהם את כל מה שרק יבקשו ואז המוצא, הלאום והבדלי התרבות כבר לא משחקים תפקיד.

"עליתי לישראל כשהייתי בת שבע", ממשיכה מרינה לשפוך אור על התופעה שמטרידה את המשפחות משני הצדדים. "כבר בהתחלה הבנתי שאני לא ישראלית, כולם דאגו להגיד לי את זה. בכל מקום הייתי 'הרוסייה', כל הזמן אמרו: 'הנה הרוסייה המסריחה' וכל מיני דברים כאלה. לא התחברתי לאנשים. שם הייתי 'היהודייה' ודווקא שאני באה לפה אז אני 'הרוסייה'.

אני וחברה שלי, שהיא כמוני, כבר בגיל 12 התחלנו להסתובב לבד בפארקים בעיר. התחלתי לשתות, לעשן, סתם כל מיני דברים כאלה. כשהייתי יותר גדולה אז היינו נוסעות לאשקלון לחוף וככה התחלנו להסתובב עם בדואים. בבית אף אחד לא אמר לי מה לעשות - אמא כל הזמן עובדת, אז עשיתי מה שאני רוצה".

הדתיים ברהט משטנקרים

את אחמד (שם בדוי, השם המלא שמור במערכת) היא הכירה לפני קצת יותר משלוש שנים. בהתחלה הם היו מסתובבים עם חברים שלו בפארק, אך נוכחות המשטרה הפריעה להם. "איך שהיו רואים אותי ואת חברה שלי עם בדואים, היו עושים להם חיפוש באוטו", היא מספרת. "הם איימו עליי שיספרו לאמא שלי. אני לא סיפרתי לאמא או למשפחה, כי ידעתי שהם לא יאהבו את זה. אם אח שלי היה יודע, הוא היה מרביץ לי כי הוא כל הזמן אמר שהוא שונא אותם".

לאחר שהיחסים בין מרינה לאחמד התהדקו, הם התחילו ללכת לרהט - שם לפחות לא הוטרדו על ידי השוטרים. "היינו שותים ומעשנים בפארק ואז נוסעים לשבת ברהט באיזה שיק (אזור במאהל הבדואי המשמש לקבלת פנים - ש.ל)", מספרת מרינה.

"בהתחלה לא ליד המשפחה שלו, כי הם לא אהבו אותי, הם חשבו שלא טוב שהוא יהיה עם יהודייה. גם יש שם ברהט אנשים דתיים כאלה והם גם לא אוהבים את הבנות שהן לא ערביות והם כל הזמן משטנקרים למשטרה שיש בחורה שברחה מהבית. כדי שלא יהיה בלגן, היינו שותים בקרית גת או באשקלון ואז נוסעים לבלות בלוד או ביפו ולפעמים בשיק, בקצה של רהט, שמה לא היו מציקים לנו", היא ממשיכה ומספרת.

בעוד מרינה מצאה את מקומה, חברתה עזבה לבסוף וחזרה הביתה לקרית גת. "בהתחלה היא כל הזמן היתה איתי", מספרת מרינה. "התחלנו ביחד, אבל היא - לא יצא לה טוב. היא היתה שותה יותר מדי, עשתה יותר מדי שטויות והלכה עם אנשים לא טובים. הם היו נותנים לה מכות וחבר שלה היה נותן אותה לחברים שלו עד שהיא הפסיקה לבוא לפה. אבל לי זה לא קשור, כי אנשים רעים יש בכל מקום".

"אני, טוב לי עם אחמד והוא לא עושה לי רע. חוץ מזה, גבר - צריך שיהיה חזק, לא סתם חלש כזה. אצל היהודים גברים הם כמו נשים, הומו כזה, לא חזקים. וערבים, יש גברים חזקים שנלחמים על בחורה - ככה זה צריך להיות", מצהירה מרינה.

"מה, אני לא בן אדם?"

