News Article | April 18, 2017
Chicago (AFP) - US authorities launched a nationwide manhunt Monday for a gunman who shot and killed an elderly man, and then posted a video of the seemingly random attack on Facebook. Police in Cleveland, Ohio working on the case with help from investigators at the FBI and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), have offered a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Steve Stephens, the accused shooter. Stephens, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio, who was described as armed and dangerous, was also placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list, a designation officials hope will help raise public awareness about the case. The manhunt spread across the region within a few hours after the homicide, with authorities on the alert for Stephens in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan. By midday Monday, the search for the accused murderer had spread nationwide. "Our reach now is basically all over this country," Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams said at a news conference. "This is what we would consider a national search." Stephens is accused of fatally shooting Robert Godwin Sr, 74, who was walking home from Easter dinner on Sunday afternoon, when he was apparently picked out at random. According to a timeline of events created by police and Facebook, Stephens posted a video on Sunday afternoon saying he intended to kill, and followed up two minutes later with video of the shooting. In that second video, Godwin is shown with a gun to his head and then falling to the ground after Stephens fires a shot. In a third video 11 minutes later, streamed live from Stephens's car, he says he intends to kill others. "I killed 13, so I'm working on 14 as we speak," Stephens said. "I'm just driving around hitting motherfuckers, man. I just snapped man, fuck." So far, however, police say they are aware of only one shooting victim. The incident was the latest disturbing crime captured on Facebook video, including the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old girl, two fatal shootings, and the kidnapping and torture of a disabled 18-year-old man. In this instance, Facebook took down Stephens's videos and disabled his account about two hours after he first started uploading. Justin Osofsky, vice president of global operations for the social media giant, acknowledged in a company blog post, that the delay was too long. "We know we need to do better," Osofsky said. "As a result of this terrible series of events, we are reviewing our reporting flows to be sure people can report videos and other material that violates our standards as easily and quickly as possible," he said. Osofsky said Facebook received the first report about the video depicting the murder more than an hour and 45 minutes after it was posted. "We received reports about the third video, containing the man's live confession, only after it had ended," he added. Police issued an arrest warrant for Stephens, described as a six-foot one-inch, 244-pound (1.85 m, 110-kilo) black man with a full beard, who was last seen in a white Ford Fusion with temporary license plates. Authorities were assuming he was still with his vehicle more than 24 hours later, and discounted reports that he might be on the run in Pennsylvania. Stephens's mother told CNN she called him on Sunday after learning about the video, and he told her he was shooting people because he was "mad with his girlfriend." Police said the woman he referred to was in a safe place. Cleveland detectives also made contact with Stephens by phone early in the investigation, Williams said. "They tried to, of course, convince him to turn himself in and, of course, that hasn't happened to date," he said, adding that officers had searched dozens of locations to find the suspect. "If there's somebody who is helping Steve or think you're helping Steve, you're really not. You're going to get yourself in trouble, along with him," Williams warned. Stephens worked for Beech Brook, a behavioral health agency serving children through mental health services, foster care and adoption, at-risk youth and other programs. In his video, Stephens displayed his Beech Brook badge. "We are shocked and horrified like everyone else," Nancy Kortemeyer, a spokeswoman for the facility told CNN. "To think that one of our employees could do this is awful."
News Article | May 1, 2017
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council (Council) announced that four new companies joined its membership organization in the first quarter of 2017. The Council’s newest members, Blue Canopy Group, LLC; CACI International Inc; E3 Federal Solutions, LLC; and SureID, Inc.; all provide product, technology or service solutions to the government. “I am thrilled to add these four leading government contractors to our membership roster,” said Marc Pearl, President & CEO. “In addition to the Council’s robust first quarter, we are excited that our newest members have the opportunity to take advantage of all of the programs we have scheduled for the coming months. We look forward to adding the thought leadership perspectives of Blue Canopy, CACI, E3 Federal Solutions, and SureID into our initiatives.” The Council focuses on facilitating the vital exchange of ideas and perspectives between industry and government in the Homeland Security Enterprise. Since January, members of the Council have participated in numerous forums including roundtable discussions with leaders from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Management Directorate, FBI, and Federal Emergency Management Agency; and presented at the DHS Reverse Industry Day III. The second-quarter programs will feature events with leadership from the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Congress; and two out-of-town Executive Tours at Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities. Large, mid-tier, and small member companies lend their senior executives and subject matter experts to participate in the Council’s range of programs and Thought Leadership Committee (TLC). The Council’s TLC brings together the best and brightest thought leaders from its membership to engage with administration officials, congressional leaders, and other stakeholders in a manner that allows them to share ideas and lessons learned, and to offer insightful points of view on the most pressing issues our country faces in accomplishing the homeland security mission. The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council is a not-for-profit, non-partisan membership organization comprised of senior executives and their subject matter experts from the leading large, mid-tier, and small companies that provide homeland security technology, product, and service solutions to our nation. Our mission is to bring government officials and their executive-level counterparts from industry together so that we can jointly discuss the best ways to solve mission challenges. https://www.homelandcouncil.org/.
