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Zorro

Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: America's Finest City
Current location: District 48
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 14,712

Journal Archives

They Were the Nice, Older Couple Next Door. Then the First Body Turned Up.

An Iranian couple has confessed to murdering and dismembering their son, years after killing a daughter and her husband. They are not sorry.

The older couple first came to the public eye on a winter night in Tehran, when their film director son invited them to the stage after a screening. They were frail, and seemingly shy, and the younger man helped his mother up the stairs, then draped his arm around his father’s shoulder.

That was five years ago.

Now their son is dead, and Akbar Khorramdin, 81, and his wife, Iran Mousavi, 74, are back on the public stage, accused of his murder and, in a twist that has shocked and riveted Iranians, the killings of a daughter and a son-in-law over the course of a decade. The victims were drugged, suffocated, stabbed and then dismembered, the authorities say.

The couple has confessed to the crimes, but if Mr. Khorramdin, a retired army colonel, and Ms. Mousavi, a homemaker, are remorseful, they have done a good job hiding it.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/05/world/middleeast/iran-parents-murders.html

After Sudden Defeat, Captured Ethiopian Soldiers Are Marched to Prison

The scale of the loss suffered by one of Africa’s most powerful armies was on vivid display on Friday as thousands of government troops were paraded through Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray.

MEKELLE, Ethiopia — Thousands of Ethiopian prisoners of war were paraded through the regional capital of Tigray on Friday as jubilant crowds lined the streets to jeer the captives and cheer the Tigrayan forces who only days earlier had routed one of Africa’s most powerful armies.

Many of the soldiers bowed their heads and cast their eyes downward. Some had to be carried on stretchers, and others wore bandages freshly stained with blood.

The swift defeat of the Ethiopian forces was a stunning reversal in a civil war that has led to the displacement of nearly two million people in the Tigray region, widespread hunger and reports that civilians were subjected to atrocities and sexual violence.

The parade of prisoners served as a pointed rebuke to Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, who had proclaimed in a speech on Tuesday in the national capital, Addis Ababa, that reports of his troops’ defeat were “a lie.” He had declared a unilateral cease-fire, he insisted, for humanitarian reasons.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/02/world/africa/tigray-ethiopia-soldiers-captured.html

Philippines raises Taal volcano danger level as thousands evacuate

Authorities in the Philippines started evacuating thousands of people on Thursday after raising the alert status on a restive volcano that spewed a 1-kilometer (0.62-mile) high plume of gas and steam.

The alert for the Taal volcano, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of central Manila, was raised from level 2 to level 3 on the 5-tier scale, which the seismology and volcanology agency said meant a "magmatic intrusion" at the main crater "could further drive succeeding eruptions."

Taal is one of the world's smallest active volcanoes. Despite standing at only 311 meters (1,020 feet), it can be deadly, and an eruption in 1911 killed more than 1,300 people.

In January last year, Taal shot a column of ash and steam as high as 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) into the sky, which forced more than 100,000 people to abandon their homes, widespread flight cancellations and heavy ash falls in Manila.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/07/01/asia/mass-evacuation-philippines-volcano-intl-hnk/index.html

Inside Broke Roger Stone's Very 'Shady' Condo Purchase

Roger Stone somehow secured a $400,000 mortgage while facing a $1.5 million federal lien and owing the IRS roughly $2 million.

The federal government says longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone owes $2 million in unpaid taxes. And while the Department of Justice is taking Stone to court in a civil suit with no criminal charges, at the center of its case is a curious transaction: a $400,000 mortgage loan for a condo.

The government’s complaint lays out a complicated scheme. It describes the condo purchase as an overt act of fraud, and claims a right to seize the property. Essentially, prosecutors say, Stone and his wife Nydia used $140,000 from a private company they already held (Drake Ventures) for a down payment on a condo. Picking up the rest of the tab—almost exactly $400,000—was a mortgage lender.

That lender, a private individual who would only talk to The Daily Beast on the condition that we not print his name, said he had been misled and likely wouldn’t have granted the loan if he had known the full picture.