כל השיחה הזאת קצת מטרידה את אחמד. "מה, אני לא בן אדם? מה אני חיה?", הוא שואל ולא מבין מדוע סיפור חייו - בתור גבר ערבי שנישא לנערה יהודיה - מהווה בכלל נושא לדיון. "אני לא מבין, אני גר במדינה הזאת כמו כולם וזכותי ללכת לאן שאני רוצה ולהיות עם מי שאני רוצה. מה זה ככה, אני אזרח סוג ב'? אצלנו אין בעיה, בחורה שלא מוסלמית יכולה לבוא ולחיות איתנו".

ומה לגבי ערבייה שתלך עם יהודי?

"זה מה פתאום, זה אצלנו בושה. היו בנות גם בשבט שלנו שרצחו אותן על דבר כזה. אחות שלי תתחתן רק עם מוסלמי, אצלנו זה מסורת. אסור שאישה תלך עם גבר לפני חתונה או תתחתן עם לא מוסלמי".

בעוד שעל הליכה עם גבר לא מוסלמי עלולה נערה בדואית לקבל עונש מוות, את מרינה דווקא קיבלו הוריו של אחמד בזרועות פתוחות.

לדברי מרינה, נעשו ניסיונות של מחלקת הרווחה בקרית גת ושל משפחתה להחזיר אותה הביתה, "אבל אני לא רוצה והם לא מבינים את זה", היא אומרת בנחישות. "פעם היתה פה משטרה. חיפשו סמים וכשראו אותי, אז שוטר אמר שהערבים הביאו עוד זונה ואני רציתי לבכות, אבל אני יותר חזקה. אני יודעת שאחמד יותר גבר מכל אחד מהשוטרים האלה וככה אמרתי לשוטר, והיו מכות בבית ועצרו אותי, אבל לא איכפת לי".

מרינה סיפרה כי מצד המשפחה שלה יש נתק מוחלט: "אני לא בקשר עם אף אחד כבר יותר משלוש שנים. סיפרתי להם על אחמד לפני החתונה והיה בלגן

גדול בבית. אח שלי שמע על זה, רצה לבוא לבית ולהרוג אותי. ואמא בהתחלה ניסתה לדבר ולהגיד לי שאני לא אלך שמה יותר ושאעזוב את אחמד. אחרי שאמרתי לה שאנחנו מתחתנים, היא אמרה שיותר אין לי בית בקרית גת ולא אמא. אומרים שאצל ערבים אישה זה כלום, אבל אני פה כמו מלכה".

לטענת תושבים, בני מיעוטים מגיעים לבתי הספר בשעות היום בכדי לפתות נערות צעירות, לפעמים בנות 13 בלבד, לצאת איתם לסיבוב. בשנת 2008, בעקבות כנס שכותרתו היתה: "החיבור הבלתי טבעי בין קטינות תושבות העיר לבני מיעוטים", פרסם אגף הרווחה בעיריית קרית גת, בניהולו של חיים שלום, סרטון שאמור להרתיע את בנות העיר מ"לישון עם האויב".

ל"מערכה" נרתמו גם משטרת ישראל ועוד מספר גופים, מה שעורר בזמנו שלל טענות על קמפיין גזעני שמנוהל בחסות גופים ממלכתיים.

התופעה נוגעת בכולם

מהמשטרה נמסר בתגובה: "במשטרת ישראל פועלים בטיפול מקרים פליליים בלבד וכל עוד לא הוגשה תלונה לגבי עבירה פלילית אין טיפול משטרתי. במשטרה אין התייחסות לדת, גזע או לאום ובעיני החוק כולם שווים. באם ישנם טענות לגבי התנהגות שוטרים יש לפנות על כך למחלקה לחקירות שוטרים".