News Article | November 22, 2016
Ammonium Nitrate Market size is expected to have a moderate growth at a CAGR of over 3% from 2016 to 2024. The growth in the demand of fertilizers and explosives will be the major drivers for the market. The fertilizer industry is the major driver for global ammonium nitrate market demand, being more stable than urea and with more usage as fertilizer throughout the globe in the forecast timeframe. The global fertilizer nutrient (N+P2O5+K2O) consumption was estimated at over 180 million tonnes in 2013 and reached close to 190 million tonnes in 2015. In the next eight years, this demand is expected to grow significantly. Another major ammonium nitrate market size driver is the growing demand of explosives and gunpowder. With growing military expenditure and mining activities, the demand for explosives is expected to escalate from 2016 to 2024. According to studies conducted by Global Market Insights Inc., the global mining industry is expected to cross USD 740 billion by 2024. This will have a positive impact on the global ammonium nitrate market demand. Request for an in-depth table of contents for this report @ https://www.gminsights.com/request-toc/upcoming/818 However, strict regulations regarding the handling of ammonium nitrate issued jointly by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) will pose a threat on the market growth and expansion of the industry. It has been recorded as moderately hazardous and this will act as a major restrain to the ammonium nitrate market share. Natural and synthetic are key product variations. The naturally occurring mineral (ammonia nitre) is found in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Almost all the ammonium nitrate used in the industry today is synthetically manufactured by Haber’s Process followed by Ostwald Process. Another method to synthetically produce ammonium nitrate crystals is through a variant of the Odda Process. Europe is the major market for ammonium nitrate with over 30% of the global ammonium nitrate demand, followed by North America. United States has almost 25% agricultural land. This will affect the ammonium nitrate market in the fertilizer industry in the upcoming future. North America, led by the US, accounted for more than a third of the global military expenditure in 2015. This will drive the market for explosives positively and will ultimately have a great impact on the market demand of ammonium nitrate. Asia Pacific countries are mostly agriculture dependent and will have a significant role in the market of ammonium nitrate. With growing demand of agricultural end products in China and India, the demand for fertilizer is forecast to increase from 2016 to 2024. The rising demand of mining explosives in China and India will also propel the ammonium nitrate market. Certain regulations in Australia regarding proportions of ammonium nitrate in fertilizers may restrain the market. Expansion of agricultural lands in Latin America and certain CIS nations will have a positive impact on the market for ammonium nitrate fertilizers. Some of the market players involved in the manufacturing of ammonium nitrate are Orica, Enaex S.A, CF Industries Holdings, Inc., San Corporation, OSTCHEM Holding Company, EuroChem Group AG, Austin Powder International, Abu Qir Fertilizers Co, Neochim PLC, Fertiberia SA, Uralchem JSC, Vale Fertilizantes and Dorogobuzh JSC. Orica has entered a long-term supply agreement with CF Industries to supply up to 800,000 tons of ammonium nitrate per annum in North America in 2015. Global Market Insights, Inc., headquartered in Delaware, U.S., is a global market research and consulting service provider; offering syndicated and custom research reports along with growth consulting services. Our business intelligence and industry research reports offer clients with penetrative insights and actionable market data specially designed and presented to aid strategic decision making. These exhaustive reports are designed via a proprietary research methodology and are available for key industries such as chemicals, advanced materials, technology, renewable energy and biotechnology.
