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Man accused of serial Dining-and-Dashing on online dates arrested, faces 10 felony charges

A man lambasted as the "dine-and-dash dater" after being accused of meeting women at restaurants across the Los Angeles area only to leave them with the bill pleaded not guilty to charges of theft and extortion on Monday, prosecutors said.

Paul Guadalupe Gonzales, 45, allegedly connected with a string of women through dating apps and websites and invited them out to dinner between May 2016 and this April with the intent of using them as a meal ticket, the L.A. County District Attorney's Office said in a news release.

He arranged dates at restaurants in Pasadena, Long Beach, Burbank and Los Angeles, where he ordered and consumed food and drinks, then disappeared before the bill had been paid, the DA's office said. Eight women told prosecutors they'd footed the bill, one of them under the belief that Gonzales would pay her back. And at least twice, the restaurant paid its own check — making those businesses victims in the criminal complaint, officials said.

In total, Gonzales is accused of defrauding the women of more than $950. He's also charged with receiving hair salon services, then leaving before paying. Investigators obtained an arrest warrant for Gonzales on July 3, an inmate records show he was taken into custody Saturday, Aug. 25, in Pasadena.


Forbes: Americans paid $104 BILLION in credit card debt interest in the past year

Credit card debt is not cheap. At 15.5%, the average interest rate is up 300 basis points over the past five years. Despite the increasing cost of credit card debt, American consumers continue to borrow. Total revolving debt is now at $1.04 trillion, surpassing the 2008 peak. MagnifyMoney (where I work) ran the numbers, and credit card borrowers have paid $104 billion in credit card interest and fees over the last twelve months alone. That is up 11% from the prior year, 35% over the last five years and shows no signs of slowing.

Debt will only become more expensive as the Federal Reserve continues to increase interest rates. Most credit card contracts have variable interest rates tied to the prime rate. The prime rate is almost directly correlated to the federal funds rate, as this data from the St. Louis Fed demonstrates. Interest is calculated daily on most credit card contracts, which means that when the Federal Reserve increases its target federal funds rate, people with credit card debt will feel the consequences almost immediately.


Turkey president says US has launched 'attempted economic coup' as currency reels

Source: independent

Turkey's president has accused America of launching an “attempted economic coup” as the country’s currency continues to reel following US economic sanctions. Recep Tayyip Erdogan told thousands of supporters in Ankara: “Today some people are trying to threaten us through the economy, through interest rates, foreign exchange, investment and inflation.

“We are telling them: we’ve seen your games, and we are challenging you.”

And, in a clear swipe at US president Donald Trump he added: "We did not and will not surrender to those who act like a strategic partner but make us a strategic target.”

Turkey has seen its economy thrown into turmoil this week after Washington imposed sanctions – including doubling tariffs on aluminium and steel – in retaliation for Mr Erdogan’s refusal to release an arrested American pastor.

Read more: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-president-recep-erdogan-us-economic-currency-a8497391.html

Teenager who escaped ISIS slavery says her captor found her in Germany and police didn't do anything

A Kurdish Yazidi teenager who fled Islamic State militant group (ISIS) slavery in Iraq has said her jihadi captor has found her in Germany, forcing her to flee back to her homeland.

Four years after ISIS fighters swept through northern Iraq and seized her along with her family and thousands of other Kurdish and Yazidi minorities in August 2014, young Ashwaq Ta’lo has revealed that she was approached by a Syrian man known to her only as Abu Hamam. The man reportedly bought her, along with a number of other young women and girls from ISIS, and held them near Mosul, abusing them on a daily basis for about 10 months.

After executing an elaborate escape plot, she eventually settled as a refugee in Stuttgart, Germany, as part of a humanitarian program that provides post-traumatic services. In 2016, she said she felt she was being followed, but nothing came out of it until earlier this year, when her past reportedly caught up with her one day, as she was walking home to the camp in which she was living at the time.

"Someone stopped me, on 21st February this year. I froze when I looked at his face carefully. It was Abu Humam, with the same scary beard and ugly face. I was speechless when he started speaking in German, asking, 'You’re Ashwaq, aren’t you?'" Ta'lo told Kurdish outlet Bas News in an exclusive interview Wednesday.


Lunch Ladies Accused of Stealing Nearly Half a Million Dollars from school cafeteria: Police

A pair of sisters who worked as lunch ladies in Connecticut schools were arrested over the weekend after officials say they embezzled nearly half a million dollars. The funds were taken over a five-year span, though detectives say the actual number could be much higher, NBC Connecticut reports. Authorities arrested 61-year-old Joanne Pascarelli, of Wilton, and 67-year-old Marie Wilson, of Stratford, on charges of first-degree larceny by defrauding a community.

Detectives said fellow cafeteria workers from the schools told them they didn't count the money in their own registers before or after their shifts, alleging that the sisters were instead collecting the drawers and counting the cash in their own offices. Without revealing how much she was taking, employees said Pascarelli would visit the cafeteria and take large bills out of their registers between lunch periods, the woman's arrest warrant states.

When one employee questioned Pascarelli about how she was handling the money, she was reportedly forced to wash dishes for months as retaliation, according to arrest warrants. Another worker, who told authorities she was astonished that the school didn't discover the thefts sooner, said she also raised concerns about the handling of cash and was subsequently transferred from the high school to the middle school by Wilson.