מנהל אגף הרווחה בעיריית קרית גת, יהודה לגמי, מסר בתגובה: "מה שמעניין אותנו זה שהן קטינות. אם הן מעל 18 הן יכולות לעשות מה שהן רוצות. הטיפול בתופעה אינה מזווית של התבוללות אלא מהצד החוקי. חשוב לנו לדאוג שילדות יהיו במקום בטוח ונורמטיבי, שיילכו לבית הספר ויתפתחו, שירכשו מקצוע ויתקדמו. חלק מאוד גדול מזה זה הטיפול במקרים של חיזור אלים, תוקפני, תוך שימוש בכוח ואיומים מצד הגברים, לאו דווקא בני מיעוטים. התופעה נוגעת בכולם, כשבת בורחת מהבית זה לא עניין של עדה או מוצא. הרבה פעמים הבעיה מתחילה ממצב כלכלי קשה ובעיות בבית, משם היא מחפשת לקבל תמיכה".

מהאגודה לזכויות האזרח מסרו בתגובה: "הנושא של יחסים בין דתיים הוא נושא מורכב. אפשר היה להעלות שאלות על מנהגים דתיים שתאמץ המשפחה, על התמודדות עם גזענות מהסביבה - אבל לצערנו, הגורמים היחידים שמשמיעים את קולם בנושא הזה הם גורמים שמונעים מאידאולוגיה גזענית ושוביניסטית ועוסקים בעיקר בהסתה נגד הציבור הערבי".

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sleepy Hollow: firefighter accused of arson will likely be charged in 2nd fire

SLEEPY HOLLOW - A volunteer village firefighter accused of intentionally setting a fire before joining his colleagues in fighting the blaze will likely be charged with setting at least one other fire, according to law enforcement sources.

Trent Bronner, the department's most active firefighter, was arrested Wednesday on a felony arson charge - an allegation made more shocking because he posted photos of the March 20 fire on his Facebook page.

Law enforcement sources say video surveillance footage caught him at the scene before the fire, though it does not actually show him starting it. The fire left 19 people homeless.

"It's a dark day," Fire Chief John Korzelius said shortly before Bronner was sent to jail. "This is truly the ultimate sin for the Fire Department."

Detectives said today they are also investigating whether Bronner may have set other fires in the area. They are reviewing several village fires last year that were deemed “suspicious.”

“There were a couple (of fires) that were reported suspicious last year,” Police Chief Greg Camp said. “We’re continuing our investigation into those fires.

Whether this person was involved or not is nothing I can comment on at this time.”

Bronner, 21, a former standout athlete at Sleepy Hollow High School, has been with the department for three years. He will be suspended pending the outcome of a police investigation. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

He was arraigned just before 4 p.m. in Village Court. His sister and mother were in the courtroom. Bail was set at $150,000, and he was taken to the Westchester County jail. He is due in court Monday.

His sister cried as he was led out of the courtroom, and he turned to her with a sad expression. He spoke to his mother, asking her to pick up his backpack.

The fire broke out at a two-family home at 13 Cedar St. around 5 a.m. and quickly spread to the neighboring building, a three-family home at 19 Cedar St.

Nineteen people, including five children, were in the two buildings at the time.
All escaped without injury, but the homes were badly damaged and the blaze was quickly labeled suspicious.

Police said Wednesday that the fire was set outside 13 Cedar St. They did not think Bronner had any relationship to anyone who lived there.

On the day of the fire, resident Julio H. Chapa told The Journal News that his wife smelled smoke and that when he went to investigate, he saw flames outside the building near the home's heating fuel tank.

Police did not suggest a motive, but a 2003 study by the U.S. Fire Administration said: "One of the primary motives for firefighters who commit arson is to be seen as a hero. They may be the first to call in a fire, the first on the scene, and one of the most eager, excited and enthusiastic members of the response team."

The department's website lists Bronner as responding to the most fire calls - 201 - from April 2010 to March of this year. Korzelius said Bronner was an active and "pretty good" firefighter.

Steve Borys coached Bronner on the Sleepy Hollow football team and cursed as he was told of the firefighter's arrest.