News Article | October 28, 2016
Technical Help in Engineering and Marketing (T.H.E.M.), a leading North American provider of single-serve flexible packaging solutions, and the exclusive North American representative for Sanko Machinery Co., will feature two new, high-performance machines at Pack Expo 2016: 1. The Sanko FR-3. The fastest liquid pouch machine of its kind in the world, the FR-3 now includes more features for enhanced versatility. 2. The Sanko FC-1000α. This 16-lane, high-speed powder stick packaging machine has been introduced with new features for enhanced efficiency and simplified operation. Consumer brand representatives, retailers, and supply chain partners will experience a first-hand demonstration of both machines in operation at the T.H.E.M. Pack Expo Booth E-8105, November 6-9, McCormick Place, Chicago, IL. Sanko FR-3: A Decisive Advantage for Brands Marketed in Liquid Pouches. Capable of operating at speeds over 230 cycles per minute, the FR-3 is the fastest liquid pouch machine in its class. The FR-3 is available in narrow web and multi-lane configurations, and can be set up for both three- and four-sided form-fill-seal packaging of liquid products. The machine runs continuous motion while it squeegees the product out just prior to heat sealing. Because of this production design you no longer have to worry about product “drip” into the seal area of the pouch. “The latest FR-3 model is not only fast, but incredibly versatile with highly intuitive controls,” commented Neil Kozarsky, CEO and President of T.H.E.M. The FR-3 stores project parameter data for each product to be packaged. It can run viscosity ranges from water to thick pastes with the same pumping system and from 1 ml pouches to 500 ml with no major machine changes. In fact, most adjustments: bag length, I-notch positioning, perforation, fill volume and cutoff can all be made via a simple touch panel display. Additional adjustments can be made in a similar fashion, even while the machine is in operation. With the help of T.H.E.M., and utilizing the Sanko FR-3, Cane Simple Liquid Sugar recently introduced the first individually packaged liquid sugar product designed for single-serve consumption. It was also the first commercially available edible product in North America to be produced on the Sanko FR-3. The FR-3 has enjoyed a very favorable response among a broad range of CPGs. According to Kozarsky, “Customers were not only impressed by the speed of the machine; they were equally impressed by the measurable savings it offers, due to enhanced efficiencies in OEE’s and packaging materials.” The FR-3 uses less film because of its near zero head space, which helps lower material costs. A proprietary ultrasonic seal cleaning system allows sealing of products containing particulates, like spices or cosmetics, virtually eliminating the possibility of leaks. Another FR-3 benefit of zero head space is the up to 40 days of additional shelf life that products experience, thanks to reduced oxygen contact during the form-fill-seal process. T.H.E.M. has a wide range of FR-3 initiatives in development for products including high-end cosmetics, condiments, beverage concentrates, skin lotion and pet care. The FR-3 is also well suited to package soup concentrates, toppings and salad dressings, in addition to cosmetic and personal care products. The adaptable system accommodates liquid filling for a broad range of consistencies, including gels and pastes, while a proprietary ultrasonic system allows sealing of products containing particulates. FC-1000α: The Next Level of Stick Pack Machine Performance. The Sanko FC series machines have established a reputation for simple operation, reduced maintenance, versatility and high performance for liquid and powder flexible stick packaging. The new FC-1000α powder stick packaging machine includes a number of new features designed to significantly enhance performance and operation. “This new generation FC-1000 is truly in a class by itself,” explains Kozarsky. “All of the FC-1000’s have amazing durability and longevity, most are still running after many, many years in production. With this latest model, Sanko has made several improvements and a number of enhancements to create a machine that deserves all the attention it’s been getting.” New Color HMI with easy-to-read functions allows for observance of PLC-ISO diagnostics, like film tension and temperature controls while the machine is running. Several of its systems have been re-designed to make the machine easier to operate, more robust, and easier to use for a broad range of products. Snapsil®: A single serve technology that T.H.E.M. supports across a variety of applications. Snapsil® semi-rigid pouches and blister packs feature a patented audible “snap-opening” function that allows consumers to open the package with one hand. With a comprehensive array of configurations, Snapsil® has broad market applications for single-serve and portion-specific products, including: T.H.E.M. supports its exclusive North American Snapsil® partnership with product evaluation, testing and commercialization services. The company recently provided contract packaging support for the introduction of a line of innovative craft beer from the Foxboro Brewing Company using Snapsil® technology. The four varieties of beer concentrate are available in 50ml packs that produce a ready-to-drink 12 oz. beverage when combined with ten ounces of carbonated water. Much like the broader food and beverage sector before it, the alcohol products category is beginning to embrace the advantages of single-serve, and T.H.E.M. has been preparing accordingly. Indicative of this is the recent approval of the company’s food facility in Marlton, NJ by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for the storage, packaging and distribution of alcohol-based products. T.H.E.M. recently opened a 20,000 sq. ft. facility dedicated to non-food contract packaging in nearby Mt. Laurel, NJ. This new facility will support Snapsil® and single-serve production for a variety of categories including, household, automotive, industrial, lawn and garden, and other similar products. Further, T.H.E.M. is in discussions with