Additionally, cashiers told police the duo had them signing blank bank deposit slips. Wilson and Pascarelli stand accused of stealing a total of $478,588 from 2012 to 2017, though detectives say that figure could be much higher as the thefts may have been going on for up to 15 years.


Bitcoin, Ether Sink as 'Sense of Panic' Grips Crypto Investors

Source: Bloomberg

Bitcoin touched below $6,000 and dozens of smaller digital tokens including Ether retreated as this month’s sell-off in cryptocurrencies showed few signs of letting up.

The largest digital currency fell as much as 6.2 percent to $5,887, the lowest level since June, before paring some of the drop, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. Ether sank as much as 13 percent, while all but one of the 100 biggest cryptocurrencies tracked by Coinmarketcap.com recorded declines over the past 24 hours. The total market capitalization of virtual currencies dropped to $193 billion. That’s down from a peak of about $835 billion in January.

“Most cryptocurrencies have been overvalued for a very long time,” said Samson Mow, chief strategy officer at blockchain developer Blockstream Corp. “It’s hard to pin this move on any particular factor, but it feels like the opposite of last year when money piled in as people felt FOMO. Now it’s piling out as they sense panic.”

While cryptocurrencies rallied in July on hopes that a Bitcoin-backed exchange-traded fund would attract new investors, U.S. regulators have yet to sign off on multiple proposals for such a product. The letdown has coincided with growing concern that entrepreneurs who raised crypto-denominated funds via initial coin offerings are now cashing out of holdings such as Ether, the token for the Ethereum blockchain that is a popular platform for crypto projects.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-14/bitcoin-sinks-below-6-000-as-almost-everything-crypto-tumbles

Police confronted over alleged 'bait truck' of Nike shoes left in black Chicago community

Community members confronted a circle of police in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood over a "bait truck" allegedly filled with Nike shoes and left open by police aiming to lure potential thieves and make arrests.

"Y'all dirty, man," a man tells officers in an online video of the incident published Thursday. "Y'all see kids playing ball and you pull a f----- Nike truck into the ghetto." Charles McKenzie, an anti-crime activist who put the video on Facebook, told Vox that the truck appeared next to a basketball court frequented by young people in the largely black neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago.

And while both local and federal agencies conduct such "bait" operations, the site reported, neither Chicago police nor the FBI offered comment on the truck. Authorities use everything from fake drugs and modified cars to GPS-affixed packages and bikes to weed out thieves nationwide. Theft of in-transit property, known as cargo theft, caused nearly $27 million in losses in 2016, according to FBI data.

But some community members perceived an alleged bait truck, left in an impoverished neighborhood near a basketball court, as an obvious attempt to target black youth as racially lopsided arrests unfold nationwide.


Florida bystander shoots gunman who opened fire at festival

Source: AOL

TITUSVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A bystander who was lawfully carrying a firearm shot a gunman who had started firing at a back-to-school festival along Florida's Space Coast.

Florida Today reported Monday that the gunman was shot in the head and airlifted to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police haven't yet identified the gunman from Saturday's shooting at the "Peace in the City" festival in Titusville.

Authorities say he got into a fistfight earlier in the day and returned to the park with a gun and opened fire. School supplies were handed out at the festival and there were around 150 people in the area when the shooting started.

The bystander was cooperating with investigators and wasn't expected to face charges. No one else was injured.

Read more: https://www.aol.com/article/news/2018/08/06/florida-bystander-shoots-gunman-who-opened-fire-at-festival/23497128/

China loses status as world's second-largest stock market amid trade war with US

Source: CNBC

Chinese shares ceded their ranking as the second-largest stock market in the world to Japan, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

Chinese stocks were worth a total of $6.09 trillion at the market close on Thursday, the FT said, referring to figures from Bloomberg. That compared to the $6.16 trillion market value of the Japanese shares at the end of the Thursday trading session.

China's market surpassed Japan in market value in November 2014 to become the world's second-largest, the FT said. The U.S. stock market, which continues to be the world's largest, was valued at $31 trillion at the end of Thursday, it added.

The change in rankings came after Asian markets declined in the previous session amid an elevation in trade tensions after the Trump administration said it was considering increasing a proposed tariff on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25 percent compared to an initially announced 10 percent.

Read more: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/03/china-loses-status-as-worlds-second-largest-stock-market-to-japan.html

Cop's gun accidentally goes off at officer's funeral, 2 hurt

Source: NY Post

CRANSTON, R.I. — The Cranston police department is reviewing an incident in which a gun accidentally went off after the funeral for a slain Massachusetts police officer, slightly injuring two other officers.

The July 20 incident, just coming to light, involved a Cranston police sergeant who had been part of the honor guard for the funeral of Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna, who was fatally shot while investigating a car crash.

A police report says the Cranston officer, who was not identified, was changing out of his uniform on a bus outside Blue Hill Cemetery in Braintree, Massachusetts, when his gun accidentally slipped from his holster and went off.

Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officers who were in the area were slightly hurt by debris kicked up by the bullet. Both refused medical treatment.

Read more: https://nypost.com/2018/08/02/cops-gun-accidentally-goes-off-at-officers-funeral-2-injured/
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