"He was a great kid," Borys said,
adding that Bronner was a team captain in 2007.

"I love him; love him," Borys said.

A neighbor of the young firefighter, 83-year-old Kaye Patterson, was also stunned to learn of his arrest.

"I just can't believe it," she said. "He must need help."

Patterson lives across the hall from the Bronner family in a high-rise building at 126 Valley St. She has known Bronner since he was 4. She said he was kind to all of the neighbors and twice carried her downstairs on a stretcher when she was hurt.

Bronner's page on the Facebook social-networking website gives the impression of a young man devoted to the mission of fighting fires. It includes well-known quotations about the dangers of the job and the courage needed to overcome them.

"When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished," reads one. "What he does after that is all in the line of work. Firemen never die, they just burn forever in the hearts of the people whose lives they saved."

A photograph from his Facebook page shows him wearing his Fire Department dress uniform and receiving what looks like a plaque from an officer. Another shows his turnout gear, his last name sewn onto the back of the jacket.

Among the photos is another image: a blurry shot of the homes on Cedar Street, a window bright with the flames that he's accused of sparking.

On Monday, two days before his arrest, his page included this entry: "Our life is short, your duties many, your assistance great, and your reward sure; therefore faint not, hold on and hold up, in ways of well-doing, and heaven shall make amends for all."

Bronner had been working in the photo department at Walgreens in Tarrytown — a short walk from his home and from the site of the Cedar Street fire — for about two weeks.
A colleague, Angie Jimenez, described him as a "good co-worker" and a nice guy who followed directions

Former Miss USA Says TSA Agent "Touched My Vagina"

Former Miss USA ‘Molested’ by TSA:

DALLAS, TX — The latest report of molestation at the hands of TSA agents comes from former Miss USA Susie Castillo, whose tearful account of her experience at the Dallas Fort Worth Intl. Airport already has more than 200,000 views on YouTube.

"I'm crying because, as an American, I have to go through this," she says in the video.

Castillo said she decided to avoid the body scanner on her way back from Rio De Janeiro because she travels frequently and is concerned about radiation.

"The other line was empty, it seems like nobody wants to use that scanner or go through it," Castillo recalled. She was then approached by a Dallas Fort Worth TSA agent who tried to get her to go through the scanner, at which point she says she refused.

An older TSA agent then began her pat-down, and what happened next left Castillo in tears.

"She actually felt, touched my vagina," Castillo said. "I completely feel violated; this woman touched my vagina four times." She later added,

Castillo said that an older woman who worked for the airport attempted to comfort her as she sat crying, saying, "Well honey, you know what, I'd rather go through the scanner or get a pat-down than, you know, be blown up." In the video Castillo recalls thinking, "Okay, I guess I'm supposed to find comfort in that, but I didn't."

According to the TSA blog, invasive, physical search procedures are justified because, "There's nothing punitive about it - it just makes good security sense."

According to a CNN report, however, complaints about TSA search procedures are actually one of 70 "behavioral indicators" that help agents identify "high risk" passengers.

"I'm so upset because they're actually making me choose between getting molested, because that's what I feel like, or go through this machine that's completely unhealthy." Castillo said.

The ex-Miss USA and current model and actor says she will file grievances with the TSA and, in her video, calls on others to do the same.

'They raped me with their hands': Lara Logan reveals terrifying details of Egypt sex attack

Lara Logan has spoken out for the first time since her terrifying sexual assault in Egypt, describing how attackers raped her with their hands.

The 39-year-old CBS foreign correspondent said she was convinced she was going to die when the frenzied mob tore her away from her film crew and bodyguard in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

A group of at least 200 men beat her, pinched her and tore at her clothes in a 40-minute attack which only ended when a group of women came to her aid.

She told the New York Times: 'For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands...What really struck me was how merciless they were.

'They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.'

She revealed the terrifying details in an interview with the newspaper today, and is expected to speak about her attack at greater length in an appearance on 60 Minutes on Sunday.