a select number of contract packagers to expand the contract packaging base strategically across North America. SUPPLY CHAIN CONTINUITY T.H.E.M.’s unique continuity-of-supply-chain support model enables customers to develop a single-serve packaging program from concept to commercialization, and in a manner that aligns with their needs, operations and core competencies. In many cases, customers will perform pilot runs at a T.H.E.M. contract manufacturing facility, and then purchase a machine, and continue to work with T.H.E.M. to support scale-up, full commercial production, in addition to supporting product line extensions and select seasonal offerings. About T.H.E.M. Technical Help in Engineering and Marketing (T.H.E.M.) was founded in 1973 as one of the first providers of innovative packaging solutions in North America. The company is best known for commercializing Sanko Stick Packaging in the United States. Working in conjunction with select packaging and equipment manufacturers, T.H.E.M. offers a comprehensive array of packaging solutions designed to take brands from initial concept to full-scale national or global production. For more information on T.H.E.M.’s flexible packaging machinery and contract manufacturing services, please visit http://www.them.net. For more press information, please contact: Ilena DellaVentura Delia Associates T: 908.534.9044 E: idellaventura(at)delianet(dot)com
News Article | January 7, 2016
This week, President Obama outlined a series of new executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence in the U.S. The most controversial part of the plan is a provision requiring all gun sellers to not only be licensed, but to perform background checks on the people to whom they’re selling firearms. This includes sellers at gun shows and online. In a statement to reporters, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that more and more guns are being sold over the Internet. Specifically, she mentioned the "dark web"—the encrypted underbelly of the Internet where users can trade in illegal goods anonymously. Perhaps the best-known example of a darknet market (or DNM) was Silk Road, before it was shut down in 2013. But how exactly do gun sales work on the dark web black market—and how prolific are they, to warrant a specific mention from the head of the U.S. Department of Justice? To answer these questions, Fast Company spoke with Nicolas Christin, assistant research professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He’s one of the researchers behind a recent deep-dive analysis of sales on 35 marketplaces from 2013 to early 2015. Surprisingly, Christin says that gun sales on the dark web are not all that common. "Weapons represent a very small portion of the overall trade on anonymous marketplaces," he says. "There is some trade, but it is pretty much negligible." Drugs are far more common. Specifically, MDMA and marijuana each account for about 25% of sales on the dark web, according to Christin's research. But weapons are so uncommon that they were lumped into the "miscellaneous" category, along with drug paraphernalia, electronics, tobacco, Viagra, and steroids. Together those account for maybe 3% of sales. Back in 2012, a Silk Road sister site for weapons called the Armory shut down a few months after launch due to lack of business. It relaunched under new leadership, but in 2014, someone from the site told Vocativ the Armory was making just 10 to 40 gun sales per month. In 2015, another marketplace called Agora also stopped allowing lethal weapon sales. There just isn’t a large demand for guns on the dark web. One reason is because guns are hard to send through the mail, unlike drugs, which can be easily hidden and shipped in small quantities. Also, the dark web is riddled with scammers who take the buyer’s money and run, never delivering a gun at all. Another reason people don’t buy guns on the dark web? They don't need to. To acquire a gun through the black marketplace, a buyer would actually have to jump through more hoops than they would to buy a weapon in person. Chritin explains: "Why would you go through the hassle of purchasing Bitcoin, logging into an anonymous marketplace, purchasing weapons from an online dealer, and potentially going through the further hassle of reassembling various weapon parts shipped in multiple parcels to your house, when you can get these weapons legally, e.g., at a gun show—without much of a background check?" I also spoke with Gwern Branwen, an independent writer and researcher who served as a moderator for the subreddit r/darknetmarkets. Branwen has written in-depth about the workings of the dark web, analyzing sales data and translating it into detailed spreadsheets. "When I stopped paying attention to the DNMs in June 2015, gun sales were still minuscule," he says. He pointed me to a document showing Silk Road sales from 2011 through 2013. "Gun sales are so low that the SR1 spreadsheet does not include any entry relating to them." His data on the known arrests and prosecutions related to online black markets like Silk Road showed 312 prosecutions as of May 2015; 138 were from Silk Road, six from Agora. Most of the items sold were drugs—MDMA was the most popular (26 arrests), followed by marijuana (17), and LSD (16). Three arrests were gun-related. So, either Lynch has data we don’t, or she’s confused about what exactly the dark web is. I reached out to both the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), but did not receive a response. It’s possible, however, that Lynch was referring to online marketplaces like Armslist, "the largest free gun classifieds on the web." Armslist isn’t part of the dark web, but it does facilitate the buying and selling of guns privately and mostly unregulated in a way that is actually easier than on darknet marketplaces. The president's executive action would crack down on illegal sales by forcing sellers on Armslist to register as gun dealers. To aid in the government's new policies, the ATF will get 200 new agents and put $4 million toward tracking illegal gun sales online. "The industry is shifting and growing," Lynch said. "If it does stop one act of violence, this will be worth it."