It’s still a mystery how Roger Stone, weeks after his front-page criminal indictment in January 2019 and saddled with a $1.5 million federal lien, was able to secure that loan. But interviews and previously unreported documents provide new insight into the Stones’ maneuvering to accomplish what the Department of Justice says was their attempt to defraud the IRS.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-broke-roger-stones-very-shady-condo-purchase

In Case Against Trump's Company, Echoes of His Father's Tactics on Taxes

Long before Donald J. Trump’s company was accused of plotting detours around the tax code to compensate its chief financial officer with carpeting, televisions and car leases, there were the $16,135 boilers.

The boilers were bought for that amount by Mr. Trump’s father, Fred, in the 1990s for his numerous apartment buildings. But in a bit of financial alchemy that embodied the family ethos of paying as little tax as possible, the elder Mr. Trump used inflated invoices to pay the bill and the extra money was skimmed off for his children — all to avoid gift and inheritance taxes.

Echoes of the earlier scheme could be found in the indictment on Thursday of the Trump Organization and Allen H. Weisselberg, its chief financial officer, who first went to work for Fred Trump in the 1970s. While the amount of tax-free benefits that Mr. Weisselberg reportedly received is significant — $1.76 million over 15 years — the way the company went about doling them out is strikingly small-bore and incremental.

In fact, the first criminal case against the former president’s company features no grand schemes to launder money through Russia, hide millions offshore or commit other offenses commensurate with a self-described global business empire headquartered in a Fifth Avenue skyscraper. Rather, the details of the charges brought by a Manhattan grand jury have a rather low-rent feel that one might associate with a scrappy real-estate operation born in Brooklyn and Queens.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/03/us/weisselberg-fred-trump-invoice-scheme.html

Justice Department Is Probing Lordstown Motors

Source: Wall Street Journal

The Justice Department is probing embattled electric-truck startup Lordstown Motors Corp., according to people familiar with the matter.

The inquiry into Lordstown Motors is being handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and is in early stages, the people said. A spokesman for Lordstown Motors said the company is committed to cooperating with any investigations and inquiries and looks forward to focusing on production with its new leadership team.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is also looking at the company, Lordstown Motors has previously said.

The SEC first requested information from Lordstown Motors in February and has issued subpoenas regarding Lordstown Motors’ move last year to become a public company and its representations about preorders, according to company filings. Lordstown Motors has said it is cooperating with the SEC’s investigation.

Read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/justice-department-is-probing-lordstown-motors-11625239730?mod=hp_lead_pos3

DeSantis fires back after California bans state travel to Florida

Florida is one of 17 states on California’s state-funded travel ban, due to the Sunshine State’s laws involving LGBTQ people.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office fired back this week after Florida was added to a list of places targeted by California because of laws involving LGBTQ people.

California said it is halting state-funded travel to Florida and four other states because of what it considers discriminatory laws.

“Congratulations to California for somehow managing to create a new way to politicize its bureaucracy,” Christina Pushaw, a DeSantis spokeswoman, said after Florida was added to California’s travel-ban list — now at 17 states.

California lawmakers created the list in 2016. Under it, California state agencies are prohibited from state-funded travel to states with laws allowing discrimination “on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/2021/07/01/desantis-fires-back-after-california-bans-state-travel-to-florida/

DeSantis signs bill allowing concealed carry at churches that share land with schools

In a win for gun-rights supporters, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill that will let people with concealed-weapons licenses carry firearms at churches or other religious institutions that share properties with schools.

The measure (HB 259) was one of 94 bills DeSantis signed Tuesday, according to a late-night announcement from his office.

Florida law has generally allowed people to carry concealed weapons at churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions, but it bars being armed on school properties. That has led to people being prevented from carrying guns on properties shared by religious institutions and schools.

The bill signed Tuesday will change that, and was approved during the spring legislative session in a 76-37 vote in the House and a 24-16 vote in the Senate.

https://www.newsherald.com/story/news/local/2021/06/30/desantis-signs-florida-bill-allowing-concealed-carry-in-churches-share-land-with-schools/7813477002/

Another example of Republicans forcing their perverse fetish on the rest of us. How long will it be before a churchgoer leaves his gun at a school to be found during class the next day?
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