Ms Logan, who returned to work this month, has not previously spoken about the assault, which reverberated around the world and highlighted the dangers women face while reporting.

But she said these will be her first and last interviews about the vicious assault. She said: 'I don’t want this to define me.'

She was attacked on February 11, on her first day back in the city - and the day Hosni Mubarak's government finally fell.

She had been forced to leave a week before after she was detained and interrogated by Egyptian forces.

Ms Logan and her film crew made their way to Tahrir Square, where a jubilant crowd begged her for autographs .

But suddenly, as was preparing a report for 60 Minutes, the mood turned violent.
The camera battery went down, forcing the crew to stop.

As they worked to replace it her Egyptian cameraman heard one of the men in the crowd say he wanted to pull her pants down in Arabic.

She told CBS: 'Suddenly, Bahar [the Egyptian cameraman] looks at me and says, "we've got to get out of here".

'I thought, not only am I going to die here, but it's going to be just a torturous death that's going to go on forever and ever and ever.'

She told the Times: 'That was literally the moment the mob set on me.'

Jeff Fager, the chairman of CBS News, told the Times her producer, Max McClellan, her two drivers were 'helpless because the mob was just so powerful'.

He said her bodyguard managed to hold on to her for a while, but the mob proved too strong and carried her away.

Mr Fager said: 'For Max, to see the bodyguard come out of the pile without her, that was one of the worst parts.'

Ms Logan described how her hand was sore for days afterwards, and she only later realised it was because she had been holding on so tightly to her bodyguard's hand.
She told the Times: 'My clothes were torn to pieces.'

The attack lasted 40 minutes. She was only rescued when a group of local women brought 20 Egyptian soldiers to her head.

Mr Fager said he hoped Sunday's interview would help raise awareness of the sexual violence women journalists face when reporting from conflict zones.

He said: 'There’s a code of silence about it that I think is in Lara’s interest and in our interest to break.'

CBS immediately flew her back to the U.S. The channel posted guards outside her Washington home, where she hid herself away to recuperate along with her husband Joseph Burkett and their two young children.

Mr Fager said: 'She was quite traumatised, as you can imagine, for a period of time.'
Four days after the attack, he and Ms Logan drafted a statement released by CBS, until now the only official comment.

It said she had 'suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.'

Ms Logan said she made the decision to speak out soon after the assault, on behalf of 'millions of voiceless women who are subjected to attacks like this and worse.'

She said the statement 'didn’t leave me to carry the burden alone, like my dirty little secret, something that I had to be ashamed of.'

While physical violence against men is often discussed by the media, sexual threats against female journalists are rarely mentioned.

Ms Logan said, with sexual violence 'you only have your word. The physical wounds heal. You don’t carry around the evidence the way you would if you had lost your leg or your arm in Afghanistan.'

Just two months after the attack, Ms Logan has already vowed to return to Afghanistan and other conflict zones, but said she has decided she will not return to Middle Eastern countries while widespread protests are ongoing.

She told the Times: 'The very nature of what we do - communicating information - is what’s undoing these regimes. It makes us the enemy, whether we like it or not.'

More than a dozen foreign journalists have been kidnapped in Libya since the uprising began there.

One, Times journalist Lynsey Addario, said she was groped and harassed by her Libyan captors, a story which Ms Logan said was a 'setback' to her own recovery.

Swastikas and hate messages found on L.I. home

Four young men are in custody on Long Island, after a bizarre attack on a family’s home in Suffolk County.

The message of hate was loud and clear, multiple swastikas, and profanity, was plastered on a Rocky Point home.

Police caught four teens literally wet-handed with paint, they also allegedly torched the homeowner’s car.

“I don’t understand this. I’m Italian. I’m not Jewish,” said Frank Marciano, the homeowner.

Marciano says this is no case of bias.

It’s the latest round of an escalating war against his neighbor’s son.