News Article | December 14, 2016
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--VCA Charities and Hill’s Pet Nutrition are marking the 1.5 millionth meal served to pets in need through the VCA Pet Food Pantry Program. The celebration on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at the historical All Souls Church in New York, NY, will recognize the major milestone in their six-year partnership. Hill’s supports the VCA Pet Food Pantry program, which was initiated by VCA Charities in 2010 to provide pet food to pet parents stricken by the economic downturn. The program was designed to help families continue to care for, and draw emotional support from, the animals they love as they struggle through financial hardship and hunger. In its first six years, the VCA Pet Food Pantry program has expanded to more than 30 locations throughout the United States and Canada, providing free pet food to clients of existing food pantries. “We started the Pet Food Pantry program to provide healthy, nutritious pet food to families who could not otherwise afford it in the local communities we serve,” said Art Antin, Chief Operating Officer for VCA Animal Hospitals. “By providing these 1.5 million free meals, we have helped many families in need hold on to the loving and comforting bond their pets provide.” Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the maker of the Hill’s Science Diet®, Hill’s Prescription Diet® and Hill’s Ideal Balance™ brands, donates premium pet food to VCA’s Pet Food Pantries across the U.S., and has made a commitment to expand the current partnership by supporting additional pet food pantries with pet food donations over the next few years. “Our mission at Hill’s is to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets,” said Kostas Kontopanos, President of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, North America. “We want to help transform lives, and this partnership with VCA Charities enables us to do that by keeping pets with their families during a time of need, when unconditional love is needed most.” In furthering its mission, Hill’s has a long-standing history of helping pets in need through its Food, Shelter & Love® program, which has donated more than $280 million worth of Hill’s Science Diet® brand foods to more than 1,000 shelters in the U.S. since 2002. Hill’s also comes to the aid of communities impacted by disaster. In the past four years, the Hill’s Disaster Relief Network has helped feed cats and dogs displaced by disaster by delivering free pet food to 167 shelters and veterinary clinics across the country in response to 61 major incidents. VCA Charities continues to support programs, organizations, and causes that promote pet healthcare education, proactive veterinary care, proper pet nutrition, and prevention of cruelty to animals. In furthering its mission, VCA Charities partners with the American Red Cross in their Disaster Relief Network, and provides free exams, boarding, and vaccinations for pets displaced or injured during a disaster or emergency. The Dec. 14 event will include a staging of the 1.5 millionth meal served to a dog from a local New York City shelter. In addition, the event will feature a range of speakers, including senior leadership from VCA Charities and Hill’s Pet Nutrition; a representative from the Food Bank for New York City’s Harlem location; and Jeff Perryman, a Special Agent and Response Team Canine Handler with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and his canine, Ike. Media interview and photo opportunities will be available. VCA Charities is a 501(c)(3) with a mission to end medically unnecessary euthanasia. Established in 2005 by the founders of VCA Animal Hospitals, VCA Charities has helped feed thousands of pets, provided free medical treatment, and donated time and money to pet charities globally. Please visit the VCA Charities website and blog to find out the most up-to-date information about VCA Charities and its programs at www.VCAcharities.org. Founded more than 75 years ago with an unwavering commitment to pet nutrition, Hills' mission is to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets. The right nutrition combined with the devotion of veterinary professionals can transform the lives of pets; and healthier and happier pets can transform the lives of pet parents. Hill's is dedicated to pioneering research and groundbreaking nutrition for dogs and cats based on a scientific understanding of their specific needs. HILL'S® Prescription Diet® therapeutic pet foods, HILL'S® Science Diet® and HILL'S® Ideal Balance™ wellness pet foods are sold through veterinarians and pet specialty retailers worldwide. For more information about Hill's, our products and our nutritional philosophy, visit us at HillsPet.com, HillsVet.com or Facebook, keywords "Hill’s Pet Nutrition."