It may be hard to imagine images much more hateful than these.

But believe it or not, police say this is not a hate crime.

In the state of New York, police have to be able to determine the victim was targeted specifically for his religion.

Because Marciano wasn’t, experts say it’s just a nasty case of vandalism.

This afternoon, the Marciano’s started to clean up the mess, as shadowy figures watched from the windows across the street, where no one came to the door to tell Eyewitness News their side.

Now, police are trying to determine how to charge the teens.

NY: SI man accused of killing parents called unfit for trial

The Staten Island man accused of butchering his parents inside their home and then fleeing to Israel is unfit to stand trial, it was announced today.

Eric Bellucci, 31, was ordered into the custody of high-security state psychiatric facility after two court-appointed psychiatrists determined he doesn’t understand the charges against him and can’t assist in his own defense, state Supreme Court Justice Leonard P. Rienzi ruled this morning.

Bellucci is charged with two counts of murder for the Oct. 13 stabbing death of his parents, Arthur, 61, and Marian, 56, inside their Annadale home.

His bizarre behavior while in police custody has included his refusal to be fingerprinted, not entering the courtroom for scheduled appearances and declining to discuss his case with his attorney.

“We consulted our own psychiatrist and after careful deliberation, agreed not to contest the state’s findings,” said DA Daniel Donovan. “The defendant will undergo comprehensive evaluation and treatment at a secure state facility until such time as he is deemed fit to stand trial and face justice for his brutal crime.”

Bellucci is due back in court on April 26, 2012.

Prosecutors say he stabbed his parents to death inside their posh Poillon Avenue home and then drove to Newark, where he hopped a flight to Tel Aviv.

He was arrested at Ben Gurion International Airport attempting to buy a ticket for a Turkish Airlines flight to Beijing, with a layover in Istanbul.

Israeli authorities shipped the accused killer back a few days later.

Bellucci’s father was a Corcoran real estate executive, and his mother ran a health-care business. They had been expecting their first grandchild when they were killed.

“My heart goes out to the family and friends of Marian and Arthur Bellucci, who continue to suffer from this unspeakable tragedy,” said Donovan.

Kosher hummus war rocks NY

Retailers at Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood refuse to sell Sonny and Joe's chickpea spread until manufacturer settles dispute with former workers

Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood is known across the United States as a calm and serene place, and in recent years has even been ranked one of the 10 best places to live in, but the New York Post says a recent war over kosher hummus has been rocking the neighborhood’s tranquility.

The Royal Supermarket chain, owned by Zaid Sarsor, had joined a growing list of Park Slope groceries which are refusing to sell one of New York’s veteran chickpea spread brands – Sonny and Joe’s.

As opposed to the recent boycott on Sabra Hummus, Sarsor is not protesting the Israeli-Arab conflict but rather a work dispute involving Sonny and Joe’s manufacturer Flaum’s Appetizing.

The boycott was initiated by several of the neighborhood’s grocery owners after learning that Flaum’s owes $260,000 in back wages to former employees.

Sarsor, who has switched Sonny and Joe’s with Israeli-made Sabra Hummus, say Royal will carry Sonny and Joe’s again when the company settled with its workers.

“If the owner does the right thing, which he should have done by now, we’ll bring it back,” he said.

Park Slope Green member Joseph Sanchez, who according to the NY Post is spearheading the campaign, said he would make do with other appetizers in the meantime.

“I enjoy any spreads and snacks that are made by companies that treat workers with dignity and respect,” he told the newspaper. “The strong support from Park Slope retailers shows that this neighborhood won’t condone the selling of sweatshop products.”

The chickpea spread is one of scores of kosher food products made at Flaum’s Appetizing’s Scholes Street factory since 1918.

Flaum’s owner, Moshe Grudhut, lost a court battle about two years ago and was ordered to pay his former workers $260,000 in back wages. According to a company official, however, the management is still negotiating with the workers.