News Article | November 3, 2016
A crowdfunding effort has raised more than $150,000 in a single day to help repair a historic black church that was burned in what appeared to be a politically charged arson attack in Mississippi on Tuesday. The GoFundMe campaign, launched on Wednesday by Blair Reeves, a New York City-based tech product manager, received more than 4,500 pledged donations in less than 24 hours. Reeves had hoped to raise $10,000. “Holy crap, y’all,” Reeves wrote in a status update late Wednesday. “When I ginned up this page before my first meeting at work today, I had no earthly clue it would get so big. Thank you all so much.” The burning of the 111-year-old Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Miss., is being investigated by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation of the Tuesday night fire, and Greenville fire officials told the Associated Press they have determined it was arson. “Vote Trump” was spray-painted on the outside of the church. “This is a hate crime,” Greenville Mayor Errick Simmons told Yahoo News on Wednesday. “It’s a place where people raise their children, it’s a meeting place for the exchange of ideas, so we know the symbolism of the burning of the black church in the ’50s and ’60s was a way to intimidate folks who had their rights and civil liberties deprived. We’re looking at this as a hate crime, given the historic nature of this church.” “Love trumps hate,” added Simmons, who took office in January. “And what we have to do is move forward in loving each other and respecting each other.” Early Thursday, Reeves informed supporters of his campaign that he has been in touch with Clarence Green, the bishop of Hopewell Baptist, and that the funds raised will be transferred to the church’s bank account immediately. “Just got off the phone again with Bishop Green. He’s had a very long day — up at 4AM and going ever since,” Reeves wrote. “He is overwhelmed at the response you’ve shown here. Thank you, very much. Love > Hate.” Last month, a North Carolina GOP field office was firebombed, and a swastika and the message “Nazi Republicans leave town or else” were spray-painted on the outside. In response, North Carolina Democrats launched a campaign to raise money to help it reopen. “This is not how Americans resolve their differences. We talk, we argue, sometimes we march, and most of all we vote. We do not resort to violence by individuals or by mobs,” a message on their GoFundMe page read. “So, let’s all pitch in, no matter what your party affiliation … and get that office open again quickly.” The effort raised more than $12,000, and the office was reopened Wednesday.
News Article | December 7, 2016
A heavily armed mannequin challenge in Alabama resulted in the arrests of two men for firearms and drug possession on Tuesday. The video, posted to Facebook last month, shows 22 men standing completely still and brandishing guns outside 5012 Powell Drive in Huntsville. The mannequin challenge is a viral Internet video trend in which people try to stay completely still as if they were part of a Madame Tussauds wax exhibit, typically with the song “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd playing in the background. The shootout video, however, makes use of “Ain’t No Comin’ Down” by TEC & Maine Musik. Madison County Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Salomonsky said someone sent the video online to the sheriff’s office, prompting an investigation. Though the video has been removed from Facebook, al.com preserved it on YouTube. “The criminal investigation/narcotics unit through their investigation was able to obtain enough probable cause to get a search warrant for this address,” Salomonsky said at a press conference Tuesday. At 5:02 Tuesday morning, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, the Huntsville Police Department SWAT team and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were involved when the search warrant was executed at the Huntsville home, he said. “Due to the fact that there were multiple firearms in the residence, and also, because of the film, we thought that [there might be] additional people, so we used a breaching technique, which caused the front door to be removed from the residence,” Salomonsky continued. SWAT teams stormed the residence and cleared the scene before a search was conducted. Authorities seized marijuana packets, two handguns, an assault rifle, a shotgun, several rounds of ammunition, magazines and a computer, Salomonsky said. All of the confiscated items were displayed on a table in front of the lectern during the press conference. Kenneth Fennell White, 49, and Terry Brown, 23, were both arrested. White was charged with first-degree possession of marijuana and possession of a firearm. Brown was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, loitering and promoting prison contraband (for arriving at jail with marijuana). Judging from social media, the law enforcement officers at the Madison County Sheriff’s Office were flabbergasted that people would have the audacity to film a mannequin challenge at the same location where they allegedly sell drugs.
News Article | April 1, 2016
If you thought regular cigarettes are unhealthy, wait until you hear what's inside their counterfeit counterparts. There are several reasons why counterfeit “smokes” are just a plain no-no—they’re illegally manufactured, often imported from foreign countries, such as China or Paraguay, and there’s a lack of quality control and regulation of them. And now a team of researchers from the Department of Sciences at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York added one more reason to the list—they’re bad for you. This research group set out to study these cigarettes with one goal in mind—provide more accurate data for assessing their impact on one’s health. “Counterfeit cigarettes constitute a significant crime and public health problem,” Yi He, associate professor of chemistry at John Jay College told R&D Magazine after her session presentation at Pittcon in Atlanta last month titled Elemental Profile of Tobacco Used in Counterfeit Cigarettes. “Information on the elemental profile, especially toxic elements such as lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd), offers insight into the potential public health impact of consuming counterfeit cigarettes and the technology used by counterfeiters in the illicit cigarette trade.” The researchers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and CUNY, including Carrie Green, Rufus Chaney, Fidelis Tan, Ye Hua, Victoria Mei, Marin Kurti and Klaus von Lampe, studied the elemental profile in counterfeit cigarettes that was provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after being seized by the law enforcement agency. The 13 elements they researched in the cigarettes included: As, Ca, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Ni, P, Pb and Zn. According to academic research presented at the session, a tobacco plant is particularly efficient in accumulating cadmium from the soil and translocating most of the metal to the leaves. Both stainless steel and mild steel carry a significant amount of this chemical element, typically as particulates, and cadmium is the prime focus for this particular investigation of potential toxic effects. The group analyzed 46 counterfeit samples, including 22 Newport, six Marlboro Red and 18 Marlboro Light brands, as well as six genuine cigarettes. The researchers used atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) analysis after conducting two methods of pretreatment—microwave digestion and dry ashing. While both methods obtained acceptable results, microwaving had higher recovery results, according to Yi He. The research team’s study concluded that there were much higher concentrations of toxic heavy metals consistently found in counterfeit cigarettes that were seized in the U.S. compared to genuine brands. “Any investigation into the harmful effects of commercial tobacco products should take consideration of the potential differences between genuine and counterfeit products,” Yi He concluded. “Use of counterfeit cigarettes potentially adds more risks to smokers.” Establish your company as a technology leader! For more than 50 years, the R&D 100 Awards have showcased new products of technological significance. You can join this exclusive community! Learn more.
News Article | February 26, 2017
An arson was reported at the Daarus Salaam Mosque on Morris Bridge Rd. in Thonotasassa, Fla., early Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. This fire has the signs of an intentional criminal act, and the local authorities and federal agents from A.T.F. (Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms) are presently investigating it. (James Borchuck/The Tampa Bay Times via AP) TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — An intentionally set fire damaged a prayer hall at a Tampa-area mosque early Friday, investigators said. The arson occurred at the Islamic Society of New Tampa, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said in a news release. Fire investigators responded at around 2 a.m. After gathering evidence, they determined the fire was intentionally set. No one was at the mosque when the fire started. "It is worrisome that our community has fallen victim of what appears to be another hate crime," said Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida. An alarm company notified a mosque board member early Friday, and he found first responders there when he arrived, CAIR said. Investigators from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives also responded, the group said. The ATF confirmed its agents were there but said the local fire department was leading the investigation. CAIR said the fire started at a door to the prayer hall. There was damage to the door and carpet inside from sprinkler water and smoke. Authorities said holes were found in the door but determined they were not made by bullets, as some had initially feared. Morning prayers were moved to another building. Afternoon prayers may be canceled due to the damage to the hall, local news media reported. Worshippers were directed to other mosques in the area until the building is repaired. The blaze was at least the second intentionally set fire at a Florida mosque in the past six months. Joseph Schreiber was sentenced to 30 years in prison earlier this month for setting fire to the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce on Sept. 11. It was the same mosque that the Orlando nightclub shooter attended occasionally. Mustafa Ameen, the Islamic Society of New Tampa's lawyer and spokesman, said this is the first time a fire has been intentionally set at the mosque. He said they're awaiting the outcome of the investigation to better understand the motive, but have been boosted by community support. "We appreciate the entire community standing in solidarity with us," he said.